October 5, 2021 by Jeff Buckstein
Brokers need to be more proactive in reaching out to their business and consumer clients, according to the Canadian Underwriter Trusted Advisor 2021 survey. Only 36% of business respondents — and a considerably smaller proportion of consumers (26%) — said their most recent contact with their broker was broker-initiated.
“The numbers don’t surprise me,” said Robyn Young, president and CEO of Excel & Y Insurance Services Ltd., an insurance brokerage firm in Calgary.
“They’re in line with what I’ve heard from people in the past — that commercial insurance requires more personal attention. The renewal process is usually a little bit more engaged, because we require more information in order to renew or re-market that business, than personal lines,” she said.
The survey revealed that 91% of business respondents and 85% of consumers had met with their broker within the past year, but that number fell considerably to just 56% and 51%, respectively, for meetings less than six months ago.
“I think brokers should be doing a little bit better, but it is dependent on what the customers are looking for, and what kind of information they want to have,” said Young, who is also president-elect of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.
At minimum, brokers should be talking to their customers every year at renewal to make sure the customer understands what coverages they have and don’t have — and to check their coverage adequately protects their assets, Young said.
Only 24% of business clients and 12% of consumers met at least twice a year with their broker to review their policies and to learn more about insurance topics, according to the Trusted Advisor survey.
“From a brokerage standpoint, I think it makes good business sense to reach out more often to clients, especially at the beginning of a relationship, to let the client know when they should be calling to ask questions,” said Justin Thouin, co-founder of LowestRates.ca, a Toronto-based financial rate comparison site.
“For instance, most clients don’t know that if their driving habits have changed — let’s say they’re no longer driving to work [and] just driving for pleasure, or they’re not driving their car in the winter — they can call up their broker and their insurance premiums can actually go down,” Thouin said.
Only 52% of business respondents and 37% of consumers said their broker checked in with them on a regular basis, not just when their policy was due for renewal.
“In a lot of cases we just don’t know how often our customers want us to touch base with them, and for what purpose,” said Young, who noted that customers must also reach out to their brokers to inform them of changes in their lives between annual renewals that could alter their insurance needs.
“We’re a relationship business, so we need to do everything that we can to foster relationships with our customers to ensure that they know us and trust us, and we are ensuring they have the coverage for everything that they need.
”The more we talk to our customers, the more likely that is,” she stressed.
Feature image by iStock.com/nimis69