HNI Vice President and Relationship Manager
It's a cold, hard truth that when it comes to buying businesses insurance, lots of organizations view the process as little more than looking over the cost of a commodity.
My ideal customer, however, is looking for more than an insurance agent and is set on forming a long-lasting relationship with a trusted advisor.
The difference between trusted risk management advisors and insurance agents is value. A trusted advisor explores total cost of risk — a value that goes way beyond premium — while an insurance agent is stuck playing the commodity game.
In the end, "commodity" buyers are left feeling empty, because typical insurance agents don't challenge them to change the game. Trusted risk management advisors, on the other hand, dig into how to reduce total cost of risk.
So how do you know if you have a trusted advisor? Check out these seven signs that your insurance representative is bringing more to the table than just a quote:
1.) Regular Meetings are the Rule
A trusted advisor does more than pop in when it's convenient for him or her (i.e., around renewal time only). Trusted advisors push for accountability in the form of strategy meetings — even quarterly sessions to drill down into what's really going on in your organization. Goals aren't crushed without commitment and planning.
2.) Compliance Gets More Than Lip Service
A trusted advisor knows the compliance land mines that could blow up your progress. Trusted advisors make sure you're up to date on the latest news and regulatory changes that come from OSHA, FMCSA, health care reform — you name it. If you want to win the game, you've got to play by the rules — and the rules are the regs that govern your industry.
3.) They Connect You with Subject Matter Experts...
A trusted advisor can't know it all, but he or she can put you in touch with the right know-it-alls. Trusted advisors build a network of attorneys, accountants, and other business professionals who know your industry inside and out. They make introductions to specialists who can refine your strategies and tactics, helping you to work smarter.
4.) ...And They Sit Down with Subject Matter Experts
A trusted advisor participates in conversations with your legal and financial brain trust. Trusted advisors bring the risk management perspective to the table and give decision makers greater context and help see roadblocks on the horizon. They know insurance is part of your big picture and that changes in one area will affect other areas.
5.) Risk Management Advisors Eat Tough Questions for Breakfast
A trusted advisor asks tough questions to deeply understand the goals of your organization. Trusted advisors want to know: What does your succession plan look like? What's the state of your brand with internal and external audiences? If you plan for growth, what do your financials look like? How do your people live your culture? The answers to these questions influence what you spend on insurance!
6.) Your Industry is Their Business
A trusted advisor is a huge fan of your industry. Trusted advisors know which trade publications matter, and they participate in the right trade associations. They follow trends, follow your competition, and follow their instincts when it comes to giving their two cents — because they're as in tune with the environment as you are.
7.) Risk Reviews Set Your Course
A trusted advisor completes a risk review of your entire organization, from top to bottom, front to back. Trusted advisors know this 360-degree assessment, while challenging, can't be skipped or short changed. It's fundamental to changing your game and going to the next level, and it should be done at least annually to track progress.
How has your insurance rep helped you get a handle on your total risk management? Please share in comments your top tips for finding trusted risk management advisors!