This morning got off to a more relaxing 11.15am start meeting Andrew Wadsworth from Atrium Underwriting at their Lloyds base. Andrew was another person who was very generous in spending his time with me. We discussed the types of risks that Atrium commonly underwrite and how they can assist with my business. I also spent some time at the Atrium box as Andrew underwrote some risks from Canada and had brokers attending his box to broke their business. Andrew also showed me his matrix underwriting system which was very interesting. It was an excellent discussion which I am sure will lead to some more opportunities for us both. We capped off our meeting with a bite to eat in an Asian restaurant before parting ways to carry on with our day leaving me feeling like I had made an important contact moving forward.
I left Andrew and had a short walk to my 2.30pm meeting with Steve Whyte, CEO at British Insurance Brokers Association. BIBA is the British equivalent of our NIBA. Steve and I discussed both our industries and the roles that the Associations play in it.
Steve outlined the major issues that the industry is dealing with which included:
- Brexit – the affect that this will have on the 2,700 insurance broking firms who are based in the UK but also trade in other EU countries under a “passport” system and also on the 7,500 EU broking firms that trade in the UK under the same system. It is unclear how much business this represents as some firms may only have as little as 1 policy that will be affected. It is also expected that travel insurance will rise as the EU has an “EHIC” system which is essentially a European Health Travel Card which may no longer apply to the UK. Staffing in and out of the UK may also be affected.
- Software providers in the industry and trying to provide a quality framework around them.
- An insurer “Enterprise” has recently failed predominantly due to not enough capital and regulatory oversight. This insurer is largely a motor insurer based in Gibraltar which is a UK territory. 20% of UK motor insurance is written out of Gibraltar as it has a favourable tax system for companies.
- The BIBA Find A Broker website handles 400,000 enquiries per year with 85% going through their website and 15% via the BIBA call centre.
- We also spoke about the UK online aggregator websites and the many issues that were arising from these sites.
- The UK industry has a new Insurance Act 2015 which has come into effect recently bringing changes for the industry.
Once again it was interesting to see the current similarities between the UK industry and ours excluding Brexit and the Enterprise failure.
As is my want, I went for an evening walk along Commercial Street into an area called Shoreditch. It was a lovely, balmy night and there was people everywhere. This was an entertainment area separating the city from the residential area with retailers open, bars in full swing and street food traders scattered around. I ended up having a burrito and corona in a shed market containing about 6 food vans and people watched before heading back to my apartment. At times it is hard enough to understand the more heavier English accents so mixing in the diverse blend of people, different cultures and languages creates such an interesting environment on the streets.