The local business insurance approach to meeting regional business needs
Published 28 October 2020
Gallagher Branch Manager for Wagga Wagga Caleb Richards wants to help build up the perception of insurance brokers to being comparable to lawyers or accountants, and he’s putting in the yards to do it. Here’s how he approaches providing value to his regional community.
“My branch culture is based around great relationships, business education and engagement with our clients,” Richards says. He also believes it’s important to be an all-rounder.
“The beauty and the challenge of a regional branch is the smaller populations require more diversity in a broker’s capability because there’s not enough of any one type of business to continually grow as a specialist.”
His own broad areas of expertise encompass bulk dangerous goods (haulage of gas and aerosols), log harvesting and haulage, transport fleets, earthmovers/civil contractors, farm and cropping and electrical contractors. He also works with large multinational manufacturers, seed propagators, aquaculture farming, bulk fertiliser/grain and wool brokers.
“Some of the businesses I’ve built relationships with in my regional branch are globally listed entities for which we manage the local placement,” he adds.
Understanding what matters to local businesses
When he meets with local business owners Richards says he tries to focus on their key concerns: maintaining and growing their enterprises. He believes that a commercially oriented conversation sets up the right frame of mind for introducing the idea of contingency planning ‒ and that includes the role of insurance.
Rather than talking to them about insurance products he makes the discussion about risk management in their particular business. “This can be as simple as what a business would do if it was to burn down, through to understanding the exposure they might have from relying on a single client or one commercial market, and other external risk factors that they may not have transferred through having insurance.”
Insight into a business’s operations and the owner’s attitude to their risks provides a basis for thinking about how they’re going to manage them, and this is where a broker can show how they can help add value across the business. “Doing something like sorting out a business’s workers’ compensation demonstrates the diversity of support we offer for the business’s whole risk exposure,” he says.
Community engagement is essential to regional success, Richards says. The branch has built strong relationships through recognising opportunities to provide added value for clients and businesses in the community by way of supporting the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber ethics awards and facilitating business education events with risk management insights.
Richards makes sure Gallagher is also involved with local sports clubs and, through his personal interest in music, has sat on the board of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.
Being there when it counts is part of his mantra and this includes when a client has to make a claim. Richards still has a thank you card from a property owner he acted for earlier in his career, when her haystack caught fire from a lightning strike.
“I decided then that this gave me purpose for doing what I do day in day out and always going the extra mile for a client,” he says.
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