Having a decent broker is an important weapon in your armoury. Unless you’re doing something really simple, like getting your car insured, then you should always avoid going directly to an insurer.
Why? Well, if you’re running a creative or digital agency, your services are probably quite unique. So it makes sense that the solution that works for one agency might not necessarily work for another. This makes choosing off-the-shelf products really dangerous.
But how do you choose a broker that gets your business, will give you their impartial advice, and can help you through whatever problems you encounter? Below, we’ve given our five key tips on picking the right one for you.
1. Check out their claims support
Services can vary significantly from broker to broker. Some of them will provide a wide range of support – they might be there to help check contract clauses or give cover advice, for example, or make simple amendments without charge.Yet it might surprise you to learn that a number of well-known brokers don’t even help you through the claims process. They see themselves as purely a ‘placing’ broker, advising you on the appropriate insurance policy, and not much else.
When looking to engage a broker, ask specifically whether they’ll provide you with full claims support. If they do, they can liaise with insurers on your behalf – notifying them when you want to make a claim and keeping you updated as things progress.
2. Remember that bigger is not always better
Avoid going for a big-name, international broker. You’ll almost certainly be one of their smallest and least important clients, and therefore likely to get passed on to a junior member of staff when you need to speak with them – someone without the knowledge or authority to help.
Even big agencies will pay very small premiums compared to medium-sized businesses in heavier industries. An SME scaffolder could easily pay several times what a large, multi-site agency does. For agencies selecting brokers, bigger is very rarely better.
Take care when picking your broker, and don’t give in to the temptation to just get it over and done with by choosing a big name. Select someone who will actually care about you and your agency.
3. Uncover any conflicts of interest
There’s no harm in asking a broker the straight question: does an insurance company own any part of your business? But the answer could have an impact on the service you receive.
You want to find out if the broker will be 100% impartial – whether that’s on who they recommend as the insurer or how hard they’d push them if there was ever a dispute on a sizeable claim. While most insurer-owned brokers will be entirely transparent in their recommendations, there have been some significant court cases over the years that have seen brokers fined for failing to do what was best for the client.
It always pays to be a bit more cautious if you suspect that there’s a clear conflict of interest at play.
4. Go specialist
Be wary of the generalist broker. Often, they can be very good brokers in the main, but not an expert in your sector. This means they may struggle to understand what your agency actually does, and subsequently where your real risks lie.
This can lead to important gaps in protection that just wouldn’t have happened with the right knowledge. We’ve seen decent generalist brokers do things as simple as fail to insure technical equipment properly or arrange adequate insurance for an agency’s contractual obligations.
Additionally, if the broker is not an expert in your sector, they won’t be up to speed with industry trends, the solutions available in the market, and what premiums and terms are reasonable.
5. Look beyond friends, family and referrals
Don’t just pick a broker because they’re your friend or family member. The same goes for any non-genuine referrals you’ve been given, such as those where the referring company is in the same paid networking group. Their value is often measured by the number of referrals they’ve given, rather than the number of referrals that were actually suitable.
In the same way you’d ask whether a broker is owned by an insurer, get some clarity on the relationship that your contact has with the company. The ideal referral will come from someone who is already a happy customer of theirs, and not just someone who needs to tick a box for a networking group.
Seeking independent advice and support?
RiskBox is a wholly owned, agile and independent insurance broker that’s focused on the creative, digital and professional sectors.
If you need help protecting your agency, just get in touch with us. You can reach us on 0161 533 0411 or at email@example.com. Alternatively, please fill in our contact form and we’ll get back to you.
Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash
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