4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Insurance Broker
I’m the CEO of a highly successful national insurance brokerage headquartered in Chicago. In effect, I’m the leader of a whole bunch of insurance salespeople. I’m also an attorney and, at one point, I was an investor in a used car lot. Let the jokes begin. Evidently, it was my desire to have under my belt the top 3 careers most ridiculed by society. I think I nailed it.
Having said all this, I love my job, and I’m passionate about the importance of insurance brokers as trusted advisors to today’s organizational leaders. Our profession is in the unique position to help clients address most facets of their operations, safety programs, human resources, culture and assorted legal issues. My insurance advisors need to have a very broad skill set and access to information that hits all these areas for nearly all types of organizations. Each day, I’m totally in awe of the services Assurance employees can and do deliver to make clients better.
Which is why I believe you should be diligent and careful in selecting your insurance broker partner. Choose wisely and your partner can help minimize risk as well as maximize the health of your employees and organization alike. Choose poorly and the relationship can increase injuries, decrease efficiencies and basically make your organization uncompetitive.
There are a number of incredible insurance brokers across the country. Assurance is not entirely alone. The challenge is always finding the right partner for your business, church, not for profit...etc. To aid you in your analysis of an insurance broker, here are 4 questions you should consider to ensure you’re choosing wisely.
1. How do they create long-term plans with clients?
Being a successful broker is not simply offering the right insurance policies to protect an organization and its balance sheet. The offering of products is simply the “ante” to the game. Insurance brokers of today need to sit down with clients to create three and five year strategic plans. These plans must contain certain measurable goals that are to be mutually achieved along with the annual activities needed to achieve them. An insurance and risk management program should follow the same rigor and planning that is done by most businesses in all areas of their enterprise. To be successful, it takes planning and execution.
2. Do they deeply understand your industry and its challenges?
There are complexities and differences in every industry. It’s virtually impossible for an insurance broker to be great at every industry nowadays. The jack of all trades insurance broker has gone by the wayside. You need a broker that has experience in your industry and understands the unique characteristics of the industry.
For instance, an insurance broker who works with manufacturers needs to be aware that it’s highly likely the plant workforce will not speak English as its first language. How do you adjust your communications to adapt to this fact? Think of it like this: would you want a brain surgeon performing foot surgery? I’d imagine he or she could do a decent job, but you’d probably rather have the foot surgeon. This is the same, albeit with less needed education, for your insurance broker. You want the industry specialist.
3. Can they give numerous examples of success and references to back up these stories?
When talking to an insurance professional, make them walk the walk. Ask them for specific examples of the long-term planning they’ve done with clients in the past. Find out what goals they’ve set and which activities they performed to get this accomplished. If they’ve done this, they should be easily able to describe their success in detail. Also, ask for references so you can call to understand how successful improvements were accomplished. Get details from the reference on how the broker helps them each year to be successful and make improvements. References are the “horse’s mouth” and can give you the best information on the success and diligence of an insurance professional.
4. Will you keep their ‘A’ team on your team?
There’s a habit in the insurance industry of bringing out the 'A' team to sell you on doing business with a company. Then, when you agree to move forward, the team changes and everyone in the initial process is gone. Make sure the people who sold you on doing business will stay with your organization at least in majority part. You want the team that created your strategic plan to be the same as those who are going to execute it with you. I realize there are promotions and some people may move on over time, but the majority should stay with you over the long haul.
A great way to improve your organization is to choose a top notch insurance brokerage firm to be a partner with you. There are a vast number of ways they can help you be more competitive. It’s truly a wonderful profession, and one I’m so very proud to be a part of.
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