By DAN REYNOLDS, senior editor of Risk & Insurance®
Whether we're talking about podcasts, white papers, blog, conferences, webinars, you name it, the industry is doing clients an enormous service by communicating in as many different channels as clients would like.
Think of the time and money it takes or put together a newsletter, compile circulation lists, host a webinar, organize a conference. Now multiply that ten-fold. The largest carriers and brokers do that for their clients more than they do it for themselves.
Don't think this is all just fun and games for the carriers and the brokers. It's hard work. It costs money. Yes, there's something in it for the industry, but there's a lot more in it for the industry's clients. These communications responsibilities and the service they provide are to the benefit of the client.
It's an educational approach to risk management, as well. Carriers recognize that it is important to clients to spend energy and the money to conduct online and face-to-face seminars. Risk managers care about the importance of the relationship, and all healthy relationships are built on constant and clear communications.
Communicating with clients through a multiplicity of channels may not always serve the carrier's bottom line in the moment or meet the next quarterly earnings numbers. In the end, though, reaching out professionally and courteously is likely to serve the interest of clients in the long term. That's what I call serving clients first, and your own interests second.
Serving customers first is about one team telling another to think differently. It's about a carrier or a broker finding out what their clients' needs are, and then going off and finding solutions to those needs.
That's how the industry developed simple property/casualty coverage, then directors' and officers' coverage, then pollution liability coverage, then terrorism coverage and now, finally, cyberrisk coverage. Are there carriers and brokers who look at insurance through an almost purely transactional lens? Of course there are.
But far more of them approach the needs of clients through finely honed sensitivities, enhancing not only a carrier's or a broker's ability to earn a livelihood but the ability of their clients to protect their livelihoods.
In the end, carriers and distributors have a duty and responsibility to their customers. By default, they have to serve clients first. For the majority of the insurance and reinsurance industry, that's the whole story--indeed it's the only story.
(Click here to read the Counterpoint "Innovation: Industry Serves Itself Before Serving Customers.")
September 15, 2010
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