Brokers must adapt with a customer focus

Published: August 31, 2018

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To adapt with a changing insurance climate, brokers will have to shift their perspective and focus on becoming advice givers over sellers. That’s a prediction offered by an executive at a leading broker network in Canada.

Lorie Phair is the managing director of the Canadian Broker Network, was speaking at the Insurance-Canada.ca Executive Forum earlier this week.

“Who better than those at the point of sale…to counsel and advise their clients on changes [to risk], and ultimately to embed some of these risk management tools and services into their value proposition?” Phair asked. “Perhaps we could almost say that the role of the broker is moving from a traditional salesperson to that of a true risk advisor. I think this is a brokerage’s chance to dance, so to speak, as we shift away from a sales role.”

Brokers should be looking to embrace technology to bring more value to customers, Phair says. This could be a swifter move towards digitization or giving consumers easier access to products and information.

Earlier this month, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) urged brokers to utilize changes in the industry brought by technology.

George Hodgson, chief executive officer for the IBC in Alberta, told Insurance Business brokers throughout Canada provide a backbone to the insurance industry. When looking towards technology, companies of all sizes should embrace the challenges presented.

Technology is both a challenge and an opportunity for Canadian brokers,” said Hodgson. “Investing in new technology can turn out very expensive, which can be particularly challenging for smaller brokerages. For example, in Alberta the average size of our brokerages is 10 people or less. They don’t all have the investment dollars to make huge technology advancements. 

“But there are ways small brokerages can use technology to boost their growth and their presence in the marketplace. I recently had a conversation with a local broker after a technology seminar in Saskatchewan and the broker said: ‘This is not for me.’ I replied: ‘This is more for you than anybody. You’ve saturated the small community you’re in, so why don’t you use technology to reach out for opportunities in larger communities?’ That’s where technology and things like social media become so important.”