Australian and New Zealand underwriting agency CEOs have polarised views on brokers’ future roles.

Asked how they saw brokers’ role changing over the next five years, 45% of respondents to the Underwriting Agencies Council’s 2017 annual CEO Survey saw no change and agreed “we’ll rely on brokers to keep playing an essential role in our future business”.

But another 45% thought change was needed, agreeing “brokers will continue to have similar importance, however they would be required to adjust their services and value proposition to end customers”.

While 10% of agency principals believed brokers’ importance would diminish as customer buying behaviour changed, none agreed there would be no role for brokers in future because customers would buy direct.

In other findings, the survey found 90% of respondents were very optimistic about their business’s future (up 1% on 2016) and 88% saw growth potential in their specialist markets (up 10% on 2016).

New competitors were a challenge for 60% of respondents (down 10% on 2016) and 53% flagged broker performance and loyalty as a challenge (also down 10%).

Click here to view the survey’s full results.

UAC General Manager William Legge said the annual survey, conducted with the assistance of Gratex International, provided valuable year-on-year comparisons that assist underwriting agencies in planning and decision making.

“The survey data gives UAC access to information that assists the board with its ongoing commitment to providing and implementing worthwhile improvements for members. Analysis of the information enables us to ensure future programs and activities continue to meet members’ needs,” he said.

Agency principals across Australia and New Zealand are invited to participate in the anonymous survey that is now in its fourth year.