“There’s lots of change still to come,” says newly promoted head
When Ryan Legge (pictured) was announced as the winner of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s ‘Young Broker of the Year’ award in 2019, the former BIBA chair Lord Hunt of Wirral remarked that the young professional was sure to have a “stellar career” in broking.
Certainly, the trajectory of Legge’s insurance career to date has proven the prescience of those words, charting his progression – from commercial account handler, to commercial account executive, to head of commercial at Hayes Parsons Insurance Brokers. And earlier this month, Legge welcomed in the New Year in style with the announcement that he has been appointed commercial director at the brokerage.
Taking the time to discuss his promotion and the key responsibilities it entails in conversation with Insurance Business, he noted that he is now part of the insurance firm’s new group board and is ultimately responsible for its commercial growth. It’s an exciting role to take on, he said, with opportunities to take responsibility for leading sales, strategy and the Hayes Parsons’ commercial team, while continuing to work with clients.
How the commercial insurance market is changing
Having started his insurance career at Hayes Parsons as an apprentice in 2012, Legge is keenly aware of how the insurance profession has changed over the last decade – and how the role of the insurance broker has evolved alongside that.
“And there’s lots of change still to come,” he said. “COVID-19 undoubtedly accelerated how we communicate with our clients both in frequency and ways of doing so. Clients now expect us to be far more flexible in how we support them with managing their risks, rather than just placement of cover.”
Looking across the commercial insurance market of today, he highlighted some of the key challenges that he’s seeing facing the sector in the early days of 2024. Continuing to bring young people into the industry is an ongoing struggle, he said, and while it is improving all the time, work in this area does need to continue.
“This is essential to ensuring the long-term credibility of our industry and having a fresh perspective on emerging challenges in society,” he said. “I also believe that the significant M&A activity and demand for quick results in broking particularly has meant we’ve not made enough progress on our longer-term challenges, including technology and ESG.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though, Legge said, and he is seeing a variety of opportunities springing up to mitigate the challenges facing the sector. Speed of service and remaining personable is increasingly valued by clients, and if embraced can allow brokers to get closer to them and provide greater advice. He noted that it is by doing so, that the broking profession can help mitigate evolving risks such as cyber, while also advising on new risks.
How brokers can support clients through tough market conditions
The plethora of external market conditions impacting businesses across the UK has come under increased scrutiny in recent years as the inflationary environment and the lingering threat of recession continue to put pressure on business owners. With clients facing such a complex risk landscape, Legge believes that there is an opportunity for great insurance brokers to shine. Examining what sets a great broker apart in today’s environment, he highlighted the importance of being “personable, efficient and dynamic”.
“These factors can create relationships with clients that are built upon trust, with advice and service being delivered to their needs,” he said. “The opportunity for our industry is to harness technology greater, to free up our workforce from admin tasks and focus more on delivering added value.”
Digging into what’s at the top of the agenda for the Hayes Parsons team this year, he emphasised that their focus is on continuing to evolve to meet the changing needs of clients. With this comes the ambition to build on the firm’s longstanding success and hard work, he said, and cement the unique proposition championed by Hayes Parsons as an independent and specialist broker committed to serving its client base.
With 2024 stretching ahead, Legge said he is feeling very positive about where the commercial insurance industry stands facing into the New Year.
“We have great people in our industry and are closer to our clients than many other professional services,” he said. “If we can continue making strides to bring younger people into the industry and effectively integrate technology then we’ll be in a good place for years to come.”
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