Chief executive José Manuel Fonseca touted Brokerslink as a “different animal” to the big three insurance brokers, since its relaunch as a company working with local partners worldwide

The Brokerslink 2017 conference launched in Morocco today, touting the company – backed by its membership of local brokers – as an alternative to the big three insurance brokers.

The organisation has evolved in recent years from a loose network of brokers into its own company, backed by broker shareholders, aiming to topple the virtual triopoly of the insurance market’s biggest global intermediaries.

“We are a new animal in the market, a different animal to the big three brokers,” said Brokerslink chief executive José Manuel Fonseca (pictured), speaking at the event in Marrakech today.

“We’re building own client network,” he told the assembled audience of intermediaries.

Youness Rhallam, CEO of Alpha Assurances, a Casablanca-based insurance broker, and the event’s official host, told the conference that staging the conference in Morocco was a “strong statement” of Brokerslink’s African ambitions.

“This year it’s an honour to host the conference for the first time in Morocco and the first time in Africa,” Rhallam told StrategicRISK, on the eve of the event.

“It represents a strong statement of Brokerslink’s strategy, towards expansion and towards Africa,” said Rhallam, who was appointed Brokerslink’s regional director for Middle East and Africa in 2014, and then in 2016 joined its board in Zug, Switzerland.

Since 2004, Brokerslink has evolved by joining broking networks in Europe to others in Asia and the Americas to create a global association, which was then restructured into its own company from 2016.

“We’re a start-up, not a virgin start-up, but we have a new model,” said Fonseca, highlighting the increased role his organisation now plays for its broker shareholders and affiliates.

“We are working more and in different markets with our own team, to bring new clients to Brokerslink, often with your help to create our own portfolio to act as a global broking company,” Fonseca continued.

He noted that the rivals in his firm’s sights – the big three brokers of Marsh, Aon and Willis Towers Watson that collectively place around two-thirds of global premium – have advantages of international reach and presence.

“We’re trying to convince markets and clients that they are not content just to work with them. They have alternatives,” said Fonseca.

He cited remarks made by XL Group CEO Mike McGavick, suggesting that years of broker consolidation have created a threat to healthy competition and variety in the market.

“Projects like BrokersLink can be an alternative to that consolidation. We are a small company but we manage a big organisation. We’re a different model,” continued Fonseca.

“We’re unusual in that this is an entity that works from the bottom up, from the local brokers within these countries,” he told StrategicRISK just before the event.

“The idea is to build something new, to invest in expansion and new business, to provide value for our partners, and to facilitate global access to broker skills,” he said.

To compete against the biggest intermediaries, he gave an example of a regional broker seeking to successfully tender for a large multinational placement, for which acting independently it might lack the scale to compete with larger rivals.

“Through the Brokerslink company structure, they can pool the resources of the other shareholder members to successfully tender for that placement,” said Fonseca.