Canadian Underwriter

Here’s how well clients rated broker service

August 24, 2020   by David Gambrill

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Clients are satisfied with many aspects of their relationship with their broker. Not only do they rate their brokers highly on fulfilling the broker proposition generally, but they also viewed their broker as being above average when placing new business or on policy renewal.

Canadian Underwriter canvassed the opinions of 653 Canadians who purchased home and auto insurance from a broker, as well as representatives of 159 Canadian businesses (most of them small businesses), and asked them what they thought about the service they were getting from their brokers.

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We based the survey questions on the very services that brokers say they provide to consumers. It was conducted Mar. 6 to 13, just before the pandemic went into full effect (the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic on Mar. 11).

Our survey asked consumers to agree or disagree with a series of 12 statements that indicate whether their broker is living up to the broker value proposition. Overall, the baseline level of satisfaction for business insurance consumers — the percentage of those who either strongly agreed or agreed with the statements — was 68%. For home and auto insurance consumers, the consumers’ baseline satisfaction score was 62%.

When you look at the scores above the baseline averages, the survey showed high overall satisfaction with brokers in several key areas. For example, almost 80% of home, auto and business insurance consumers agreed that brokers were professional.

They also agreed that brokers:

  • Communicated using the consumer’s preferred style of communication
  • Recommended insurance tailored to their needs
  • Made consumers confident that they were fully protected

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Elsewhere, customers were asked about the service they received from brokers during the new business and policy renewal/change phases of the insurance purchase process. When consumers first purchased their insurance, brokers scored well above average on assessing individual needs, making recommendations that meet those needs, and offering a clear description of the product.

“A lot of these statistics are positive,” Colin Simpson, CEO of the IBAO, said of the survey results in an interview. “Take, for example, the assessing of personal needs, and making recommendations that meet their needs, and offering a clear description of the product. I mean, what else do you need professional advice for? This is all totally bang-on. It’s totally what brokers are there for. It’s what they do. They are doing their jobs and they are doing their jobs well.”

As for when brokers were doing policy renewals and changes, brokers in both commercial and personal lines scored well on availability to answer questions, contacting clients in a timely manner in advance of renewal, and finding the best insurance available at the right price for a consumer’s budget.

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“Where the survey talked about policy renewal and policy changes, I was pleased to see that customers feel there is transparency in what is being delivered,” said Roger Hacala, past president of the Toronto Insurance Council (TIC), a national commercial brokerage association, and national practice leader of professional and financial services for BFL Canada Risk and Insurance Services. “This would be around the right price for budgets, reviewing customers’ policies, and making policy changes where required — that type of thing. Those are all the proactive things that the broker is doing, which is great.”

Furthermore, the survey revealed three main opportunities for brokers to get to know their clients better. For example, consumers appear to want to hear more from their brokers about:

  • Comparing and providing multiple quote options
  • Advance warning of rate increases
  • Advice for mitigating risk and preventing losses

In some of these areas, it may be that brokers need to explore alternative ways to provide more information or context to their clients, says Brenda Rose, vice president of FCA Insurance Brokers.

“Overall, when I look at this survey from a very high level, I see there isn’t always a full alignment of expectations here,” says Rose. “If a customer is rating their broker below average on any of these points, then we haven’t met their expectations. Perhaps we might think that the expectation isn’t possible. But if that’s the case, then we need to help the customer understand that.”


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