The 21st century world is flooded with ‘personalisation’ options; initials, embossed fashion items, must-guess-who-is-driving number plates, pizzas with just your choice of topping and nobody else’s. Yet, whilst business owners are building their own burgers with zeal, they rarely appreciate that they can have a major influence when it comes to shaping their own insurance policy, by ensuring they thoroughly tell their own individual story.
Conveying a business’s story is the key to being offered a competitive premium and highly relevant levels of cover. Think of it in terms of Miss Congeniality. Insurers have thousands of entrants to their ‘beauty pageant’ and have to judge solely on what is in front of them – the visual evidence with which they are supplied. The better and more complete the story, the easier it is to receive an accurate quote.
This takes the form of hard facts and figures relating to the business’s risk performance. How many claims has it made?
What were the reasons? What measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of this? How compliant is it? Does it train its employees to manage risk? A good broker will ask these probing questions, to ensure the full picture is built. To have not disclosed a fact because you were not asked a particular question, could invalidate a policy or even lead to a claim being turned down. Insurers want to have the full story, with no missing chapters.
A few years ago, the answers to these questions may have been enough for a business to be offered an insurance package that did the job. Now, thanks to less certainty in the economy amongst other things, beauty pageant candidates have to stand out from the crowd. The judges have become more critical, more demanding and more selective in providing terms.
Businesses need to work with their broker to make proposals attractive, honestly appraising risks within their business and explaining as much as possible about them. Detailed analysis of their different exposure to risks is required, not just a broad brushstrokes overview.
Compelling narrative – becoming so important in marketing – is just as vital in insurer presentations. It is not all about demonstrating compliance – that should be a given. It is about going the extra mile, drilling right down into the data, the descriptions, the whys and the wherefores of risks and the sub-plot – what everyone within the business is doing to keep risk at bay.
But most businesses do not have a command of the right language for this narrative. They often do not know how to engage the insurer with a strong first page, an appealing plot and what the insurer regards as the happy ending. This is where a broker really becomes worth their salt, if they are proactive and well aware of the required hook to get a particular insurer to sit up and positively ‘want’ to insure the risk.
Presenting clients to an insurer in a positive manner is one of the skills of a good broker. Having the insurer contacts to whom to sell the business’s story is where the broker becomes the ‘literary agent’, securing a deal for their client. Having the understanding essential to all elements of this process comes from face-to-face client meetings, site visits, an ongoing dialogue and the ability to soak up detail like a sponge and translate it into a strategy are all other key strengths of a good broker, that you should look for.
Way before it comes to renewal, businesses need to be realistic and question whether they have really gone all out to become the winner of the ‘beauty parade’. If the answer is ‘no’, they should question why their broker has not communicated their efforts to manage risk sufficiently well and, if needs be, seek out a broker who can. The prizes – significant insurance savings, better levels of cover for key areas, choice of insurer and a virtuous circle created by ever-improving risk management are well worth competing for.
To discover how we work to engage with insurers on your behalf, please get in touch.