What is a 'must' for a successful insurance brokerage?

Working through a hard market can be tough but a satisfied client should be top of mind

What is a 'must' for a successful insurance brokerage?

Insurance News

By David Saric

In the wake of a hard market, with stricter capacity and an emphasis on existing books of business, building a solid relationship with insureds is more vital than ever.

“As a family-owned, independent brokerage, customer service is something that is baked into each client call or business transaction,” said Filip Ambroziak (pictured), who joined his mother’s company, Ambroziak & Rao Insurance Brokers Inc., nine years ago.

“You can’t have a successful brokerage without authentic client relationships, which is something that I cherish when working with my insureds.”

Ambroziak spoke with Insurance Business about why smaller companies may inquire about acquisitions or joining a network to perform better, how his brokerage is manoeuvring through a hard market and why reducing coverage in auto insurance policies may not be suitable in the long term.

“Doing thorough and effective marketing for small businesses is tough”

For Ambroziak, being technologically advanced is an indelible asset for brokerages looking to raise their profile in the current business landscape.

“I am very into leveraging our business through search engine optimization methods, specifically targeting Mississauga through local keywords that are relevant to our customer base,” Ambroziak said.

Throughout 2023, he wants to bolster the company’s identity through these specific marketing tools but recognizes how costly and resource intensive these initiatives can be.

“Doing thorough and effective marketing for small businesses is tough,” Ambroziak said. “One click for an insurance broker or ‘insurance’ as a keyword costs around $20, which can get very unaffordable when prioritizing that kind of marketing. They may not have the budgets like the big players.”

As a result, Ambroziak predicts that more acquisitions may have to occur for smaller brokerages to be given the resources and budgets to expand through marketing endeavours, while also being able to strengthen their book of business.

“We are part of a network, which is very reassuring,” Ambroziak said. “I highly recommend this for other smaller brokerages looking for a leg up in the industry, as one large claim could effectively destroy you.

“However, when being part of a network, you have some stable support that, if a bad year occurs, you can even be integrated into a larger book of business.”

Reinforcing relationships with clients amid a hard market

While attracting new clients through marketing is a goal to increase the size and scope of a brokerage, hard markets traditionally restrict capacity and allow for greater attention to be spent on an existing book of business.

With rising premiums across the industry and the resulting stress many insureds are facing, prioritizing a stable and empathetic relationship between a broker and client should be of utmost importance.

“When things are getting tough, my clients do give me a call to see how we can strengthen coverage,” Ambroziak said. “Being able to provide that support and find creative ways to mend their worries is the best service to offer a client right now.”

One opportunity comes in the reinsurance space, where quotes and rates are coming in lower than for new business.

“I’m noticing that for clients who are up for renewal and have a solid policy with a carrier, it may be beneficial to keep business with that company because of loyalty discounts,” Ambroziak said.

“Especially as the market hopefully softens soon and more carriers begin increasing their capacity, it will be even more imperative for us brokers to really search for the perfectly priced policies that uphold the specific coverage a client needs, whether if it’s with that provider or another.”

“Reducing coverage is never a good solution”

Since joining the insurance industry nine years ago, Ambroziak has consistently heard of talks that the Ontario government was preparing legislation to lessen the costs of auto insurance.

When the option to remove DCPD coverage was announced, Ambroziak viewed this as a simple means to a more complicated end.

“In my opinion, reducing coverage is never a good solution,” he said. “If clients are in dire need of a financial cut and this is seen as optional, it can dig them into a deeper financial hole if something were to go wrong.”

Ambroziak also recognized that efforts to lower premiums may be out of step with rampant car theft in the province.

“For example, if a $60,000 company car was stolen, it will only be recovered over the next couple of years with premium increases, which is not sustainable,” he said.

Instead, companies should be focusing on risk mitigation and prevention to thwart these instances of theft that are becoming prevalent.

“I love what carriers like Aviva are doing by installing tag trackers in order to accurately locate where a vehicle is located after being stolen,” Ambroziak said.

“Interventions like this reduce claims and are more important than reducing coverage, which, as a broker, is what we should strive towards to keep clients satisfied and having their best interests in mind.”

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