Craft a Winning Schemes Pitch

Tue Jun 4 2024

Jonathan Forster, Travelers

Travelers shares how the right pitch can lead to a strong partnership

There are significant opportunities in schemes right now, for broker and insurer alike. At a time when the changing market can make options for cover more expensive and limited, schemes allow brokers to demonstrate deeper expertise about a sector and offer a proposition tailored to client needs. Simultaneously, schemes help insurers access new markets and distribution, as well as benefit from brokers’ expertise in specific markets and segments.

Making an ideal match between broker and insurer starts with a winning pitch. Brokers can strengthen a pitch by researching it from multiple angles, presenting it professionally, and anticipating challenges.

“Brokers should understand the sector, the size and value of the market, how many companies there are and their size, what changes are happening in the sector, and the budget they have for marketing and development,” said Jonathan Forster, SME Distribution Director at Travelers Europe. “As an insurer, we love to see that brokers have done their homework, come with experience, and have committed to investing in a sector. It helps us envision how we might build a partnership with them.”

The best pitches support those elements with realistic figures. Brokers should ideally have their own numbers or prospective numbers about a scheme’s performance and market potential – and be able to explain why performance is what it is. They can also turn to trade associations, marketing experts and other specialists for additional data and context about a scheme’s position and market potential.

“We want to understand what brokers are looking for in a partner,” Forster said. “Schemes draw on the strengths of both partners involved, so a pitch should identify how we, as the insurer, can provide support, such as by providing unique coverages for a niche business.”

This requires allowing time for research. “If a broker is serious about either moving a scheme or developing a new idea, they should approach an insurer 6-8 months in advance, so they have time to engage with a few insurers,” Forster said.

Stay focused – But Also Flexible

Scheme ideas fall into three categories – existing schemes, portfolio consolidations and new schemes. Knowing the nuances of each can help a broker prepare a more focused pitch.

An existing scheme has typically been with another carrier for several years, but the broker now wants to place it with a new carrier. Perhaps this is due to a decline in profitability, differences of opinion about the scheme’s prospects, poor service from the carrier, or an increase in insurance prices. Moving and setting up a scheme with a new insurer can be costly, so a broker should be prepared to discuss how having a new carrier would improve their situation.

A portfolio consolidation scheme presents an opportunity to expand a strong but small book of business within a sector. Perhaps a broker with 30 clients in the auto repair business wants to triple their number of client shops. Finding a new carrier can help support their desired growth.

Finally, a broker may approach an insurer with a new scheme idea. Here, the broker should paint a realistic picture of the scheme’s prospects. Presenting related historical data helps, but even in the absence of it, a broker can consult experts and trade associations to better understand the viability of the idea. Without that due diligence, a broker may underestimate the costs of developing an idea and overestimate the likely market response – a red flag for an insurer screening a new concept.

Regardless of the scheme type, it helps if the broker is willing to be flexible about its implementation. The stronger the pitch, the more willing an insurer will be to fine-tune a promising concept.

“We have expertise here to help support and shape the plan with the broker,” Forster said. “That includes reviewing the wordings, designing the product, identifying the right coverages, and talking about marketing. When brokers are open to that, they give us an indication they want to invest in a long-term partnership – and that is good for everyone involved.”

To learn more about Travelers Schemes, visit

The information provided is intended for use as a guideline and is not intended as, nor does it constitute, legal or professional advice. Travelers does not warrant that adherence to, or compliance with, any recommendations, best practices, checklists, or guidelines will result in a particular outcome.

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