Current broker challenge: Slow turnaround times

"It makes it very frustrating"

Current broker challenge: Slow turnaround times

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

According to Laura Meyer (pictured above), an independent broker in Creswick, Victoria, her business is doing well thanks to client referrals - but one of her big current challenges is insurer and agency turnaround times.

“The large majority of the agencies out there are taking a long time to come back,” said the director of Meyerinsure. “I’m having to let clients know that it could take up to a week to two weeks, depending on the risk, to return terms in some cases.”

She said a couple of years ago she rarely experienced these sorts of delays.

“That’s been a real challenge to manage,” said Meyer. “There are a couple of insurers - that I won’t name - that have the worst reputations,” she said.

She added that, in some cases, underwriters aren’t bothering to explain the delays.

“Even when I try and call to follow up, it’s a case of, ‘Look, we’re backlogged, you’re in the queue,’” she said. “So I’ve basically I’ve just got to wait my turn.”

Broker relationships with underwriters are key

In this situation, Meyer said, her professional relationships are very important.

“I’m finding that relationships with key underwriters are really, really important, “ she said. “With BDMs, for example, because sometimes that’s the only way you can get something turned around.”

Sometimes, she said, those relationships can really help speed things up.

“In the end, I think, if you’ve got someone that you can go to that knows you, and you get along with, sadly, sometimes that’s the key to get in the door and get something turned around quickly,” said Meyer.

The Victorian broker wasn’t sure if the delays were due to an excessive backlog, staffing issues or coverage placement difficulties.

 “It makes it very frustrating when you’ve got a bank of terms that you’re waiting on for several clients and you’re having to send updates to clients every couple of days, just letting them know that you are still waiting,” said Meyer.

Fortunately, she said, most of her clients are very understanding.

“I’m letting them know from the start that there might be a little bit of a wait, depending on the risk,” she said.  

However, the problem often applies to all types of coverages, she said, rather than particular risks.

“Talking to other brokers, they all seem to be having similar problems with the same and other insurers,” said Meyer. “I certainly don’t want to bag out insurers because they’ve all got difficult jobs to do and they’re working in a difficult situation, but it does make it really tricky to manage all of those balls that are up in the air and to maintain service to the clients.”

Quality submissions to insurers a “no brainer”

Meyer said, in this difficult predicament, the quality of her submissions for clients is very important.

“That’s a no brainer,” she said. “Insurers – and rightly so  – aren’t going to place the same priority on a submission that comes through with no effort or no information, versus something that’s carefully prepared.”

The broker was very happy with the back-up she gets from her broker network, CBN (Community Broker Network).

“Being a CBN broker affords me access to lots of different areas and support from people that I potentially wouldn’t get at a larger independent brokerage,” she said.

Challenges reported by other brokers

Other brokers around Australia report different challenges.

“That’s a really easy question to answer,” said John Farrell, director of Steadfast Taswide Insurance Brokers, when he was asked recently by IB what his biggest, current challenge is. “It’s the continuing rise of insurance premiums.”

Farrell, who spoke to IB from his Devonport office, attributed the rises partly to the high inflation impacting the global economy. “I can’t see that changing anytime soon,” he said.

There are other “obvious” causes, he said, like Australia’s ongoing record round of storms and floods.

As a result of many months of flooding events and insurance claims pressures, brokers are seeing many insurers reduce their aggregate exposures. Shane Brady, director of McLardy McShane South East, sees this issues as a major current challenge.

“With another two months of the Australian catastrophe season left, insurers are often making much more conservative decisions to reduce their aggregate exposures,” said Melbourne-based Brady last month in an interview with IB.

“We’re working a hell of a lot harder just to achieve the same results we were three or four years ago,” he said.

If you are a broker, what’s your biggest current challenge? Please tell us below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!