First of all, if you are heading away to a lovely destination – I am very envious!!
There are many things to consider before you head away for a holiday to ensure that you have a well deserved, relaxing, stress-free break.
Some of these are:
- Don’t update your social network with holiday snaps until you return. Likewise, no need to announce that you’re going away online anywhere.
- Securing your home – lock all access ways into your home (windows and doors) and ensure that your curtains are drawn
- Ask a trusted neighbour (or two) if they can keep an eye on your home and collect any newspapers or other items that may be delivered during this time
- Consider arranging a house sitter
- Redirect mail – did you know that you can arrange for the Post Office to hold your mail while you are away?
- Mow your lawn prior to leaving. If you are likely to be away for an extended period perhaps arrange for someone to do it whilst you are away to keep up the appearance of a “lived in home”
- Arrange for your lights and TV/radio to come on with a sensor or automatic timer
- Turn off the water mains to the house if nobody will be staying – a common insurance claim is a burst or leaking pipe and no-one wants to return from holidays with their house resembling a swimming pool!
- If you are going away during cyclone, storm or bushfire season turn off your gas and power and lock away or tie any loose items
- Turn off all electrical devices. If possible, it is also a good idea to unplug the item
- Secure any valuable items in a secure or hidden location. This would also include the precious memories you have stored on your laptop or hard drive
- Photograph your travel documents – passport, itinerary etc. Consider sending a copy to a relative
- Photograph your suitcase contents, particularly if there are valuable item/s within it – this will assist in the event of a claim
- Obtain travel insurance, check the exclusions and conditions. Are you hiring a scooter, skiing or have pre-existing medical conditions? These are some of the common things that are excluded or limited
- Register with Smartraveller and check the potential issues in the country that you are travelling
Have an amazing holiday!!
Adam Ware is Partner & Branch Manager at BJS Insurance Brokers in Victoria. Adam specialises in holiday rental insurance (landlord insurance) and founded https://www.holidayrentalsinsurance.com.au. He was recognised for the Warren Tickle Memorial Award, and as NIBA Young Professional Broker of the Year in 2017, as well as Insurance Business Australia Young Gun of the Year 2018.
Advisr spoke to Adam about his experience as a successful young insurance broker, his tips for brokers starting out, and where he sees the industry going.
What is it about insurance broking that makes you get out of bed every morning ready to go to work?
If you enjoy what you do then getting out of bed and heading off to work is the easiest part of the day. Our industry is so diverse and forever evolving which creates plenty of opportunities for brokers to evolve their own businesses as the world changes. We are lucky to work in an industry that unfortunately does not get the recognition it deserves for the results that are achieved. For all the negative comments you hear about Insurance, the facts are that a huge number of businesses, personal assets and infrastructure continue to exist today from the work completed by insurers and brokers alike.
Is there a difference in how the ‘young guns’ work compared with the ‘old guard’?
Yes, I’ve witnessed quite a few differences having worked both with the younger and older generations in my career to date. There is an endless amount that younger brokers can learn from their experienced counterparts. Young Brokers have these incredible resources at their disposal which allows them to learn from almost anywhere, about anything and everything. Also as a result of the technology revolution in the past decade, young people in general are incredibly adaptable, which is a huge advantage for these individuals entering the industry. The younger generation have a great ability to come up with new ideas on how to complete a variety of tasks. Some of the procedures BJS have implemented recently were developed by our youngest staff members. They provide a fresh set of eyes on potentially outdated processes and can often identify an alternative that could save time, money or increase productivity.
Alternatively, there is one trait often associated with more experienced brokers where I believe young brokers should place a sharp focus. The skill of being able to handle an emotional and/or difficult situation in a calm and mature manner, by listening to understand as opposed to listening to react. This has been a major focus of mine for a number of years. It is not an easy skill to implement at first, especially at times when emotions can be running high from multiple parties and even more so if you believe you are “right”, however you quickly learn that YOU can be the difference in either solving the problem, or escalating the problem further, simply by the way you listen, understand and the manner in which you respond. When dealing with a wide variety of people across the industry each day, including broking, underwriting, claims, etc, younger people can be emotionally charged. That is certainly not every young person and likewise not every experienced broker has their emotions in control either, however this is a trait I have seen regularly among successful experienced brokers and feel is vitally important for Young Brokers to learn and implement if they intend to have long term business relationships and ultimately career success.
What advice would you give to young brokers starting out in the industry?
