Wayne Pontin is a man on a mission - to broaden the appeal of the AMII to larger brokers while keeping hold of the smaller ones. Nicola Culley talks to the group's new head about his plans.
He said: “Our broker membership has to increase. But it is not necessarily a numbers game. We need to build a fully representative voice. There has been a period of stagnation. The last major impact was the introduction of the CII exams.
“There is a perception that AMII was formed only for the small broker and my job now will be to break that. But it will not be achieved in my two years tenure. I will just have to lay strong foundations.”
He does not want to stop there. Providers are also on the hit list. Pontin said opening the corporate membership out to providers as well as brokers will work on two counts: widening AMII’s voice and building a financially viable framework.
AMII’s funding strategy, Pontin explained, is not sustainable. Broadly speaking, funds have been raised through membership and income through providers buying exhibition space at conferences and events.
But Pontin hastened to point out, the current economy spelled tightened belts for most provider marketing budgets, and that the structure is a “precarious way” of raising funds.
He said: “We are now encouraging providers to become corporate members, which automatically gives them exhibition space. We have had verbal commitment from major providers but we have not drafted contracts yet.”
But if AMII’s fundamental goal is to represent insurance intermediary needs, does this not dilute the focus somewhat?
“I do not think it blurs the focus of the body at all,” he said. “While the focus is intermediaries we want to be the reference for the whole industry. I think it is the only way intermediaries can benefit – by working with providers.”
Among talk of driving the big intermediary players and providers into the membership pool, will Pontin risk alienating the smaller guys?
His answer to this has been structural. Three sub-committees have been organised to work directly to the main executive committee: membership, employee benefits and larger intermediary membership and standards and relationships. Pontin explained that attention could be devoted to each spoke without focus waivering.
On top of that, he will be striving to keep AMII focused on the different industry issues on its agenda; education and working with the CII; NHS reforms and the need to bring private and public care together; and product innovation.
Pontin will also be heavily involved in driving membership, with a particular energy for getting providers through the membership doors. Other teams, he explained, would be looking at product innovation and NHS reform.
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