Posts Tagged ‘Professionalism’

Social Media and its impact on your business and mine!

October 26, 2012

Coming through one of my busiest seasons in several years offers some unique insights as I continually review what I do correctly and analyze how to improve.  Does Social Media have any impact on the “why” I have been successful recently?  YES, unequivocally! 


What I see, however, are people who want value but expect to pay the lowest insurance premiums for what they buy, meaning they usually obtain less than they want.  Unfortunately, what is so easily forgotten is that there are many differences between insurance policies and that cost should only be 1 factor!  What else should be considered?  How do “you” determine who you should be buying from and what you should be buying?  Do you like the salesperson or do you “trust” the individual advising you?  What should be important to you, believing the provider of your coverage or asking questions and evaluating the honesty and integrity and knowledge of that person?  How should you evaluate that person and the professionalism exhibited?    


One new client asked that I quote a second insurance policy because he valued my opinions.  What he didn’t know (and, apparently, hadn’t been explained by his prior insurance broker) was that the insurance company he is insured through increased his premium when he purchased the building from the previous owner.  This was due to the added risk that his “operating” business, as a tenant in the building, had on the property’s insurance. 


What value did I offer to this client?  We discussed Risk Management to reduce his potential for any insurance claim and also various deductibles, necessary and optional coverage, etc. to lower his insurance premiums.  I found many other insurance companies did not want to quote the building insurance and suggested that he be happy with what he had and he appointed me the broker for his business.  Knowing he will implement some of my suggestions will permit our brokerage to shop his renewal in subsequent years and maintain lower pricing for his insurance, a win-win for both of us. 


As for his “operation”, isn’t it nice that I can promote his business through my own online activities?  When my competition is reluctant to have an online presence on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest – well, how many of your customers or potential customers are using Social Media now?  Wouldn’t you like to connect with them or have someone, maybe a business partner, promote you to other businesses, increasing your sales and profit?


As an insurance broker, I know there are major differences between the “intermediaries” (insurance salespeople) and not just insurance companies and policies.  Offering my various and large online networks should assist you, especially in comparison with my competitors who are not online in any manner.  Additionally, I try to find information of importance and interest to you and disseminate in a timely manner so that you understand the many opportunities and various risks you are or may face in your business at the present time or in the near future.


Some of these risks include Occupational Health & Safety, Employment Practices, Human Rights Legislation, Business Continuity Planning, etc.  I am on the mailing lists of various law firms, consultants and governments, agencies and regulators to help you!  Some of these issues may involve insurance but many may only, indirectly, due to the changing environment concerning “risk”.  Imagine using contract workers, for example.  What if the employment agency doesn’t submit EI or W/T?  Do you know you can be held responsible, individually?  What can you do to avoid this?  Should you purchase additional insurance protection to cover in the event of something like this? 


Let’s talk!  If your insurance provider is not offering suitable professional assistance to you, maybe you need to make an immediate change?!


The Value of Choosing Professionals who Specialize in Reducing your Cost, Risk and Improving your Mental Wellbeing

May 4, 2012

How does the purchase of real estate have anything to do with the above headline and why, as a Property/Casualty Insurance Broker would I wish to write about this topic?

I attended a very informative and interesting function last week where a commercial realtor, home inspector, financial planner, mortgage broker and real estate lawyer spoke.  They knew they had a topic that should generate questions, good attendance and did extremely well in their presentations.  In fact, I even learned (maybe “relearned”) some information that is useful to someone in my own specialized field.  But how does this relate to choosing a Professional?  Let’s answer that as you understand better what is happening with insurance companies.

This week, for example, I see that Intact Insurance is acquiring Jevco Insurance.  What does this mean to the insurance brokerage business and to the consuming public?  A recent new contact commented to me that he hates even thinking about insurance – who doesn’t?  Every time he has contemplated shopping his business insurance, he is told by various brokers that they are not able to assist him because, in our industry, an insurance company will “block” (restrict) another broker from quoting when they have already been approached by one broker (giving a quote or declining to quote) and this is something his present brokerage does. 

Many brokers shop a renewal to all their insurance companies under contract to their brokerage, trying to get the best renewal terms (usually) so they retain the client’s policies.  The commission for one year is never enough to compensate a brokerage for their expenses so it is incumbent on the salesman to ensure he/she doesn’t lose the client to a competitor.  As we see fewer and fewer insurance companies operating due to mergers and acquisitions, this equates into most large brokerages having all the same insurance companies under contract and this could then make any individual dissatisfied due to a lack of understanding.

The business I spoke with is a retailer so that his comment was what one might expect – “If I want to sell Panasonic or Sony to someone and they don’t wish to buy from me but go elsewhere then they could not buy from another outlet?  Does this appear reasonable?” 

Unfortunately, the insurance industry is not as reasonable as other industries because everyone assumes that the commission rate will be identical and their pricing has to, also, be the same when a broker offers terms to the client.  When consulting, it is easier to manage this shopping process but one must be prepared to pay a fee for the consultant’s expertise.  If you are not prepared to pay a fee for this service (only recommended for extremely large premium policies) then you should not permit the broker to operate in such a fashion.  As a consultant, the means of ensuring that any 2 brokerages are being fair and finding the best terms can be established easier, especially since most insurance buyers really don’t understand the differences between quotes and policies.  For smaller premiums (sure we all think we pay high costs for insurance but this is really a matter of opinion) this is not feasible.

My reply to the above retail business was not what I like to say but is what insurance companies feel – that the buying individual or company has chosen the insurance broker as opposed to another broker for the professionalism displayed.  Now this is the one difference of opinion many people will share because they really do buy on price since it is impossible for many people to determine how professional an insurance broker/agent might be, correct?  Unless you can see some distinct evidence – Blogging, Twitter, seminars, newsletters, something concrete – or unless the broker is obviously helping your business in other ways, your dilemma is understood by this writer. 

You can and should ask any insurance broker for what companies have been approached and what the responses are.  As well, you should ask to see a copy of what is being sent to various underwriters in order to determine the accuracy of information being provided.  I have seen where an underwriter quoted a risk, only to withdraw after another broker had explained what the occupancy was.  There is nothing worse than your business description being inaccurate to the point of a claim being denied for the reason that an insurance company would not insure the class of business in which you operate, is there?

The job of a professional is not just to sell but to educate and inform.  For anyone to have mental wellbeing with insurance – remember that an insurance policy is a contract, a “promise to indemnify” – you must rely on a professional to provide you with the best terms and conditions, not just the lowest priced insurance!

If you wish for further assistance, please ensure your comments are added here.