The devil is in the detail!
As a noun, the definition of “generalist” according to Dictonary.com means – “ a person whose knowledge, aptitudes, and skills are applied to a field as a whole or to a variety of different fields (opposed to specialist)”.
A “specialist” on the other hand “a person who devotes himself or herself to one subject or to one particular branch of a subject or pursuit.”
The quaint expression “jack of all trades” could potentially be one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to understanding the role of an insurance broker who invariably falls into the ambit of both.
Brokers by and large are specialists in insurance and risk management and act on behalf of their customers to impart advice, arrange insurance solutions and act as a mediator of sorts when it comes to assisting clients with their claims.
Whether traditional or specialist – brokers conduct a due diligence (records of advice) on their clients’ personal and business profiles and know which path to contemplate when arranging a client’s insurance program.
Fair enough – some brokers “specialise” in the niche sectors such as marine, aviation, agriculture, to name but a few – they are able to offer the key ingredient which clients can be assure of…. That is qualified assessment and management applicable to the needs of the consumer.
Consumers are rapidly becoming more au fait with the growing need for insurance and although it is still deemed a grudge payment, at the end of the day the need for tailored insurance coverage has become more prevalent now more than ever before.
Mass marketing has driven the insurance sector into the consumer eye, with alluring bells and whistles, affordability and an insurance basket ranging from domestic animals, home, health and investment insurance options to name but a few.
The surge of “convenience insurance shopping” has created an easy mechanism to purchase insurance cover at the click of a button.
It is one thing to acquire and arrange insurance for your home or vehicle, the television and radio advertisements make it sound so easy. Convenience sometimes comes at a price. Although easy to purchase – the terms and conditions attaching to the online purchase are generally not always considered and likely leave a client uninsured in the event of a loss.
Terminology even in the face of “plain English” policy forms still need to be explained to the layman akin any likely gaps which may be lurking. Under insurance a prime example – seems plain enough but the effects still need to be explained.
Identifying where one policy can be dovetailed with another becomes an art when placing complex risks and ensuring that there are no loopholes.
Looking at a clients premises and advising on safe housekeeping and storage practices – are all achieved by brokers who embrace a “hands on” approach and are able to explain the ramifications of how these risk management tools can impact on policy response.
Generalist insurance practitioners are able to dish up a multitude of insurance offerings in minimal time and cost but determining risk and exposure in order to manage the risk in a specific situation becomes paramount when deciding what to insure and how to manage those risks.
Insurance brokers bring a whole level of expertise to the table to assist in the identification and assessment of various risks and effectively aid in implementing and maintaining risk management strategies specific to a customer’s bespoke need.
They are aware of the market, which insurer offers which cover and which market comparison and pricing will be most palatable for the client.
The world is evolving, technology is taking almost every business into a new found frontier, climate changes and of course the pandemic of 2020 has most definitely changed the way we consider risks at hand and insurance is no different.
Speciality “niche” players are becoming the new buzz as clients look for alternatives to ensure that they have secured the best solution available.
Having served over 23 years in the short term insurance sector if there is one thing I appreciate – the “devil is in the detail.”
Smart risk management is achieved by uniting with like-minded partners who understand and serve with an aim to educating their clients on how to manage their risk.
Tamara Ungerer, CIB – Underwriting Product Manager