By: Luke Jones, Published on October 24, 2016 07:38 PM, Last Update on October 25, 2016 12:39 PM
At the 96th annual Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) convention last week, there were two consistent themes. The first was a need for insurers to better engage with customers in their 20s and 30s, and the second was that brokers need to work together to combat changes to the insurance industry. Traci Boland, IBAO president, echoed the latter by urging brokers, broker management system (BMS) companies and insurers to “come together”.
Boland said the industry must collaborate, communicate, and integrate to stave off several threats posed by growing technology.
“The theme for 2017 is come together,” Boland said at the convention, held at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto last Thursday. “Brokers, broker management system companies and insurance companies all working together for a common goal. With every word, with every action, we want to influence the industry to work together. The key to success is evident: a team approach is paramount. We have to have a team in order to collaborate, communicate and integrate.”
Boland called on her previous career as an example of how the Ontarian insurance market can work together. As a professional synchronized figure skating coach, Boland admits she had a career “as far away from insurance as you could get”. However, she added “The team was made up of 20 skaters, all working together for a common goal – to be in unison, to be as one and to be the best,” Boland related. “Without collaboration, communication and integration on a synchronized skating team there is injuries, resentment and failure to win.”
Boland says customer focus is necessary. More specifically, ensuring consumers get the best insurance products at affordable prices, given to them by professionals. She said this can only be achieved if the broker channel is united and not competing.
“The negative rhetoric you hear about the future of brokers does not represent the truth,” Boland told convention attendees. “The opportunity that continues to lie within our business model is rich and the appetite for consumers to work with brokers is huge.”
“Companies have done a fantastic job of ensuring that the products that you offer reflect the values, the new and old threats and the emergence of new technologies for our consumers,” Boland said, but noted that the challenge is the integration of these new products.
“We need to communicate with each other in the beginning stages of your products,” she said. “We need to collaborate on the implementation of a product so that brokers’ legal and regulatory obligations are met. We can work with government, partnering with you, to ensure that any regulations coming forward are in the best interest of the consumer and that your frontline brokers can sell your products as quickly as efficiently as your direct model call centres can, but with added value to the consumer.”
“It’s a simple message: come together,” Boland concluded. “Two words that have so much power.”