Business Myth Busting 360
In business we all face challenges. One of ours has been to defeat the myths that stand in the way of business progress. Yours and ours. Please don’t mistake what I’m saying as complaining. I’m not. In fact we are extremely thankful for all the terrific growth, patronage and enduring loyalty that we have been fortunate enough to be experiencing. What I am getting at is the set of things we hear prospective clients say when we invite them to move up to a better way of doing business. Our advice is geared toward the simple goals of protecting and improving your profits. Through enhancing management systems, social media savvy, human resources best practices and business accounting systems for business decisions Cornerstone Insurance can help your bottom line.
Business needs have changed a great deal in the last few years with a lot more change on the horizon. Drones, driverless vehicles, cyber threats, artificial intelligence and more. We’re working hard to stay on the leading edge of that evolution, so it’s okay if we‘re viewed by our competitors as somewhat of a new age disruptor. To us it’s a sign that we’re on the right track in managing the changes we all face.
The “badge of honor” myth:
“My business is so big and our insurance needs are so complex that these little local insurance guys can’t handle it. I have to deal with the big guys in the big city for my business”. While historically that may have been true, for the last decade or more it certainly has not been true. In fact the majority of the growth we get comes from outside our business area with a large proportion coming from much larger centers. We find that the more sophisticated the buyer is the more often we are successful. Right now the only broker in Saskatchewan to be ranked among the top brokers in Canada by the national Top Broker Magazine lives in Prince Albert.
The “bigger is better” myth:
“International brokerage firms have deep pockets and will reach into their own pocket to pay claims that the insurance company won’t pay or to pay things the broker missed covering”.
For starters, the only way any broker of any size would do this is if they knew they were negligent in the first place. Let’s look at the basics. The entire insurance industry is set up to protect the consumer with many fail safes and back-up systems in place. Insurance companies and sales outlets are pretty much left on their own to be professional and thorough. The way the system works is this. In utmost good faith insurance companies and brokers seek to cover risks for a premium. The broker buys professional liability called Errors and Omissions Insurance as is mandated by statutory regulations. When a dispute arises and it is found by those in authority that the broker did something that they shouldn’t have done or failed to do something that they should have done, then the E & O insurance responds to protect the consumer. Cornerstone Insurance strives to not make mistakes. To date we have never made a claim on our E & O coverage. Still, Cornerstone carries limits of E & O Insurance that far exceeds the legislated minimum acceptable standard to better protect the clients we serve.
The “misplaced loyalty” myth:
“I’ve been with my broker for 25 years and he hasn’t done anything wrong”.
I sincerely appreciate this one. I believe loyalty is often due, but that it has to be earned. I know I certainly appreciate it when our clients are loyal to us, especially since I believe we forge great relationships and we earn the loyalty we enjoy. The point that nothing has gone wrong or she is really friendly shouldn’t be enough to earn your loyalty. In our industry long relationships have greater value than switching coverage providers too often. That is true for sure. However it is only in your best interest if your broker consistently shows evidence of being proactive on your behalf. That means they should regularly be working to better your position before you ask them to and not simply reacting to your requests. Cornerstone has won the Best of the Best (BOB) award locally and provincially since the inception of the award. What if your insurance broker actually assisted you in becoming more profitable?
Prospective clients often ask “How much can you save me?” or “Give me a quote and I’ll think about it”.
To us these are unsophisticated prospects that take a very different approach than more savvy business people. All they understand is cheaper is better. Though we are most often in a position to minimize or reduce upfront costs, we know that the right coverage saves you more than the cheapest. Meaning that it is of far greater importance to save the business, its clients and profits after a loss or occurrence. That is where the real value is. The “Give me a quote and I’ll think about it” person well . . . . How engaged is that person in the survival of their own business? They’re probably not a fit for what we’re trying to achieve. Our best client is one that is engaged in what is best for their organization, is proactive in minimizing risk and is willing to put forth a little effort to ensure what is best them is what happens. We want clients that want to be informed.
A lot of the things insurance providers do are not readily apparent to the average consumer, so let’s look at the tell-tale signs that let you know if your business is in good hands. Is the only contact you have with your broker at renewal / invoice time? Statistics known in our industry say that on average clients want to interact with their broker at least 2 times per year away from the policy anniversary date. Does your broker communicate with you the way that is best for you? These days there is a myriad of ways to communicate. Look for the broker with many channels of communication. If you are only communicating on their terms, then that’s a broker that is way behind the times. Is your broker proactive in researching the best coverage at the best price for you? In other words have you ever gotten a good news contact like an additional discount, greater coverage or a “how is it going” from them? How much information did your current broker ask for? Do they really understand you and your organization to the point that they can actually help. Without sufficient information, does your broker know enough to get you all the discounts you’re entitled to? Are they able to represent you in the best possible light to far away underwriters that set the rates you’re paying? Things like a breakdown of and a total of the business’ gross receipts tells the underwriter how much of what kind of business you are doing, therefore how to properly rate the risk.
Is your broker and their firm actively involved in building your community? This is a relatively intangible return on your investment but think about it. If you or your family make use of community facilities and events, then what is your insurance provider doing to support you there? Bank owned insurance providers, international and national firms and especially on-line only insurance providers are notoriously poor at supporting your community. They syphon off their profits and spend them in their hometown. A typical insurance agent or broker in Canada gets a 15% or 20% commission on the products you buy from them +/- depending on the product line. Are you getting your money’s worth in terms of community support? Cornerstone Insurance, its principals and forefathers have been and continue to be active community builders in all of the communities we serve. We feel we owe it.
What we consistently hear / experience after gaining sophisticated new clients by winning their RFP is “WOW that was fast / easy” or “Thank you we didn’t know this was possible”. The other thing we hear even more often is “I sure like dealing with your people. They always seem so happy and eager to help” Clients are not saying we’re just as good as our competitors, they’re saying we’re significantly better. That improves your profits.
Testimonials from a business owner that has only ever dealt in one place since they took the business over from their parents who also only ever dealt in the same place can only be so valid. Testimonials from experienced business people that have experienced the operations of more than one insurance broker ring much more valid.