August 19, 2021 by Canadian Underwriter Staff
As Canada emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, independent brokers will place strategic alliances with insurers at the top of their expectations list, members of the Canadian Broker Network (CBN) said.
“The pandemic has significantly increased the awareness and consideration for many independent brokers to sell, and certainly enhanced our partnerships with carriers through these challenging times,” said Lee Rogers, president of Calgary-based Rogers Insurance.
Rogers Insurance is an executive member of CBN, a nationwide network of independently owned brokers representing more than $1.8 billion in property & casualty premiums.
While competitive pricing, underwriting capacity and claims remain priorities for all brokers, Rogers said choosing where to place business will come down to a company’s level of service and responsiveness.
Jeff LeGrow, chairman & CEO of Cal LeGrow Insurance and Financial Group, agreed.
“It’s not enough to just have a brokerage contract anymore. Brokers want strategic relationships, which is all about how responsive insurers are to our needs and ensuring we’re on the same page. That will be key going forward,” said LeGrow, who is also CBN’s vice chairman, in an interview with Canadian Underwriter.
In addition to the impacts of the pandemic, brokers who want to remain independent are worried about factors like increased consolidation and M&A activity, as well as the pace of technology and digitization.
These brokers are feeling the pressure to sell, and support for the future of the independent broker channel is more critical than ever, LeGrow said.
“Brokers are really looking to insurers for responsiveness, to become strategic partners in the future plans of their brokerages,” LeGrow said.
But brokers have also realized such partnerships go both ways.
Like Rogers, LeGrow agreed the pandemic has forced many brokers to take a hard look at the need to invest in technology, both internally and externally — a challenge many brokerages have been struggling with.
“Insurers will be looking to partner with brokers who are invested in their own future, and technology plays a big role,” LeGrow said.
Brokers and insurers also need to work together on marketing and sales efforts, LeGrow added, in particular when it comes to selling emerging risks like cyber.
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