Tough times ahead for generalist brokers, says Gallagher retail boss

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Exclusive: The current operating environment is one of opportunity for brokers with a specialist offering but it’s tough times ahead for generalist brokers, Gallagher’s retail CEO has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference in Manchester, Michael Rea, UK retail CEO at Gallagher, told Post that despite the broking sector being in reasonable health, there are tough times ahead for smaller generalist brokers.  

“It depends where you play in the market but small  generalist brokers will be finding life quite tough at the moment,” he said. “For those lower mid-market and SME brokers it’s a dogfight out there.”

The retail CEO said there was a geographical divide with a stronger economy in the South of England typically taking the pressure of one-stop-shop brokers in the region compared with brokers in the north of the country.

Rea added that struggling generalist brokers are good news for buyers such as Gallagher looking to acquire new business as owners think about the future and look to sell. 

While generalist brokers are facing a challenging operating environment, Rea said those with a specialist offering are thriving.

“The brokers who we come across that serve particular niches or have dedicated sectors or specialisms are typically thriving,” he said.

“The sector is in reasonable heath but if you’re specialist then the opportunity to strive is that much greater.  It’s a case of specialise or you’ll find the going tough.”

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