The insurance world can’t work if agencies and brokers do not have a trusted and collaborative relationship with insurance carriers and underwriters. You may have encountered issues in your agency with carriers or underwriters due to a lack of communication or simply because you don’t know or agree with how they work.
Your agency needs to build and manage good relationships with carriers and underwriters because this will enable you to provide the best products for your clients. If you’ve been struggling to find a rapport, keep reading to explore ways to improve your working relationship in these sectors and make it easy to find insurance carriers and underwriters that gel with your agency.
Understand Carrier / Underwriter Preferences
All underwriters and insurance carriers have their own preferences and guidelines when it comes to risk, specific products, and niche markets. If you want to collaborate well, you must take the time to research and familiarize yourself with these preferences. Doing this can help you tailor your submissions to align with their criteria which, in turn, will increase the likelihood of a successful partnership.
Keep Communication Lines Open
As with any relationship, the key to success is effective communication. Promptly respond to questions or concerns highlighted by carriers and underwriters. Also, keep them updated about newly identified risks, market trends, or changes within your agency. Keep the communication lines open to show that your agency is committed to building a partnership and trust.
Provide Accurate Submissions
Whenever your agency submits risks to underwriting, you must provide accurate and comprehensive information to simplify the process. Give details about loss history and risk management measures put in place. Also include unique circumstances that may impact the underwriting process. On your side, a thorough submission proves your agency is professional and wants the best outcome for customers. On the side of the underwriters, it will help them make better decisions.
Foster Personal Connections
While professionalism must always be at the forefront of all your dealings with carriers and underwriters, you can build personal connections to strengthen relationships. This doesn’t mean that you start asking for favors either way, but instead, get to know the people you work with and understand their career goals and interests. Try to attend industry events and conferences to meet face-to-face and build rapport.
Don’t Lag on Market Trends
The insurance industry is dynamic and continues to incorporate new trends and regulations. Position your agency as ‘the one to ask,’ by staying on top of the latest market changes, laws and regulations, and emerging risks. You can do this by reading reputable industry publications, participating in online seminars, and attending professional training workshops.
Then, at events and conferences, you can participate in meaningful discussions with carriers and underwriters and let them know that they can refer to your agency if they have questions.
Be a Problem-Solver
Insurance agencies partner with carriers and underwriters to provide a holistic insurance solution. To provide value from your side, you should strive to solve problems as they arise. This essentially means you need to train your agents to proactively identify issues or challenges that may pop up during the underwriting process. Before submitting to the underwriters, create a risk mitigation strategy to address these concerns before they become a real problem.
In general, underwriters prefer working with agencies that play an active role in finding solutions. When your underwriters notice that you don’t leave the problem-solving solely to them, you will automatically strengthen the relationship.
Provide Timely Feedback
Whenever you receive quotes or proposals from underwriters, you must strive to provide timely feedback. If you disagree with the terms, immediately state your reasons and provide your preferred alternatives. Underwriters cannot guess what you want them to do, so your detailed feedback will help them understand your customers’ requirements and expectations better.
Advocate for Your Customers
Your agency must always advocate for your clients while building relationships with carriers and underwriters. Communicate your customers’ objectives and risk tolerances. You can do this by giving an overview of their businesses, industry-specific risks, and any additional insurance requirements. By providing this information, you help speed along the underwriting process while proving your commitment to serving your customers’ best interests.
Offer Data Insights
You can use your insurance agency management system, to provide your carriers and underwriters with claims data and loss trends to improve risk management. Insurance carriers can use this to determine customers’ risk mitigation measures and insurability. It also means your customers will get better terms and conditions on their policies.
Regularly evaluate the service and responsiveness of the insurance carriers and underwriters your agency works with to maintain a strong relationship.
Any lack of service will carry through directly to your own customer service. Address concerns with urgency before it impacts your bottom line.
Start Improving Your Agency’s Carrier/Underwriter Relationships Today
A well-functioning relationship between your agency, insurance carriers, and underwriters is vital for business success. Lay a solid foundation for successful partnerships by following the above tips, and you will be well on your way to improving your customer service too.