With 25 years of experience working in the insurance industry under his belt, Paul Bleakley is well-positioned to discuss what separates the best underwriters from the rest. Currently the national facilities manager at Berkley Insurance Australia, Bleakley told Insurance Business that when it comes to choosing an underwriter, one of the first things a company should look out for is whether they’re dealing with a local or international provider.
“A local underwriter will understand local conditions, and is focused on the needs of local clients,” he said. “An underwriter who is sitting in another country, on the other hand, is generally going to be slower to understand a local client’s needs and may be more reactive, rather than measured, in responses.”
Given the speed at which many businesses operate these days, Bleakley highlighted the need for an underwriter that can provide same-day responses – a difficult proposition if your workday is entirely separated from that of your underwriter, which can lead to communication breakdown in more ways than one.
“Of course, another major advantage of a local underwriter is that they can actually talk to the client or broker and ensure that the risk is clearly understood,” he stated. “This way, there’s likely to be less chance for gaps in cover.”
The risk inherent to these coverage gaps is part of the reason why Bleakley believes businesses that are looking to cut costs during these difficult times should think twice before exercising parts of their insurance policies.
“An insurance policy is more than just a promise to pay according to the terms of the policy – it is a form of access to an experienced adviser who can assist the client and broker in navigating the sometimes very complex process of responding to a complicated matter,” he asserted.
“This access can save customers immense amounts of management time and reduce the stress imposed on a business by a claim. All in all, an insurance policy is there for the tough times and while the cost can be formidable when cash flows are tight, the cost of not having insurance can range from missing out on contracts to destroying both your business and personal financial security.”