The purpose of this section is to provide interested applicants with a little more detail about the operation of the TEn AR network model.
In any typical broker, the customer relationships are handled by variously titled people, called Account Executives or Business Development Managers.
In a smaller organisation, these people would report to a director/owner of the company, whereas further up the scale there might be several tiers of regional, national, or even matrix management.
In the context of TEn, this function is entirely within the scope of the Member Brokers. TEn does not have front-line contact with clients, except as a back-up or as a locum service.
In a small Broker, there is little division of labour between the person dealing with a client and the person gathering quotes from insurers and the subsequent negotiation of special terms, endorsements etc. It’s often the same individual.
As brokers become bigger, such a division of labour does tend to occur. The latter model being the one TEn has adopted as its default position, although it is very much on a ‘horses for courses’ basis, if that is what the AR prefers; and we agree.
Broker Technicians are TEn employees within our three regional offices, in Princes Risborough, Manchester and Glasgow. All New Business is handled by our New Business Team, also in Manchester, whilst each AR assigned to an MTA & Renewals handling team in the nearest of the three above mentioned locations.
The practice of Member brokers, dealing with a small group of people at our end on a day to day basis, has proved to be a sensible way of building knowledge and trust between the ARs and the people who essentially are ‘their’ staff.
The mutual understanding of strengths and weaknesses is no bad thing!
For certain kinds of small ticket business, such as Tradesman, Office, Shop etc, we have automated ‘quote & bind’ systems that enable each AR to handle the majority of their standard polices, all by themselves.
That said, up to 35% of even this type of business will be referred into the New Business Team for some personal attention. This is usually because it has proved itself to be rather less standard than originally anticipated.
Equally, for some larger complex cases, it is normally essential that the Member Broker has some direct dealing with the underwriter(s). Their knowledge of the client and the risk is first-hand and things can get lost in translation.
The best client outcome is always our guiding principle in every case.
It is the responsibility of Member Brokers to ensure that client payments are collected in a timely manner.
Credit control is your baby; they are your clients.
As an AR, you never handle client money and so, all cheques, credit/debit card payments and Premium Finance agreements are payable to TEn.
Whilst TEn retains a head office in Princes Risborough, thanks to a cloud-based IT system and VOIP telephones, most of the administrative support can be distributed, as the operation grows, into regional offices.
This has happened with Manchester and Glasgow and it is better thus.
Although the Accounts Department will always remain in the South (probably), the AR facing Broker Technicians are better clearly equipped with local empathy, if they are in closer proximity to the Practices they serve.
This regional distribution of effort has a number of distinct advantages, including easier employment across the whole country, rather than focusing on one area.
There are more opportunities for face-to-face contact - even socialising - between Broker Technicians and Members, plus a familiarity and confidence that is engendered from dealing with a smaller group of people with similar accents.
The reconciliation of insurer statements and remitting payments to them at the end of each month is the predominant activity of the TEn Accounts Department in Princes Risborough.
There is usually one agency with each insurer, which makes the centralisation of this task entirely logical. Some insurers may require a different agency for this or that trading division, or for a special class of business. But, these are quirks that we deal with; never the AR.
There is but one IBA account - or whatever the new fangled FCA term is - for everybody… per insurer agency.
It is the sole responsibility of TEn to hold correctly ALL monies, be they Client Money or Insurer Money, dependent on the Risk Transfer status of the agency/risk. We also manage and maintain solvency levels.
For any Insurance Broker, the manner in which their clients’ claims are handled, is of paramount importance in terms of promoting the customer relationship.
This is, therefore, one area in which AR will always take the lead, in what might be considered to be an administrative function.
As a claim occurs, the natural thing for a client to do is to call the person they know; their broker.
Consequently, logging a claim on to the central TEn system will be done by each AR. Notification to insurers and subsequent chasing will also be performed at the Practice level, wearing a TEn hat at all times when speaking to insurers.
Afterall, Practitioners are Appointed Representatives of TEn and there can be no FCA related problem with their Practices dealing in the client’s best interests, directly with insurers (or their agents) over a claim.