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Bolt from the Blue: AIMS survey shows disruption in action

Disruption is starting to have a material impact on the shape of Australia’s general insurance industry, with the success of new entrant Blue Zebra the perfect example, according to the latest AIMS member survey of insurers.

After years of talk about insurtech and the impact it could have, the broking group says its survey shows for the first time that business is moving in response to new offerings and approaches.

Blue Zebra, launched last year, has stormed to the top of the survey’s charts in home and private motor, posting record scores in the process.

GM Glenn Schultz, who finished with AIMS on Friday prior to his move to Steadfast, told the situation was “getting interesting”.

“This is the first time that we have seen new and different offerings leading to brokers moving business,” he said.

“It’s not a massive wave, but it’s interesting. Traditional insurers are not going to just let business walk out the door and will have to identify improvements in their own organisations.”

In the report’s executive summary, AIMS says the next generation of insurers is emerging “with the ability to deliver tomorrow”, and highlights a shift towards insurers which provide increased value to clients going beyond price.

“One interesting trend that can be noted in this report is that some of the insurers who are responding to ‘tomorrow’ are scoring at a higher level than any of the traditional insurers have ever scored at,” the report says.

“Given our survey scores are a reflection of sentiment and performance, it recognises how positively our brokers and clients are responding to them and what influence they have in our ability to provide increased value to our clients.”

Mr Schultz says Blue Zebra “is probably the premier ‘tomorrow’ organisation” thanks to its use of data, ease of transaction, pinpoint offering and ability to adjust.

The report also makes clear that insurtech is not having the negative impact on brokers that some predicted.

“Insurtech was heralded as the great disruptor to insurance and in particular the broking sphere,” it says.

“In fact, insurtech has become a useful partner in providing increased value to our clients. Instead of being the enemy, those focused on tomorrow have enlisted insurtech as a collaborator.”

Mr Schultz tells brokers’ portfolios are still growing. “There is still value in what a broker does for a client,” he says.

The survey’s overall satisfaction chart (all products) sees Allianz out in front with a rating of 46 (down from 51 in the last survey), followed by Zurich (43, down from 50), CGU (42, down from 44), Vero (41, down from 49), and QBE (37, down from 39).

“Certainly, claims handling remains a major contributor to some of the negative sentiment,” the report says.

In business pack, Chubb maintains a strong lead (58) with 360 Underwriting (49) in second place. Hollard Commercial Insurance achieved a significant 13 point improvement (45) since rebranding from Calibre.

In home insurance Blue Zebra is a clear leader (70), followed by Chubb (56).

“Transition is definitely under way and the future of this line of business is more than interesting,” the report says.

“This is becoming hotly contested ground between the varying distribution channels. It also confirms a definite place for broker involvement.”

Blue Zebra is also way out in front on private motor (68), with Allianz (47) in second place.

In industrial special risks Chubb is the leader (58), followed by Zurich (45). Chubb is also out in front on liability (55), with QBE (48) in second.

GT Insurance now leads the way in commercial motor (60), with NTI next best (54), followed by Sura and Zurich (both 48).

Dual is ahead on management liability (58), with CGU (48) and Sura (47) posting significant improvements. Dual is also the leader in cyber (58), followed by Chubb (46).

This survey is the last to include the views of IBNA and AUB brokers, after IBNA agreed to quit AIMS and join Steadfast. The survey will continue but in future will reflect responses from just AUB Group brokers.