Independent brokers remain integral to the Bermuda re/insurance market

09-11-2021

Independent brokers remain integral to the Bermuda re/insurance market

Paul Scope, Ed Broking

Bermuda has welcomed a sustained influx of new insurance players. Paul Scope of Ed Broking looks at the independent brokers and their influence on Bermuda’s ongoing success.

For much of my career, spanning more than 40 years, I have been an independent broker—although I have also worked across the aisle for larger corporations. I have gained a detailed and granular perspective, and while other broking houses have their benefits, I believe the importance of strong and independent brokers on the Island cannot be overstated.

This certainly hasn’t been a quiet period in the history of our market, in part due to reenergised mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, which has led to boisterous results. Whether completed, ongoing or called off, the vacuum created by large-player M&A is one in which ambitious, creative and modern brokers can build a credible, attractive and much- needed challenge. This can only be a positive development in the Bermuda market.

Some of the well-known brokers on the Island can seem like “satellites”, their orders and decisions coming from the distant shores of London and New York. This can hinder the agility and ingenuity needed to address difficult risks and shifting client profiles, while capitalising on current market conditions and challenges.

On the other hand, one clear and important aspect of independent broking houses is how deeply rooted many of them are in Bermuda. Purely independent brokers, with a solid base and the authority to make on-the-ground decisions are a valuable commodity for clients and broking talent alike; they are also essential to the further development of the Bermudian market.

“Our industry is a people business, and this has never been truer for the boutique independents.” Paul Scope, Ed Broking

Having the autonomy to voice an opinion, place the business and see it through leads to the development of a more knowledgeable and well-rounded broker, one who is experienced in unwrapping an insurance package, assessing the needs of the client and adding value at every possible juncture.

In a huge corporation, with layers of seniority and red tape, it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate priority: our clients. However, independent brokers are not only better equipped but actively encouraged to position themselves close to their customers.

Pre-packaged and one-size-fits-all solutions can only scratch the surface. They will never address all the risks or foster the innovative thinking required to be a valuable broking partner. To embrace the creativity needed to develop bespoke solutions, brokers must have the unencumbered licence to communicate with clients at all stages. Our industry is a people business, and this has never been truer for the boutique independents.

Growing the talent

Independent broking houses serve as a nursery for the brokers of the future. The environment, particularly in startups, is one of excitement, pride and “all hands on deck”. It calls for an entrepreneurial spirit and is certainly an atmosphere most suited to my personality. Each win and client success is that much more exciting. It’s not a routine or a servicing pipeline: team members play an integral, up close and personal role.

Young, local and exciting talent is in abundance on Bermuda, built up over the last 30 years. Unlike in other hubs, insurance is well known here, and I would go so far as to say that our sector might even be a career aspiration—not simply an “I fell into it” situation. Firms of similar size and status to Ed Broking, which are seeking to broaden their talent base and make long-term investment in Bermuda, should focus on looking closer to home when recruiting.

“Young, local and exciting talent is in abundance on Bermuda, built up over the last 30 years.”

We are building from entry level all the way to the top, and as an independent broker, we have the nimbleness to move quickly and embrace new ideas with the new workforce. The upcoming talent already has the aspirations, perspectives, and skills we need.

Digital solutions are an inevitability and the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic have propelled the need for data and technology forward at warp speed. Firms such as Ed Broking have already laid the groundwork, and we are ready to welcome those looking to build a modern insurance market through the design and implementation of digital solutions.

Bermuda is my home, and I will continue to advocate ongoing investment in all that it has to offer, and in what sets it apart from other regions: from ambitious home-grown talent to an inherent entrepreneurial environment.

Independent brokers are in line with the aspirations of the Bermuda market, and possess the skills, structure and culture to thrive—indeed I believe they are the lifeblood of Bermuda’s future.

Ed Broking, COVID-19, M&A, Insurance, Reinsurance, Paul Scope, Bermuda

Bermuda Re