Thriving in Today’s Soft Skills Market
Greg Kruk, Vice President, IBAO Board of Directors
Change is a constant in the insurance industry. When the market is soft, everything feels easy. Insurers compete for risks, premiums are flat or decreasing and underwriting guidelines are more relaxed. When the market is hard, stress levels typically rise. Insurance companies tighten their risk acceptance, coverage is often reduced or removed, and premiums increase. As brokers we often view the effects of a hard market in a negative light, having to fight tooth and nail to obtain coverage for our clients and explain large increases when—from their perspective—nothing’s changed. But it’s times like these when a broker’s value is at its highest. In this soft skills market, brokers who rely on both their technical expertise and soft skills to provide clients thorough renewal reviews or new business experiences will shine. With capacity reduced, insurance companies are limiting what classes of business they’re looking for, and often only best-in-class risks are considered by standard markets which gives brokers the opportunity to really get to know their clients and operations. In Commercial Lines, building a submission that looks more like a business plan can be effective in persuading underwriters to provide more favourable terms than the coverage and pricing provided in submissions that only contain loss experience and revenues. As difficult as it may seem to face a hard market, it’s the time to build relationships with insurance company partners and clients, fulfilling our role as professional insurance intermediaries. In times of economic recession it’s recommended people invest in their own education. I’d give this same advice to brokers in a hard market—IBAO offers a wide range of courses and professional opportunities for brokers of all levels. Further developing your soft skills will help you protect your book of business during these challenging times and thrive once the market corrects itself.
It’s times like these when a broker’s value is at its highest.
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