Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

Treat Carriers as Partners, Not Vendors: How to Improve Carrier Relationships

During challenging market times, how you work with your existing carriers can provide invaluable benefits in navigating individual carrier actions and business practices. 

Insurance brokers and carriers have thousands of interactions, with varying degrees of success. The question is – are you just building a business contact or a meaningful relationship? 

Effectively managing carrier relationships has palpable results – important insights are shared, obstacles are overcome, and both sides benefit. But how do you get there? What does it take to drive profitable results where all viewpoints are heard and considered? Is it possible to collaborate fruitfully with your carriers every time? A key tactic is to treat your carriers as partners, not vendors. Here’s how to apply that approach:

Understand Your Carrier’s Challenges & Goals

In this hard market, carriers are making tough choices to ensure they can serve their customers successfully, while still maintaining profitability. Some are reducing coverage options or even withdrawing service to particular states, like California, which adds an extra layer of difficulty in working with carriers. Insurance companies are also being more selective when seeking agency partners, choosing only those who can contribute to their growth and align with their strategic objectives.

Once you better understand the challenges and goals of your carriers, you can start to position yourself and your staff as more than just a carrier’s sales force – you position yourself as a partner. You’re working together for a common goal – finding the best policy for a consumer in need. Improving carrier relationships for more effective collaboration moves all stakeholders closer to achieving that goal.

Build the relationship  

Develop a strong rapport with carriers by asking them to help you better promote their products and find the best insurance options for your clients. Ask for comprehensive training and materials to assist you and your staff in learning about their products. Carriers are always happy to provide their partners with resources that help drive product sales.

Additionally, as a carrier partner, commit to:

  • Becoming proficient in any online rating systems offered. 
  • Developing a strategy to target niche areas of interest. 
  • Communicating clearly and frequently. 
  • Engaging their staff and developing a business relationship. 
  • Participating in Results Management meetings regularly and completing annual planning discussions.

Strengthen the relationship  

By demonstrating that you’ve taken the time to understand their products and business processes, you’ll solidify your role as a trusted contact. Frequent outreach on results and company initiatives or changes will further reflect your dedication to the relationship. When you’re contacted, respond promptly to submissions, endorsements, and other inquiries. At the same time, request that carrier partners respect your staff’s time by responding timely to your calls and messages. 

It takes two to make a strong partnership. Clearly define commitments and expectations for both sides, and sustainable connections will follow. One additional tip – develop relationships for the long-term, not just momentary interactions. Remember, it’s a partnership, not a transaction. Lead by example, and you’ll drive value for clients, carriers, and yourself. 

Is FirstChoice, a MarshBerry Company, Right for You?  

FirstChoice is the premier agency network for independent agencies looking for direct access to top national and regional insurance carriers to advance their agency and grow their revenue. FirstChoice is leading the next generation of aggregation – providing high-value resources, assets that enable independent agencies to scale their business, talent development support, and agency differentiation coaching. See if joining FirstChoice could be the opportunity you are looking for. 

Contact Randy Fulmer
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Randy Fulmer, Regional Vice President, at 704.746.3488.

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