Bronek Masojada, Chair of PPL and Chief Executive at Hiscox,  on why the market needs to  work together to benefit from PPL.

The very essence to a successful marketplace is that it is many-to-many – it delivers choice through critical mass. Placing Platform Limited (PPL) passes that first threshold with flying colours, with over 100 brokers and 130 carriers signed up. It offers the widest possible choice of business partners and risk classes – all absolutely vital if you want a liquid market for your electronic placements.  We will shortly arrive at the point when 200,000 risks have been bound but the latest data suggests that the low hanging fruit has been picked, and the market needs to re-focus on how it can gather in the rest of the harvest.

Making the marketplace work better

We know that PPL needs to be better – it is still mostly a stand-alone system, not integrated into brokers’ and underwriters’ back offices, which will need more work from both sides to achieve. That, of course, is the case of any platform that needs plumbing into a policy administration system or a broker’s back office. PPL is also still being used primarily at bind and not at quote and submission. So, the life of the individual underwriter or broker is probably not massively improved right now by using electronic placement.

The platform is not perfect and does not yet do everything that the market would wish. But improving the user experience is where we are focussing our energy and resource this year.

We also want to make the platform more accessible, so we are working closely with ACORD so that more firms will be able to interface with PPL more easily, and we are also keeping an eye on the future – spending time on research and development into what the e-placing platform of the future might look like.

Riding the wave

Today digitalisation runs through all our client’s businesses like Blackpool through a stick of rock, but we are not yet riding that wave properly. If we can’t match their new ways of doing business, then we are going to look a lot less relevant to them that we would want.

Both our cost base and our customers demand we do more – and that we do it now and that we do it collectively. Collaboration is key. None of us can do this alone – underwriters need brokers to bring the risks to the platform and brokers need underwriters to be responsive, either through the platform, or face-to-face.

My ask of everyone is that you stay involved to stay relevant. Signing up for the sake of it and then failing to participate benefits no-one – not the client, you or the market. For us all to win, we have to be all in it together.

A longer version of this article first appeared in Insurance Day on 20 May 2019