Industrial groups are unhappy with brokers – economy

Insurance buyers of large companies are currently grappling with unfavorable market conditions: after years of falling prices, insurers like Allianz, HDI or Zurich are significantly increasing their prices and wanting to impose more rigid conditions. Supporting specialist insurance brokers is therefore more important than ever for industrial customers. But they get relatively little help from the big brokerages, critic Alexander Mahnke, chairman of the board of the Association of Insurance Companies (GVNW) and head of insurance at Siemens. The GVNW is the lobbying organization for the German insurance industry. “Many insurers no longer understand their customers, and neither do brokers,” he told the SZ trade conference on the wholesale brokers dinner.

In addition to rising prices, companies are increasingly facing new risks such as the dangers of cyber and pandemic, for which traditional insurance solutions are no longer sufficient. “Customers expect more, especially from brokers in the current market phase,” said Kai Frank Büchter, head of Germany, Austria and Switzerland at leading broker Aon.

Instead of focusing on traditional insurance brokerage, brokers should become real risk advisers, he says. They need to help clients minimize their risk and show them alternatives to traditional policies. He referred to the use of internal insurers, the use of reinsurers and the exploitation of the capital market through securitizations such as catastrophe bonds.

Büchter also called for more progress in his industry in terms of digitization. A uniform interface that industrial customers can connect to for data exchange is urgently needed. “There is still no uniform grip,” said Büchter. “Each broker and insurer works with their own systems.” Customers have little understanding for this.

GVNW boss Mahnke sees it the same way. He complains that projects like the standardized client interface or broker development by consulting have been on the broker’s agenda for years. He is in fact a fan of brokers specializing in industrial insurance. “I’m already wondering, when will all of this happen?”

Brokers are apparently mostly egotistical at the moment. A great wave of buyouts is sweeping the industry. The two groups MRH Trowe and GGW Holding, with the support of private equity firms HG Capital and Ana Cap, are currently bringing together a number of smaller competitors. Established industry giants such as Ecclesia are also busy.

GGW boss Tobias Warweg said the company he started in 2020 just made its 18th acquisition. “At the end of the year, we’ll be twice the size of Howden in Germany,” he said. The heavyweight from Great Britain also wants to develop in the German market and aims for a turnover of more than 100 million euros for 2021.

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