Two versions of the same song, from different perspectives, each wanting one crucial thing: respect. And yet, give them a listen and they make for an uneasy pair.
If you head down to probably any insurance conference or hub in the land, you’ll hear time and time again that the industry is a relationship business. It’s usually said as a positive, and it often is, but relationships aren’t always clear cut, and one existing doesn’t guarantee a mutual respect.
Dynamics change, new pressures arise, and connections wax and wane over time.
Each participant in a partnership will have their own perspective and wants, and not all factors – like the global economic situation, Russia on the war path, or natural catastrophes – will be in their control.
With current insurance relationships looking at weathering a hard market, where respect and communication is lacking, dissatisfaction and difficulty will surely follow.
“I have not seen the cycle that we’re in today, which is a tightening of the market, not just in transportation, not just in property, not just in excess, it’s a little bit of everything,” Alicia Calhoun, senior vice president – broker, XPT Specialty, said in an upcoming profile interview with Insurance Business.
With the market in a place that experienced hands like Calhoun may not have witnessed before, it shouldn’t be surprising that communication, relationships and respect has been a hot topic of conversation in recent weeks.
Agents have been told to get relationship building and avoid “shotgun” submissions if they don’t want to be left high and dry.
With budgets stretched and relationships potentially tested, the good news is that the vast majority of agents appear to feel respected by their clients.
How often do you feel respected by your clients?
The 169 voters on Insurance Business America’s LinkedIn poll, which ran for two weeks in February, said they feel respected by clients:
- Always (50%)
- Sometimes (41%)
- Rarely (8%)
- Never (1%)
Most polltakers (91%) felt respected by clients at least some of the time, and a majority of these all the time. However, not everybody felt great about their treatment; 8% rarely felt respected and 1% said they never did.
Randy Kostroske, EVP risk management for American real estate giant The Howard Hughes Corporation had what may be some encouraging words for the market during an interview with Insurance Business.
“I don’t like getting, hearing or giving bad news to the C-suite about insurance costs, but if I understand it, and they understand it, as long as we’re on the same page and we understand it and we can be honest about what the challenges are, and we can work through it together, that’s the best way to do it,” Kostroske said.
XPT’s Calhoun also had some sage advice, perhaps applicable both to relationships and wider market conditions: “I can’t control that [someone] had a bad day, I can control how I received their message, I can control my reaction.
“I can’t control how they treat me, but I can control how I how I perceive this and proceed in my day.”
And while there may be difficult conversations to be had, now more than ever there could be an opportunity for agents and brokers to prove their worth, share their knowledge, and show clients just why they’ve always been worthy of that respect.