We're well into February now and those New Year's resolutions have, in many cases, already been forgotten. But while the enthusiasm of January may have dissipated and taken our vow to lose weight, quit smoking or take up a new hobby with it, there is one promise all good insurance brokers will continue to strive for on a daily basis - that being to grow their business.
Yet it seems many have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to one particular method to expand their bottom line.
"It's what we call leakage," explains Adam Morghem, strategy & marketing director at Premium Credit, "understanding where opportunities are being missed and what could be improved. It's fair to say that every business has the opportunity to improve efficiency, but it's about understanding which levers to pull and where the potential is to seriously impact that leakage.
"Premium finance is an opportunity for brokers to maximise their returns. Brokers have to recognise that not every customer is going to take it - everyone's circumstances differ and that's absolutely the way it should be. But until we're in a situation where we have certainty that it's offered 100% of the time, then we 're not maximising that opportunity."
The tradition, of course, has been for a large proportion of insurance customers to pay in full - and that has meant that many brokers simply haven't been asking the question and putting premium finance forward as an option to their clients. As Morghem states, the broker's priority is to sell insurance and get the client the right policy for their needs - but now it's time to understand that premium finance should be part of that package.
"There are significant opportunities here," he says. "Of course, it varies by individual broker with a GWP of £100,000, you might see 20-25% of your customer base taking out premium finance. Improving this penetration will directly impact the broker's commission."
An enticing opportunity, perhaps - but how does a broker get started? Morghem believes it's actually straightforward with a host of premium finance companies in the UK actively looking to recruit brokers.
"If you were to talk to a regulator, they'd stress the importance of offering the customer relevant options," he notes. "Customers are, by and large, used to paying cheque or credit card - but premium finance is another appealing option."
"Once you've spoken to a company like Premium Credit, you can get set up very quickly - often within a matter of weeks. We provide the systems, tools and training - then all you need to do is ensure you're offering it all the time."
Starter training involves a meeting with the Capability team, and an explanation on how the system works. Training is provided before the broker goes live so they can hit the ground running from day one - and continues long after too with Morghem explaining that his firm offers sales training that is CPD accredited and goes beyond simply explaining how to sell premium finance, but actually offers skills for the broker whether they are looking to sell finance, insurance, or even themselves.
"We start by understanding the broker, then by building a training plan," he says. "We want to give them an understanding of how premium finance can impact their business."
"And here's the key - this is a massive opportunity for the end customer as well because it gives them the chance to be more flexible. Simply, brokers not introducing premium finance and giving the customer access to all choices, is - leaving money on the table."
Premium finance is an opportunity for brokers to maximise their returns. Brokers have to recognise that not every customer is going to take it - everyone's circumstances differ and that's absolutely the way it should be. But until we're in a situation where we have certainty that it's offered 100% of the time, then we're not maximising that opportunity.