P&C companies weathered the recession better than most financial services companies largely by pricing to the bone to retain customers. Agents, brokers, and other intermediaries have performed in line with their markets, though with the solace that comes from providing advice and risk placement/management services rather than assuming risk.

With little to negative underwriting income and investment income stagnant, carriers need to intensify focus on expense ratios while continuing to emphasize disciplined underwriting. On the revenue side of the equation, the returns will likely come from investments in retention - becoming easier to do business with and developing and rewarding the right channel partners. Additional growth ought to come from targeted, niche-based acquisitions that can be easily integrated with existing operations.

Brokers and agents are expecting this to be the year a hard market emerges.  But as they say, hope is not a strategy.  Brokers must focus on providing value to their customers - building niche expertise that enables tailored services, the right insurance program advice, and preferential market access and pricing. Brokers and larger independent agencies should seek to continue to pursue attractive acquisitions and address a graying producer workforce.

Our mission at Bridge is to see to it that our clients prosper under whatever economic conditions exist and outperform their competitors and the industry as a whole. Our insurance practice is focused in three areas:

  • Distribution Channel Optimization — Architecting distribution strategies and constructing and managing distribution networks to maximize production
  • Cost Management — Managing costs to the lowest level consistent with service and quality objectives, especially when it comes to claims management
  • Technology Strategy & Planning — Using IT to maximum business advantage, setting priorities and investment levels, and optimizing performance

Agency Management Best Practices

As a very unpredictable year draws to a close, and carriers look ahead to an uncertain 2010, the time is ripe for a review of core agency management practices to ensure they position both carriers and agents to capitalize on the new opportunities that will inevitably arise as we emerge from the current recession. More | PDF

TAGS: Sales Force Effectiveness, Insurance Distribution Channel Optimization

Confronting Insurance Distribution Challenges and Opportunities

Case studies on how two insurance companies facing superficially similar situations, can and should reach very different conclusions regarding what constitutes the right distribution strategy. More | PDF

TAGS: Channel Management, Insurance Distribution Channel Optimization

Achieving Dramatic Reductions in Operational Risk

Improving Quality through Service Process Redesign This client, a leading commercial P&C insurance broker, was known in the investment community for its ability to produce year after year of solid, if not quite spectacular, growth in revenue and profits. More | PDF

TAGS: Operations Architecture, Insurance Cost Management

Putting the Brakes on Customer Defections

Our client was a commercial lines carrier with a long history in the industry and a reputation for finding a way of underwriting some of the very toughest commercial risks... After several years of booming revenue and profits, customers had begun deserting the company in droves. More

TAGS: Solutions Creation, Channel Management, Operations Architecture, Insurance Distribution Channel Optimization

Putting the Brakes on Customer Defections

Ernst Csiszar on Future of Insurance Market

Industry veteran Ernst Csiszar, a University of South Carolina faculty member and recently named insurance industry director for Bridge Strategy Group, talks about why he does not believe the insurance market will harden in 2009. More

TAGS: Insurance

Customer Relationship Management Comes of Age

As the applications and technologies used to organize and analyze customer information mature, IT executives, analysts and vendors are tackling some tough issues - how to take customer knowledge and make it actionable; how to measure return on investment tangibly from new and existing customer relationship initiatives; and how to leverage existing IT infrastructure and investments with new customer-facing applications. More

TAGS: Customer (Market) Insights, Growth Strategies (Profitable Growth), Sales Force Effectiveness, Operations Architecture, Insurance Cost Management, Insurance Information Technology Strategy & Planning

Navigating Distribution Channels

The route from carrier to consumer often is a varied, indirect course that is full of alternatives. And the person charged with navigating the route — the producer — often is regarded as the most important player in insurance. More

TAGS: Channel Management, Insurance Distribution Channel Optimization

Optimizing Multi-Channel

Sales force automation and enterprise incentive compensation systems not only help make insurers' sales efforts more productive, they also improve customer service, customer retention and compliance. More

TAGS: Channel Management, Sales Force Effectiveness, Insurance Distribution Channel Optimization