Going full circle in broking

While this week’s NIBA Convention is all about reinvention, Mark Searles, CEO AUB Group, says to deal with disruption, you almost have to go back to the beginning of what an insurance broker actually is.

“The bassic skills – relationship skills – are going to be core now and they are going to be core in five years’ time,” he told delegates at the session on Insurance Broking in 2021 at the convention on Tuesday.

“How you become more relevant? It is to become a trusted adviser … the concept of a trusted adviser is very important. Our hypothesis is that if you are an SME client … you only have two trusted advisers – your accountant and your risk adviser also known as your insurance broker … Looking into the future, this whole concept of ‘how do you … help me, the client, protect my risk’.”

Once the client gets into more complex risk assessments, they start thinking that they are not insurance experts and that’s when they will look for help and advice, Searles said, and would be prepared to pay for it.

He explained that a personal checklist for brokers to get to that point has to include:

  • professional qualifications: this demonstrates to the client you are a trusted adviser, you can do risk assessments, you can work with the relevant insurers to find the right solutions, and you can maintain contact. “You want the client ringing you morning noon and night … you become part of that business.”
  • service ethos: “If you want to be a trusted adviser then you have to be prepared to go that extra yard … You want to be a trusted adviser, you want to secure more of the client’s risk.”
  • total risk solutions: you need to provide advice on all risk – physical and people risk as well. “When you are standing there with your client, you are giving them the full gamut of advice and risk solutions – that is being a trusted adviser.”

“The concept of the trusted adviser … is protection against this whole thing about disruption,” Searles concluded. “It’s the nature of people … at the end of the day, they want to have a professional adviser, a true trusted adviser working for them; more importantly, they are prepared to pay for it as well. This is what creates a really strong future for this industry.”