Schemes; the art of niche hunting.

  Amanda   |   10th June 2021 - 6 min read

Schemes | Insurance | Knowledge Centre

Each scheme begins its life as a small, sometimes underestimated idea. Schemes can allow the broker to carve out and provide their own particular niche. If you’re not in a specialist sector already however, researching which niche you should move into could seem intimidating. The best way to broach it, is to map out a few ideas … essentially here’s the licence to let loose on flip chart paper.

The first and most obvious solution is to think about what you’re interested in, and therefore what you’re an expert in. Make a list of all your hobbies, things you’re enthusiastic about or take pleasure in. What topics do you like to learn about? It’s highly likely your colleagues share similar interests (unless you’re a total maverick), so involve them! Look for the insurance need, and identify the people you know who could join you in this mission.

If hobbies lead you nowhere, look for trends. What’s hot right now? New sports, leisure activities, pastimes, is there an ‘in’? What are your nieces and nephews/god children/actual children doing? Sometimes the young do have the answers…

Narrow the field

In order to provide customers with solutions that add value, you need to narrow the field and understand what they want. If you already know the challenges this community faces, great! If not, visit some online forums, research appropriate social media hashtags and find the pain points. Or, just have conversations with your target market – what are the top questions this sector has? And can you help?

You wont solve it all, but you can 100% begin to sculpt an end product that will add value to this group.

“If you can find a group of businesses that are not being catered to in the open market and find the commonalities in them, there is a great opportunity for the broker and insurer to work together to develop a suitable scheme product.” – Nikki Crabb, Covea Insurance

Size up the competition

Never a comfortable thing, but without looking at your competition you could easily enter the market with a host of other similar products. Research any competitors you think could be selling in this market, and decide whether or not you have a realistic opportunity to be successful with your product.

If you believe you can differentiate yourself enough, then go for it. But remember, you need to offer something that stands out. If there are good number of companies doing the same thing, this probably isn’t your niche … or any niche to be fair.

Important Note; Make sure the size of the community you’re targeting is big enough. You want a customer base that’s large enough to create a bespoke offering. If a competitor is dominating the market, you need to consider whether your idea if unique enough to make a sizable dent.

Where’s the value?

Go out on a limb and collect feedback from your target market. What’s their opinion on the covers you’re wanting to provide? Find contacts from representative bodies, societies or associations linked to your niche. They can offer valuable leads and feedback, depending on how well the relationship is nurtured. Network, network, network!

Sorry introverts, this wont be a totally fun day for you.

Go on a search for your partner in crime

After all this research, you’re in a great position to pitch to a favourite/preferred insurer. Most of them will need a good-looking business plan – make sure you’ve identified the size of the market, risk types that you want to target, and levels of cover. Large insurers may take longer to make a decision in this process, so consider smaller MGAs as well that may be in a better position.

“We find that when you go to the mainstream carriers you’ve got quite a lot more hoops to jump through. They have a lot more departments and a lot more people who have to get involved.” Graham Whyatt, James Hallam

Important Note; Also, put some effort into the aesthetics of your business plan – even if this isn’t your strong point, pay a freelancer to make your document look designed and intentional. More professional, less thrown together.

Also, it’s always better with speculative schemes to have an existing book, so think about whether you can start writing this business on an open market wording, whilst you work on a bespoke product.

Although time consuming, this process can be a brilliant way of defining yourself as a specialist in the market and offering a well researched, well organised end product that really adds value.

Flip chat paper can be found here…

Did you know, we’ve also written an article on the 4 things you must consider when building a successful insurance product!

manda – website - insurtech

Manda Hinkin-Page

Manda spent the majority of her 20s working for London based non-profits, studying Person-Centred Counselling, and achieving a First Class degree in Creative Writing. Since 2020 she has been freelancing as a Copywriter, and joins us as Marketing Manager.

She loves animals, swing music, psychology, cake, pesto, ballet and walking to the top of really big hills.

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