BIBA 2016: All About Uncertainty

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Written by Andy Hartman

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BIBA 2016 was all about uncertainty. Brokers in every session were worried about the insurance industry’s uncertain future and the big challenges looming on the horizon.

Legislative developments like Brexit and the Insurance Act could completely transform the regulatory environment. The ageing broker workforce and negative public perception threaten to exacerbate the current talent shortage. Rampant technological change jeopardises the basic ways we do business.

The future of the insurance industry is mired in uncertainty, which exposes a fundamental problem: How can we adapt to an uncertain future in an industry that is all about preparing for and insuring against the future?

In all the sessions I attended, the usual answers popped up:

  • We need to change the negative perception of our industry.
  • We need to highlight the good that we do.
  • We need to position insurance as an indispensable product rather than a costly luxury.

The problem with these ‘solutions’? They only offer a false cure-all. People think the insurance industry is a racket? Let’s change it. We don’t do enough to highlight how we help people? Let’s write a success story. People don’t realise how much they need insurance? Let’s tell them again. See what I mean?

These solutions do nothing to engage with uncertainty or the future. To be clear, I’m not here to offer a cure-all. I don’t know exactly where the industry will be in ten years—nobody does.

What I can offer is a tip from my experience at this year’s BIBA conference: Embrace uncertainty. The industry has been changing for years, and it shows no signs of stopping. We need to acclimatise ourselves to the unknown.

Successful brokers will learn to embrace uncertainty, and ultimately profit from it. Embracing uncertainty means being adaptable. It means anticipating the forces of change rather than merely reacting to them. Successful brokers—and successful people in general—know that adaptability is directly related to survivability.

But it is not enough to just be adaptable, brokers need to understand the forces of change. They need to be more than just brokers—they need to be trusted, knowledgeable advisers. This involves educating yourself and your clients on issues that affect their sector and that are changing our industry. For example:

  • Help your clients understand how Brexit could impact their sector.
  • Help your clients prepare their businesses for all the possible Brexit models.
  • Understand how Brexit could affect your brokerage and the insurance industry in general.

Are you doing any of these things? If not, it’s time to start. Stop the pointless, collective hand-wringing that offers no solutions and further stagnates our profession.

Resist inertia. Educate yourself and communicate with your clients about real-time developments that matter to them. One of the easiest ways to do that is with Zywave’s Broker Briefcase and MyWave Connect sales and marketing tools. They allow you to continuously provide your clients with clear, valuable and timely legislative content.

For an example of the kind of up-to-date content you and your clients can use to educate yourselves and prepare for the future, click here for our latest document detailing what businesses should do to prepare for a possible Brexit.

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