Risk is not restrained by geographical borders. It shows no respect to socio-economic policy, and it pays little regard to industry size or sector. Exposures in today’s interconnected society are becoming increasingly global, meaning insurance brokers are having to expand their horizons and take more holistic, international views of risk.
This global risk landscape is an exciting prospect for Brokerslink chairman José Manuel Fonseca (pictured). As a global broking company, which owns and manages a worldwide insurance broking network with a presence in almost 150 countries, Brokerslink is “uniquely placed” to tackle international risks, according to Fonseca.
Brokerslink’s model is somewhat different to traditional brokerage network models in that it only has one official brokerage representative per country. These brokers maintain business autonomy in their own countries, but they’re also shareholders in Brokerslink and so they share a common interest in assisting other international members.
“We’re also different from global brokers in that we’re very much a horizontal organisation as opposed to a vertical organisation. We don’t control our broker members in different countries from the top down. Rather we’re more of a knowledge-sharing network,” Fonseca told Insurance Business. “We do organise business for our members, and we help them to be international and approach international clients, but we don’t control them. They’re entrepreneurial-driven, they have their own leadership teams and their own goals, but they can tap into the opportunities Brokerslink provides to get business that they perhaps wouldn’t have been able to get on a standalone basis.”
Running a global broking network is all about relationships, according to Fonseca. It’s not just holistic broker-client relationships that could turn out to be key in the future. Knowledge-sharing and support among brokers is also growing in importance, especially as clients inherit and develop more international exposures.
Brokerslink runs a global conference every year where the network tries to foster and enhance those global broker relationships. Face-to-face meetings “are absolutely critical” in global organisations, said Fonseca, who added that people are more likely to help each other deal with an emerging risk or an international exposure if they know the person at the other end of the phone or the email request.
“When it comes to an international risk or an international business, sometimes what the broker needs from the market is not business; it’s information,” Fonseca commented. “If you ask for information, it takes time and effort for someone to respond, so you need good relationships for that. If you’re a global brokerage and an employee from India emails someone in Brazil for some help, that colleague in Brazil has little drive to respond if they don’t know the person sending the request.
“We’re a little bit different in that the Brokerslink model is built around communication. Our broker members respect each other as non-competing individual businesses. They’re committed to bringing something to the table for the benefit of all members. Our annual conference is very powerful because it’s an opportunity for all of us to meet each other, build upon our core values and further advance the capabilities of the network.”