Sage advice from the 'Relationship King'
Building professional relationships is one of the most important skills to have in the insurance industry. After 50 years at Zurich, recently-retired Keith Till shares his wealth of knowledge about the art of maintaining a solid business network.
Video transcript below:
Donna Sawyer, Insurance Business Online
Donna Sawyer: He would never tell you this himself, but Keith Till is known in broker circles as the relationship king. Recently retired after 50 years at Zurich, he knows a thing a two about building relationships. He says it’s one of the most important skills to have in the insurance industry.
Keith Till, Zurich (now retired)
Keith Till: To me relationships are the important aspect of insurance today. Our industry is very very competitive. I mean that’s why we have got online systems, that’s why we have web systems and that’s why we have call centres, underwriting centres. Everyone is trying to be competitive and trying to keep their costs down. But this makes relationships much more important than at any other time in an insurance industry history.
Donna Sawyer: He says maintaining a good professional relationship isn’t all about long lunches and golf games.
Keith Till: Relationships is all about businesses relationships and it’s a two way street for the broker and for the underwriter and there is going to be something in it for both parties for it to be a true relationship. In other words, you are going to have a situation where the broker gets something out of it and the underwriter gets something out of it. Now from the broker’s point of view I think what they are trying to get out of the relationship is this. Flexibility, communication and understanding of what the broker is trying to achieve and also speed and efficiency. From the underwriter’s point of view, I think they need to get from the broker an understanding of, the broker understanding exactly what we want to do, what we are trying to do and working together in a partnership type fashion, so you get the best deal for any customer and for the broker and if we work that way, that’s a true working relationship.
Donna Sawyer: Brokers who have mastered the art of building a good working relationship need to ensure they target the right people.
Keith Till: My advice would be make sure you have relationships with the underwriters that you want to deal with at every level, at the senior level and at the day to day level and at the state level. It’s very very important because insurance is never going to be a straightforward contract, it’s not simple. There are always going to be some sort of complication or issues and it’s important that you have relationships at every level so that you can talk to the right person and get your message across.
Donna Sawyer: This is Donna Sawyer reporting for Insurance Business Online.