Navigating the Changing Commercial Landscape: In Conversation with James Mann, ERS' Commercial Product Manager

We recently sat down with James Mann, ERS' Commercial Product Manager covering the Transportation, Courier, and Specialist Commercial Vehicle sectors.

In this interview, James shares valuable updates on the dynamic commercial market, highlighting the changes since his arrival at ERS in April 2022 and sheds light on future growth opportunities.

You talked to us 12 months ago about your predictions for the Commercial market. How has the landscape evolved since your arrival at ERS?

James: It’s been a busy 12 months! When I joined ERS, the Commercial market was grappling with economic pressures, including the fuel crisis, and rising living costs. The haulage sector, in particular, faced a significant challenge with a pressing shortage of drivers due to factors like Brexit and an aging workforce.

However, over the past year, we've witnessed some positive developments. The Government has implemented a number of initiatives to address the driver shortage, alleviating some of the pressure. We’ve also adapted our product offerings alongside the changing landscape – notably revising experience requirements, enabling us to provide insurance coverage to drivers with less experience and allowing the market to recruit newer drivers. This flexibility has allowed us to better serve our customers and support them during these challenging times.

Looking at the specialist commercial vehicle space, 12 months ago there was a real sense of optimism as we headed into the first summer without COVID restrictions. The catering vehicle segment, which dominates the SCV market, had been hit really hard during the pandemic with many businesses forced to shut down temporarily, and some, sadly, shutting permanently.

But despite the optimism, the market didn't fully recover to pre-COVID levels as some nervousness remained, this year, though, we are witnessing a real resurgence. With COVID firmly in the rear-view mirror, we’re seeing new entrants into the market, and many businesses resuming their operations full-time. Street food and niche catering areas are experiencing a remarkable surge, with street vendors popping up across various locations.

Sounds like there’s a busy few months ahead as you support this growth. Let’s talk about what you think is coming down the road for the commercial market.

Absolutely, the road ahead looks incredibly promising with plenty of activity on the horizon. And, as the market experiences growth, we too are expanding to meet the demands. As well as significantly investing in technology and our robust e-trading platform, it is our talented team of underwriters who remain at the heart of our business. The human touch we bring to our broker relationships fosters collaboration and breeds success. Our dedicated professionals are always available for meaningful discussions. It is their expertise that empowers us to assess the more unconventional risks, providing personalised and tailored quotes. We’ve recently expanded our team which enhances our ability to trade quickly and effectively. What’s more, we have the capacity to take on risks that our competitors struggle to match, setting us apart in the industry.

Looking at the Courier market as a prime example. It's no surprise that during the peak of the pandemic, this sector experienced a significant surge in activity. With many other professions on furlough and people relying heavily on deliveries, the demand skyrocketed. However, as life gradually returned to normal, we now find ourselves in a different phase of growth—a more sustained pattern where individuals and companies are entering the market for the long term.

To meet this evolving demand, we are dedicating considerable time and effort in distribution and enhancing our product delivery methods. We recognise the importance of adapting to the changing landscape and staying ahead of the market trends. As a result, we are channelling our resources into digital distribution for the courier sector.

This year has been focused on creating and implementing a comprehensive strategy for Transportation – another really important area for us. Again, it’s the mix of digital tools and human expertise which sets us apart from the competition. We’ve invested heavily in our proposition over the past few years, expanding our risk appetite, innovating within our service lines and enhancing our ERS eTrade platform to make it as easy as possible for brokers to trade with us- and all this is set to continue!

Thanks James! Fascinating to chat – and we look forward to sitting down with you again in 12 months to see what’s happened in this fast-evolving space.

Looking for a Commercial motor quote? The fastest way to access our A+ rated Commercial products is online via ERS eTrade. Find out more about ERS eTrade and how to sign up here.

Already have access? Login today.

< Previous StoryNext Story >