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Commercial brokers, the future is bright. As you contend with an increasingly automated, digitally-enhanced insurance industry, rest assured your expertise remains valuable for your clients.

Executive Summary

For most businesses, risks and attendant questions around how to insure them are not getting any simpler. But the value brokers provide to them isn’t evenly distributed. Here, Corvus Insurance’s chief commercial officer delivers advice on potential broker strategies for small, midsize and large clients.

That is, if you can adapt to their differing needs. And that’s not always easy.

Better online experiences have made the process of selecting and buying insurance easier for individual consumers, and in some segments made it wholly commoditized. But for most businesses, their risks and attendant questions around how to insure them are not getting any simpler.

In fact, as businesses face the growing and ever-mutating peril that is cyber risk, policyholders are now forced to contend with a significant new layer of complexity in their insurance programs. But it’s also true that they can find information about their risk in a number of ways that weren’t reliable or even available just a few years ago. Brokers must navigate these competing trends and work them to their advantage.

Business owners and risk managers will continue to look to brokers for advice on their complex insurance needs. But this isn’t an invitation to do the same things for every client of every size. That’s because the value brokers provide isn’t evenly distributed. Brokers need to meet their clients where they are and articulate the value clients want. Being nimble enough to cater to varying needs will become an increasingly critical trait for brokers.

While there’s plenty of nuance in the broker’s strategy, the simplest way to break it down is within a framework of small, medium and large clients.

For Small Businesses, Be the Facilitator

For small businesses, it’s all about convenience and speed. The overworked, doing-it-all small business owner wants to get things done. They act more like individual consumers. For them, insurance is often a one-person decision-making process. They treat their business as an extension of their personal life—and, like everyone else, in their personal life they are accustomed to fast turnaround time, 24/7 access to documents, low costs and an intuitive online experience. Why should their business insurance be any different than car and home?

But that doesn’t mean they want to be abandoned in favor of a tech solution. Small business clients will continue to appreciate your help navigating the choice between the many tech-forward options available today. The ultimate in convenience—taking the hard lifting out of the insurance decision—will remain your role as a broker. The great digital experience they’ll have when it comes time to find documents or file a claim is part of the value you provide in pointing them to that solution. And, of course, make sure your market can get the policy done fast. They have the weekly payroll to do next.

For Midsize Businesses, Be the Educator

Unlike the small business owner, midsize businesses don’t just want to be pointed in the right direction and let free. They need hand-holding. Their business may have substantial risk, with hundreds or thousands of employees and large infrastructure. And yet, without a dedicated risk manager or in-house legal team, brokers are often their only source of risk management advice. That means providing tools and in-depth resources to help them understand their risk is an important aspect of the value you provide.

See “Smart Commercial Insurance: How New Sources of Data Are Ushering in a New Era of Underwriting” by Corvus CEO Phil Edmundson to learn more about Corvus.

In the case of our clients at Corvus, we see midsize clients in cyber, tech E&O, and cargo + cyber take great interest in the detailed reporting we provide on their cyber and cargo risk. They are the most likely to take up the recommendations we provide for cyber risk, improving their security as a result.

For Large Enterprises, Be the Communications Master

In this echelon, the buyers need strong technology, but speed in turning around the policy is less important. Most importantly, you’re dealing with organizations where more than one person has expertise in the areas you work in, and the insurance buyer may not have the most information. The challenge is one of communicating the right information to the right people.

For instance, a large company won’t be as reliant on an insurer’s report on its cyber risk. The CISO will have that covered within their own security purview. But the nature of that risk might not be communicated across the organization in a way that is understandable for the insurance buyer—or communicated at all. You can step in to help the risk manager understand risk in a way that helps them to make a decision about coverage, even if it’s technically redundant with knowledge that exists elsewhere in the organization. As a plus, you can arm that risk manager with the tools they need to support the decision in front of other constituencies in the organization.