UMA model proves effective business partner for brokers
The Underwriting Management Agency (UMA) model has proven to be an extremely effective business partner for brokers in recent years, providing an opportunity for those who work within niche areas of insurance to provide clients with a superior product designed to meet their specific requirements.
This is according to Dean Delport, Executive: Underwriting & Claims at Compass Insurance, who says one of the key benefits for brokers is the fact that UMAs are experts in the field that they operate in, typically building products that are tailored specifically for an industry or niche sector. “These kinds of bespoke products are often not offered by general insurers, or if they are, tend to be so general in nature that they may not be best suited for the client.”
Delport says products that are specific to a client’s needs are crucial, since they more accurately reflect the required solutions. “UMA’s develop niche products to ensure they satisfy the client’s needs, which general insurers are either not prepared to risk, or do not have the required expertise to underwrite.”
“The expertise of the UMA is also coupled with high levels of service and a dedicated focus to a unique product, which enhances levels of professionalism, both in underwriting and claims. Because a large number of UMA’s are owned and managed by experts in their fields, they tend to have a passion for the business, which translates into a performance culture that general insurers find hard to match.”
“If a product is focused on a client’s specific needs, then the pricing will also be focused, which helps to eliminate high levels of volatility in the pricing. This can be very important for many clients who require reasonable levels of stability in their premium payments.”
Delport says that when brokers choose a UMA to do business with, the reputation of the company is also crucially important. “As the role of the UMA is to provide focused products, services and expertise, brokers need to satisfy themselves that the company is an expert in their chosen product. There are indicators in the insurance market that point to high performance UMA’s, such as the annual FIA Awards, which reflect the industries choice for service excellence. The South African Underwriting Managers Association (SAUMA) can assist brokers in establishing membership and areas of expertise of the various UMA’s. In addition, a UMA acts on behalf of an insurer, so the claims paying ability of the insurer itself is also of paramount importance.
“By providing brokers with access to specialist expertise and products, UMAs have a unique role to play in the South African insurance space. As insurance needs evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for those brokers who play in specific industries to differentiate themselves by offering a product that meets all of their client’s needs,” concludes Delport.
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