IBAO president says broker price wars do not help consumers

Published: January 30, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The new president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) said that brokers just trying to offer the best deal and cut costs will not succeed. Insurance brokers merely entering into a price war are ultimately not giving consumers value for money, said IBAO president Doug Heaman. He added that consumers instead want products that come from insurance providers who offer the best service and are “fully fluent”.

"Brokers cannot win in the price commodity race," IBAO president Doug Heaman said during a presentation at the P&C Crystal Ball Conference. "They must find a way to 'wow' their customers."

“Better not cheaper” Heaman added, referencing The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think – by Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed. The president also pointed to a Deloitte survey that found six in ten (60%) of consumers asked did not receive anything from their broker besides being helped to shop for insurance for the cheapest deal.

"Are your customers receiving greater value from your brokerage outside of simply shopping for their policy?" Heaman asked the audience. "Are you confident that your needs-based approach and value proposition is serving your customers? And how do you measure that? Your carriers are looking at this statistic and they are trying to figure out if you are relevant. Your customers are looking at this even more and trying to figure out if you are needed."

The event way Heaman’s first P&C Crystal Ball Conference after being appointed president of the IBAO earlier this month. Starting his tenure on Jan. 1, Heaman is the 73rd president of the association and will continue to push the IBAO’s agenda to educate and advise the insurance industry in Ontario.

"Insurance companies are looking to support and invest in brokerages that are growing," he said during the Crystal Ball, an annual event created by CW Group and held at the International Plaza Hotel in Toronto. "If your strategy rests on cutting costs to survive, then maybe you need to rethink your strategy or maybe you need to find a broker that is growing and sell out to that broker."