Last week I had the great opportunity to spend an afternoon at Gore Mutual’s Fast Forward event in Toronto. This was the second time Gore Mutual hosted such an event, which gathered brokers together to discuss common issues and share ideas.
It was a “brokers talking to brokers” event, and topics ranged from industry trends to ideas about the use of technology and possible industry disruption, to predicting what will matter most to the broker of the future.
Digital technology expands customer options…
What are the key takeaways from an event such as this? First, brokers are engaged and aware of their challenges. This is evidenced by the over 700 attendees that took a Thursday afternoon out of their weeks to attend. They want to remain relevant to their customers as trusted advisors. Customer expectations are changing—as one broker stated, customer expectations are at their lowest right now. They also struggle with a regulatory environment that isn’t moving as fast as expectations and technology. However, they hope the recent elections offer more opportunities to work together.
Second, Canadian brokers are navigating the same changing landscape as brokers and carriers in the US. The Canadian market is feeling the effects of climate change, which is creating exposures and lifestyle changes throughout. Talent acquisition is a key concern, and even with new talent, how do you prepare new employees for the hard and soft market cycles they have yet to experience? The insurance landscape is an evolving sea of change, with carriers developing new products and underwriting appetites. Interestingly, the point was made that while offering clients choices was not an issue, variety is an issue. There are many choices within product categories, but there is new market demand for offering a variety of products.
… with trusted brokers guiding the results
Universally, brokers see their trusted advisor role as their principal value proposition in the marketplace. They are concerned with carriers’ commitment to them as a distribution channel, and this concern makes it difficult for brokers to know which carriers to seek out for deeper partner relationships. One broker spoke to the group and warned not to keep waiting for carriers to provide solutions to this broker issue but to seek out their own strategies.
And closing the loop….
In response, Gore Mutual announced a new offering to help with broker partnerships. In the fall, Gore Mutual will be opening what it calls the Discovery Concourse. The company will be taking part of its building and dedicating the space to bring Gore, brokers, and InsureTechs together to explore and experiment with new industry solutions that would be available to all brokers.
Jim Klotz is Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica. Prior to this role, Jim served in executive roles with leading insurers. Jim graduated from University of Connecticut with a degree in finance and insurance.
Jim will be joining the faculty at the 2018 InsurTech TO on 7 November 2018 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Stay tuned for more information and Mark Your Calendar!