What is an insurance broker? How is the role different today?
Published 08 December 2017
The role of an insurance broker is changing. Creativity in finding solutions, harnessing big data and playing a bigger part in claims processing are just some of the factors affecting the sector today.
A recent survey conducted among industry professionals by the Underwriting Agencies Council of Australia and New Zealand identified using operational systems to improve scalability and flexibility as being of as much importance as relationship building to the broking function.
The survey results also pointed to using analytics to identify growth opportunities and support the development of more complex products more economically.
Changing market, changing service offering
Access to DIY off the shelf insurance products means customer buying patterns are changing, with the value of a broker increasingly defined by the personalised service they can provide.
According to the UAC survey, expertise, skills and experience remain the most important factors in remaining competitive in an industry that is becoming increasingly accessible to new players.
From the client point of view, modern business conditions make risk management ever more complex. For underwriters the broker’s role is critical to understanding what they are buying into.
The ability to place complex or specialised products, and to actively assist with the claims process, is how today’s insurance brokers can differentiate themselves.
What you should expect
Some traditional aspects of a broker’s role remain critical. These include:
access to a range of insurance products – this gives an insurance broker the ability to pick and choose on behalf of their clients
awareness of benefits, exclusions and costs offered by competing companies
relationships with a number of insurance providers and so to competitive pricing
the ability to put together insurance programs that comprehensively cover clients’ needs
providing advice on value for money, level of cover required and special terms that apply
negotiating competitive premiums
steering the claims process.
In modern business it pays to have an expert in your corner, and that’s exactly what an insurance broker is. Many specialise in particular insurance types or industries relevant to your needs.
Like an accountant or a lawyer, an insurance broker offers professional advice and has a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. That means you as the customer are their first priority.
One on one interactions, either in person or over the phone, establish and build trust. These ensure your broker understands your situation and the insurance requirements involved. They typically lay the foundation for the services a broker can perform for you.
You need to be transparent in your disclosures and prepared to supply supporting documents to back up your statements. Your broker can guide you as to what to provide, prompt you about updates and act as a record keeper for when you need to refer to them.
What background does a broker need?
Broking requires a combination of technical knowledge and business communication skills. Traditionally brokers learned their profession on the job; today they can undertake tertiary qualifications and continuing professional development courses. Many brokers hold degrees in business or commerce.
Do you need a broker?
To get a quote or arrange a free no-obligation insurance review, complete our contact form or call us on 1800 240 432 .