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May 2021

Brokers adapted well to COVID-19's forced digital transformation

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Apr 2021

Brokers in general did a great job in the transition to working from home and dealing with people digitally, said Brokerslink chairman Jose Manuel Fonseca.
Speaking at the Asia Brokers Summit 2021, he pointed out that even without a crisis plan in place, many brokers were prepared for the dramatic changes that occurred last year. “We had all been heavily investing in digital transformation, hardware and infrastructure. All of these investments and changes in culture enabled us to adapt our model of communication and working in a distant environment very fast and very efficiently.”
The year 2020 also saw many brokers taking the opportunity to speed up their transformation projects, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their productivity and client experience models. “On the business side, this created a huge opportunity to get even closer to our clients. We were able to be more present and timelier,” he said.
Birth of the big Asian broker
With the shake-up in how work was done last year, the M&A space also saw an acceleration, with Marsh and Aon embarking on several deals. “They liberated a lot of energy and talent within the market, associated with the internal disruption these deals created, and are still creating,” said Mr Fonseca. “The pure financial perspective of these deals was probably great to shareholders, but not good at all for customers, insurers and staff.”
He added that the dynamics of global broker networks have also changed, with big US domestic brokers leaving the ‘typical American comfort zone’ and becoming much more aggressive on international broker acquisitions.
“It’s time to see the birth of the big European or Asian broker. It is clear that the global market is becoming more connected and decentralised. For me, it is a trend that will speed up in the near future,” he said.
He also highlighted health insurance as having greater importance, with customers demanding much more from insurers and brokers beyond the transactional.
“They demand a partner that can help advise them in matters related to well-being, work environments, predictable behaviour models, telemedicine and many other services. Brokers need to be seen as a preferred partner of the human resources departments and customer teams,” he said.
The Asia Brokers Summit 2021 was organised by Asia Insurance Review and sponsored by Brokerslink, Vumi Global Services and Fenchurch Law. M 
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