We sat down with Placing Broker, Matt Dowling, to learn more about his role in Motor Fleet and the current market trends.
Meet Matt Dowling
Matt has been at Miles Smith for 11 years but he wasn’t always a Placing Broker. After leaving school, Matt floated between jobs but finally found his feet at Miles Smith when he was 20 years old. He joined the company and began by logging new clients into the system and worked his way up from there. His role has always centered around Motor which goes hand in hand for his love of cars!
As a Placing Broker, Matt reviews all new enquiries to see if they are fit for market. If the market is unable to cater for a specific enquiry, Matt will ask for further relevant information from the broker to find suitable placement solutions and begin to explore options within the London Market.
Matt shares his observations on the current trends in the Motor Fleet industry and the affects of inflation
The London fleet market has changed substantially over the last decade. Originally driven by Lloyd’s syndicates, the sector is now dominated by Managing General Agents (MGAs) who make up a large proportion of the underwriters we trade with. However, we also have a few company markets and historical Lloyd’s syndicates who value the wholesale distribution model and enjoy trading with specialist brokers with strong expertise in this sector.
The fleet market over the last 12 months has seen a push for a rate increase with the main driver being claims inflation. The cost of fuel, supply of vehicles, labour costs and shipping parts have increased due to a number of issues such as Brexit, Covid-19 and the conflict in Ukraine.
Our strength is our panel of underwriters and our relationships. Their ability to respond quickly, tailor contracts to meet clients’ specific needs, address cover concerns, meet larger customers at short notice and discuss claims protocol and processes, are where we add real value. We love complex risks, non-conventional placements and high-risk industries.
Rates seem to be moving forward quicker now, more than Matt has ever experienced because of claims inflation. All our markets have reacted to it but we continue to explore placement options with renewal and new business ensuring we find placement solutions that are competitively priced as well as ensuring the exposures presented to the customer are addressed. Such examples would be the inclusion of our convicted drivers clause, increasing the third party property damage limits or providing the inclusion of the third party working risk.
Our market access, highly resourced Fleet team, along with our knowledge, expertise and strong reputation in the market for professionalism positions us in the market as a ‘centre of excellence’ within Motor Fleet. This in turn gives us the ability to find the most cost-effective solutions with great cover, even when the market begins to harden.
What is the most frequently placed cover and why?
Waste and recycling is one of the most common type of occupations we place at Miles Smith. A typical risk would be a fleet of lorries who remove waste such as skip hire. Some insurers do not like the risk of waste lorries carrying hazardous goods and unknown materials and although there is competition in this area, the level of cover is often inferior and insurers’ inability to deal with complex claims is common. This is where our expertise is of real value. One of our USPs is our constant review of policy wording and looking at how we can enhance policies to provide wider cover to protect our clients. Our policy wording is unmatched in the market.
Hazardous goods is also a common risk we actively place due to its complex nature. For example, tankers carrying petrol is a huge risk that faces extensive regulation. Miles Smith can find a solution as it sits outside the scope of those household companies offering traditional covers. We’ve built a scheme wording around it which makes this solution more sought after from us too.
Key considerations for brokers and their clients when sourcing Motor Fleet cover
Companies looking for cover for their fleet should really concentrate on the policy wording, particularly with the waste and the hazchem sectors. In such high-risk industries, many companies would not be able to afford to go wrong with the wording.
Clients also want to know how good the claims service is, for the same reason – things are costly when they go wrong and can have a negative impact on the clients’ own reputation. A helpful and responsive claims team is paramount in ensuring any issues are dealt with efficiently.
So it’s not always about the cheapest cover!
A recent example of the Miles Smith team demonstrating 'Difficult. Done Well.'
Waste and hazardous goods carry some interesting cases. There was a recent case where a company had a change of directors and a poor credit rating which meant their agent failed to obtain any quotes. With interest rates so high as well, we managed to obtain terms with enhanced cover, on interest free instalments within 48 hours. Read the full case study here.
Finally, Matt tells us what he most enjoys about his role at Miles Smith
Quite simply, it’s the people. Matt has the opportunity to work with many people at Miles Smith as well as the underwriters and brokers who place our business. Building relationships and staying in touch with his key contacts makes for smoother business going forward. Plus, they’re more likely to answer the phone to get work done quickly!