What do you think your key role is?
My job as a Northland insurance broker is to act as an intermediary between the client and the insurance provider, but importantly I’m not neutral. While it is the insurance company who pays me a commission, I am 100 per cent focused on my client. This is even reinforced by law, under the Insurance Intermediaries Act.
The job is largely about two key things: identifying and understanding the clients’ risks, then arranging and negotiating terms with insurers, to provide the best insurance solution possible.
Before we get to the insurance solution, I need to take the client through a basic risk analysis process. The reason for this, I believe, is best summarised from what a client once told me:
“Gareth, your job is to tell me what risks my business faces and how I can best deal with those risks.”
This comment equally applies to a client’s own personal insurances. In the majority of cases some level of insurance is the appropriate solution, however a risk review may identify a low risk exposure or even a risk with no exposure. The client might not elect to or need to insure – but at least they’ll understand the decision they have taken.
So how can I get a full risk review done?
It doesn’t take that much. It’s a simple process which can be as quick as five minutes, as I have streamlined and improved the process in the 14-plus years I have been brokering.
What about claims?
It’s a misconception to think that a broker like me spends a huge amount of time handling claims. I actually pre-empt the claims process by choosing insurance providers at the front end who make the process easy. I don’t normally have problems at claim time because I have an insurer who is prepared and willing to help. Meet me in Whangarei, Northland, the North Shore or Auckland to find out more about your insurance options.
So which insurer do you choose?
Matching people with the best-suited insurer is a very important part of the job. I constantly stay in touch with insurers and we know what their appetite for risk is, what products they have that are better than others and, as mentioned previously, how they respond at claim time. Also, I’m looking for insurers who will assist when common sense needs to be applied to a situation, not company policy.
There are currently about a dozen reputable insurers who I am consistently dealing with. While big insurers like Vero and NZI often offer great coverage options, I’m always on the lookout for specialists where necessary, such as specialist marine insurance or niche liability insurers.
Do I really need a risk review?
Once the risk review is done and we have identified what risks you face, we then go through a process of measuring the risk. In some cases the risk is very remote and it’s better to self-insure, in other cases risk may be very high and full comprehensive insurance is the only solution. I then match this with what is in place currently. In some cases this means more insurance is required, but often it means changing things around somewhat.
For example, take one of the following businesses and you’ll see how savings in one area can be spent in another area, so coverage is optimised in professional services such as a lawyer, accountant, architect or IT.
Traditionally the business may have looked at comprehensive business interruption cover, to cover lost income following a fire, storm, flood, burglary, natural disaster. It might be better to reduce this cover to Increased Costs only. The reason for this is that unlike a manufacturer or retailer, following a loss a professional business may be able to keep the income stream moving reasonably easily with staff working from home, or a temporary alternative premises, therefore not requiring such comprehensive cover. The savings from this change might be used to purchase Cyber Insurance. The potential impact of a cyber or hacking attack on a professional services IT network could in some cases have a far bigger impact on the profits than a small water damage claim and associated downtime in an office.
For any queries please drop me a message over on the Balance Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 022 066 3114. I am here to help you decipher the fine print and get truly independent advice on what insurance coverage will keep you safe and secure.