Canadian Underwriter

Be the Cream of the Crop

February 21, 2017   by Gloria Cilliers

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This month, we reached out to top execs of major insurers to find out what they’ve got planned for 2017.

We do this roundup every December, and for the past couple of years, insurers have spoken about their different strategies and various priority areas. But this year, a very clear, overarching theme has emerged: Be the “cream of the crop”… or face an uncertain future. Some brokers may perceive this as “all doom and gloom.” For others, it may very well be the news they’ve been waiting for.

From my conversations with these CEOs, four things are abundantly evident. The first three form no different a message to brokers than they have heard for a while:

First, insurers still have faith in the broker channel: a lot of faith, which is garnering increased investment and growth.

Second, the broker channel will not become irrelevant. Far from it, insurers say.

Third, and this is a recurring message at almost every interview and recent industry conference, is that, in order to keep that confidence going, brokers need to prepare, embrace and adapt to the impending changes that are affecting the industry faster than you can say: “What’s Lemonade?”

The push towards a digitized business is driven not only by the threat of digital disruptors and other technological advancements, but by the changing preferences of the customer, who wants choice, convenience and access on multiple platforms. Insurers are being forced to adapt by broadening distribution strategies, like going direct. And brokers need to keep up.

The adage of “adapt or die” has never been more true.

But here’s the catch.

The fourth message, and I read between the lines here, is a warning to brokers that insurers are moving towards “out-casting the weaklings” and choosing to only work with the cream of the crop: brokers who adapt, who innovate, who embrace change.

And who can blame them? Wouldn’t you, as a broker, also rather work with a carrier, or carriers, who are innovative, evolving, and fast-tracking their success and profitability?

Many of the CEOs in our hot seat this month have explained how they’ll be helping their brokers adapt to change. But more needs to be done, on both ends. Neither can leave it solely up to the other. If the industry is to move forward, its best bet is for brokers and insurers to work together in embracing these new opportunities.

Speaking of opportunities, the next big one seems to be in construction, as Sarah Cunningham-Scharf discovers.

Finally, I thank our advertisers and readers for a wonderful 2016 and I look forward to our continued relationship next year. In the meantime, may you and your families enjoy a safe and joyous festive season!

Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the December 2016 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.