Part of the Stride team for over a decade, Claire Harris is responsible for looking after our brokers, helping to make their lives that little bit easier. We recently caught up with Claire to talk future challenges and opportunities in the industry, and find out why she thinks Stride is a cut above the rest…

Claire Harris, Commercial Manager, Stride Group
Claire Harris, Commercial Manager, Stride Insurance Group

How long have you worked at Stride Group?

I have worked at Stride for over 12 years in total. I started my career at Guardian Royal Exchange in personal lines and then moved into commercial insurance, before coming over to Stride Group.

Describe your current role as Commercial Manager

As Commercial Manager, I oversee the commercial and property owners department. In my day-to-day role, I work with our managers to get the best out of the staff; consider and develop new products; maintain and build relationships with insurers; and review our schemes and our profitability. Ultimately, I look after our brokers and make sure the process between us is as seamless as possible.

We have a network of 400 brokers around the UK and we’re taking on new ones all the time. Many brokers are under the impression that we only handle small business, which is not the case. We regularly enjoy helping our brokers win large premium business, in fact one of our brokers has just placed a policy with us worth nearly £500,000.

How does Stride Group uniquely support its brokers?

We’re proud to have claims staff who have over 20 years of experience in this industry. It is the case with many smaller brokers that when a customer has a claim they are told to contact the insurance company directly. While this may work for simple claims, the broker is cut out of the loop, which can make things difficult in more complex cases.

Here at Stride Group, we manage all claims directly unless a broker specifically asks us not to. The broker sends us invoices, the claims form and so on, and we collate everything together in one easy-to-manage package, which ultimately helps to accelerate the decision-making process. In short, we make it very easy for brokers to look after their customers.

We’re also trying to maintain a bespoke, personalised approach when it comes to calculating premiums. For a lot of brokers, if they ring an insurance company direct these days, they may get through to someone who isn’t very experienced, or just be presented with a premium from an online system. Here at Stride, we still manually underwrite in many cases, and we do that so our staff actually understand where that premium is coming from. This then gives them the ability to trade on that premium because they’re able to see where they can apply discounts and help that broker win the business. It’s definitely a more personalised, human-to-human experience rather than ‘computer says no’!

We also have great buying power here at Stride Group. We’ve got seven delegated authorities with major insurers and we’ve got large accounts with them so we receive attractive rates, which we are then able to pass onto our brokers.

What can brokers expect from Stride Group in the near future?Portus Underwriting Logo

We have already expanded our Portus Underwriting product to include holiday homes and unoccupied risks, as well as warehouse and industrial property owner’s products.
After feedback from our brokers, we’ve since launched Portus Essentials, which is exclusive to Stride. We already have a Portus wording, which offers very good comprehensive cover; but we’ve recognised that in order for some of our brokers to retain the business of more price-conscious customers, we need to provide another option that enables us to streamline policies and compete with the light cover market. Portus Essentials gives us that – it’s still a great quality product but the cover is slightly reduced in order to help bring the premium down and ultimately help the broker win the business. Brokers can only access Portus via Stride. To find out more visit www.portusunderwriting.co.uk

We’ve also been working on some big news regarding a new partnership. This is under wraps at present, but look out for a major announcement from Stride Group in the not too distant future…

One final question, what are the main advantages for brokers working with Stride Insurance Group?

We continue to develop our proposition for brokers as we know they have many alternatives. As a specialist property owners insurance provider for 45 years, we’re experts in our field, with respected in-house underwriting and claims teams. Stride is fully independent, able to offer bespoke cover at competitive rates from a wide range of top quality insurers and the Lloyd’s market. We take pride in our levels of service and always go the extra mile to help brokers win and retain property owners business of every type, whatever the premium. I believe this package of products, service and expertise gives our brokers the edge in today’s market.