Commercial Lines: The Time to Grow is Now

Nick Frattaroli—Vice President, Commercial Lines, Intact Insurance, Ontario

As others debate whether we’re in a hard market, firm market or stabilizing market, at Intact we’re asking a different question—how can carriers and brokers grow together in commercial lines regardless of what the economic headwinds of 2024 may be? 

We see the commercial space, from the mid-market through to the small to medium enterprise space, as a tremendous growth opportunity for all of us, so long as we keep the focus on the needs of the customer.

We Want That Business

As a carrier, our message to brokers right now is: We want that business. We underwrite across all industry segments, and we’re interested in quoting on all of your commercial risks.

As brokers, you’ve come back to us asking for a detailed definition of our commercial appetite. You’ve pushed us to specify industry segments, cut-offs and categories. It’s challenging for us to give you that kind of breakdown because, barring dynamite factories—we’re a little shy of dynamite factories—we really are interested in all commercial lines business right now. Small, medium, large, formerly placed with an MGA, just turned down by that other carrier? Bring it here. 

Any carrier that wants to grow in commercial lines should be sending you a similar message. And you might get frustrated with them—or, for that matter, us—if after getting that message, you bring them a risk that gets turned down.

It’s About the Individual Risk

Don’t think the carrier—Intact at least—isn’t interested in that particular industry. It’s not about the industry segment. Or the risk size. Or any of those checkboxes. It’s about the overall quality of the risk.

Different brokers have different experiences with us across different segments. It’s all about the specific risks they bring us.

Like any disciplined carrier, we look at the quality of risk, not the industry. We don’t underwrite every risk, but when we don’t underwrite something, it’s not a blanket rejection of that segment. It’s because that specific risk doesn’t work for us.

Tell Your Customer’s Story

Success in commercial lines is, ultimately, about how well the broker knows their customer.

To best position the success of any risk with a carrier like Intact, tell us your customer’s story. The more information you have about their unique situation and history, the better you’re able to present that story to your underwriter.

This deep dive into your customer’s history also gives brokers more opportunities to identify the customer’s broader insurance needs, and upsell, cross-sell and otherwise deliver a more comprehensive insurance solution to your customer.

Get the Best Price

Knowing the business customer’s full story is how you can help us give your customer the best price. 

No two customers are exactly the same, and pricing on commercial lines risks varies a lot. It’s inevitable. To get the best price for your customer, get the insurer the best possible data. The quality of the submission drives the quality and price of the quote.

When looking to get a commercial quote from Intact, brokers can leverage a customer’s personal financial stability with Intact’s Stability Advantage tool, which can result in up to a 25% price reduction on a commercial lines policy. Stability Advantage uses a soft personal credit check (with the customer’s consent) which won’t show up or affect a customer’s credit score and doesn’t disclose any additional personal information.

Let’s Customize

Another way of winning in commercial lines, hard market or not, is to have the willingness to find customized solutions for customers. You won’t hear us say “it’s not in our product catalogue, so we don’t write it.” If you tell us a compelling story and advocate for your customer, we’ll work with you to find a solution.

We see a tremendous growth opportunity here for brokers. Instead of casting around for the ideal client in the ideal industry segment, focus on companies that are financially stable, customer-focused, and have a great story. Find solutions for innovative companies. Advocate for customers who may operate in more complex business classes but come with industry experience and a good claims record.

We want to work with you to come up with underwriting solutions even for those customers who may seem challenging to place.

Thrive in Any Market

Throughout the volatility of the pandemic, while a lot of markets retracted, we’ve provided a stable and open market for commercial lines brokers. We worked hard to find solutions to the risks taken to us. 

That’s because we know we’re in the volatility business. We need to know how to thrive in hard markets, soft markets, unstable markets, stabilizing markets and all the variants in-between. 

This is true for insurers and brokers. If we demonstrate and provide value, if we work together to deliver the right insurance solution to the customer, we come out of every cycle stronger.

Here’s to growing together in 2024.

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