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BDMs wages unveiled in new report

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Insurance Business | 23 Oct 2012, 12:03 AM Agree 0
Insurers' business development managers (BDMs) have wages which put to shame the earnings of insurance brokers, branch managers and senior underwriters. Are BDMs worth these lofty pay packets?
  • Tony | 23 Oct 2012, 11:08 AM Agree 0
    In my opinion, BDM's being paid more than brokers and underwriters shows how far off course our industry has waivered. The lifeblood and integrity of our industry relies upon the technicians who are able to understand a risk and present accordingly, to a technician who understands that risk and comments/rates upon it accordingly. It certainly does not rely upon a glorfied post box with a smooth tongue and a generous expense account!!!
  • Vik | 23 Oct 2012, 11:16 AM Agree 0
    BDM's deserve the high salary. not because they are "Brochure Delivery Man". BUT are the FACE, VOICE of the company, underwriters dont talk to brokers or the market and are not that much into building relationships.In this stone-age, the most important aspect of business is "Cutomer Service" and builidng a "Relationship" that will last and build up the business, thats why we do confenrences, meet brokers etc.
    This is only done by the BDM. Hence its justifible to say that if you can do the above things you can earn what you want. Its the market that determines the salary, the nature of the business, the complexty of the products and so on.
  • Craig Saunders | 23 Oct 2012, 11:19 AM Agree 0
    Well,they can be likened to a Melbourne Cup jockey :) - if they get the rate and you win the account they're champions if they dont and miss by a nose ...you lose your money? $130K well??
  • BDM-er | 23 Oct 2012, 11:21 AM Agree 0
    Take your narcissistic glasses off brokers (and Insurance Business!). The essential role of the BDM is far more important than anything the underwriter or broker does, hence the higher wages.

    Maybe one day some of you brokers can work hard and get a BDM gig? Just an idea...
  • No Name | 23 Oct 2012, 11:26 AM Agree 0
    The key words that people need to take into consideration in this article is "can earn up to" not what they do earn! I would hazard a guess and say that the figures above are potential earnings if budgets are met and recent studies state that less than half of "sales teams" earn the 80-120% of their on target earnings.
  • Tim 23/10/2012 | 23 Oct 2012, 11:28 AM Agree 0
    I was previously employed as a BDM, and I can tell you that my wage did not even come close the wages being achieved by account executives that were employed by brokers ($150k to $250k).The salary was also on par with state underwriters.

    BDM's have a very important role to play in building long term relationships with intermediaries. Relationships that are not based on price. You are expected to work outside normal business hours including weekends. Stay away from home for long periods, and deal with issues created by internal staff that have no understanding of client relationships and fairness.

    Underwriters are very good at their roles as technical advisers and rating the risk, but that does not mean that they have the ability to sell their products.
  • The Southportian | 23 Oct 2012, 11:30 AM Agree 0

    Insures get a lot of things wrong. This is one of them!
  • Uni-Broker | 23 Oct 2012, 11:33 AM Agree 0
    This BDM-er epitomises the over inflated opinion that BDM's have of themselves. They've got one suite of wordings (if that) that they might have a rough idea about.

    The underwriters hold the IP, the BDM holds the AMEX.

    A well skilled broker has extensive knowledge of a range of underwriters products and can navigate around the BDM to the organ grinder and not deal with the monkey.

