Canadian Underwriter

3 ways these award winners say communication can improve

December 19, 2019   by Adam Malik

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If there’s one area in which insurance professionals have room to grow, it’s in communicating. Whether it’s between brokers, with associations, to customers or with other industry partners, communication is something top of mind for recent winners of the CIP Society’s National Leadership Award.

Especially being a hard market, it’s crucial to be communicating with clients, said Paul Croft, who was recognized as an established leader by the CIP Society. And communicating doesn’t mean constantly yapping away at your clients.

“It’s not a one-way street. It’s a matter of listening,” he explained. “I think we really need to be listening to our clients and listening to what our insurance carriers’ needs and requirements are and trying to find common ground. We need to be providing as much information and clarity around exposures as we can.”

Clients are facing increased rates and changes to terms and conditions, to name just two issues, and if they don’t understand why that’s happening, then brokers can expect a negative reaction, Croft said. “Certainly, clients want to have an understanding of what the insurance marketplace is doing. They want to understand what the challenges are and what the issues are and the more they understand and have that clarity, the better they’re going to respond to the challenges that the market is going to bring to them.”

For Ernest Mashingaidze, recognized as an emerging leader, it’s not enough to tell people about insurance. They need to be taught what they’re covered for. For example, he said, insurance pays to a limit. Maybe the client doesn’t have guaranteed replacement cost or is only covered until a certain point, say $100,000, but the loss is double that.

He gave an example of one of his clients. The limits were paid out for his dwelling. But his contents were covered for actual cash value, so a max payout couldn’t be done. “Explaining to him why we were maxing out every other limit he had except for contents was pretty difficult,” Mashingaidze said. “This gentleman had been insured with us for, I think, 20 years and this was the first claim he had. So it puts me in a very difficult position.

“I think one of the challenges we have is the lack of cross-communication between the policy itself and the customers. I think when we do face the problem of customers not understanding the policy itself, we face that challenge of upset customers.”

Monica Woldring, recognized as an established leader, also wants to see communication enhanced when it comes to other industries introducing new products that have an impact on insurance. For example, today’s automobile is a smartphone on wheels and that has implications when it comes to coverage.

“Nobody bothered to tell the insurance companies, ‘By the way, it’s going to cost more money to fix them now,’” she said. “So we didn’t get the opportunity to do the planning as an industry that we should have.”

Had they, maybe the industry wouldn’t be facing the challenges it is today. “The problem is people aren’t used to talking to the insurance companies and saying ‘These are the innovations we’re making. Be prepared,’” she said.

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