Tony Silve, Regional Director, Arch UK Online

The world of insurance can be confusing for business owners – they know they need cover, but how much cover? What should it cost? What should the policy include? What’s an accurate trading description of the business?

A lot of insurers are now shepherding brokers or direct customers down an E-Trade only route, forcing them to complete question sets until they are either accepted or rejected for the product in question. It has well documented advantages of course, however this approach can also lead to frustrating ‘computer says no’ scenarios. More worryingly, you could also be purchasing or arranging cover that doesn’t reflect the actual trading nature of the business risking non-responsive cover or misrepresentation.

It’s especially true when it comes to SME and Micro SME businesses – each can be unique and present its own set of risks. You might think a one-size-fits-all policy will work for them, but that’s not always the case -no two tradesmen, retailers or manufacturers are necessarily the same.

SMEs often change and diversify to meet consumer demand. That freedom to diversify a business and increase its profits is something that insurers should uphold. Using an online solution often means having to align the business activities with fixed trade descriptions. This can still present challenges when arranging cover. For example not offering you a trade selection that more accurately reflects a particular business and risk outside “the norm”. 

This combination of a lack of online flexibility, automated ‘quote and buy’ system response and minimal underwriter presence, therefore doesn’t always fit the bill.

This is why it’s so important that as well as flexibility in our online product responses, we also provide access to empowered and knowledgeable Underwriters. We want to support SMEs to grow and take on the next challenge. It’s not about the customer fitting the product, but us tailoring a quality product to meet the evolving demands and needs of the customer.

Let’s say you’re online, arranging insurance for a shop. The question form wants detail about the value of the stock, the alarms and general security. If your client’s shop doesn’t meet the criteria within those questions you could be declined, and may have wasted your valuable time.

Providing additional access to an underwriter means you’re able to further discuss the details of your client’s security measures and the specific risks they face. We can look to offer you terms of insurance that have been shaped around your client’s needs, rather than the rigid terms set out by the form. So, maybe the alarm isn’t adequate, but other physical securities such as roller shutters and bollards are in place. An online provider might simply have a pure automated quote and buy style approach. However by offering a combination of flexibility within our own product responses plus Underwriter referral, we can help to provide that all important tailored element to risk acceptability.

At Arch UK we’re strongly committed to offering e-trading online solutions that support our Brokers and client’s needs. We will always look to firmly place broker experience and engagement at the heart of what we do. That’s just one of the many ways in which Arch listens to the voice of our clients.