    Pull your head in BDM-er.
  • Tim 23/10/2012 | 23 Oct 2012, 11:35 AM Agree 0
    Which brokers did you interview?
    The service consultant who works for an account excecutive may earn less then $100k (but usually earn more then an underwriter for an insurance company), but in my experience most brokers earn for more income then most employees of insurance companies.
  • Scott Reid | 23 Oct 2012, 11:36 AM Agree 0
    Without doubt a good BDM can make all the difference. If a particular insurer's BDM is good, things hum along nicely and generally speaking you do business with that insurer. A bad BDM however is a road block and business does not get done.
    That said - BDM-er you need to think again. We are all of us cogs in the machine that is the modern insurance market, take one cog out of that machine and it fails to function.
  • Andrew Herrett | 23 Oct 2012, 11:43 AM Agree 0
    BDMer - i love the irony. You just defined narcissism! Ultimately people are worth what others are prepared to pay. I personally believe one BDM that i deal with to be worth every cent and more. He is the atypical however. A good BDM doing what he/she is employed to do is in my view certainly worthy of higher wages than underwriters. If Brokers do their job and are skilled enough to work in high return areas then they are worth plenty. I see the roles as not dissimilar. The difference being Broking simply having more depth and opportunity to the role....
  • not disclosed | 23 Oct 2012, 11:48 AM Agree 0
    In reply to the comment made by BDM-er... Obviously you do not know what hard work is...try dealing with clients who lost everything during the Brisbane flooding! Even suggesting that you should try a day as a broker is useless as you would need to have qualifications for a start!
  • Ian - Two Way street | 23 Oct 2012, 11:56 AM Agree 0
    BDMs are only as good as the tools that their company provide.The title of the role should not be the focus,the result of building an ever increasing asset both for the company they work for and the strategic partners they service determines their value and subsequently this should be reflected within their remuneration. BDMS should be employed on what they can bring to the role, not to be a post box but to add value with their organisation providing adequate authority and flexibility for the betterment of the overall relationship.
  • koert | 23 Oct 2012, 12:01 PM Agree 0
    The income levels of employees in our industry has been inconsistent for many yesars. We can demonstrate this by the turnover ratios from all employer groups, where employees will move to another organisation for a small incremental increase in salary. In other cases we know these increases can be quite significant

    I dont this this is a debate of ones worth but more about ones capacity to negotiate favourable remunerations packages and the willingness of an employer to meet a potential employees expectations.

    If we know that turnover ratios are in excess of 22% annually(and there is ample reseach to back this up) we can also therefore assume that relationship building between brokers and insurers is challenged by the fact that people transition to competitors regularly.

    I dont perceive this inconsistency in salaries between BDMs and brokers is a result of the value placed on the BDM to prmote their respective organisation (Vik Comments) because they tend to move from one organisation to another and conversely, that Brokers are less valued. Each play an important role.

    I do agree that the market and employees willingness to move to competitors is an influencing factor in salary levels. If an employer fails to meet the expectations of potential employee candidates, they will find it difficult to attract and recruit suitable employees. Just look in Seek to discover the organisations that consistenty advertise and in many cases advertise the same role...... for months. These employers are simple out of touch with employee expectations

    I also believe that in our current environment, employees take into consideration the culture, values and organisational environment when deciding whom to work for.

    If employees are happy with their salary level and the organisation can meet other employee expectations they will remain.

    If there are star performers out there and have earned a solid reputation, they will, by virture of market influence, attract higher income levels that their peers.

    With the obvious inconsistency in salaries, there is little wonder why we are evidencing a significant migration to the AR model. They have the potential of earning what they desire.


