BIBA 2015: All About the Broker

Monday, June 1, 2015
Written By
Andy Hartman

BIBA 2015 was all about the broker. Despite being awash in a sea of freebies that had me sipping on piña coladas, charging my mobile with a new travel power pack, and scribbling notes on mountains of free stationary, an ominous and impending shift was palpable—the role of the broker is changing.

Everyone, in every session, was talking about the broker’s precarious position—how do we react to the growth of price comparison and aggregator websites? How can we polish our stained reputation? How do we cut through the impenetrable jargon and make things easier for our clients to understand?

This uncertain future was the central topic of the Chief Executives’ Forum, a discussion among four industry heavyweights chaired by Jeremy Paxman. In typical Paxman fashion, the veteran broadcaster hacked through the industry rhetoric to expose the underlying problem: Brokers, as we operate today, are a dying breed. Unless we act now, we will drown in the upcoming sea change.

So what can we do? The panel’s debating, haranguing and hair-pulling yielded several possible solutions:

  • Move away from price as the ultimate decider. Cover comparison sites rely on price as the ultimate decider. Brokers need to differentiate themselves not just by providing a competitive rate, but by providing crucial and trusted guidance. A low price is not worth much without bespoke guidance.
  • Offer more support to clients. Brokers can no longer survive by just selling insurance—we need to diversify. We should be providing our clients with regular, helpful guidance that helps them stay compliant and successful. Be more than their broker—be their adviser.
  • Banish perplexing jargon. Insurance policies are already confusing enough without the addition of industry jargon. Brokers should make it easier for clients to understand complicated insurance products. After all, hardly anyone reads his or her policy from cover to cover simply because it’s chock-full of confusing legalese and headache-inducing jargon. Bridge the gap by speaking and writing in clear, concise language. It is our responsibility to educate clients—let’s do it in accessible language they understand.
  • Embrace the digital. The unrelenting march of digital technology is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Seize it by offering to communicate with clients via modern digital technology like texting or FaceTime. Younger clients will appreciate the extra effort, and older clients will appreciate the extra support. Let’s ditch our industry’s stodgy reputation by communicating with clients in their own terms.

The beauty of these solutions is that they don’t require you to spend any money—they are all about improving your brokerage’s image and making your client interactions more personalised. You can choose whichever solution is appropriate for your brokerage, but be sure to choose something—do not stand still while the industry marches on without you.

Or better yet, get a head start on the industry with Zywave’s Broker Briefcase and MyWave Connect sales and marketing tools. They allow you to continuously provide your clients with clear, valuable and up-to-date content to help them stay compliant, informed and successful.

Now let’s look toward the future and secure the place of the broker in an evolving industry. Let’s ensure we are offering our clients all the available support we can muster. Let’s change the perception of our vital industry, which absorbs risk and makes business happen. We should not get stuck in the past, but help create the future of insurance, together.

One response to “BIBA 2015: All About the Broker”

  1. All very good Andy but typical, I’m afraid, of the insular market view that – with a few tweaks – the traditional broking model will survive. The FCA aren’t too sure for a start! If you really want an insight into the Future of Commercial Insurance, may I suggest the outsourced insurance management model is closer to the truth. However, being more than a little selfish, the longer it takes the broking fraternity to realise the better it will be for companies such as mine.

    Keep up the good work and keep encouraging your brokers to leave the blinkers on!

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