Etrading Q&A with Barry O'Neill

Posted on: 21 August 2018

Barry O'Neill discusses Home & Legacy's performance in this year's Insurance Times Etrading survey.

Home & Legacy were placed 3rd out of 14 insurers. What did you make of the rating given by brokers?

We are absolutely delighted. This is the first time we have had an e-trading solution available to be rated, so to go straight in at number 3 is really pleasing.

It fits in with the positive things brokers have been telling us about Home & Legacy Online. To see the anecdotal feedback validated by a structured, formal survey and to come in 3rd is great.

Many brokers were concerned with the speed of the referral process and all the pain points that can occur from waiting for a referral to be cleared. What has been happening at Home & Legacy in the last year that has been speeding up the referral process?

The reason we decided to develop our e-trading capabilities was always about improving efficiency. To allow brokers to get a quote from us more quickly, and for that quote to be accurate and precise.

The nature of high net worth business means you are not going to get a complete quote and buy solution; our customers' needs are usually too complex for that. So what we try and do is give the brokers more time by removing much of the administration that goes along with presenting risks to us. That way, the conversation we do have is around the risk itself and its complexities. Now that is not really a referral; that is a proper assessment of the risk.

On occasion, we may have a circumstance that will require further review with a more senior underwriter. We would like to do better, so we increased the size of the senior underwriting team.

At the front end, we have a new individual licensing process, so all of our account handlers get the underwriting license and authority they have earned at different stages. This allows us to bring more decision making to the front end.

In summary, it's about making it easier for brokers to communicate with us, replacing administration with high quality conversations, and boosting the capabilites of our people. So, we have been working on quite a lot!

An area that Home & Legacy performed very highly in was 'Price competitiveness', what efforts do you make in providing customers with that great pricing?

Pricing is a key function of our business model. We have a panel of insurers who all quote to our policy wordings. So, it's like an internal market of 4 or 5 insurers competing - which naturally drives competitive pricing.

We work closely with our insurers to improve pricing in a way that is still profitable for them as underwriters. It is a healthy balancing act, which I feel we do well. We are competitive but not cheap! There is a big difference between being cheap and being competitive.

Could you tell me about the process Home & Legacy takes when placing products on a software house system?

We don't distribute our products on a software house system as ours is an extranet model, however we do work with Acturis. We are an Acturis user as are many of our brokers. With Acturis we support the High Value Household question set, which means our products are all integrated onto the the Acturis system for brokers to access. We worked closely with Acturis to ensure the question set is effective and efficient.

Acturis does a great job. We helped them make HVH an effective system and I would encourage brokers to make the most of it, as it's a great system.

Brokers in the survey commented on various insurer question sets, with various comments stating questions can be too long, too short or even irrelevant. How do you find that right balance in asking the right questions to brokers?

The reason our system is successful is because we focus on asking only the questions we absolutely need to drive the price at the front end of the process. Other information can be completed later.

We went from a process which had 70 odd questions to now having 9 questions. If you say yes to some of them it will lead to other questions. But for a straightforward risk, you could get an accurate quote from us by answering 9 questions and I think that is pretty good!

The whole experience for the broker is efficient because they have got a price at an early point in the conversation.

Are there any developments in the next year brokers should know about?

We will continue to develop Home & Legacy Online in response to the needs of our brokers and to gain transactional efficiency. Our next big development will be to replicate the success that we've achieved on our household product, on our motor product. The work is already under way on this and we're looking forward to launching motor on Home & Legacy Online within the next year!