  • Over It | 23 Oct 2012, 12:04 PM Agree 0
    If your not happy with your BDM be brave and publish your name and brokerage, let them make contact and solve your problems.
  • The West Australian Broker Perspective | 23 Oct 2012, 12:07 PM Agree 0
    This is the first time I have felt compelled to make comment on one of the articles in Insurance Business and this topic is a very real one in 2012.
    The results of the survey are very interesting and one can only ask what sort of performance based KPI's are set for BDM's to justify such large salaries if these are the case. Given that my understanding is that most BDM's nowaday's have less authority than the underwriters that they deliver the message to, who by the way are doing all of the work anyway, the BDM's can kid themselves all they like that Underwriters are not sales people, but the fact is the underwriter still has to sell the premium and as an ex-underwriter I can attest to this fact.
    With the amount of on-line systems being rammed down our throats by insurers the absolute necessity of a BDM becomes questionable.
    To suggest that brokers need to work harder, as put by one reader, is laughable given that brokers who know their clients and understand their risk profile, will not need a BDM to assist in the process of placing their business anyway as this is what we are paid for by our clients to do.
    If we didn't do this we wouldn't have too many clients.
  • Experienced | 23 Oct 2012, 12:18 PM Agree 0
    Another good debate Cameron, for my interest what's your wage? Is it the same as your analysts, your editor, your publicist.....no it is not. Why? This is because you do a different role and the market demands what people get paid. ie In football why is Tippett reportedly being offered $1,000,000 a year when his team mate Adam Goodes would more then likely be under that? Whos the better player? Salaries and employment contracts are not the same and never will. I have been a BDM and a broker, the roles are completely different therefore how can you even have this discussion. Yes BDM's may struggle talking to customers who have just lost their homes in a flood, having said that how would an insurance broker handle aligning the finanical objectives of a publically listed corporate company with the needs of a suburban broker when an international broker requires a 'special' deal on the same client? For the record I got more as a BDM then an insurance broker.......and another point for what it is worth the BDM role was harder and required a higher workload! Happy to debate with anyone who has held both roles......Why does my boss get more then me?
  • Satisfied | 23 Oct 2012, 12:19 PM Agree 0
    Sit back and have a think what you would do if you didn't have service from a BDM?
  • John | 23 Oct 2012, 12:43 PM Agree 0
    Agree with Ian - Two Way street. The BDM role with the broker has often broken down when they have little or no underwriting authority. Also on wages (salaries) a fair percentage talk total packages which can be inflated to look good and is often not real world money.
  • Very concerned!! | 23 Oct 2012, 12:44 PM Agree 0
    My goodness....Remember guys - the reason that Insurance Business Online has these types of articles is NOT to solidify the relationship between insurers and brokers, but to receive hits to this website to JUSTIFY Cameron Brown's (the writer of this extraordinarily piece of "shock" journalism) existence... By the way, how much are you on each year Cameron??
  • Moods | 23 Oct 2012, 01:18 PM Agree 0
    Another week, another broadsword assassination! I’m perplexed by the unrelenting “pot stirring” by this forum on a regular basis against anyone or any role that is perceived as superficial. Get a grip guys, there are biggest issues presently then to consistently snipe at a BDM. Cameron Brown, please take note. Having worn both “hats” in my career I can confidently confirm that both roles require very specific skill sets. As a BDM I was accountable for maintaining and developing a premium pool, that should it erode, would find me on the street as I was only an employee. That said if it grew profitably beyond my KPI’s I would get a small taste. Notwithstanding the personal sacrifices I endured of time away from family and the regular out of normal hour commitments to work with my brokers.
    As a Broker my earnings were only capped by my ability and drive which needless to say were outstanding and as such I could command higher $ then my time as a BDM. Honestly. I don’t know too many skilled brokers that are earning less then $120,000 or perhaps they are the ones having a bleat here?
  • Ian - Two Way street | 23 Oct 2012, 01:27 PM Agree 0
    What is an intermediaries value!

    To be totally independent with your advice nett all your premiums and do not obtain commission from insurers.

    Let your customers determine what you are really worth especially in a market where premiums have escalated dramatically and intermediaries earnings have increased somewhat proportionatley.

    Now relate that back to your good BDMs that do their utmost with the tools they are provided to assist your business and are only somewhat secure within their positions if targets/objectives are met!

    As intermediaries are the customer that determine the value of each BDM, let your customers do the same to you!

    In life it is easy to pass judgement on others, little more difficult to look at one self.

    By the way as there are good BDM's there are also exceptional intermediaries.

    Generic article that just causes division and does not assist the market.

    If intermediaries are not happy with individual BDMS or they do not believe they have the right tools to do the job take it up with their management.

