A letter from our sponsor - The vital importance of knowing your supplier

After 24 years in the insurance broking industry, most recently as managing director of Alexander Fo...

After 24 years in the insurance broking industry, most recently as managing director of Alexander Forbes Risk Services UK Retail Division, I have been pitched to by countless suppliers - from insurers and premium finance suppliers to IT providers.

I have learnt from experience how important it is to have timely and accurate information about the track record and stability of potential suppliers. That's why I am delighted that my first sponsorship opportunity since taking up my new role of sales and marketing director at Close Premium Finance has been the Top 100 UK Insurers Supplement.

As a former broker, I know that issues surrounding insurers' performance are crucial. While price and service are important, a broker needs reliable, up-to-date financial information to make an accurate judgement about an insurer's security. Of course, financial awareness is a watchword throughout the insurance industry as Financial Services Authority regulation approaches.

Solvency is one part of financial stability, but transparent reporting and accurate record-keeping are also essential now for both the largest insurer and the smallest high-street broker.

I was a Close customer for many years before joining it to head its sales and marketing team, so I know better than most that premium finance is a highly effective tool to help brokers manage accounting practices more efficiently.

Not only can premium finance increase administration speed and transform brokers' management information capability - both of which are vital to growing profitable broking businesses - it also generates considerable extra income, a major plus when it comes to addressing significant added regulatory costs.

But that's not all. One of the major challenges for insurers right now is ensuring a smooth move from outdated legacy systems. And although insurers have made progress here, outsourcing premium finance can ease the process considerably. Close's online account management system, i-prompt, is a major benefit for brokers. I-prompt is not only a highly secure system, it is easy to use and, even more importantly for brokers selecting an insurer, it works independently of any platform.

I trust that over the coming months, your copy of this supplement will be useful when it comes to assessing and selecting the right insurance partners for your business. In the meantime, my team and I welcome any opportunity you may have for us to meet and discuss how we can help develop premium financing as an even more effective revenue stream for your broking business.

We look forward to working with you.

Tim Wilson, sales and marketing director at Close Premium Finance, [email protected]

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