Gauntlet Group, the Leeds-based appointed network principal and commercial broker – is delivering what has been described as the “near-future” of commercial insurance to its AR brokers now, via an AR network ‘first’. The go-ahead network principal is spearheading what it is terming the “renaissance of the local broker”, having developed an e-trade, online quote-and-buy platform, available to any appointed representative in Gauntlet’s network.
This major differentiator for the Gauntlet appointed representative network, will enable ARs, who are partnering with Gauntlet, to stand apart in their local markets and gain competitive advantage. The quote-and-buy platform, developed over many months and in conjunction with multi-award-winning software house and broker management system Acturis, will enable Gauntlet brokers to provide a slicker service to SMEs and personal lines customers.
Already equipped with the standard Acturis software – continually voted the insurance broker’s number one choice – Gauntlet ARs can now go even further with streamlining their business and maximising profitability. The platform’s development costs have been fully covered by Gauntlet, leaving appointed representatives to just pay a low monthly subscription fee for the service. Gauntlet’s pledge to its ARs is that, until they have built up their e-trade business and covered that fee, it will offer them the platform for free for the first three months.
Meanwhile, all Gauntlet ARs, regardless of whether they fully opt in to this facility or not, will have a sophisticated customer document portal on their websites. Their customers can log in, to access, view and download their documents.
“The tremendous growth in e-traded products and the insurers’ development of e-traded products during lockdown, has created a new commercial lines market,” says Gauntlet’s managing director, Roger Gaunt. “What we have done is equip every single Gauntlet appointed representative with the capability of staying abreast of the transforming market and capitalising on it.”
The covers available via the quote-and-buy facility named ‘Gauntlet Gateway’, are described as a Self-Serve 7. Every Gauntlet appointed representative can have a website button that leads prospective customers into a portal from which they can buy: Property Owners, Van Insurance, Shop and Salon cover, Office and Surgery policies, Self-employed insurance covers and both household and motor insurance quotes. All are seamlessly purchased and the AR broker can then just welcome the customer on board and check on any further needs.
These easier-to-buy covers are ones on which many appointed representatives might ordinarily not focus, because the investment in time in arranging them lacks sufficient reward. Effectively, by being able to sell these covers through Gauntlet Gateway, they can earn an additional income stream, for little or no extra work.
Customers with a more in-depth insurance need are directed to an enquiry form or telephone number, through which they can speak to a broker and arrange a meeting to discuss their risk. Here, the traditional commercial broking role remains unchanged.
“By bringing down the transactional costs associated with broking these more standard commercial and personal lines covers, we are enabling our appointed representatives to boost their earning potential and possibly their cross-selling opportunities too,” says Gaunt. “We are future-proofing them for whatever the changing market and pandemic throw at us next and providing them with a facility they could not afford to develop for themselves.”
With SME e-trade volumes exploding, more e-traded products are likely to become available in the market, as insurers respond to demand. The Acturis-supported Gauntlet system has the capacity to expand, to include more covers, as this process develops.