More has not meant better: We need to deliver real support for our SME Brokers

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the UK economy. A fact widely appreciated by government, trade bodies and wider society. SMEs make up 99% of the nation’s business population.

Within this sits the fourth largest insurance sector in the world, the largest in Europe, managing around £1.7 trillion worth of investments and employing hundreds of thousands of people, right across the nation. A sector composed of thousands of brokers – small business owners in their own right – offering a range of services and products that deliver peace of mind to millions.

The recent shake-up in the banking sector is a stark reminder and gives rise to the question whether we are doing the right things and hitting the mark on adequately supporting our broker SMEs who are at the coalface of strengthening an economy amid a testing environment. Much has been said about doing more to support brokers unlock the true value of their businesses, which cater to the people who need them most across villages, towns, and counties. Often these clients rely on their small business owners – brokers – to be as accessible as walking into a post office, or the bank down the street for their regular needs to be serviced.

But, more, has not translated to better. A lot has been said about the need for the sector to be innovative, business-friendly, and agile. While this is commendable, brokers remain saddled with the antiquated set-ups & regulatory hurdles that hold them back. Stubben Edge was born as antidote this.

Because of the sector’s make up, independent brokers – small business owners – must juggle multiple responsibilities, while mindful of their margins.

Despite the sophisticated UK insurance marketplace– it remains riddled with these legacy systems, regulatory burdens and incomplete data all impinging on the ability of businesses to do things differently.

The need for consistent lead generation coupled with access to reliable data and business insights are, understandably, top of mind. Add to this, the challenge of a rigid finance environment that does not account for much of middle Britain’s business owners’ daily requirements.

After all, no one business – broker – is the same. And overwhelmingly, the challenge that brokers must contend with is the fact that there isn’t a clear-cut route to scale without external investment. And a lot of that external investment is often to buy services or capabilities that they might be able to access in a different way.

However, there are many ways brokers can scale up that do not require them to sell out or raise equity. An organic growth route is possible!

So, what does meaningful support look like for these business owners?

It means tools that enable them to start, grow, and manage their burgeoning businesses without wiping out their margins. A single engine room that does this heavy lifting.

As one of the top 25 distribution platforms in the UK, with 13.4 million people in our data base, we have a clear understanding of what it takes to unlock the next phase for many of the UK’s business owners – without forcing them to exit prematurely, or plateau when they have a lot more to offer.

Often big consolidators give brokers time of day when they are generally near the £2.5 million GWP mark. This is often either requires investing significantly in standout marketing or specialising in an extremely niche sector. No small feat.

Accessing the support required – regulatory compliance, bespoke insurance products, time-saving administration systems, and customer retention boosting services – within our network could mean leveraging our platform: a white labelled plug and play offering, which unlocks access to data & insights curated by sector specialists, as well as tools that power their back office – without bogging them down with the burden of the technological build.

Secondly, as they scale, we have the capabilities to work alongside brokers to help them develop their own bespoke back office and data offering, specifically suited to their requirements. All done at the speed of the business owners.

Access to alternative finance also regularly comes up as key hurdle. Rigid financing mechanisms often ignore the very niche and real-life requirements of what it takes to service most businesses.

We have taken a further step, delivering a cash management platform within the suite of products, which also provides access to loans. This alternative has the potential to unlock the next phase of a business owner’s journey. They very thing they may need to get them over the line.

While no single broker model is the same, this tailored digitalisation support levels the field in a way price comparison sites cannot. It frees up brokers to maintain their long-standing relationships in communities, sometimes held for decades, and opens the door for them to pursue new connections.

The combination of sophisticated back office, and the personal touch of a local business owner cannot be underestimated in enabling their scalability.

Brokers on the Stubben Edge platform are saving an average of 30% on operational costs & time, and between 6 and 12 months on product development alone. We have also seen brokers double the value of their business in a single year!

With more brokers being added to the constantly growing Stubben Edge network, we have a unique vantage point.

We are able to consistently tweak, learn and adapt our offering to service and support these entrepreneurs a lot better.

We recognise our role as working in tandem with the businesses, acting as an accelerator for those looking to get top their next level, with their local context, and providing the tools they need to get there. All this frees up the UK’s brokers to focus their energy on the value-add they bring to the insurance proposition and on building their businesses.

There is no better time to make support for SMEs more accessible. After all, these entrepreneurs deserve better – they are our backbone after all.

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