The Broker’s Baseline

Accomplished brokers weigh in on what you need to succeed in the insurance industry

Transparent communication, precise documentation and a client-first attitude remain as important as ever, even if disruptive technology and the online landscape can feel overwhelming at times.

Today, we have more tools than ever at our disposal. Where one broker sees direct-to-consumer platforms and multichannel distribution as a threat, we see them as opportunities to add further value for prospects and clients.

To help you navigate an industry in flux, we’ve tapped into the knowledge of three seasoned brokers with over 50 years of experience between them to inform our Broker’s Baseline content.

“You need to care about the client in order to advocate for them.”

- Jacqueline Romero
Coverforce Insurance Broking

Mastering insurance What makes a great broker?

To be successful, an insurance broker must be empathy-driven and willing to go above-and-beyond for their clients. Why? Because insurance broking is more than just a job: the decisions you make directly impact the lives of your clients and their families. Availability, persistence and no shortage of emotional intelligence are all necessary for getting the policy over the line, with the best possible outcome.

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Whether employed independently or at a brokerage firm, the habits of a thriving insurance broker are the same:
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Excellent verbal and
written skills.
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Be honest, transparent and value-driven in all you do.
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A hunger for knowledge and a sense of urgency.
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Tenacity! Be willing to don those gloves and fight tooth-and-nail for your clients.
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In the era of customer- centricity, brokers need to be available at all times.
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Nurturing a strong broker– underwriter relationship is mutually beneficial.
Lastly, prioritise yourself. If you’re mentally fatigued or physically rundown by the stresses of daily life, you’re not in the optimum state to service clients effectively. Take timeouts, go for walks and clock off at a reasonable hour (as hard as that might be!).
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From the inside out

How the industry has changed over the years

Digital disruption is shifting industry dynamics and placing the power firmly in consumer hands. Insurtech, and more specifically multichannel distribution and direct-to-consumer (D2C) offerings, are coming to the fore. These channels have gained popularity because:

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Live chat and chatbot functionality are quicker and more convenient than chatting face to face.
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Insurance has traditionally been a murky world of small print and behind-closed-door negotiation. D2C allows the consumer to own the purchase journey.
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Consumers are able to select the coverage they require via online application forms, shedding unnecessary services by simply ticking a box.

With automation making the process more streamlined than ever, you’re probably wondering if there’s any need for a broker these days. That’s an emphatic ‘yes!’, and here’s why:

The exponential explosion of consumer behavioural data can empower you to deliver more personalised, targeted experiences to your prospects. With a bit of research into online activities, demographics and social media and device usage, your messaging will no longer be a hopeful shot in the dark.

Additionally, a broker needs to be attuned to any impending legislative decisions that may affect the industry. Recently, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recommended that all broker commission be abolished.

This recommendation is intended to “boost price transparency and consumer choice” as they believe ‘commissions and other benefits can give rise to an “unacceptable conflict of interest”’. Their suggestion has since been vehemently rejected by the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA), who claim the ACCC has “no evidence” of broker commission problems.

To keep apace with the industry, a broker must use the tools at their disposal to sustain a healthy sales pipeline and keep an eye on new laws or legislations on the horizon. Customers expect value, speed and cost-effectiveness, so treat the relationship as a partnership, use new technology to elevate your service delivery, and see industry education as an ongoing (proactive) task.

“The one thing we are learning with social media is people will still always demand a response from someone. Response times are critical for new and existing client relationships.”

- Peter Barron
Lockton Australia

Insurance best practices

And not-so-best practices

Though industry best practices are receiving a digital update, the fundamentals remain the same. Records still need to be kept meticulously, data stored safely and advice well-considered and correctly documented. The difference, however, is in how this is achieved. You’ll start to fall behind if you aren’t doing the following:

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Starting conversations and responding timeously to prospects on social media.
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Pairing excellent service with even better premiums (9 times out of 10 a person will switch to the cheaper option, no matter how good your option is).
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Handing menial tasks (i.e. data inputting and claims processing) to quicker, more accurate AI systems.
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Always remaining honest, transparent and open to giving cogent advice to your clients. If you’re just transacting, you’re doing both yourself and clients a disservice.
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If you find you just can’t get to grips with new technology, employee a savvy assistant who can.
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Frowned upon practices
in the industry:

With turnaround times decreasing and cloud databases storing information more securely, there’s no excuse for poor service and documentation. The following will hurt your reputation (and could even land you in hot water):

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Shoddy documentation and improper record keeping can result in negligent advice, which leads to ‘he said she said’ and, in extreme cases, the courtroom.
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Nobody wants to be bullied into making a decision, least so when an insurance policy is involved. Hard sells are out. Soft, more personalised sells that guide rather than push, are in.
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Insurance is more than transacting; so if you’re not imparting valuable advice, you’re doing your clients a disservice.

