Pulse Briefing: Innovation in these Challenging Times
At Pulse we recognise that the long-term situation is not really getting any clearer. But the one constant seems to be change. In order to respond to that we need to continue to innovate which is why being innovative is not just something we pay lip service to.
It isn't clear what will be permanent changes as a result of Coronavirus and what will, in the end, just be seen as short-term reactions to a crisis. At the moment it is hard to tell but it feels as though video meetings and reduced business travel are here to stay; some degree of home working and maybe less overseas travel for everyone will possibly also be long term trends. In the end, it is probably only the availability of an effective vaccine that will decide to what extent we can get back to something like the way things were.
What though for insurance brokers and MGAs?
Throughout this crisis, we have tried to balance the needs of our staff with the needs of our customers whilst recognising that the service we provide is even more important in difficult times than when cover is easy to find and solutions are plentiful. There has been a huge amount of pressure on everyone that we work with to know how to respond to the challenges of adapting to remote working as well as having to cope with difficult and complex insurance issues around business interruption, covid exclusions on travel and the difficulties in obtaining life cover for older clients so I would like to thank you for all your continuing support for Pulse and STB.
I know there are times when dealing with the new technology has been frustrating but hopefully you have been able to email us and speak to us without too much difficulty. In fact, what we see from the numbers is that people definitely still want to do business with us… Last week, our life team recorded their most ever enquiries (phew!); new PA and Group travel enquiries are starting to come back in; we have renewed our binder with Lloyd's; we have launched a new cyber cover; leisure travel enquiries keep coming despite everything; and against a backdrop of widespread cancellations of binding authorities, we have managed to secure a new Sports & Leisure binder; which is great news.
At the same time, like everyone else, our staff have had to deal with the frustrations of home schooling, new technology and overloaded broadband.
The uncertainty of the current situation is, of course, hard to deal with: as a business we are used to being flexible and responsive but we do need to be ready for longer term changes. It may mean greater regulatory scrutiny. We need to be ready for this. That is why we are encouraging training so that all of our staff can stay on top of changes. It is also why we are trying to do more to communicate effectively with our clients and explaining to them why we are different – each time you share posts on LinkedIn or social media then you are helping get the word out about what we can do and how we can help. So, thank you for your efforts. We have posted more than 20 news items since the start of the pandemic on everything from unoccupied property to cruise insurance to group life as well as a video interview! All of these articles help pass the message that we are here to help and that we are able to genuinely look at each case on its own merits.
The other big change that is just around the corner is Brexit. We had hoped for some sort of regulatory agreement but that hasn’t happened. So, we are in the process of establishing a French subsidiary in order that we can continue to intermediate business in Europe after 31.12 this year, when the transition arrangements end. This is a complicated issue but it isn’t going away. We want to be able to continue to offer solutions in Europe to our clients and therefore we need to be regulated in the EU as well as the UK. We will keep you posted but the intention is for the subsidiary to be in place by the end of September.
There is a lot going on! Thank you all for your support.
We partnered with QOMPLX to launch a unique Cyber and Terrorism product WonderCover as well as launching a new term life facility, our Underwriter Sue Clark sat down with Torquil McLusky to discuss the new facility.
We were also delighted that following a successful probation period Russell Histed joined our Specialty team full time. It is a difficult time for any new employee but Russell has settled in brilliantly.
A quick word about technology and working from home: we have been delighted with the way our systems have worked since lock-down. We have stayed in touch using Microsoft Teams, we have accessed our files on the cloud, and our phones have continued to work using VOIP so we have been very happy with the technology. But, nonetheless, we believe that something is lost if we don’t actually meet face to face to discuss risks and ways of handling complex scenarios. That is why we plan to start moving back to the office at the beginning of September. We will obviously react to any changes in government guidelines but at the moment we see a partial return to the office as an important step. We would expect that video conferences will remain the norm for some time but if you would like to arrange a face to face meeting please do let us know.
Pulse are committed to continuing to service our European customers and to that end we are setting up a French office to enable us to continue transacting European business after the 1st October. We had hoped for some sort of regulatory agreement but that hasn’t happened. So, we are in the process of establishing a French subsidiary in order that we can continue to intermediate business in Europe after 31.12 this year, when the transition arrangements end. This is a complicated issue but it isn’t going away. We want to be able to continue to offer solutions in Europe to our clients and therefore we need to be regulated in the EU as well as the UK. We will keep you posted but the intention is for the subsidiary to be in place by the end of September.