What do buyers expect from their brokers?

Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director, Airmic
Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director, Airmic

Earlier this year, Hamish Roberts, Business Development Director at JLT Specialty, spoke to Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director at Airmic, about the importance of and how perceptions of good service can vary depending on the client.

"Service is particularly important to a risk manager where they appoint a broker to look after multiple product lines, examples of which include property; casualty (both general and employee); directors' and officers'; professional indemnity; and personal accident," she says.

The key to delivering good service is to understand, predict and pre-empt the client's needs. This involves synchronising your diary with theirs and understanding key dates, pressure points and stakeholders' needs behind the risk managers.

"Ultimately, your service offering should be unobtrusive and fit into your client's business cycle," she says. "Great service is often difficult to describe, but easy to get wrong."

Graham observes that many brokers deploy their technical experts in an account coordination role. "They do this with good intent and usually from a team where the client's biggest spend resides," she explains.

"Often, these technical sector experts are by their very nature neither generalists nor service experts."

Many clients want a single point of contact who will marshal and coordinate all the resources within a company. They don't want to have to learn how to navigate around a company to get to the right people - they want a one-stop shop, someone who will deliver all the resource they need.

The account executive or coordinator will understand the client's needs and be able to communicate them through the broker, concludes Graham. "Service is an art and getting it right is one of the most important differentiators for clients in their broker selection."

This interview first appeared in JLT's Risk Specialist magazine, edition 24