December 18, 2015

Episode 5 of Bankstone News’ current audiovisual obsession Broker Apprentice begins with Team E-vole and Team Expire lining up in the boardroom to meet laugh-a-minute task master Jonno ‘Hannibal’ Rork and his trusty sidekicks Mike Reign and Mike Allowance.

Your final task, JR announces ominously, will be to conjure from thin air a ‘digital initiative’ designed to benefit the broking industry. The six would-be apprentices will then, he says, be sent to Coventry’s Digital Arena, where each team will be allowed to use one of the spare exhibition stands no-one else wanted at Insurance Ape’s popular Broker X-Pole NORTH event.

The winners, we’re told, will be the ones who prove most effective in promoting the ‘virtues’ of their imaginary digital initiatives. “Good luck with that,” Rork sneers dismissively. And off they troop to get down to the urgent business of conjuring.

Team Expire’s ‘digital initiative’ (or ‘dig-in’ as the hep cats say) was inspired by stats suggesting 80% of brokers lack the basic knowledge to sell cyber insurance. So, Tristan explains, Team Perspire came up with the cunningly named ‘cybr’ (check your business risk).

This, he says, is an app built around a question set that assesses the ‘viability’ of making a cyber attack on any particular business. Unless the firm scores zero for potential cyber victimhood, the app alerts the broker to the practical and moral necessity of flogging their client a policy.

Team Ee Volve meanwhile have come up with something altogether more ambitious. What they’ve invented, Charlie explains, is nothing short of a “multifaceted online risk trading platform” which clients, brokers and insurers can all look at in ‘real time’. The big idea has something to do, apparently, with ‘a network of independent brokers led by a regional… broker’ dealing with policies worth at least £1500 quid in premium.

Don’t ask Bankstone News what any of that means. But the idea of a broker network sounds good. The idea of an online trading platform sounds good. Put the two together on your smartphone and surely that’s starting to sound truly great. Not bad for a couple of evening’s work.

How have the two teams been doing on the conjuring front, in the short space of time they’ve had to create their industry-transforming dig-ins? Let’s ask LurV= Insurance’s Anna Peaks. She’s well impressed, as it goes. Particularly since Team Perspire apparently threw out their original idea just a day or two before, sensing that familiar urge to regroup and come up with a new strategy.

So which team had the better idea? Which of them had the greater potential to augment the sum total of UK broker wellbeing? Would the sweeping grandeur of Ee Volve’s multifaceted platform trump the uninspiring practicality of Team Expire’s app-based bid to make cyber risk sufficient simple for even the dimmest of brokers to sell?

Nobody cares. This is Broker Apprentice not bl**dy Robot Wars! It matters not a jot whether either of these fictional dig-ins flies, holds water, or in any other way passes muster. What matters is collecting business cards in a plastic goldfish bowl. And who’s got the most of those? Why, it’s Ginny and Team Eeeeeeee Volve! Cue extended self congratulation from the victors, very briefly preceded by rueful glances from hard-done-by Team Perspire.

So the series goes 2-1 to Team Ee Value. But does that mean one of their team members will will clinch the Broken Apprentice crown? No idea, Mate. You’ll have to watch Ep 6 with us and find out.

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