  • Tony | 23 Oct 2012, 01:29 PM Agree 0
    @ BDM-er, with all due respect, your glorified opinion of the BDM role is frankly laughable and underpinned by the fact you gave us no reason to believe you!!

    Tell us your Lordship of the insurance industry, precisely what roles you have performed that are "far more important than anything the underwriter or broker does, hence the higher wages."

    As your comments stand, one can only assume you work in the Television industry because you can't possibly be talking about the Insurance industry.

    Are you in Home and Away by any chance?
  • It's all about personal choice | 23 Oct 2012, 02:53 PM Agree 0
    Another piece of sensationalistic journalism from Cameron..clearly too much time on his hands. Insurance is a great industry built on strong relationships across the board. Why on earth would he write this article? Is he trying to divide an industry for the sake of generating a certain number of hits (perhaps KPI targets) so he himself can earn a bonus?

    A lot of us have targets..but no one indivdual was forced into taking a certain career path...remember life is all about choices!
  • It's all about personal choice | 23 Oct 2012, 03:48 PM Agree 0
    You comparison to the Australian covering a research report about the rise in global temperatures is not nearly the same. A poor attempt to try and justify a poorly constructed article. Once again..life is all about choices!
  • Andrew | 23 Oct 2012, 03:55 PM Agree 0
    Fair enough...
  • Rational head | 23 Oct 2012, 04:02 PM Agree 0
    Sterling work IB!
  • It's all about personal choice | 23 Oct 2012, 04:07 PM Agree 0
    Helping you get your bonus..clearly you are struggling with your targets.
  • Tony | 23 Oct 2012, 05:27 PM Agree 0
    @ It's all about personal choice, you said "Is he trying to divide an industry for the sake of generating a certain number of hits (perhaps KPI targets) so he himself can earn a bonus?"

    What an odd perspective.

    The fact, whether you like it or not, is what has been commented on by the author in this article is how brokers generally perceive BDM's and as someone who has been in the industry for 30 years (claims, underwriter, broker) that perception has only grown stronger. At least the BDM's 20 years ago could make decisions on the spot regarding coverage and rates!!!!

  • Experienced | 23 Oct 2012, 06:16 PM Agree 0
    Tony, welcome back, now I get where you are coming from. You have been in the industry 30 years. FYI Times change, for example you can't do a deal on the back of a bar coaster anymore.

    Everyone is accountable for the role they do, let them do their role within the rules they have and everyone will be happy.

    It's all about personal choice made some great points however in support of Cameron he is only doing his job well, look of the amount of comments occuring, he is getting traffic.

    Well done to all and everyone has had a win.

    FYI who cares what people get paid. I don't and I am comfortable with that.

  • Opinion | 23 Oct 2012, 07:37 PM Agree 0
    I have been in the industry for 19 years..5 in underwriting and 12 in broking. I have to agree with @ Moods. We have had various BDM's over the years..some good and some not so good. Whilst I took a small pay cut when I moved into broking..I am now earning in excess of what I could have earnt as a BDM.

    I agree with @ Tony and @ Experienced that the author is only doing a job. @ It's all about choices also makes a valid point about being in control of your own career path.

    Healthy debate should be encouraged and embraced by all.
  • Brisbane Broker | 24 Oct 2012, 09:52 AM Agree 0
    BDM-er, just remember we are your clients!Take some professionalism in your approach. Possibly you are working hard in the wrong area, start with communication skills.
  • Tony | 24 Oct 2012, 11:06 AM Agree 0
    @ experienced, no you can't do a deal on the back of a bar coaster anymore and I was never a fan of that form of "bind" anyway.