Master the discipline of being able to complete the tasks required of your position without becoming distracted by external sources. At present, the world is constantly trying to get our attention all the time via Social media, “fake news,” politics, spam emails we never subscribed to. Ignore them. These things will be there after work.
What do you think is the secret to your success as a young insurance broker?
I had fantastic mentors at the start of my career. I truly believe anybody who receives mentoring similar to the quality I received, would have a sound foundation for long term career success. In addition I have always been willing to attempt anything. I really enjoy researching potential new ventures and trying new methods of broking. I was extremely fortunate to have the backing of the BJS Board when exploring new ventures as they followed me through with these new ideas on the basis that even if an idea “failed” it would be a great learning experienced. There were a few ideas that did not work, some had moderate success however one of these ideas became the biggest Insurance program within our Branch, making it all worthwhile.
Clients now seem to use email as their main method of initiating contact with us. Personal meetings and calls are still very frequent, but many clients initiate the contact via an email to our office first.
How has the way you communicate with clients changed over the years?
Since beginning with BJS in 2008, where email was practically an internal communication method only, clients now seem to use this as their main method of initiating contact with us. Personal meetings and calls are still very frequent, but many clients initiate the contact via an email to our office first.
This transition, along with streamlining some internal processes within our office has also helped us keep our operating model profitable. For example: 3 years ago we decided that we would make a conscious effort to contact every client asking them if they would be happy to receive email correspondence going forward. At the time we probably emailed 25 – 30% of our clients and hard copy went to the other 70 – 75%. Today email is roughly 95% of correspondence and our combined postage, printer and ink costs are down almost tens of thousands of dollars.
Having said that, I find it hard to foresee a technology that could replace the person to person relationship that only a broker can develop with their client.
We must adapt to the changing service environment. When you’re adaptable, you’re often willing to consider the best approach for each particular client situation. Therefore if we do not launch ourselves into these new areas and adapt to meet our clients future needs, our clients will eventually not need us.
Advisr profiles with customer reviews get 25x more views than those without
Choosing an insurance broker is all about trust. That’s why Advisr profiles with reviews get the most views and leads. Think about when you’re looking for a service – would you go for the one with customer reviews, or without?
Below are a few pointers to help you get more customer reviews on your Advisr profile.
- Ask existing customers who have reviewed you elsewhere
If you already have reviews or recommendations on other sites such a LinkedIn or White Pages, ask those same customer if they mind posting the same on your Advisr profile, too. It can be a great excuse to offer to take them for a coffee.
- Ask your best clients
Do you have any clients who have thanked you or given you great verbal feedback recently? Why not ask them to put it into writing so you can add it to your website?
- Balance good with bad
If you get a less than glowing review, don’t worry – it shows your profile is real and makes the good reviews believable. Most people understand that not every customer will be a raving fan, and mistakes happen. Just be sure to prompt your best customers to give you positive reviews to balance off the negative. One lower star rating with three high four or five star ratings shows an overall great service.
- Timing is important
It sounds obvious, but consider when you ask, as well as how. Ask the clients who have been most happy with you recently, or the ones you’ve gone the extra mile for who have got a great outcome from your services recently.
- Provide an outline
When you ask for a written review, give an outline with some points about what you’d like them to include. This means they don’t have to think so much about what to say. For example, ask the client how they found your communication, advice and knowledge, and what they were most satisfied with. Including an example of a review you’ve already received can be a great way to prompt action, as it will give them an idea of the length and content to include.
- Draft something for them
If you’re very familiar with the client, make it as easy as possible for them. If you simply ask for a review, they’ll likely add it to their to-do list. Write something specific and make it easy for them, for example: ‘Hi Sarah, I was wondering if you’d be so kind as to write a review for me on Advisr. (include the direct link to your profile) Something that describes how I’ve helped you, for example ‘John has helped me to navigate the different levels of cover for my business and focus on what’s most important to protect myself without breaking the bank’”
- Prompt reviews via your website or email signature
Add a line to your website and email signature saying if people have had positive experience please share it by giving a review on Advisr. Offer freebies such as tickets to events, or lunch, to people who take the time to give you a review. Reviews take time and offering an incentive shows you value the reviewers time.
- Offer to return the favour
Tell your client you’re happy to return the favour on a site of their choosing, for example by on their Google of Facebook business page.
