HARD MARKET SERIES: Tips for growth in the hard market

It’s a challenging time to be an insurance broker.

As a business that specialises in complex placement, we hear the challenges first-hand and are working with broker partners to provide solutions for businesses with specialist insurance requirements. Although we are all seeing capacity reducing and premiums increasing, remarkably we have also seen certain accounts growing.

As mentioned in our previous blog How is the London Market reacting’ there is opportunity for broker partners to add value to their clients and grow their book throughout the hard market.


Tips for growth in the hard market

Below we summarise 7 observations we have seen from our broker partners who have continued to grow throughout the hard market.

  1. Excellent relationships with Lloyd’s

A number of retail brokers have been selling on price for many years with regional insurer support. The brokers we have seen growing have worked extensively on their relationship with their chosen London Market broker. Try to establish or build on your relationship with your London Market broker. Build trust, be transparent, and consolidate with your broker of choice to ensure you show your weight as a client in the hard market.

  1. Educate your clients on the market and challenge

We recommend that retail brokers talk to their clients about the market well before renewal.

Broker partners will be in a much better position if all of these (link to blog 1) points don’t arise after the large premium increase. Letting your client know about the challenges will give warning to a potential increase in premium and help client’s trust in the process. They will understand the situation and you are more likely to retain your client and therefore continue to grow in the hard market. If you don’t mention this to a client, someone else will.

Read our analysis on the relationship between Covid and the hard market here to ensure you can speak confidently to your clients about the effects.

At Miles Smith, we are assisting this process where possible by increasing tripartite meetings, and with certain risks we are engaging more than usual outside of the normal renewal cycle. Speak to the Miles Smith team to see if this is an option or requirement for your risk.

  1. A good lead in time

Due to the large number of enquiries and the complexity of risks we are seeing, it is more challenging to turn risks around in the same way when they fall outside facilities and binder capacities.

For example, a lot of property business is now layered or split subscription. There is a large amount of work involved with cases that in the previous year may have been one insurer, are now with ten. There is therefore a significant commitment and time required from both parties to take the enquiry to Market.

Brokers who are growing are accounting for this within the lead in time. We therefore recommend a 4 – 6 week leading time if possible to give you as much chance as possible of securing placement and a competitive premium.

Although a quote can only be issued 28 days before, the engagement process starts well before that time period. London Market brokers can and will be able to occasionally ‘pull the rabbit out of the hat’, but this is not a sustainable strategy for all parties and could damage trust. We recommend to plan ahead of time, analyse the market and work out if you think a composite will or will not insure the risk.

  1. A closer understanding of the client’s business and needs

Growing brokers have a deep understanding of their client’s business.

Underwriters want to have a greater understanding of the risks, the exposures their business has, and the risk management that is in place.

Brokers that are growing are meeting the clients, going to their premises, and understanding these exposures.

  1. Risk management

Work with your clients on their risk management. In a soft market, these details may hold less importance, however, to have the greatest chance at getting risks insured and growing your business in a hard market, risk management should be addressed with the client and systems in place.

  • Risk management is key with the client.
  • What are the most critical risks to the business?
  • Have professional risk assessments been completed on all the exposures?
  • Have you addressed with the client how they are going to plan to mitigate a loss or avoid a loss?

Risk transfer is really coming what it always should have been and not a pound swapping exercise.

Simple numeric information of a business without providing risk management information will not only hold you back, but waste time, resulting in increased chances of receiving no-quotes or overpriced quotes.

We have seen our strongest growing broker partners putting in the time to find out risk management information well before renewal, saving broker partner’s time and money in the long term.

  1. A good presentation

A good presentation of risks, regardless of whether the risk runs well, is fundamental.

Brokers who have continued to grow have outstanding presentations.

Why is it so important? A good presentation allows a Lloyd’s broker to approach the Market more precisely; if the presentation is not thorough, you may run the risk of your business not being taken into Lloyd’s due the selectivity of underwriters.

We recommend full exposure details to be included on the presentation with an indication of the business-critical elements of cover.

  • What parts of the cover does the client actually need?
  • What is their attitude on deductibles and excesses?
  • If the price isn’t right, how do we make this palatable for the client?

Providing your London Market broker with the client’s minimum requirements helps them to negotiate on you and your client’s behalf and will bring back better and more accurate results, helping you work quicker and continue to grow.

  1. A clear run at the Market with one London Market broker

We recommend in a hard market to set up distribution with certain brokers and would recommend not getting two London Market brokers involved on risks. This was explained in more depth in our previous blog How is the London Market reacting’ and should be considered as a business-wide strategy.

We understand the conditions are tough and the combination of the hard market and Covid are particularly challenging. Well-prepared brokers that have implemented the above points are reaping the rewards of the opportunities ahead.

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If you would like to discuss your London Market placement strategy with Miles Smith, click here.


Talk to Our Team

020 7977 4800



Talk to Our Team

020 7977 4800


Author: Barry Gilligan, Broker Relationship Director

Barry Gilligan, Broker Relationship Director
Barry has worked at Miles Smith for 20 years within Broker Relations and has helped develop the distribution strategy for many of the large network arrangements. His experience working closely with many supporting brokers and the London Market allows Barry to provide unique insight into topics such as effective placement strategies for retail brokers and London Market trend updates.


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