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Technology: a means, not an end Technology is changing the industry, but Mr Burke believes adherence to the basics will ensure insurance broking survives and thrives. Technology, he says, is a tool that should enhance brokers’ value to the client. “A broker should be a client advocate, with deep-seated technical skills and great transactional skills. Technology will play a part in facilitating the communication of the risk and the solution, but it will not replace broking. “If you can truly add value, you can bring to your client knowledge about his segment, benchmarking, and other essential data. “Technology plays a part in gathering that, but I don’t think we’re any time soon going to be disintermediated.” He says fintech and disruptor plays may gain traction in the distribution of single products “such as sports equipment or things of that nature”, and personal lines products “may also go down that route”. “There’s a whole generation of people who have lost the ability to talk and who do everything on their iPhones,” Mr Burke says. “I’m sure they’re going to buy their insurance products on the iPhone. “But how do they get that problem solved? Claims, for example, often sits in a grey area. I want to talk to somebody if I’ve got an insurance problem. “My whole career’s always been threatened with disintermediation, you know, and we brokers just keep going. Insurance brokers are remarkable animals. You can’t kill us [because] we know how to reinvent ourselves. “But if you stop adding value and just become a distribution channel, you’re gone.”

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“I think we might surprise a few people with the rate of growth we may now generate in the coming months and years.” double that number. And we have not paid a single dime to a headhunter or a recruitment firm.” Mr Burke makes no secret of his delight in the fact that US brokers who joined JLT North America two years ago, when the expansion program took off, are now completing their contractual obligations to former employers and becoming free to contact former colleagues and clients. “We’re going to be very busy,” Mr Burke says. “You would expect to see an uptake in terms of people we will now be able to talk to and, of course, their clients.” He says JLT’s approach is “resonating with the clients” as well as brokers, and insurers are increasingly jumping on the bandwagon. “I can’t tell you how rewarding it is for me and my colleagues all around the world to see the level of support we’re getting from the major carriers. We’re not beating a path to their door asking for more and providing less. “Major corporations around the world need advice. They need to understand the emerging risks that are happening. And they need to have the expertise and the capability JLT is offering. “We are some 11,500 people now. We’re in 42 countries. We transact just over $US16.5 billion of gross written premium. insuranceNEWS

October/November 2016

For the seventh successive year we have had the best organic revenue growth in our risk and insurance business, and I would be very confident we’ll continue in that vein. “And I think we might surprise a few people with the rate of growth we may now generate in the coming months and years.” He says JLT’s Australian operation is “an extraordinary example” of organic growth. “If I go back five years, we were in the corporate space here but had few top-end clients. Today we could be entitled to claim to have the largest book of such clients. And we are very happily trading at a very successful and targeted margin.” “Getting in front of the client” is a mantra Mr Burke returns to several times in the course of this conversation – and he emphasises that this is as important for a small brokerage as for a company the size of JLT. When Insurance News met him on the third day of his most recent Australian trip, he had already visited three of JLT Australia’s largest clients. “I’ve been to see them to thank them for their business, and we spent our time talking about emerging risk and how much more we can provide them. Wherever you sit in JLT, your obligation is to get in front of the client. “The propositions we put to our clients today can well have come from people

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

OCT/NOV 2016 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

As interest rates plummet and investment earnings do much the same thing, Insurance News (the magazine) has taken a long look at the situati...

OCT/NOV 2016 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

As interest rates plummet and investment earnings do much the same thing, Insurance News (the magazine) has taken a long look at the situati...