Emma Greenwood blog

What first led you to a career in fleet motor insurance?

It was an unexpected move. I worked in retail management for several years and was looking for a new challenge after relocating to South Wales. A call came in for an insurance-based role in Swansea in the underwriting operations team, which sounded intriguing, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

In previous roles, I enjoyed the numbers side of things – for example, reviewing sales data. I also had some statistical analysis background from my MSc in Psychology, so the job sounded like it wasn’t completely out of my depth! Here was a challenge I could get my teeth into, so I took the leap and joined ERS.

And how have things gone since joining ERS?

Since starting in the operations team in early 2018, I’ve enjoyed my time here immensely. A year after I joined, the company announced the opening of an Underwriting Training Academy, utilising the internal talent to develop underwriters in Swansea. I was one of eight people to be selected, and so my underwriting journey began.

I started my training in late 2019. Because of the lockdowns, a lot of my training and development was done remotely, but the team has always been supportive. I’m now strengthening my capabilities as an SME fleet underwriter and will be taking the next level of CII exams next year.

Why do you think ERS is such a good partner for fleet brokers?

We know our products inside-out, and we have experienced colleagues in place at all levels in the business. Whatever the question from a broker, even if it’s a really obscure one, there will be someone on the team who can answer it.

We remain consistent in our underwriting, but we can adapt to the market to support our customers. Our performance during the first lockdown is a testament to this.

And what’s the benefit of brokers having direct access to a fleet underwriter?

We can give you an answer based on the risk, rather than ‘computer says no.’ We manually underwrite all our business, giving us more control over pricing and assessing risk. The personal and direct line of communication – being able to pick up a phone and discuss a customer with an underwriter – gives brokers more insight into the reasoning behind our decisions and creates a more efficient customer experience.

You mentioned the team’s response during the pandemic. Tell us more about how the fleet team handled the situation.

We were quick to offer alternative cover for vehicles at the beginning of the pandemic. For example, we offered LUFT cover to many of our passenger transport and car risks, which helped clients who found their businesses hard hit during the lockdowns.

We also agreed to cover for uses outside of customers’ core trade, like food delivery, to help keep drivers earning. We seamlessly moved from being office-based to home-based, with no impact on our service levels, where other insurers ran into issues. Brokers appreciated this, as they knew they could rely on us to be there to answer any urgent questions.

As an underwriter, what has been the biggest challenge in fleet during the pandemic?

I’d say it has been maintaining our underwriting discipline in a difficult market. We are now seeing a lot of risks going to market with 18 months of clean claims performance but poor historical performance, looking for large reductions on premium. We must still be mindful that the last 18 months have been atypical; less road exposure and a lot fewer vehicles on the road have led to fewer claims.

We have seen some insurers give a lot of credit to the Covid year, and whilst there’s a short-term benefit, there’ll likely be repercussions for clients in the long run. In contrast, keeping our pricing constant won’t throw up any nasty surprises to the client at the next renewal. It has been challenging to get this across when everyone counting the pennies, but brokers have been receptive to the message.

What do you enjoy getting up to outside of working hours?

Living on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, I get to enjoy the vast areas around me by hiking and taking in the South Wales scenery, with a nice pub lunch at the end. Other than that, baking (or more so eating) and a good murder doc on Netflix keeps me happy.

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

I think my dream job would be owning a business, possibly a bakery. Something that keeps me busy, throws in some challenges and involves doing something I enjoy.

If you're looking for a Fleet quote, contact our experts today on:

0345 600 2297 or fleet.quotes@ers.com

If you have a risk for less than 5 commercial vehicles contact our Commercial team on:

0345 600 3893 or commercialquotes@ers.com

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