Matt Evans Bl

For several years we’ve been investing in our regional underwriting capabilities to bring our business closer to brokers, wherever they’re trading. Matt Evans was one of our first regional hires, back in 2016. Since then he’s been at the forefront of our efforts to engage Welsh agri brokers and communicate the virtues of our motor specialism. We chatted to Matt about what’s involved in his role and how the market has changed over the past 12 months…

How did you first get into the world of agri motor insurance?

Most people fall into insurance and for me it was my first post-university role with NatWest business insurance that set me up for my career. Similarly, I wasn’t ever expecting to work within the agri motor business. I spent some time as a fleet underwriter with NFU Mutual in Penarth, but it was during a stint at Ecclesiastical Insurance Group that I began looking after some farm schemes in Gloucester and I started to realise how much I enjoyed the complexities of this world.

What was it that led you to ERS?

Up until joining ERS, I’d worked mainly for combined insurers, where motor tends to be a bolt-on. A lot of combined underwriters believe its easy to write motor, compared to property and liability insurance. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and I wanted to join a specialist motor insurer where everyone would be working towards a common goal, and where building relationships with brokers would be the top priority.

Describe your current remit.

I’ve been with ERS for four years and I serve as the regional trading underwriter for Wales, handling broker relationships, developing these accounts, managing new quotes and renewals to ensure everything is done on time, and working alongside our Regional Development Managers in pursuit of profitable, sustainable growth.

What does a typical week in your role look like?

Outside of Covid, it would normally involve 2-3 days out with brokers, and the rest of the time back at my desk handling day-to-day quoting. The time on the road is vital in helping to explain what we offer as an insurer, learning about brokers’ businesses, or running underwriting surgeries from brokers’ offices.

How have Welsh agri businesses fared throughout the past 12 months?

Farming is incredibly hard work and these businesses will have worked harder than most during the pandemic. Fortunately, brokers have still been able to get out and meet farmers, while farms are pretty tech-savvy – a lot of our trade has been carried out via Teams, Zoom, email etc.

What would you say is your key message for the region in the year ahead?

You can have confidence with ERS. Market disruption isn’t going to disappear for Welsh brokers, and that’s why our Lloyds A+ rating still matters – brokers know that we’ll be able to go on supporting them come what may.

What else makes ERS stand out within the agri market?

We’re able to act quickly and decisively. If a farmer invests in a new combine, they want it added to the books immediately because it’s going to help them generate revenue. Our regional underwriters are empowered to write the business as soon as it comes in. Similarly, Welsh agri brokers are working in a competitive market so they need to move quickly when there’s a new business opportunity.

Finally, we’ve shown our willingness to invest in the business to maintain these service levels. Most recently, we’ve introduced a second regional trading underwriter, Millie, to work alongside me and help handle the spike in enquiries. This has been a very successful partnership that has allowed us to maintain our speed of response even when things have been at their busiest.

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

Deliver on your promises. If you say you can turn around quotes instantly, you need to meet that commitment. And in our market right now, there are few who can do it.

What are your passions and pastimes outside of working hours?

My car is the number one pastime. I’m into motorsports and have even bought a sportscar – a BMW M2 Competition – but unfortunately I’ve hardly been able to drive it yet due to the Covid restrictions. This is priority number one for the year ahead, outside of work of course.

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

I’d love to work for an F1 team and travel the world following my passion. I’m not an engineer – it’d a number crunching role for me, getting into the data behind the cars.

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