Transparency and communication are keys to success in any relationship – including those between underwriters and brokers. During a recent LinkedIn panel discussion held at WSIA in San Diego, agents and their Argo Group partners shared their tips for insurance professionals who want to build productive partnerships.
- Build credibility by understanding each other’s needs. According to Jeff Jamison, Senior Vice President, Brown and Riding Insurance Services, the best way to build trust is to listen to your partner’s needs. Jamison emphasized that today’s underwriters are busier than ever, and it’s imperative to understand their preferences. “It’s really important that you learn the underwriter’s appetite, and you’re sending them opportunities that fit that appetite. That’s how you build credibility.”
- Turn to your trusted partners when timing is critical. Mary Henderson, President, Argo Pro, says that all that credibility will pay off when you need a quick response on an urgent account. “You want to get to the point in your careers where you can call that person, candidly tell them what you need and know they will work it out if they can.”
- Increase your hit ratio by being honest with one another. Jamison’s underwriting partner at Argo is Tirzah Bartley, AVP – Underwriting, Argo Primary Casualty. Bartley says they work so well together because they never beat around the bush. “We have an amazing hit ratio because we’re honest with each other,” she says. “We’re saying, ‘This is what I can do. This is my time constraint. I can do this for you. I can’t do this for you.’” That kind of honesty saves precious time, which means more deals can go through.
- Share bad news early so your partner can get ahead of it. Maria Treglia, CMO, ARC Excess & Surplus, LLC, says all agents know bad news is inevitable – but that doesn’t mean it should be a surprise. “If you have bad news, share it as early as you can. We can’t get our client a solution if it’s the eleventh hour.” Henderson adds that if you’re a leader, it’s important for that news to come from you – and that you explain your reasoning. “I always give ample rationale, which helps solidify the relationship for the long term.
The moderator of the panel – Ken Jaegge, SVP, Group Producer Management and US Marketing at Argo Group – summarizes it well. “It’s not all transactional,” he says. “There’s so much personal touch to it.”