Becoming an Appointed Representative – Could this be right for you?

Nik Gardner is a specialist General Insurance recruiter who worked within the Insurance market for 9 years before moving in to recruitment in 2004. Here he looks at the growth of the AR market and explores how it could be a fantastic opportunity for many insurance professionals.

 

Over recent years there has been a substantial rise in the number of Appointed Representatives (AR’s) working across the UK Insurance Market (currently over 20,000). It is an area that has caused a lot of debate amongst the Insurance fraternity culminating in the FCA issuing their own thematic review in July 2016 into general insurance companies (Principle Firms) using the AR model.  Mainly because AR’s are exempt from any direct regulation as they are acting under the ‘umbrella’ and supervision of a Principal Firm that is authorised and regulated. Without going into the details (which can be found here: https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/thematic-reviews/tr16-6-principals-and-their-appointed-representatives-general ), there were a number of shortcomings raised. The results found that over half of Principle firms that were using AR’s did not fully understand all the risks of the activities being undertaken by AR’s and were not fully compliant in monitoring and controlling such activities. This lead to a number of controlling actions taken by the FCA on a number of Principal Firms and a publication that was issued making sure these concerns should be actioned and addressed for those Principal Firms utilising the AR model. Basically, the Principal Firms needed to keep a closer eye on activities. Which when all is said and done, is the least we can expect in a regulated market designed to protect the consumer.

Who does it attract and why it could be right for you?

The Appointed Representative model generally suits those that are existing Brokers wishing to spend their time developing and building their client base rather than being swamped with various time and energy sapping responsibilities that are crucial, but do detract from growing their business. It suits Account Executives that have built up a strong and loyal client portfolio and now want to own this client base and have sole responsibility for them, whilst offering the best cover and price options. It also proves attractive for ambitious Development or Sales Executives that might not have a large client base, but have the drive, determination and belief to build such a portfolio and build their own business. The AR model can also suit those that are coming from an Insurer background with ambitions to service clients directly and become a broker.

If this is something that you are considering then let’s look at a number of reasons for you to become one. Not only can it be very profitable, but as an AR, you are in control and a good AR network should allow you full ownership of your client base and portfolio. This enables you as an AR to develop and build a very valuable asset. It  also allows you to be flexible in where you work, either homebased or office based and still have access to full IT systems. Thus allowing you to service your clients and have full broking support from a regulated back office. It allows you to have access to a wide range of markets to place your clients business. Also, a successful and reputable AR model will also offer an attractive commission split that will be weighed in your favour and allow you a reasonable exit clause without any harsh or detrimental penalties.

What next?

The AR model does provide so many advantages in today’s market and for those interested in pursuing this route it is crucial to ‘partner’ with the right Principal Firm (PF) that can allow success and growth for the AR and growth for the PF.  With so many Brokers and Insurer’s offering this model the choice can be overwhelming and at times baffling.

At Exchange Street we work alongside a number of companies that offer, in our opinion, the best set up and experience to offer every opportunity for the AR to be a great success. We ensure that we work with companies that provide a full back office support that assists in having in house account handlers, provision of P.I insurance, FCA compliance and regulatory support, training, marketing, IT support and importantly access to the right markets to place your business – which can cover all commercial and personal lines of business, including those risks that are of a large exposure or in niche areas. In some cases start-up finance is also provided. We work with Companies that can be trusted and have credibility alongside proven track records in supporting AR’s that are reflected in the success and growth in these areas. We are also able to provide case studies of our successful AR placements to aid in the decision making process.

By talking to us, we provide a detailed and independent viewpoint that will be based around your needs and ambitions. It goes without saying that these conversations will be discreet and confidential. After all, it’s a big decision to ‘go your own way’ and it takes time to decide to follow this route.  Our aim is to give you all the information and advice needed in order for you to make a considered and informed decision and we are there for you every step of the way.

 

For further information on how we may be able to help you please contact Nik in our Manchester office on 0161 667 0429 or email him at ng@www.exchange-street.co.uk