As a CFO, I understand the importance of vetting and selecting business partners to support the needs of a growing business. From accountants to law firms, commercial real estate brokers and banks, who you choose to do business with can have a significant impact on the bottom line, your workload and the level of risk to your organization.
When it comes to insurance, I have the benefit of understanding the business as well as the key traits CFOs should look for when evaluating and selecting a broker. The time you gain from partnering with the right insurance broker leaves you more time to focus on your core business strategies and growth opportunities for the future.
For most brokers these traits are a given, and for good reason they should be. If they aren’t core strengths, keep looking.
- Reputation - A solid and long term reputation in your community and the industry often points to a track record of success.
- Intellectual Capital – Experienced, seasoned and intelligent colleagues, who possess the technical insurance knowledge to guide you on what risks to cover and how best to cover them.
- Industry Expertise – Depth of knowledge in your specific industry is key. Access to benchmarking data, trends, and industry changes are essential when evaluating your organization’s risk profile.
- Insurer Relationships – Strong and deep relationships with insurance companies help provide the leverage you need to get the best coverage, best terms and best price available.
Not every broker can tout these resources or philosophies. Find one who can and you’ll have a strategic partner who is as invested in your success as you are.
- Transactional versus Consultative - Most insurance brokers can place your insurance coverage with insurers, but few have the ability to strategically and holistically consult with you on how best to reduce risk and cover your exposures today and well into the future.
- Risk and Loss Control Services – Insurance shouldn’t be a reactionary solution, but a proactive strategy. Find a partner who can provide direction and guidance on how best to control your risks before claims occur.
- Claims Advocacy – When claims do occur – and they will – make sure you have an advocate who can work with insurance companies to settle your claims in the most advantageous way. This is where the rubber meets that road. What is the benefit of paying insurance premiums, if you can’t settle the claims in a beneficial and expedient manner?
- Accessibility – Unfortunately, you can’t predict when you’ll need the expertise of your insurance partner to assist you with sticky situations. As more and more business services become automated online, having a team you can reach whenever you need them becomes an invaluable resource transactional convenience can’t replace.
- Local, yet Global – A local broker understands the market, your competition and your opportunities. But your success can outgrow your broker’s capabilities. Make sure your insurance team has the geographical reach and access to resources that can support your growth for the long-term.
A broker that meets and exceeds all of these traits will not only help you manage your operational expenses, but assist you in freeing up much needed capital to invest in new opportunities, protect your assets, safeguard your colleagues, reduce your risk, and save yourself and your staff valuable time and resources.
The value of an insurance broker should be measured beyond just the time it takes to renew your company’s insurance policies. An exceptional broker is a key strategic partner who can help create opportunities for your company to perform more efficiently now and grow well into the future.
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