Brokers Must be Kept in the Loop

Clive Nicholls

Clive Nicholls, UK & Ireland chief executive officer for Crawford & Company® explains the importance of rekindling the broker-insurer-adjuster relationship.

In modern business terms, we’ve all been ‘procured.’ This rather unfriendly term applies on an increasing basis to goods and services in which commoditised structures and service level agreements are replacing the more traditional, customer relationship.

Clive Nicholls

Clive Nicholls: CEO UK & Ireland, Crawford & Company

Claims are no different. We win the vast majority of our business via panel agreements to become a trusted supplier for insurers.

However, trust in the supply chain has become an overriding theme in our business during recent years, and it is a topic brokers can and should demand more readily of their partners in the insurance industry.

We need to help brokers understand how a claims service will support their customer portfolio. They have spent considerable time and resources building a base, and it makes sense to rekindle the tripartite broker-insurer-adjuster relationship.

In part, this involves establishing relationships with clients at a pre-loss position. It’s analogous to visiting a doctor and receiving a prescription; you have no idea how this has been procured but you trust the solution is correct. As adjusters and claims handling professionals, we are being ‘prescribed’ at the time of a loss. My concern is that without any pre-loss relationship with the broker, there can be a lack of understanding about what should happen.

“our insurer clients are taking it upon themselves to ensure we make ourselves known to their best customers”

Insurers rely heavily on their broker partners, who remain as important as ever in the distribution chain. As a result, a number of our insurer clients are taking it upon themselves to ensure we make ourselves known to their best customers and that the primary relationship between manufacturer (insurer) and distributor (broker) is properly maintained.

This can manifest itself in other ways. Some insurers appoint ‘go to’ claims advisors for their cornerstone brokers who will maintain these relationships centrally with supply chain members. Others will encourage a direct approach, such as the aforementioned example. The truth is that both situations have something essential in common, everyone is kept in the loop and the brokers have an opportunity to understand precisely what they sold the customer is being delivered.

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