Fears of commoditization still haunt insurance brokers

Fears of commoditization still haunt insurance brokers | Insurance Business

Fears of commoditization still haunt insurance brokers

Just like many insurance professionals, Jordan Cocom’s (pictured) entrance into the industry came by pure chance. However, his commitment to excellent customer service has been with him since he was working as a passenger service representative for an airline company.

An opportunity for a career change came knocking at his door when his friend told him of an underwriting assistant position. Cocom was later promoted to an underwriter position, in which he stayed for three years before making the switch to become a broker.

Today, Cocom is a broker at Executive Perils, an independent wholesale insurance group providing coverage for clients within a wide range of sectors from cybersecurity to real estate.

Insurance Business caught up with Cocom to get to know more about his career and his company. In this exclusive interview, he shares how automation and commoditization are two of the biggest issues in the industry today. He also imparts his insights on how to attract the younger population into taking a career in insurance.

IB: What do you like the most about your current organization? What makes it different from other firms in the same space?

Cocom: I love being a broker at ExecutivePerils because, if you do it right, you get invited to all the cool mixers - OK, what I mean is, every account, every relationship and every critical decision my company makes will have my fingerprints on it in a good way. I love being asked for my participation in these critical items. It gives me great job satisfaction which significantly outweighs the hard work and at times the stress. They are all part of my life, but the payoff is having an impact on a company where growth is encouraged and supported, and my work is appreciated and recognized.

IB: Please tell us briefly about your role in your firm.

Cocom: My typical duties include building and maintaining relationships with agents and brokers across the country, scheduling and attending meetings, and discussing and assessing clients’ current and future insurance needs. I am learning innovative solutions to problems.

IB: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work in the insurance space?

Cocom: At Executive Perils, you are not just a cog in the corporate machine: you are making a difference in people’s lives and there are simply no words for how good that feels. I enjoy the responsibility and encouragement to figure out ways to bring value. Helping others succeed and have direct access to very senior underwriters who like and trust us while allowing me to advance my career.

IB: What do you think are the most challenging issues facing the insurance industry and your line of work today?

Cocom: I would say a combination of automation and commoditization. In the short time that I have been with Experience Perils, I have experienced how D&O, E&O, and cyber can be powerful protection tools if structured correctly. I worry that in the end these broad policies will be stripped down to a commodity thus requiring no skill and expertise.

IB: If you were to imagine a world without insurance, how would you describe it?

Cocom: Chaos.

IB: What are some effective solutions you’ve seen in getting young people to enter and stay in insurance?

Cocom: With many insurance professionals preparing for retirement, there is a great need for up and coming leaders—which, in turn, presents a tremendous opportunity for career advancement. Insurance is the place to be for a young, determined and driven individual. The best part is that this benefit hasn’t been advertised much, so there is lots of space for new talent.

IB: What advice can you share for those wanting to join the insurance industry?

Cocom: The industry isn’t glamorous but there is huge potential for a successful career. Not only are there a multitude of career paths, from underwriting to claims handling, loss control, and agency producer, each serve important functions which cater to different interests and skillsets. It is what you make of it. Building trust and knowledge will allow for growth. It’s important to find a company that is small enough to care and large enough to see complex situations. It is a people business, so your integrity and work ethic determine your future.

IB: What do you think a stranger would remember most about you?

Cocom: That I’m sociable and inquisitive.

IB: If you were not working in the insurance space, what would you be doing now?

Cocom: I like to consider myself a movie buff plus seeing how I’m an LA Native I would probably be working in the television or film industry.