How can we find the best insurance broker?

Shortly it is going to be time to renew the insurance for my business. In the past I have used a local broker: is it worth looking further afield to try to secure a better deal? Will the time spent actually pay off in a reduced premium?

A. Keith Stibbards of ACE European Group writes

Insurance brokers, whether local or regional/national, specialise in different types of insurance and offer varying levels of service. A good commercial insurance broker knows the business insurance market, who the insurers are, their strategies, their commercial focus, their commitment to service, and should be best placed to recommend the right insurance programme for you. The price will largely be dependent on the underwriter’s perception of the risk your business represents, your claims history, and the prevailing conditions within the insurance market. Recent high premium levels have been caused by lack of capacity generally, but times change and new players come into the market so the price fluctuates too.

To get the right levels of insurance, keeping premiums realistic, view your broker as an integral part of your business. He needs to understand the business you’re in, your strategy and the obstacles you face. A proactive broker will support you by offering advice on how you can reduce your premiums through risk management procedures and greater risk control. He should make sure that, where you cannot remove risk, you have it adequately covered by insurance or that you can live with it. He should also be able to give you some idea of the level of premiums you could face at renewal and work with you to fine-tune your insurance needs. If you have a good working relationship along these lines it shouldn’t be necessary to change brokers.


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