Canadian Underwriter

What key skill brokers can’t afford to forget

November 25, 2019   by Adam Malik

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Whether it’s providing clients with information or adding clarity to their situation, brokers can’t afford to let their communication slip, according to one broker expert.

“Communication is key. It’s not a one-way street. It’s a matter of listening,” said Paul Croft, who was recently named a CIP Society’s National Leadership Award winner. “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.”

Brokers need to be able to provide their clients with a clear level of understanding of what’s happening in the insurance marketplace. It’s an evolving market and clients need to know what the challenges are, said Croft, who is Aon’s senior vice president and national broking leader based in Halifax.

“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,” he explained.

What will the market bring? Increased rates and changes to terms and conditions, Croft said. “And if the clients understand what’s underlying that and what’s behind that, they’re much more willing to accept that,” he added. “If someone simply brings a rate increase and changes to terms and conditions to a client without them understanding why they’re seeing that, they’re obviously not going to react in a positive way.”

This is why being an educator is an important job for brokers. Croft advises brokers to explain how such market challenges are affecting them today and what ripple effects there may be in the future.

But the need for greater communication doesn’t end at the broker-client relationship. There are improvements that can be made behind the scenes, whether it’s brokers and insurers or brokers and adjusters or all three together.

“We need to be much more collaborative and talking a lot more and understanding what each other’s challenges are,” Croft said. “As we are more collaborative and work more closely together, I think we’re just going to be that much more successful going forward.”

He cited attempts by various groups like the provincial broker associations, insurers and the Insurance Institute in Atlantic Canada to work more closely on issues and is something that is happening more across the country. “As that trend continues, it’s good for everybody,” Croft said. “Sometimes, whether it’s the different broker associations, the different insurers, not always on the same page. We can be better aligned in the long run and I think that’s what will certainly help our industry as a whole.”

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