Most of us understand (albeit begrudgingly) that we need to have insurance for certain things, like our car, home and business. What isn’t always so clear, however, is whether or not we should go through an insurance broker or just Google and compare solutions online.
To help you decide, Allsure Insurance has prepared 5 questions for you to consider.
- How well do you understand insurance (really)?
When we say do you understand insurance, we mean that you understand things like the definition of underinsurance (and no, it doesn’t just mean a little less insurance than what you needed). It means you need to be comfortable reading policy wordings and product disclosure statements to understand the difference between what one insurer is offering versus another (like what is included and often, more importantly, what is excluded.)
Insurance brokers have to have a diploma and maintain their knowledge with continuous training to keep their skills up and stay across emerging risks like cyber and terrorism risk and the implication that can have on clients’ risk profile and insurance solution requirements.
Brokers undergo comprehensive training on each insurance solution that they offer, and passed a test to prove it. If you have that level of comfort and expertise in insurance, then perhaps you don’t need an insurance broker. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s worth having a chat or getting a quote from one at your next renewal.
- How much spare time do you have?
It can be quite time consuming to get three to five difference quotes from insurers. And you need to know who the leading insurers are (assuming you know exactly what insurance products you need). You need to ask yourself how much your time is worth, and whether an insurance broker would be better placed to make those calls on your behalf. An insurance broker has 150+ underwriters or underwriting agencies available to them (some exclusively deal with insurance brokers and do not deal with customers directly).
Before all of that, an insurance broker understands and analyses your needs to recommend the right insurance solution. And they can do that for all your insurance needs – truly providing a one stop shop and one point of contact for all your insurance policies. This can also help to reduce the risk of having a blind spot or a ‘gap’ in your cover.
- Do you want someone to advocate for you in the case of a claim?
For those of us who have had to make an insurance claim, that’s when we realise the value of an insurance broker to its fullest. And for those of us that didn’t have an insurance broker and had to make a claim, we often don’t make that mistake again!
A claim is often made in a situation that is already quite stressful, and many people don’t even know where to start! You need to know who to call, all your policy details, what additional materials to provide with the claim. And sometimes you’re not even confident about whether the incident is covered!
With a broker, they can be your first port of call and guide you through the steps of the claim, including negotiating and following up with the insurer, saving you countless hours (seriously, hours) of time on the phone. A broker can often reduce the time a claim takes to be processed, and perhaps with better outcomes.
Ombudsman statistics show less complaints from clients who use brokers for claims rather than going direct to insurers.
Most insurance is considered a ‘piece of paper and a promise’ and a claim is when that promise can be fulfilled.
- Do you run a business?
If you’re a business owner or operator, an insurance broker is an important member of your team, working to keep your business running smoothly. They make sure your insurances are paid on time, you have payment options that suit you, and that you have easy access to invoices. They send certificates of currency for you and even liaise with financial providers if needed.
Your insurance broker can also be a good contact through to other quality professionals, like accountants, financial planners, mortgage brokers, marketing professionals and maybe the best coffee joint in town!
Insurance brokers are often like you – living and working in your local community. A broker isn’t hidden behind a computer or an overseas call centre. They support the communities that support them. Some sponsor the local football and netball clubs, cricket clubs, school projects. Some take on work experience students or run fundraising programs and events.
My dad used to say: ‘if you are not happy, you can walk in or call me and complain, try that with the direct/online only insurers of the world. You ring, we answer’.
Being part of the local business community means it’s an added incentive to make sure we always do the right thing and the best we can for our clients when we face them every day.
- Do you want to learn more about your risk and how insurance works?
A good broker loves to help and educate clients. They are always happy to answer questions so that you understand things like what values to estimate for your insurable items or how insurance responds to things like natural catastrophes. They run information seminars, feature blogs, write about how to mitigate risk and prevent claims.
Your insurance broker will answer your phone calls, emails and messages about insurance questions. We agree that there are no dumb insurance questions, and we love helping people and protecting what they care about.
Please note: The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.