Introducing Sam Prever, Regional Trading Underwriter - South

Sam Prever Bl

We’re always looking to strengthen our broker relationships and make it easier for partners to place even the most complex, manually-underwritten risks with us. As part of this mission, we’ve appointed our experienced Prestige team member, Sam Prever, as a dedicated regional Prestige underwriter for the South of England. We caught up with Sam to get his view of the current market and how he’s approaching the challenge of supporting brokers during a national lockdown…

Tell us about your new role and how it relates to your background.

I’ve been working with ERS for the best part of a decade, save for two years when I worked with one of our key brokers. My Prestige experience began in 2017 as a member of the central underwriting team; the logical next step was to take on a more specialised role, so from April 1st I’ve been dedicated to supporting our regional development managers by providing on-site underwriting across the East Anglia, South East, South West and City & Central regions.

Why are these on-the-ground roles so important to ERS? What sort of a difference does it make to the business?

Our business is built on relationships. Brokers want to deal with people that they know and trust, and by expanding our on-the-ground presence we’re able to spend more time with them, hear more about their pain points and spend more time educating them on the full extent of our risk appetite. Most importantly, it also enables us to provide underwriting support on-site, offering the best service and policy solution available for brokers biggest or most important clients. A great example of this is our on-site lunch and learn sessions. Holding these regularly gives us far greater insight into how our brokers operate and makes us better attuned to their specific needs.

Brokers responded really warmly to Jim Neild’s appointment as Prestige underwriter for North in 2018, so it made sense to complement his role with an equivalent in the South.

Other than its on-the-ground presence, what is it that makes ERS stand out in the market?

Being motor only broker only makes a massive difference. I think brokers really appreciate this, because they know that we’re never going to tell them that we’ll only take on a vehicle risk if we also get the rest of a customer’s estate. This specialisation, combined with our heritage – the fact that we’ve been doing it successfully for so many decades – is what gives us the edge.

You’ve started this new role at a time of national crisis. How are you having to adapt?

My role is highly broker focused and – under normal circumstances – would involve three days’ a week on the road for on-site underwriting and face-to-face business development with brokers. Clearly that’s impossible right now. I’m having to replace meetings with calls and make virtual introductions rather than in-person ones.

It’s not ideal, but what’s important to remember is that our brokers are in the same situation, working from home and unable to get out to see their customers. For me, keeping in touch by whatever means I can is all-important to understand the different challenges they’re facing.

What sort of challenges are being reported, and how can ERS help?

The current travel restrictions have put markets such as Prestige under a fair amount of pressure. Dealerships are closed and many people are putting off high-value vehicle purchases until the crisis is at an end. They’re also watching their wallets more closely given the ongoing economic turmoil.

We need to work closer than ever with brokers to support them with the business that is still out there, service current client needs, and make sure that, amidst the confusion caused by COVID-19, simple things like policy lapses are prevented. The last thing any customer wants is to plan out their first post-lockdown road trip, only to find that their vehicle is no longer roadworthy.

We’ve made a massive effort to keep our business operating as normal so that we can continue to give our brokers top priority, making sure that we’re always accessible and responsive even when brokers are at home and we’re at home.

What else is ERS doing to support Prestige brokers at this difficult time?

We’re trying to think outside the box and find new ways to help brokers trade and stay connected with us whilst working from home. Having a close relationship with each broker certainly helps us to better understand their customer profile, which in turn helps inspire new ideas for how we can support them.

Some Prestige customers are being more price sensitive right now, which is understandable. Others may have had their head turned by too-good-to-be-true online offers from unrated insurers. However, providing cover for high-value Prestige vehicles is highly bespoke and requires specialist expertise – both for brokers and insurers. So one of the things we need to help our brokers with is communicating this value back to the customers.

Crisis aside, is there anything that still surprises you in the industry?

One thing that still amazes me is when customers buy a conventional motor policy for a totally unconventional motor. Having done so much research or spent so much money on a vehicle, it seems counter-intuitive to then compromise on quality of cover. Again, our job is to ensure brokers fully understand what makes our product different and that they’re able to relay this message to their customers.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

I’ll go back to what I said at the start. People like to deal with the people they like to deal with.

Moving into my first Prestige role and returning to bespoke, manual work after several years of digitally-led activity, it was a real refresher about the need for strong relationships at every stage in the chain.

What are your passions and pastimes outside of working hours?

Anything motor-related. From the age of about four I could instantly tell the make and model of a car just by looking at it from across the street! Cars have always been a massive part of my life and I’m proud to be a member of a classic car club in London. I love picking up a car from them on a weekend and driving out into the countryside – I’ll definitely get back to this once the crisis is over.

It sounds like you might already be in your dream job! Is there anything else you’d ideally love to do career-wise?

Not really. I always wanted to go into a job involving cars, so there’s a huge overlap for me between work and pleasure. ‘Supercar tester’ is the only (clichéd) answer I could give you!

Looking for a specialist Prestige quote?
Contact us on prestige@ers.com or 0333 241 2445

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