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Insurance Business | 15 Jan 2014, 07:59 AM Agree 0
Should insurance businesses hire staff for their technical skills or their personality? ProRisk business development manager Peter Marshall weighs up both sides of the story.
  • Jak | 15 Jan 2014, 09:33 AM Agree 0
    ...I know I would rather have a technical expert with absolutely no people skills if, rather than in an insurance or business scvenario, I needed surgical interventiion to save me from, "...disasterous consequences...".
    Why should an insurance environment be any different from every day life, but let's face it, we now live in a world were no one can lose or be criticised; everyone must be given a prize or certificate, and praised for the most obvious of normality...
    If business is only about results, Mr Marshall's view of the world and reality is a sad reflection of his corporate 'reality'.
  • Male Broker | 15 Jan 2014, 10:00 AM Agree 0
    If you have both fantastic...however most technical people don't have great people skills hence BDMs and others are hired for those roles and vice versa it is a balancing act and some compnies get the mix right and other don't and suffer for it.
  • Steve Clancy | 15 Jan 2014, 11:17 AM Agree 0
    Jak, Peter is not saying people skills are more important than technical - but, ceteris paribus, the underwriter with greater people skills is likely to do better than the one without.

    Peter's right about the UW agencies having a higher ratio of good technical & good people skills.
  • Robert Cooper | 15 Jan 2014, 01:45 PM Agree 0
    This is a very interesting debate. I totally agree that a combination of Technical knowledge and people skills does make you a great Insurance Professional, whether as a Broker, Underwriter or BDM. In recent times employers have chosen not to develop various staffs perceived weaknesses and instead slot them into their areas of strength and just leave them there.
    I myself started off very much as a technical expert. It was easy to do by yourself, you simply studied and gained knowledge by experience, but people skills were another thing. I had to learn these the hard way and anyone that knows me will know how much difficulty I had doing so. It was trial and error constantly. Patient people guiding me and me learning alot more about myself. I wish there had been a lot more in this area early in my career. I am still learning but so am I constantly in the technical area.I think some employers believe you are born with them and that is it.
    We all have a duty to develop the best Insurance Professionals we can and that means a combination of technical skills and people skills. It results us all enjoying and being more proud of our profession as a result.
    I was told a very long time ago that Insurance is a relationship business. TO form good relationships means being reliable,credible and trustworthy with your knowledge and how it is then delivered. It goes hand in hand.
    So if you can see a weakness in either area, for the sake of us all, work on making it a strength.
  • Trang Ha | 17 Jan 2014, 10:38 AM Agree 0
    Obviously Jak you are a technical person with no people skills and is perceiving this article as a personal attack? Peter is clearly talking about the importance of having both skills as our profession is based on building business relationships. We all know people only deal with people they like and have a relationship with.
  • Small time broker | 20 Jan 2014, 11:53 AM Agree 0
    Regardless it comes down to "WHO You Know, rather than WHAT YOU KNOW.
  • Karen Ware | 07 Feb 2014, 07:56 AM Agree 0
    "the ratio of underwriters that have good technical skills together with a high level of people skills is far higher than for underwriters working for insurers. Underwriters in agencies are more accessible and have the authority to make decisions. Underwriters in agencies are more accessible and have the authority to make decisions."
    Working for a global corporate insurer with a highly skilled technical team of underwriters who also act as their own BDM's and have tremendous people skills, decision making ability backed by high authorities, I initially found this article offensive. But then I got over it – drafted some wordings and then went and had a coffee with a broker.
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