Did industry miss an opportunity to take feedback?

A Roy Morgan survey publicised last month found that insurance brokers were among the least trusted professions, with only 10 per cent of Australians rating the profession as ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for ethics and honesty.

Heads of organisations and industry stalwarts alike went up in arms, questioning the survey’s validity.

Indeed, many pointed out that the Vero SME index indicates that of those businesses who do use brokers, 90 per cent of them have a mid-to-high level of satisfaction with their current broker.

But is there something our industry can learn from the Roy Morgan survey results?

Martin van Rhoon, a sales coach with extensive insurance broking industry experience, argues that the survey is relevant because it doesn’t reflect the view of insurance broking clients. Surveys that focus on the existing insurance broking client base are, as they say, “preaching to the converted”, but it’s the perception of those who aren’t (yet) clients that is still highly relevant.

“While it is true that companies that use an insurance broker and particularly those who receive risk advice are very satisfied, the number of those that are choosing to do so in the SME space are diminishing,” says van Rhoon.

“Whether people surveyed by Roy Morgan currently use a broker or not, the industry must consider the authors and audience as potential customers and influencers, particularly as peer advice is becoming increasingly prevalent with today’s buyer mentality.”

So what is the lesson for our industry? van Rhoon seems to think diversity is the answer – diversity in talent and thinking.

“There has been a lot of movement in the business world around diversity. Why? Because organisations have come to see that diversity and the ability to think ‘whole brain’ as an organisation is their ticket to remaining relevant and appealing to a broader market. This is the crux of the issue!” explains van Rhoon.

It’s not just traditional diversity that will make a difference, though.

A 2015 Mckinsey research of over 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above industry mean.

It’s also about diversity of thought.

“If there is a silver bullet, it’s direction governed by broad diverse thinking, challenging established beliefs and showing courage and resolve to change.

“To achieve this, diversity must be given a voice in the boardroom and in the leadership of businesses and industry bodies.”