According to a survey conducted by the London and International Insurance Brokers’ Association (Liiba), young brokers view face-to-face trading with underwriters as a significant competitive advantage for the London market.
The survey revealed that in workshops conducted by Liiba, 97% of young brokers expressed their desire for at least 50% of their working life to involve face-to-face trading with underwriters.
The brokers further emphasised that face-to-face, relationship-based trading not only provided a competitive edge for London but also distinguished the market from other international insurance centres.
The workshops and surveys conducted align with Liiba’s 2023 agenda, which focuses on placing younger brokers at the forefront of modernizing the London insurance market.
During April, over 50 young brokers from the London market participated in four workshops led by Jason Collins, Tysers’ head of global broking and a board member of Liiba.
The selection of participating brokers was done by firms with representation on Liiba’s board.
As a result of these workshops, Liiba released a report titled “Our Face-to-face Future,” which highlights the perspectives of younger brokers regarding the future of the London market.
The report highlighted that while many brokers found “admin Friday” beneficial for handling organisational tasks, one broker expressed the view that she would consider leaving the industry if personal meetings were no longer expected, a sentiment that resonated with other participants in that session.
The participants acknowledged that not all business in the London market could or should be conducted face-to-face. Complex global programs, which constitute approximately 20% of London’s business, are typically addressed through scheduled meetings.
On the other hand, commoditised and simpler business, accounting for around 30% of London’s trade, is suitable for remote agreements. This implies that approximately half of the London market’s business is appropriate for face-to-face interactions.
The participants of the workshops expressed dissatisfaction with broker lounges, which are waiting areas in insurers’ offices.
Brokers raised concerns that the standard 15-minute appointments provided by underwriters were insufficient for productive discussions, considering the time it takes to clear building security, call a lift, and exchange pleasantries
Additionally, the gradual decrease in the number of buildings in EC3 that allowed unrestricted access to Lloyd’s pass-holders had further aggravated the issue.
Young brokers expressed dissatisfaction with the limited availability of underwriters for trading in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room. It was noted that post-pandemic, underwriters were only present at their box on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.
Although some insurers shared attendance rotas with brokers on Sundays, the brokers found that these schedules were often not followed as expected.
Participants in the workshops expressed hesitancy in bringing clients to visit the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room due to the perceived lack of underwriters present, with one participant stating, “It is embarrassing if there are more underwriters in Leadenhall market than there are at the box.”
Brokers mentioned that clients and producers have started to observe the altered working patterns in London.
They shared instances where international contacts had commented on the reduced presence of staff in the market on Fridays.
Jason Collins stated “The message from young brokers is a stark one. They want to trade face-to-face; they want to build the relationships that would underpin that; and they want to do this in a room restored to its position as a true trading floor where decisions are made.”
“The London market is a community and communities need a focal point – like a school or a church. In the London insurance market that focal point always has been and should be the underwriting room. A vibrant room attracts talent. It is an exciting, invigorating place to do business – and it fosters innovation.”
Liiba’s CEO, Chris Croft, noted: “Our workshops were a refreshing confirmation that our market is in safe hands. “
These young brokers are a group of natural-born traders thinking in depth about the way in which we can organise ourselves to continue to be the global centre of excellence for specialty insurance. Discussions that have set out a pathway to the marketplace of the future. It is time to get moving.”