The Value of Networking

Why interpersonal skills are valuable to a broker

When you’re new to the game and trying to make connections and build rapport, conferences are as important as ever. They’re also educational: a young broker can learn from the best, be motivated by other offerings and inspired by what the future holds. For young or established brokers looking to grow, the following Australian conferences offer great opportunities to meet the key players in the industry:

The Future of Insurance

The latest developments in digital ecosystems, data analytics, automation, IT infrastructure, customer experience, and risk and compliance.

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The largest and fastest-growing customer contact event’ in Australia is geared towards growing the customer contact community and nurturing connections within it.

No broker is an island. There is always something more to learn, no matter how many years you’ve been practicing. So network, get your name out there and come hungry for knowledge and developing relationships. Amanda Smith, Director of Optimum Insurance Services, sees mentorship as an effective means of growing in the industry:

Having a good mentor is key. Not only in business, but personally. Have a leader to follow and a leader to support. Draw on people with knowledge and expertise.

The Client Compendium

How to win clients through presentation and negotiation

Bravado has no place in an industry that directly affects people’s lives. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know something during a presentation. Rather than invent an answer to save face, consider a response like this:

That’s a great question, I don’t want to give you the wrong advice so I’ll do some research and get back to you.

This self-awareness and willingness to learn ties into ‘transparency and honesty in all that you do’. Clients will trust and respect you all the more for it. With that said, we’ve collated a few helpful tips and tricks to help you ace your next client presentation:

1.
Dress appropriately to make a good impression off the bat.
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Go in prepared with answers backed by solid research.
3.
Be positive, approachable and avoid using slang.
4.
Develop a thick skin (selling insurance is not for the faint of heart).
5.
Avoid steamrolling people and adopt a ‘talk less, listen more’ approach.

The Broker’s Baseline

And to move things forward after the presentation expediently, use a tool like DUAL’s WebRater to obtain a near-instant quotation and binding.

Sign up to the WebRater

How DUAL Can Help You

The Broker’s Toolbox

Tools and resources for time-hungry brokers

When it comes to processes, protocols and day-to-day workflows, brokers have never had it easier (you’ve just got to be willing to dive into the world of digital). From customer relationship management (CRM) and documentation systems, to website integration and social media marketing, we’re armed to the teeth with innovative ways to reach prospects. Here are the must-have technological tools for the modern, ambitious broker:

HelpBox
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To an outsider, insurance is complicated. AI-powered ChatBots and Live Chat functionality help customers compare policies, submit claims and provide support for newcomers looking for assistance.
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A CRM system is an automated one-stop shop that integrates with your website to store and organise relevant client information so you’re better equipped to turn prospects into customers.
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An automated document solution hastens data capturing, reduces errors and decreases the processing time of applications, policies, underwriting and claims.

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These days, an online presence is just as important as a physical one. Being active on LinkedIn and Facebook and having a fully responsive, intuitive website ensures high visibility online.
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Targeted, personalised email messaging stimulates conversation and helps you remain top-of-mind with your leads and clients.

Disclaimer: The links and external articles referred to in this article are for informational purposes only. All views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DUAL Australia. DUAL Australia is not responsible for the content of any third-party website to which links are provided.

There’s no substitute for experience, but laying a strong educational foundation is an effective way to get a head start or make further advances in the industry. The DUAL School is a comprehensive knowledge hub that offers information, insight and advice about the insurance industry. It’s free, with no enrollment necessary — click here to dive into its wealth of content.

The DUAL School

Where brokers come to learn and sharpen their skills
View Now

There’s no substitute for experience, but laying a strong educational foundation is an effective way to get a head start or make further advances in the industry. The DUAL School is a comprehensive knowledge hub that offers information, insight and advice about the insurance industry. It’s free, with no enrollment necessary — click here to dive into its wealth of content.

Obtaining quotes and binding policies needs to executed in the time it takes for a client to say ‘yes’. DUAL’s online trading platform, WebRater, offers brokers instant quotations and bindings 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whether renewing a policy or adding value by upselling to clients, the WebRater ensures simple transactions in as little as two minutes.

Discover why over 10,000 Australian brokers are using WebRater to get ahead in the industry: dualaustralia.com.au/webrater

DUAL’s WebRater

The online trading platform that simplifies insurance
Sign Up Now

Obtaining quotes and binding policies needs to executed in the time it takes for a client to say ‘yes’. DUAL’s online trading platform, WebRater, offers brokers instant quotations and bindings 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whether renewing a policy or adding value by upselling to clients, the WebRater ensures simple transactions in as little as two minutes.

Discover why over 10,000 Australian brokers are using WebRater to get ahead in the industry: dualaustralia.com.au/webrater

We hope our Broker’s Baseline has given you the information and inspiration you need to rise through the ranks of the insurance industry or expand your skill set as an established broker.

If you’d like to chat to one of DUAL’s specialists and you are an insurance broker, please fill out the form below. Please note that DUAL does not work with clients directly.