DAILY NEWS Jan 24, 2013 4:31 PM - 1 comment

Driving business to broker channel demands considering new approaches

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Experimentation may help identify how best to combat erosion in the broker channel, Brigid Murphy, president and CEO of The Dominion, suggested at an Insurance Brokers of Toronto Region luncheon on Tuesday. 

The Dominion is "very interested in experimenting with ways to stop the erosion," and drive business to the broker channel, Murphy told luncheon attendees.

For example, The Dominion experimented with one broker last year that wanted to get out of personal lines. There were plenty of takers, but the broker was convinced to "put all of the personal lines business with us. To some extent, they're almost an agent. It's been incredible. The retention is way better than we thought and the profitability is fantastic," Murphy said. 

Another area where there may be room for experimentation relates to social media, Murphy suggested. Brokers have always excelled at being engaged in the community and "social media is just another kind of community," she said.

"There are ways to form communities especially in social media that brokers will be successful at. I think the technology environment that we're in really levels the playing field for brokers," Murphy suggested.

The Dominion is "interested in testing the waters on a few of those things with a small number of brokers," she reported. It is unlikely that all such efforts will be successful, "but in all of them, we're going to learn something. I think it's really important that we start understanding some of these things," she added.

"It's in The Dominion's DNA to believe that consumers are better served by brokers," Murphy told attendees. That said, the current situation with insurance companies buying brokers threatens to further erode the broker channel. "I really don't see that changing too much going forward," Murphy said.

That makes trying different things important. "We do have to sort of push the envelope a little bit somehow on the experimentation point," she said.

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