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July 2021 | General Insurance

Echoes of football and fax machines

James O’Hara is commercial director of Ceta Insurance

Football fever has taken over the last few weeks thanks to the European Championships. Now you may well be wondering why I am talking about football in a column for mortgage brokers, well it is all about perception.Football is a global sport, and in many areas, it’s also one of the most technologically advanced. So, when Real Madrid failed to sign Spain and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea because the paperwork wasn’t submitted in time due to a tech failure, it made headlines.

De Gea was literally moments away from moving to Real Madrid, but it all fell through because a fax machine failed to get the forms through before the transfer deadline.

The perception of football is that it is at the cutting edge, yet it is still depending on ‘80s technology. The reverse is true of the general insurance (GI) industry – it’s more advanced than you may think.

The perception is that getting cover for clients requires dealing over several days with a person in a dusty room with a fax machine and several ring binders with paper quotes in them – and that you can multiply that process if it’s a non-standard application.

While this may have been the case in the past, it’s not the reality now.

Non-standard access

Some mortgage brokers I speak to remain sceptical, assuming that even if they are able to find their client non-standard cover, the admin associated with it will be so time consuming that it will either be a loss leader, or the premiums will be so high that their client won’t want to go ahead.

Yet, for those brokers who are prepared to venture into the world of non-standard insurance, there is a huge opportunity to be had.

Firstly, almost a third of all properties in the UK are classed as non-standard – that’s nine million homes, and a pretty sizeable market. Secondly, accessing non-standard cover has never been easier for advisers.

Thanks to the latest digital platforms and non-standard insurance portals, you can now compare non-standard general insurance for your clients, and it won’t involve fax machines, phone calls and three day waiting periods for quotes.

You can access leading specialist insurers, manage non-standard risks, and retrieve a quote in less than two minutes. You don’t need multiple logins on multiple platforms with multiple agencies, either. It can all be done digitally in one place, accessing dozens of products. You can then monitor everything on a live dashboard.

Non-standard portals like ours are adding new products and new insurers all the time to increase digital comprehensiveness.

So, my advice to mortgage brokers is not to assume general insurance is a time vacuum that will suck your attention into its antiquated processes.

Unlike the Premier League, you don’t need to rely on a fax machine.