Posted on 20 Aug 04
OK, I believe we will all accept the fact that the marketplace is shifting. In fact, I have recently heard some industry pundits use the “S” word. You know, the one that strikes fear in all our hearts: SOFT!
As the currents of the marketplace continue to shift, brokers across the country will experience a whole new set of problems. There will be a level of competition that has not been around for a while. You see, it is far easier to keep renewals in safe harbor when there is little or no competition. The recent hard market allowed us to hide behind the breakwater of the insurance marketplace while we enjoyed a steady increase in our revenue base. But now, like the Sirens of the ancient seafaring world, other brokers are calling out to your clients.
“Give us a chance,” they sing, “we have a special carrier, program or idea that will save you a lot of money on your insurance. Just give us the opportunity to give you a bid.” So, like the ancient mariners, you are led to the rocks. Your boat has capsized and you are swimming for dear life!
But take heart, me Hardies! Your voyage doesnt need to end that way. Consultative Brokers know that there is still time to steer the ship in a different direction. They guide the client away from the lurking Siren brokers and into calmer waters.
Here is what successful brokers are doing right now to protect themselves against the perils of open water:
They never let the client head out to sea. They are constantly making sure that the client understands their Value Proposition. They do Stewardship Reports and demonstrate how they have reduced the clients costs.
They keep their eye on the horizon. Consultative Brokers are always looking for ways to bring more value to the client. They keep a constant ships log of projects and initiatives that they can float past the client.
They walk the deck constantly. They are always checking the riggings of the program through carrier reviews, loss control results, and claims management.
They keep a sharp lookout for Pirates. They know the warning signs such as the sudden request for loss data. When these scoundrels appear, they are not afraid to chase them off with several volleys of value reinforcement.
They chart new waters. As the currents of the marketplace change, they keep abreast of new shipping lanes and potential additional safe havens (e.g. carriers, programs, underwriters, etc.)
OK, I admit to having some fun with the seafaring analogies above. But here is the real point: If you wait until the marketplace changes entirely to demonstrate your Value Proposition, you will be sunk! By that time other brokers will be in the water circling around you and your clients like hungry sharks. So, get your feet on dry land while there is still time by doing Stewardship Reports that demonstrate your seaworthiness for many years to come.
For more information on Consultative Brokerage and C.R. Ekern & Company, please visit http://www.crekern.com.