Broker on the key to supporting clients

"As an insurance broker I work for my customers"

Broker on the key to supporting clients

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

It goes without saying that as a service, insurance should always be about helping the customer. But while all insurance professionals are – or at least should be - dedicated to providing their services to clients to the best of their abilities, there are some exceptional individuals who are willing to go the extra mile.

Behishta Naeme (pictured), a managing partner with Billyard Insurance Group, is one such broking professional who has gone out of her way to support customers amid the dire circumstances of the pandemic. Insurance Business spoke with Naeme to learn more about how she and her team strive to make their customers feel special.

How did you first become a broker? What do you particularly enjoy about broking?

I used to work as an insurance agent for over five years and I came to the realization that I had to expand my book of business and get into commercial and high-risk markets. Working as an agent limits you from targeting a bigger market as you are restricted to one specific market. I became an insurance broker in 2015 and right away I knew this is where I could excel.

I really enjoy helping people and working in this field gives me the opportunity to do that in many ways. Helping clients through some of the most difficult times in their lives - dealing with tragedies, loss of homes, or automobiles is the hardest thing to see - but guiding people through it is the most fulfilling part of my job.

What are some of the key ways that you are able to support your clients right now?

I believe that independent advocacy is the key to supporting my customers – as an insurance broker I work for my customers. I ensure they have peace of mind by helping them choose the best coverage options. In the event of a loss, I offer my customers timely advice, manage their claims professionally, quickly, and efficiently, and make sure they receive appropriate guidance.

I help my customers understand complex insurance terms & coverages. If there is a language barrier, I translate the insurance policies into their native language. I always compare their renewal rates to make sure they are receiving the best rates in the market. I provide support at each step of the way to ensure they know what to expect.

What are some of the key challenges and opportunities you are seeing impact your clients at the beginning of 2022?

The COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on individuals, society, business, and on the Canadian economy. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, customers are losing their jobs and can not afford insurance or afford their monthly payments on car loans. There is an increase in policy terminations due to non-payments which leads to increasing insurance rates for their policies due to bad payment records.

New drivers are finding a hard time getting appointments to book their driving tests as there are six to 12 months delays. Shoppers are fed up with empty dealer lots and high prices both for new and used vehicles. Also, microchip shortage continues to be a significant disruptor in manufacturing new cars.

How are you and your team working to mitigate those challenges?

We as a team at Billyard Insurance Group Oshawa have made sure that every team member continues to provide exceptional customer service to every customer regardless of day and time. We are reacquainting with our customers as every customer financial circumstance, business models, plans and/or projections are likely to have changed significantly during this pandemic.

We are engaging in honest, open, and frequent communication with every policyholder to make sure they know we are always here to listen and guide. We communicate daily with underwriters if a customer is going through a rough financial crisis to see what options are available for them, so they can avoid having non-payments on their insurance history. Some insurance companies allow customers to skip their monthly payments and we make sure customers are taking advantage of every COVID-relief offered by insurers.

How does being able to offer services to clients in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Farsi, and Pashto allow your team to differentiate your proposition? How can brokers better serve communities that speak other languages?

When you offer multilingual customer support, it also increases brand loyalty and reputation – because the customers know that there will be someone to understand them and their needs. You want the customers to know they will have great experience in their own language, so they're likely to return.  In other words, it provides your company with a unique stand. It also helps your ideal customers to see how your services benefit them.

Translating insurance terminologies and communicating in different languages has helped me and my team retain customer trust and confidence.  Consumers respond more favourably to brokers that speak their native language. Insurance brokers that speak different languages must invest in making sure their multilingual advertisement goes beyond translation and supports and engage in communities directly.

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