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KPMG chats with Top Broker about its world view

Gary Reader talks about culture, personal lines and all that data



Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, there’s a need to meet in the insurance biz. And the leadership team for KPMG descended on Toronto recently to figure out its priorities. “Make sure we’re focusing on the right accounts… and our friends at those offerings are addressing the biggest issues that the industry is facing,” Gary Reader explained to Top Broker. Being KPMG’s global head of insurance, he would know.

But spring fever feels more like a March hangover for the industry, given all the disruptions. Reader notes that in the UK, auto insurance “has been totally disrupted by the aggregators, it’s all about price, it’s all online. Whereas you look in South Africa, aggregators were never able to gain a foothold…” That’s because “the big insurers refused to play with them. Because the aggregators depend obviously on you sharing your data with them.” Reader says there’s a real dilemma of “how do you build customer loyalty and customer satisfaction around a product where the only thing differentiated in many people’s minds is the price that you pay for it?”

But there are cultural lenses to look through as well on these problems. When it comes to personal lines in the UK, in fact, says Reader, the “broker is gone” and “people are starting to eat away in the commercial space as well,” mainly small to medium sized companies. But “go to Asia, no one is going to get rid of the advisor and the face-to-face sale, because culturally that’s how people buy insurance.”

Reader says brokers interest him “enormously, and I’m not just saying that because we’re talking to a broker magazine. Because you can see on the face of it, what’s the long-term business model for a broker in a world where it’s about driving out cost and efficiency and everything’s available online?”

His personal view is that the future for brokers may come down to the data. “They’ve got all this information, or have access to so much information that comes through their organization. How they take that information and use it to position it as doing best by the individual that’s trying to find the cover… I think there is a role there.”

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Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the April 2016 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

Transcontinental Media G.P.