    I mean, they were useless unless the insurance company stamp was on them and they were bloody difficult to file as well!!!! LOL
  • Rose - Melbourne Broker | 24 Oct 2012, 11:26 AM Agree 0
    gee we can see by the above comments who are BDMs. The Good ones will get the business, the bad ones will not. So if the bad ones manage to keep a job @$100+ then it is their employeers that should be looking at them, A good BDM can make the difference the trouble is they are often let down by the back office
  • Melb BDM | 24 Oct 2012, 11:37 AM Agree 0
    Its all about results...who cares if a BDM earns $130k+ a year if they get the companys desired results!

    No matter your role you will only ever get paid what your worth to the company.

    I have no issue with brokers or underwriters earning good money if they are worth it to the company.
  • Phil McGuire - Broker (and dinasaur) | 24 Oct 2012, 06:20 PM Agree 0
    I think we all need to take a step back,a deep breath and remember that it is big country but a small industry and we are all in this together. The ultimate decision on remuneration is the employer's. Its the old saying, 'you want yo start WWIII, start comparing what you earn with others'. We should all be grateful we are gainfully employed and contributing something together to this great industry.
  • Take a Step Back | 25 Oct 2012, 02:16 PM Agree 0
    Well Said Phil McGuire.

    The Insurance game (both underwriting and broking) is an "entry level industry" and as such creates varied salaries but more importantly many fantastic opportunities for anyone that wants to jump in.

    The public perception of the insurance industry is already lacking and petty chest beating between brokers and insurers about who gets paid more doesn't help one bit.
    This industry needs a mentality where brokers and insurers have a common goal and work in partnership to achieve that goal. Like Phil McGuire stated “We are all in this together”

    I congratulate ANYONE that has been successful in negotiating a $100K + salary in an entry level industry. Good for you.

    To those having a whinge, your time may be better spent redirecting your energy towards something positive rather than fuelling an online forum that subject, is really, outside of your control.
  • Glenda | 25 Oct 2012, 04:42 PM Agree 0
    You posed your readers this question What do you think? Is your BDM worth up to $130,000 a year?
    My response is this - I am a small broker. Small brokers dont get BDM support!!! I am an AR for a large licence holder however that means nothing to the BDM or the underwriter.
    The title Business Development Manager does not mean that at all. What it really means is "if you have a large portfolio with us we will do something sometimes to help you find cover for difficult to place risks"
    I have no complaints about what they get paid... and i cannot comment as to whether they earn that amount or not That's all on the head of the Insurance Companies that employ them.
    I can say this though. 'if my response to any enquiry was the same as I get from my BDM's then I would not have a business at all"
    I started this from scratch .With the first out call and first in call I provided the best I had to give to them all. I never knew what else each client would bring in along with what that first contact suggested.
    My largest client to date only wanted to insure his new car.... I am glad I gave full committed service to that one small enquiry..
    Would I employ or direct any employee to only look after the big clients. The answer to that is easy - NO!
    Should they be paid big dollars to do what I tell them and to get me the results I want? Yes.
    And that is the whole point. Yes Men/(Women) get paid big dollars to please their employers....
  • Customer | 25 Oct 2012, 06:14 PM Agree 0
    I am a business owner that spends a considerable amount of $ on insurance annually.
    I see the value in this purchase but I don't see the value in low calibre brokers that sit on requests for weeks, give me my renewal 5 minutes before it expires and offer a service I would expect from an overseas call centre. God forbid I ever need advice during a claim.

    Note - This is constant trend and opinion I have formed through owning and being involved in different businesses in different states and being exposed different brokers both big and small. I have similar feedback from peers in same and different industries which nearly brings me to the end of my rant.

    I'm really quite surprised (and appalled) at the comments on this thread . What a pointless argument/debate/forum. You are 'supposed' to be professionals that are tasked with the responsibility of securing millions of dollars worth of ones assets and ensuring a businesses livelihood...this is where you spend your time...I am still waiting for my renewal...how embarrassing for you all.
  • Tony | 29 Oct 2012, 11:09 AM Agree 0
    @ customer, sounds like you are in need of a new broker as your last choice appears to have been a poor one.



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