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The market for passenger carrying vehicles continues to grow and at ERS we’ve recently made a big investment in improving our infrastructure to make us even better placed to cater for this type of risk. We sat down with product manager James Hayward to hear more about these changes and why they spell good news for any brokers with an eye on the passenger carrying market…

Tell us about your role at ERS?

I’m Product Manager for Passenger Carrying Vehicles, which spans everything from taxis to minibuses to wedding carriages. We cover customers for up to five vehicles, which means the product is also a great fit for small businesses, charities, schools and other community organisations.

I’ve been at ERS for four years having worked my way around the business from underwriting through to sales. It was pure luck that I arrived in the insurance industry – a chance suggestion from a friend of a friend – but I’ve really enjoyed my journey so far.

Tell us about the world of passenger carrying vehicles.

Like many of ERS’s specialisms, passenger carrying vehicles is a very diverse field. For example, taxi is a huge commercial market that has gone through a transition in recent years and is now transacted by many insurers along the same lines as personal motors. This makes for a saturated market that is highly price sensitive, while there’s a lot of unrated capacity out there. What we’re trying to do is stand out from the pack by offering a more sustainable solution for customers.

This is very different to, say, the minibus market, where although the current pool of capacity is a lot smaller, it’s a very complex market and one that we are proud to have a dedicated specialist team that genuinely understands the needs of the policy holders.

Are there any particular market trends that have caught your eye?

The taxi market in London is all-change following the introduction of the ultra-low emissions zone. Electric taxis are the future, so we’ve been swift to get under the hood and learn everything about the electric TX and other emerging vehicles in this category.

We are also continuing to see examples of what happens when unrated capacity goes wrong – in the passenger carrying space, this is particularly pertinent, as it could well lead to customers no longer being legally able to use their livelihood vehicles.

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

It’s impossible to fully anticipate what the competition is going to be doing. We’ve made great headway with our own infrastructure and back-end processes, and this is enabling us to be even more proactive in the market. But it won’t stop a new entrant appearing from the left field, which is why it pays to keep a close eye on everything that’s going on in our sector and ensure we remain competitive whilst ensuring our products are fit for the policy holders.

And what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

For me, it’s about making sure that your focus is consistent, and putting in place the right internal functions and processes you need to make sure you can meet your priorities. Get the basics right and do what you’ve said you’re going to do.

What is it that makes ERS stand out in the market?

In my business area, the biggest selling point right now is around our infrastructure. We now have our IHP platform for taxi and our eTrade portal for minibus, making it more convenient for brokers to work with us and giving us incredible access to data to help inform our products and services.

Equally, however, we stand out for our specialism and our human underwriting. This is massively important when working in highly nuanced fields. Taxi licensing authorities are all different, and there are hundreds of them. Our experts are the ones who know these details, so that the brokers don’t have to attempt to learn them all. With minibuses, there are many different use requirements, again with different licensing requirements. In some instances our experts can be the difference that prevents customers from unwittingly doing something illegal.

What are your passions and pastimes outside of working hours?

I have a three-month-old child so all hobbies have gone out of the window!

If you weren’t in the motor insurance business, what would your dream job be?

I’m still hoping to be called up to play for Manchester United, though time is running out! Failing that, I’d happily be a tennis star lining up at Wimbledon.

Contact the team today for a quote or visit our dedicated web pages for more information on our passenger products

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