In an effort to figure out the best method to accomplish the goal of a prospect that wants to market their insurance portfolio, I am always looking at how to inform my client of the work that surrounds this endeavor. The truth is, done right this process, for an average size business should be started about 3 months out. To that end, there is a great deal of information needed and some is completely out of my reach or the client’s reach.
For that reason I decided to blog today about the committment and cooperation needed for a truly in-depth look at the actual markets. When you decide to access markets outside of your current broker, you are looking for the most in-depth research to be certain that your incumbent broker is giving you all of pieces to your puzzle. Here is the real issue, when you do that you must realize that up front you have asked someone to do your research and that they are hoping to earn your business through these efforts but will do this at no charge to you.
Depending on the niche your organization occupies, there could be a limited amount of carriers and the battle to get to the best markets can put off the best underwriter from stepping up his game because he knows what ensues when brokers begin to battle it out for the competitive premium, best coverage, etc. As a responsible consumer, you want to ask yourself a couple of things before you begin this battle. Will I get the best from all if I just let the battle rage? Will I be given a skewed look into my options and not the best picture because I didn’t make a committment?
To put things in perspective, you should let you rcurrent broker know that they are doing a great job by allowing them the first swat at what markets they want to access. But, after that you should reign in on the rest by appointing no more than two others and ask that they too select the markets they will access. This offers the underwriters of your coverage the option of knowing that they should put their best offer on the table first and that they will deal with a specific broker with whom they have an established relationship that they know is solid.
Secondly, you must then commit to obtaining and providing all information. I suggest about three months outside of renewal, requesting loss runs for the last five years. I also suggest getting financial information together, putting a packet of information on the policies you are putting to market, and various other pieces of information depending on the type of coverage.
Remember that there are two things that EVERY carrier will want and no broker will want to release…….Loss History. It sends a red flag up the back of the incumbent broker you are working with because they are threatened. Try to have the conversation with them that gives them the big picture and let them know that you want them to earn this business and that they will have first pick of the carriers. This will ally their fears a bit, but make no mistake none of us like competition. However, competition will open the eyes of an incumbent to step up and give their all at this renewal to save their spot as a partner with your firm.
Things to consider when you choose a broker to represent you:
- Size of agency and the expertise they have in this specific industry.
- Connections will follow size and expertise because good carriers will want to do business with top rated agencies.
- Resources that the agency brings to the partnership as a part of their service platform.
These are just a few things to look at, there are many more that will make the difference in a good solid reporting back on a brokers findings and offer you the leverage the agency carries with their solid carrier choices in the market as a part of your up front committment.
This is an involved process and each broker you choose is taking their A game to the carriers and that is something that must be taken seriously. The best way to handle this would be with a solid committment from both your self and the broker to offer their best upfront and then make an educated decision based on the real information that an arrangement like this will bring to your renewal efforts. It can only prove or disprove that you have the right coverage or if you should change.