UK insurance: Creating a safe haven in a hardening market

By Liz Mitchell | 10 January 2017

Over the last few months, the UK insurance market has continued to harden, with both SSP and industry data showing a shift in premiums. At the same time, the rise in Insurance Premium Tax has continued apace. Experts predict June's climb to 12%, which will bring a further upsurge in premiums, is just another step towards a VAT-matched rate of 20%.

This has somewhat put the cat amongst the pigeons for consumers, coming on top of greater regulatory scrutiny of the insurance industry. The legislative changes have created greater awareness in the public domain, drawing consumers' attention towards ensuring they have the right cover and level of service, rather than just focusing on the cheapest price.

As a result, independent brokers have been in a great position to demonstrate the added value they offer and to capitalise on the engagement and relationships they already have with these customers.

While consumers who buy through non-aggregator channels are generally less price sensitive, as premiums continue to escalate in 2017, the waters are likely to become somewhat muddier. These discerning customers will still need guidance on the right cover for their circumstances, but they'll also want products that are priced competitively.

As with many aspects of an increasingly digital society, the greatest benefits are realised by working together. While brokers can act collectively through networks, these structures are often unable to deliver the additional and more detailed insight that is required to effectively leverage their commercial buying power.

That is what puts Keychoice, the insurance distribution business owned by SSP, in a unique position. As its products are exclusively available through SSP, the over 500 independent broker members – who control in excess of £1.7bn GWP – all use the same technology platform.

With all member brokers working from a single technology platform, there is a holistic and continuous view within Keychoice of how they are trading. Converting this raw data into meaningful trading insights provides insurers and suppliers with the unique perspective required to fine tune their product performance with existing members, as well as extend and develop their trading footprint to new brokers and territories.

Enhanced-rated products are more valuable to brokers, giving them a significant competitive advantage. This drives adoption of these products, generating greater volumes of data and further fine-tuning. So the circle continues…

Over the last year, insurer partners have been able to enhance existing products and bring new ones to market based on untapped latent needs, enabling brokers to be more competitive and increase their revenue. For example, over 150 brokers have signed up for the Keychoice RAC fully integrated breakdown recovery scheme, with some experiencing a resultant increase in sales of 25%.

Combining this data and insight capability with all of SSP's other technology assets and its continuing investment in the business further drives the best outcomes for both insurers and brokers.

Keychoice is helping brokers to continue surfing the hardening market cycle and remain in a strong position. As a result, they are able to offer a combination of price proximity with good advice and service. With the storm continuing to build in the market, this provides welcome relief for today's discerning customers, who are seeking a safe haven from the deluge of price increases, jargon and legislative changes to ensure their valuable assets are adequately protected.

Liz Mitchell, General Manager, Keychoice & Adrian Coupland, Managing Director, Distribution and Data, SSP


Liz Mitchell joined Keychoice in July 2015, bringing with her over 20 years’ experience in underwriting and distribution. Having worked for organisations including BGL Group, Aviva, JLT and R K Harrison, she has significant experience in intermediated distribution, and a broad, holistic understanding of the insurance market.

As this experience is combined with extensive expertise in data development and utilisation, Liz is well positioned to support Keychoice’s growth plans through the delivery of innovation and change for both Keychoice’s broker members and insurer partners.

Adrian Coupland joined SSP in 2005 and has over 20 years’ experience in the market across broking, distribution, business development and technology.

After 15 years in the broking industry, ten of which were with A-Plan, Adrian has spent the last 11 years at SSP. As Managing Director, Distribution and Data, he is part of the executive team, and his expertise in data and innovation ensure SSP's customers are at the leading edge of advancements in the insurance industry.


Adrian has been instrumental in developing SSP's real-time pricing and telematics strategies and shaping its data strategy across all territories.

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