Top Three Things Brokers Should Resolve to Do for A Prosperous 2021
By: Amanda Huang, COO of Continental Underwriters
In 2020, the insurance industry was thrown for a loop with the effects of a global pandemic. The forest products insurance niche, in particular, saw a big shift in the number of carriers willing to cover lumber-based businesses. As someone who’s spent over a decade in the forest products insurance industry, and one of the founders here at Continental Underwriters, I wanted to share several tips and tactics to help brokers ensure clients’ lumber businesses remain protected, that policies align with risk tolerance, and that costs continue to be well-managed.
BROKER RESOLUTION #1: OPEN UP LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH CLIENTS
It goes without saying, but brokers should continue to make a point to reach out to their clients on a regular basis in 2021, even amid the pandemic and safer-at-home recommendations. This serves the typical business objectives of keeping up with your customer, understanding how their business is evolving, and staying ahead of any potential issues. One simple tactic to achieve this goal is to set calendar reminders for check-in conversations. Brokers should be purposeful in blocking this time off to reach out to clients, get a better idea of their needs and goals moving forward, and cultivate a conversation for new opportunities on both sides.
A consistent and candid line of open communication lets clients know you care, and it builds rapport so they feel comfortable sharing any issues with their business sooner rather than later, allowing you to manage their risks as best as possible. Many clients find that this practice of regular conversation has also helped them become more aware of their own business and, beyond that, they can gain the benefit of insight into how other businesses are handling the shifting market. For the broker, it can help identify pain points early-on.
BROKER RESOLUTION #2: PROVIDE CONSISTENT UPDATES
Insurance industry trends – coverages and pricing, in particular – are important to your customers. But they don’t always have the time or resources to be able to stay on top of all the changes that are happening in the day-to-day. By providing consistent updates, you can become the client’s trusted resource that delivers the significant changes and trends they need to be aware of.
Brokers have lots of options for finding these insights, and industry associations are a great place to start. By gathering information across channels and from other newsletters, brokers can quickly condense all of this information into a handy newsletter of their own to send to their clients at least once a month (if not more often) to keep folks in the loop. As premiums continue to rise and placements become more and more difficult, updates about these costs and opportunities for risk management investments should be a top priority. Most brokers serve more than just the forestry market, so being able to show a dedication to this niche can help boost confidence in the client that they are working with the right team.
BROKER RESOLUTION #3: STAY PREVENTATIVE, NOT REACTIONARY
The more conversations you have with clients about elevating their risk management now, the more likely their business is to succeed throughout the new year. Reducing risk in the market brings costs down for everyone, and this can all start within that broker-client relationship. Not only will these preventative conversations help the client’s business remain profitable, but they could also be the difference between whether the client’s business remains insurable or not. One risk management investment brokers may want to suggest to their clients now is a property conservation program.
The more the insured can do on their end to mitigate risk by implementing these kinds of programs, the lower their premium costs will be overall. As always, our team at Continental Underwriters, Inc. is happy to be a resource for brokers to gain a better handle on the market to be able to share this information. Whether it is the insurer, broker, or insured, the key to staying preventative in this market is staying in contact and leveraging those relationships along the way.
Our main goal at Continental Underwriters, Inc. in 2021 and beyond is to bring our clients closer to their brokers, even if we remain physically apart. We are excited to continue these relationships in 2021 by opening more lines of candid communication, sharing more industry insights as they come, and keeping clients’ businesses ahead of any risks to come. Cheers to a new year!