The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the biggest threat to UK business for generations. Today we’re talking to Josh Simpson, Account Executive, to find out how a broker can help support you and your business through these uncertain times.
How can we help the challenges that business owners are facing?
I think that a broker in a situation like this is crucial because people look for guidance. As a broker, we need to make sure that any changes to a client’s policy, however large or small, are brought to their attention.
Transparency in a situation like this is always key, in my opinion, and we are getting frequent, sometimes weekly, updates from the insurers. This may mean that an insurer’s guidance advised the previous week is no longer applicable. It’s our job to make sure that we’re gathering the information in the right way and also making sure that our clients are aware of exactly what they need to do.
What is it about that service that we’re providing that makes a difference to our clients?
It’s about transparency, honesty and having the knowledge to really understand how a client is going to be affected. I think that a lot of brokers may decide to sit in the dark in this situation and just wait and see what happens. Maybe some brokers think it’s up to the client to get in touch, but we’ve been in contact with our customers letting them know that we’re here and ready to help. Our clients know that, with so much to think about, they can trust us to be looking out for them and their business. It’s one less thing for them to worry about because we’ve got their best interests at heart.
Will insurance renewals be affected by the pandemic?
Yes, undoubtedly. It’s not something that we’re going to hide away from and say that everything’s going to be rosy in the insurance market going forward. There’s been a real change in what an insurer can offer and a number of insurers have been pulling out of markets entirely.
Right now we’re going through a ‘hard market’ where there’s less cover available and less insurers to offer that cover, which undoubtedly means increased premiums. At the same time, it’s our job as the broker to be proactive about renewals, getting in contact with plenty of time. We really look to manage expectations. There will be increases, and in a lot of areas too, but if we do our job properly and get the cover right, then that’s the main thing for the client at this moment in time.
As a broker, our job is to make sure that the renewal process is as smooth as possible and, if there are increases, making sure our clients understand why these are happening and also how we’re going to react to that. So the answer is simply, yes, renewals will be affected. Can we make sure that the job’s done properly? Without a shadow of a doubt yes, that’s what we’re going to do.
Are there any additional services that we can offer to help our clients?
Yes. I think this is where having an established broker such as the Alan Boswell Group is really beneficial to clients. Take risk management – people are realising that risk management is going to be a priority, it’s always been important but is even more so now. Maybe they’re wondering what the right thing to do is, what are the types of signage that are needed in premises for example? And how can we help with that? Well, we’ve got a risk management team who can advise exactly what the law is currently, with ongoing support as restrictions are eased, or altered. We can visit our clients, once it’s safe to do so, to advise what they need to do to keep safe and compliant.
We’ve got other lines of insurance, some of which are more specialist. Products such as credit insurance, which can protect your business if your customers are struggling financially and can’t pay. What happens if one of your main customers goes under? We can put a policy in place for you to help with cash flow. Just in general, what we want to do is really focus in on the client’s full insurance programme and ensure that there is no stone left unturned. The client is completely aware of not just their responsibilities, but what we’ve done to enable them to have a more in-depth insurance programme and a better risk management programme.
So we are confident that by going the extra mile, whether simply advising of an endorsement or highlighting a change to a policy, we can help customers meet their needs and most importantly, get claims paid in the event of a claim. I think that everyone in the company understands the level of detail required in our roles and that’s why we continue to be successful – we do the basics well.
Definitely. So, lastly, what can a business owner or client do if they have any concerns?
Make sure you speak up. As I said, we will do our best to speak to every client, especially in the current situation and certainly at renewal stage, but if there is a question, there’s nothing too big or too small for us to answer. We’re here to help. We’ve been open for business throughout the pandemic, albeit working from home.
Our main message, as it has been throughout the pandemic, is we’re here to help you through this, there’s no doubt about that. It’s going to be a tricky time for everyone and there’s no hiding away from it. But at the same time, if we’re transparent, if we’re talking to each other, if we continue being proactive, then we will help clients to move forward. So the final message would always be if you are struggling, whether that’s with payment options, whether that’s with the cover itself, whether that’s with maintaining and being able to do things that you need to do to keep your business safe, give us a call, and we can go through this together.