Why I Left the Traditional Broker Model – Chris Gunston

I’ve always been drawn to change and anything new. No doubt, the insurance industry has evolved since its start in the late 1700s, but over the last 15 years during which I’ve been practicing, there has been little to no change whatsoever.

In my humble opinion, both brokers and insurers have gotten overly comfortable with their products, services, and what has ultimately been deemed an acceptable client experience.

This is especially true when it comes to working with medium-sized businesses, such as web and mobile marketplaces, which is my area of focus.

For these companies, insurance is, in large part, a requirement or an expected trait of doing business. As a broker or insurer, when buyers are basically forced to purchase your product or service by their investors or clients, complacency is common and it’s not the client’s or investor’s fault.

I would argue that both brokers and insurers are guilty of complacency due to the nature of the demand our industry enjoys. Also, to be fair, if you’re an insurance professional, then you probably believe you’re doing the right thing. I know I always have. I see what insurance people do as a business enabler. We remove a factor – risk – that may otherwise pause innovation or shut it down altogether because innovation is inherently messy.

So we deploy these services and products as we’ve been taught. But ask yourself, how confident are you that your client understands the insurance they’re buying? Are you confident enough to only get paid if the client understands the value of the insurance they’re buying? I believe many of us would be in trouble if that were the case. Only at first, though, because nothing sparks change like the threat of lost income.

If insurance was more like other service industries and providers couldn’t collect premiums unless they were able to convince buyers of value, then I’d put money on seeing a massive improvement. For example, insurance policies would likely shrink from 200+ pages of legalese to something more manageable and the verbiage might adopt plain-English nomenclature.

Clients would likely also see a new type of broker emerge, one that leverages creativity and technology to communicate complex concepts into more easily consumed reports, proposals, and other deliverables. Brokers and insurers would work together in an effort to streamline the insanely fractured application and information flows between insurer, broker, and client.

Starting to sound familiar? It should. I’m beginning to describe the basics tenets of the Insurtech movement.

I’ve recently joined an insurtech brokerage called Embroker. If someone were to ask me why I moved from a legacy broker to an insurtech broker, I would say that it’s because I believe the insurance trade can and should be better.

Now, you’ve got to understand that I’m not saying the industry is all bad. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the fortune of working with some of the best insurance minds and practitioners in the business, many of whom sat in a broker / intermediary position. A common trait among them is the inherent ability to tie insurance back to their client’s business in simple terms. As an intermediary, this is hugely valuable.

They made insurance relevant for the client rather than simply spouting everything they know in a 20-minute ramble or 30-page presentation, which insurance people are notorious for, myself included.

However, what they were not very good at was explaining how they did what they did to the next generation. Once I had extracted all that valuable experience from my mentors, it took a good portion of my career to compartmentalize it into a process. For me, the insurtech brokerage platform presents an opportunity to take that process, develop it, and deploy it as a repeatable and scalable deliverable powered by technology.

The idea is that all companies should have access to excellent service, not just big, attractive companies or the lucky few small and medium-sized companies who have happened to stumbled upon a talented broker.

For me, insurtech is about recognizing the need to generally overhaul the quality of the industry’s output and client experience. Who wouldn’t want a chance to contribute to a sea-change such as this, whether in insurance or any other industry?

If you need more help or information to intelligently insure your business, you can reach out to our team of expert brokers. Or, if you prefer to get started on intelligent quotes, you can get started by creating an Embroker account today.