We often hear that relationships are a two-way street, and this isn’t restricted to our personal lives. Working with an insurance broker, open communication is imperative to ensure the best outcome for you and your business.
Few businesses have the inclination, time, or resources to spend hours reviewing their insurance policies by reading page after page of policy documents – however, ensuring the policies are arranged correctly is necessary to protect your livelihood. The broker needs to listen to you to devise a risk transfer method best suited to your business’s needs. Brokers should be there to assist with the process, making it clear and simple what insurance cover you have and how it might work in the event of a claim.
Ask yourself – what is the priority when dealing with a broker and securing renewal terms for your insurance?
Is it ensuring that large volumes of data, such as location details for multi risk sites and sums insured, are presented in an easily accessible format that can be transferred to insurers? Reams of paperwork are not practical in this instance and many brokers may overlook how this can impact business owners and decision makers.
I cast my mind back to a recent prospect who approached us, whose business had lots of moving parts, acquisitions, stock changes, hiring, and employees out on the road. Their brief to Aston Lark was very simple:
“Nikki, I need you to make my insurance simple and clear. We need to know exactly where our money is being spent because we need to monitor the cost effectiveness of our acquisitions and apportion the costs quickly.”
It turns out that the person arranging the insurance is an expert on spreadsheets –she’s a financial controller – and very astute at understanding vast swathes of data when presented in a format with which she is familiar. As such, we devised spreadsheets and bespoke portals for both customers and the insurers.
Brokers overlook this. While it’s great that many brokers do a good job of arranging policies, negotiating premiums, and sending out documents, what many businesses in the real-world value is understanding how insurance works for them. Information for countless businesses is constantly changing and updating, and this data needs to be transmitted quickly and efficiently, without taking too much time to implement and enact changes to cover with insurers.
This interaction prompted the insurance underwriters and I to have constructive conversations on the scope of the business and what will happen over the next 3 years, and to begin to build a tripartite plan around how both the insurer and customer can benefit from a long-term strategy. The customer valued stability and the ability to foresee the premiums for its acquisitions (and for future policies), while the insurer benefitted from the knowledge that the customer would remain loyal to them and they could therefore implement premium savings, stabilised rates and even low claims rebates which together brought the costs down even further.
An additional benefit to this was that the customer only had to understand a single policy document for the next 3 years.
I can’t personally take credit for this one, but I’ve also known a colleague to create a portal specific to check the insurance details of suppliers and couriers – an invaluable tool for our customer who had time restraints around this type of administration. Our assistance allowed them to focus on the day job.
Communication is key and there is no one size fits all approach to insurance. I hear from many businesses who dread the process of inviting a new broker in, but by communicating openly and delivering a quote brief you can really get some useful information and creative savings from your broker.
What would your broker do if you asked: “What can you do to make this simple for me?”, “Is there a way we can work together for a better deal?”, or even “How does my insurance compare to my peers in the sector?”
I know what could happen if you asked us.
Find out more about Aston Lark Commercial Insurance by calling 020 7543 2807.
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