By: Alison Varga, Commercial Manager.
We are six months into this hard market and brokers are feeling the pressure to retain their commercial clients. With underwriting guidelines tightening, rates increasing and company appetites changing (snowplow operations are now taboo) is it possible to retain commercial clients in a hard market?
Yes we can! In fact this is the time where we as brokers can really shine.
Commercial clients rely on us, their trusted advisors, to handle their very livelihood so when we have to advise our clients that premiums are going up, we have the opportunity to show them the value of having a broker on their side. During an annul commercial review, we have the opportunity to
re-sell our selves and the brokerage all at once. Below are some pointers on how to help keep commercial business in the right hands – Yours!
- Have the annual commercial review at your client’s place of business. Not only will is this be convenient for your client, but it will give you an opportunity to see the operation firsthand and do some risk management. As well, you will have the opportunity suggest coverages that you feel are important. Making coverage suggestions at your client’s place of business will have a greater impact on their decision making as you will be able to show them the potential exposures to loss right then and there.
- Ask your clients if there have been any operation changes in the last year. Re-underwriting the risk will not only show your client you are committed to their company’s protection but it will help you, the broker, to see if the policy coverages are up-to-date or stale.
- Discuss the rate increase with the incumbent and see if there is anyway the premium can be negotiated. The worst that can happen is the incumbent will say: “No, we cannot amend the rating at this time.”
- Shop the risk. We as brokers are lucky to have access to many markets so when we feel a rate increase is unjust, we have an opportunity to see what other markets can offer.
But remember – never compromise coverage!!
- Advise your client of your Brokerage’s Value Added Services and why being insured with you and your brokerage is the right decision for their business.
- Let your client know that hard markets do not last forever. Like the stock market, there is fluctuation.
- Advise your clients you want to keep an open dialog with them throughout the year. A simple phone call to tell them how the markets are doing or to see if they need anything from you will go along way in your client’s eyes.
In closing..When facing a hard market, remember to sparkle!