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Best and worst show up in tough market: McAvenna

The present insurance market involves the “best and worst of times” for brokers, insurers and customers, delegates at the A&I Member Services (AIMS) Convention in Auckland were told yesterday.

AIMS GM Martin McAvenna told the 450 delegates attending the annual event, which brings together members of the Austbrokers and IBNA broking networks, that the 13 months to January this year saw more large-scale high-impact losses in the region than at any time in the past 10 years.

He says despite a disjointed economy, disconnected politics, disruptive technologies and more than $5 billion of losses for insurers to pay for, “there has rarely been a better time for brokers to demonstrate their value proposition”.

Mr McAvenna says insurers’ efforts to return to profitability “mean relationships with the broker networks can be vulnerable, as all internally focused insurers know”.

“Let’s face it: insurance didn’t and doesn’t get everything right, [and] there can be a public perception that the insurance business and its representative bodies are simultaneously defensive and self-congratulatory,” he said.

Brokers riding the peaks and troughs of the premium cycle face increased competition from online direct insurance sellers. But Mr McAvenna says insurance sold as easy and cheap isn’t necessarily either.

“In a world where so much is commoditised, our business deals in complex products where you get what you pay for,” he said.

“We need to be wary of the insurance marketplace being captured by the cynic who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Calling for leadsrship and demonstration of the values that fulfil the needs of brokers’ clients, Mr McAvenna says the personal relationship model followed by Austbrokers and IBNA members “is ideal for that purpose”.

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