The purpose of this section is to provide a little more detail about the operation of the TEn AR network model.
Within the context of a national broker, the customer relationship is handled by variously titled people, who basically perform an Account Executive function and/or a Business Development role for existing and new business clients respectively.
For TEn, this role is entirely within the scope of the Member Brokers, we do not have contact with clients, except as a back-up or as a locum.
In a small Insurance broker firm there is often little division of labour between the people who deal with the customer, the gathering of quotes from various insurers and the negotiation of any special terms, policy endorsements etc.
As brokers become larger, just such a division of labour tends to occur. The latter model is the one that TEn has adopted as the default position.
The Broker Technicians are TEn employees within our two regional offices, Princes Risborough and Manchester. In general, new business is handled by a new business team and each Practice is assigned to a MTA and renewals handling team.
Member brokers, dealing with a small group of people at our end, on a day to day basis, has proved the best way of building understanding and knowledge of one another’s strengths and weaknesses.
For certain types of small ticket business, such as standard Household, Travel, Commercial Vehicles etc, we have automated quote and bind systems that enable each AR to handle the majority of uncomplicated business by themselves.
Equally, for some big ticket business, it is sometimes essential that the member broker deals directly with the underwriter(s). The best outcome is the guiding principle in these cases.
It is the responsibility of Member Brokers to ensure that client payments are collected in a timely manner. As an AR you do not handle client money, so all cheques, credit/debit card payments and premium finance forms are payable to TEn.
There is only one IBA account (or whatever the new fangled FCA term should be) for the whole organisation, which will be the responsibility of TEn to manage and maintain solvency levels.
Whilst TEn has its head office in Princes Risborough, thanks to the central IT system and VOIP phones, much of the administrative support can be distributed – as the operation grows – into other regional offices led by regional Broker Development Managers, as first happened in Manchester.
Although the Accounts Department will always remain in the centre (probably), the Practice facing Broker Technicians are often better equipped if at least some of their number are in closer proximity to the Practices they serve.
This regional distribution has a number of advantages, including easier employment across the whole country rather than focusing on one area; more opportunities for face to face contact between Technicians and Members; and a familiarity and confidence that is engendered from dealing with a smaller and more local group of people.
Reconciling insurer accounts and making payments to insurers is the responsibility of TEn, there being only one agency with each insurer. Yes, ok, some insurers may require a different angency for this and for that, but we just have one of each of them.
For any Insurance Practice, the manner in which their client’s claims are handled is of paramount importance in terms of promoting the customer relationship.
This is, therefore, one area in which AR will take the lead, in what might be considered to be an administrative function.
As a claim occurs, the natural thing for the client to do is to call the person/people they know; their broker.
Consequently, the initial logging of a claim on to the central TEn system will be done from each Practice. Notification to insurers and subsequent chasing shall also be performed at the Practice level, wearing a TEn hat at all times when speaking to insurers.
Practitioners are Appointed Representatives of TEn and there can be no FCA related problems with their Practices dealing directly with insurers or their agents over a claim.