£8.1m GWP of business committed on the day at a Conference attended by 300 delegates

9 March 2020

On a day packed with information, inspiration and opportunity, compere and co-founder of Arcadia Consultancy, Andy Wolfe started the Compass Conference agenda by getting delegates on their feet, with an exercise designed to remind us all that we need to give ourselves the space to change.

With ‘Continuity Through Change’ being the theme of the event, speakers touched upon how we, as an industry, need to adapt to make the most of technology in order to enhance customer experience, and to work harder on instilling positives culture at the behest of the FCA. Members were simultaneously urged to maintain the sense of community which gave strength to the network.



The power of community

Group CEO Des O’Connor told delegates, “the power of the community in this room is a big deal, let’s not lose that.” He illustrated just how big a deal, with an overview of the UK broking landscape which showed broker segmentation by enterprise value, explaining, “you are controlling a very profitable throughput compared to the top of the pyramid,” an area which represented businesses generating £100m +.

MD of Networks and Products, Jaime Swindle was confident that the stronghold in the £0-£5m region of this pyramid, along with the power of community, meant that we’re “in a really unique position to make our competitors worried.”

This point of durability was reiterated from an insurer perspective, with Simon McGinn of Allianz telling the audience, “you add a huge amount of value to your customers.”



The customer-centric strategy

Putting the customer first was the key message from both insurer speakers, as AXA’s Callum Taylor and rradar CEO Gary Gallen spoke about their drive to push boundaries on policy cover, and their overall desire to be able to help customers to the best of their ability.

“As an industry we still focus on price. Do we really focus on product differential? That to me is putting the customer first.” Callum said. 

Simon McGinn agreed on the point of differentiating beyond price, saying “We need to try and ensure we have a better and more joined-up view of our customer.”

“We think we’re customer-led and we are, but we need to do better.”


Change and opportunity

Current market conditions were a hot topic of conversation throughout many of the speeches, with Scott Bennett positioning this as an opportunity for members.

“You’re going to have a difficult conversation with your clients, but you’re a broker, that’s your job,” he said.

But it was a positive outlook from Compass’ Networks Sales Director who told members, “you’re going to thrive in this market.”

Compass London Market’s Sales Director, Ewen Brown, reminded delegates that he and his team were there to offer support in getting the most out of CLM in the current market, while acknowledging the pressures they faced.

“We are your broking representation in London. Let’s work collaboratively,” he urged.  

“We’re in a situation where the market is changing. More business is coming into Lloyd’s and we will be busier. How you engage with us is key. Think about the information you provide and what you expect us to do.” 

While the soft and hard market moves in cycles, technology and all its advantages is only moving in one direction – forwards.

Simon McGinn described the rich opportunity to be had from data as the “new oil”, but added, “no one knows how to use it.”

He talked about how the use of customer data needed to be a fair exchange to enable value for the customer, rather than the transaction. Considering the current market, digital avenues and global health and political issues, Simon McGinn suggested, “The sort of challenges we need to take on involve bold decisions.”



Supporting a healthy culture

‘Continuity Through Change’ was just as much about looking inward towards individual businesses as it was taking a wider industry perspective. Group Risk Policy & Governance Manager, Becky Carter, outlined the FCA’s mission to ensure that poor culture didn’t move from one business to the next.

She presented five conduct questions to emerge from the FCA’s Market Study, which encouraged business leaders to take a close look at how their culture as a business may impact the customer.

“FCA firms with the poorest culture represent the greatest harm to customers,” she said, adding that it is the customers who are the “lifeblood of your business.”

Simon McGinn noted that the FCA’s focus on culture offered a wider approach to rooting out a myriad of indiscretions in one go. “In a dynamic and changing world, you can’t keep writing rules,” he said.




Putting it all in perspective

“High performance isn’t about winning. It’s about how you win and how you are as a group of people.”

This was the message from former England Captain, Sir Andrew Strauss, whose keynote speech led the audiences through challenges and victories, on and off the pitch.

Having led the England team to their historic win in Australia, he reflected on times when he felt he had no control over his performance, and how he switched his mindset to handle the highs and lows of professional sports at a national level.

“Consistent high performance is about adapting under pressure. Everyone has a good plan until they get punched in the face,” he said.

This echoed Mental Health In Business founder Claire Russell’s sentiments on nurturing resilience, telling the audience, “I believe it’s an innate quality we are all born with and we can develop in ourselves and in others.”

Claire talked about how showing courage as a leader meant allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to ask for help when needed, and to lean in when things get difficult. And in doing so we inspire others to do the same.

“We’re facing the biggest public health concern of our time,” she said, “There is an increasing pressure on businesses to adapt and put mental wellness at our core.”

“Having a resilient mindset means when we do encounter challenges, we can overcome them and even find value in them.” 




Setting the stage for a successful day of trading

Off stage, members and insurers alike were taking full advantage of having key contacts under one roof, with a phenomenal £8.1m GWP of business committed on the day through insurer deals.

“We’ve come for the networking to see the people we don’t see face to face,” Katie Freemantle of FSB Insurance Services said. “We’re a relatively new business but we’ve got the relationships in this room because of Compass.”

After a of day making deals in between the busy agenda, conference attendees were able to celebrate successes, and for some, awards, with live entertainment at the Gala Dinner to close what has been one of the most successful Compass Conferences to date.

Here’s what some of the members said about the event:



“Thank you for your hospitality at this year’s conference. As always it was an excellent event that was well run, had excellent speakers and great entertainment and all spent within the company of good friends.”

    –  John Slade, Stride


 “Thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of days, lots of positive ideas and things to implement now!”  

    –  Edward Curran, PB Curran


“Thank you once again for another great conference. We found the event good fun but also very productive. The format is great and very few events give us the opportunity to be in front of key decision makers from Insurers like the Compass Conference. Looking forward to next year already.”

    –  Paul Fosker, Quotax Insurance Services



If you’re looking for support in creating profitable insurer relationships through a Compass membership, get in touch with one of our dedicated BDMs.



Aaron Bunyan (South)
m: 07511 054 179
e: aaron_bunyan@compassuk.co.uk

Simon England (North)
m: 07595 281 700
e: simon_england@compassuk.co.uk


Abridged versions of the slides from the Conference can be found below.

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