Canadian Underwriter

NBS 2020 What brokers REALLY think about their jobs and their bosses

October 26, 2020   by David Gambrill

Canadian Underwriter National Broker Survey: Broker success strategies revealed

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Brokers are more satisfied with their jobs now than they have been over the past three years, Canadian Underwriter’s 2020 National Broker Survey reveals.

What’s more, they like their bosses better than their bosses think they do (at least, this year they do).

Despite the pandemic and the hard market, both of which have left brokers scrambling to find new or alternative coverage arrangements for their clients, more than 220 brokers in our survey ranked their satisfaction with their profession an 8.65 out of a maximum satisfaction score of 10.

This weighted average score compares to 8.43 last year and 8.17 in our 2018 survey.

The 2020 National Broker Survey was conducted in the summer, during the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The novel coronavirus caused many brokerages to go digital in a hurry; many brokers started working from home in March to avoid the spread of the virus. At the same time, commercial clients facing government-ordered business lockdowns were all trying to reach their brokers for premium relief.

It’s been a hectic time for brokers — and still is — but despite the mayhem, 52% of brokers in our survey told us they would be “highly unlikely” to voluntarily leave the broker profession within the next three years for any reason. That compares with 49% who said the same thing last year.

Asked to explain the reasons for their answers, one broker wrote in an anonymous comment: “I am 83 years old. Time to retire, but I like what I am doing and can’t leave that easy.”

One broker succinctly summarized many reasons to enjoy the work. “I enjoy my job — it’s never boring and there’s always a new challenge each day,” the broker wrote. “Our office doesn’t micro-manage. We have our books of business and they trust us to handle our time in a way that works for us. It’s flexible and I have a four-day work week. In exchange, I may work late or answer emails from home, but they never question my work ethic or quality of work.”

Still others cited the interaction with people as the reason that keeps them going. “Helping clients,” one broker stated as a reason for their job satisfaction. “Coaching and working with amazing people in the industry.”

Some brokers said that if they were to leave their current organization, they would do so to pursue an opportunity to advance their careers within the same profession. “I would like to own my own agency,” one broker commented.

It’s a career aspiration to which many of our surveyed broker principals could identify. (Of the 220 brokers surveyed, 95 indicated they were broker principals.) “Owning an insurance brokerage is the best business in the world,” one principal in the survey commented. “Insurance is one of the most rewarding industries.”

Brokerage owners in the 2020 survey seem to be underestimating the degree of job satisfaction expressed by the broker producers and managers who work for them, the survey results suggest.

Canadian Underwriter asked broker principals in the survey: “In your opinion, how satisfied do you believe your brokers are with your company as an employee?”

Principals guessed their employees’ satisfaction level to be a weighted average score of 8.4 out of 10 (the highest grade for satisfaction). That’s about the same as what they thought last year (8.38%) and higher than how they rated their employees’ satisfaction in 2018 (8.11)

But in the midst of the pandemic, broker producers and managers actually rated their brokerage employers higher this year than what the brokerage owners had guessed.

Broker producers and managers who took the survey this year rated their satisfaction with their employer almost a 9 out of 10 (the actual weighted average score was 8.82).

As indicated in the table below, in previous years of the survey, broker producers and managers tended to rank their satisfaction with their employers lower than what the principals thought. (All scores below are average weighted scores out of 10.)

Broker Principals 2020 2019 2018
“How satisfied do you believe your brokers are with your company as an employer?”  



8.38 8.11
Broker Producers and Managers 2020 2019 2018
“On a scale of 1 (Extremely Dissatisfied) to 10 (Extremely Satisfied), how satisfied are you with your current employer?”  







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