Josh Ryan is a Graceville-based Managing Director of Hunter Broking Group. Advisr chatted with Josh about his experience as a broker, and how he works to educate and engage with clients.
How can business owners benefit from working with an insurance broker?
Business owners have a lot on their plate, running a business is time consuming regardless of the industry you are in. The biggest setback for a lot of businesses is when they are bogged down with understanding and negotiating their own insurance, or trying to work through a claim that may be problematic. Most consumers don't understand what an insurance broker does, or what value we can add, we are often an afterthought or there is a perception of our industry being filled with commission based salesman/women. When we are provided the opportunity to explain our qualified approach, the true end to end solution, there is no looking back. Business owners instantly gain trust with a direct contact, someone who is qualified and paid to represent them. Their time becomes more freely available when they realise that it is up to the broker to dissect the information, present and negotiate, even get our hands dirty!
Who makes an ideal insurance client and why?
An ideal insurance client is one that trusts and respects their broker's advice, someone that sees the value in our service and wants the most appropriate protection for their business risks. Most importantly, an ideal client will assist us in providing the information we need promptly so that we can obtain the most competitive result for them.
What do you love about being an insurance broker?
The insurance broking industry can be very stressful yet very rewarding as well. Over my career I have identified that I am truly passionate about insurance, some actually say "obsessed". I know it's hard to imagine how someone could be obsessed with insurance, however once you work in the industry, you learn about yourself and the skills you have developed to perform your role.
For me, being a very technical and analytical person, I enjoy learning the intricacies of a product and storing that information. There is a lot to learn and a lot to remember, hence why you will often hear people say that experience is everything in this industry. Having an analytical approach allows us to use this skill to tailor policies, find gaps in coverage, negotiate claims that may be ambiguous and the list goes on. In addition to this, I have "accepted" that I am a loud person that loves to talk, loves to listen and loves to achieve results. Getting to know my clients outside of their businesses and more about them as individuals has allowed me to be a better broker and person.
How do you go above and beyond as an insurance broker?
My point of difference in the market, which has also been adapted by our staff, is to focus on two main things, listening and reliability. We need to listen to our clients with intent, not just rush to the next question. Listening enables us to understand our clients needs and know what questions need to be asked to better understand the risk. Reliability focuses on our ability to be supportive, be present and be consistent. Having a strong team with a manageable workload allows us to respond promptly, detail our advice and ensure that our process does not change year on year.
What has been your experience of marketing your services online?
I have always tried to remain present online, simply because I enjoy it. I love sharing experiences, results and even technical matters we have picked up that might benefit another business. We don't often market for sales, we market to try and help people. Our marketing is more a collaborative approach where we can interact with our clients, referral partners and others in the industry. We have received positive feedback and have helped many new clients in response to our content.
Do you have a particular area of expertise?
Hunter Broking Group is a General Insurance Broker, which means we assist most industries and insurance product types. Most of our clients are businesses with a turnover between $2m and $75m, however we can help anyone who is interested in our service and advice. Industries that we look after on a regular basis include:
Why did you choose it?
I started working in the industry because both my mother and father work in the industry. I learnt through them that the industry can be both financially rewarding and enjoyable. There is also an extensive diversity of roles and career pathways available. My mother now works for Hunter Broking Group as a Senior Broker and my Father is approaching 40 years with Vero.
I don't expect my kids to work in the industry, but if they are anything like me they will probably want to.
Which skills are most important for an insurance broker to succeed in today's market?
Today's market is very different to any other market we have seen before. We have noticed a significant change in the last year, which is possibly the hardest market we have been in since 2011. With a substantial increase in natural catastrophes and now with COVID19, the skillset of an insurance broker is now vastly different. Insurance brokers need to utilise technology and consistently work on improving workplace procedures and efficiencies. We are now experiencing significant response delays from underwriters, there is a higher rate of claims moving to dispute, clients are stressed and trying to remodel their business and pivot during trying times. Brokers in this market need to know how to listen to clients, be patient and understanding, negotiate vigorously and most importantly, learn how to save time without compromising compliance.
What areas of insurance should people be aware of over the next 12 months?
Businesses in particular need to strongly consider Management Liability, Cyber Liability
and Income Protection
. Market feedback has shown us that there is a significant increase in cyber attacks (whether human error or otherwise), claims made against an employer by an employee (breach in employment practices act) as well as employee fraud. With more challenging times on the horizon, it is important that we know to ask for help, attempt to reduce stress and reduce the risk of acting irrationally. These are the types of scenarios that can lead to human error, including a potential personal injury accident.