Start the year as you intend to finish
If you’ve spent the latter end of 2018 putting out fires and trying to keep the business running, then maintaining a positive corporate culture probably hasn’t been top of mind.
These 5 tips will help you refocus and reset your vision for the culture you want in place for 2019.
As we know, building a team and setting the right culture are essential in a successful business, helping attract and retain valuable employees and reinforcing your brand and company identity. In fact, your increasingly millennial workforce will likely expect a strong, positive work culture.
But all of that might sound like a distant dream at the end of the calendar year when you’re tired and worn down by the grind of decision making and staying profitable.
With a fresh year in your sights, it’s a good time to set aside some planning hours, rally the troops and inspire a commitment that has your people working enthusiastically toward business growth, not just doing as they’re told.
Here are five starting points for getting culture back on the agenda.
1. Get everyone together for an audit
Most businesses like to celebrate with a Christmas soiree, but what you might also consider is a ‘culture audit’ early in the new year, when staff are back from leave.
Whether it’s a day out of the office or a series of coffee-and-cake sessions, it’s an opportunity to re-visit your company culture – the shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that govern how your people are to behave – and see if they’re still relevant.
You can ask how employees are feeling about the business, get feedback on systems and processes, start to rough out ideas for 2019 and engage everyone in road-mapping.
2. Refresh leadership skills and/or develop new ones
Organisational culture usually starts with your founders’ or senior managers’ leadership style. And good leaders are constantly learning and reinventing themselves.
Turn your focus on yourself and seek feedback from people you trust. Work out where you’re excelling, where the gaps are in your leadership abilities and seek expert advice on how to plug them.
Ultimately you need to develop a leadership style that aligns with your workplace culture and inspires others.
3. Amp up your appreciation and recognition
Never assume your people know how valued they are.
Now might be the time to instigate a new system for recognising and communicating the talent, dedication and positive attitude of staff members.
That might include face-to-face thank yous from the CEO for a job well done, emails highlighting special achievements, or regular prize giving – even the smallest pats on the back can have untold feel-good power.
4. Create a feedback loop
Giving staff the ability to give feedback on their managers and the business not only makes for more engaged employees and better staff retention, but also makes for more profitable business units, according to Gallup research.
You’ll only know if your culture is healthy if your staff back it up; and your staff need to know they’re being heard and valued.
And rather than doing one annual employee satisfaction survey, the idea of a feedback loop has become more popular in recent years.
5. Consistently reinforce important ideas
It’s not enough to have a few meetings, agree on your values and then ignore them for 12 months.
You need to be reinforcing the culture year-round. One way is through traditions you set up – regular celebrations, a weekly morning tea, a daily huddle, maybe even a channel set up for sharing successes so people have concrete examples to aspire to.
A strong corporate culture needs to be nurtured by a management team that’s involved, that commits the requisite time, and that leads by example, all year round.
As you refocus and reset your culture for the year, make sure you also have the right insurances in place to protect your business as it evolves. For a broker that specialises in the needs of small businesses, visit Advisr.
The insurance market can at times, be a tough nut to crack, especially when it fluctuates from a soft insurance market to a hard one. When the hard market drops, we see insurers tighten underwriting criteria, coverages become more difficult to secure, premiums aren’t as easy to negotiate on and coverage when it isn’t expensive, can become completely unavailable.
Preparation is the key to success, and while you can prepare yourself for some rate increases in the next few years, it’s often better to take a more proactive approach.
The following three steps will help you minimize the impact of those stringent insurance rating criteria.
1 – Understand the Importance of an Insurance Broker during a hard market
Following advice will only get you so far if you don’t understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Insurance brokers during a hard market will become your saving grace. Their role is to fight your battles and continuously source competitive services to suit your needs.
In a hard market, it can feel like an insurer is attempting to block your every step with their stringent standards, so having an insurance broker that understands the changes and is prepared to seek out the best result for your business, can ensure your policy will be tailored to your needs and remove the burden from your own shoulders.
This not only makes the process smoother but allows you to focus on your business and do the job you know how to do best, saving you time and frustration.
2 – Develop a good relationship with your insurance broker
Teamwork makes the dream work and a great relationship with your insurance broker will only result in the best outcomes for your business. An insurance broker can only work to the best of their ability if they understand what you want and are hoping to achieve. If either you or your broker aren’t on the same page, it might be best to try another book.
Make sure that your insurance broker understands the impact of the hard market on your business and that they understand your actual business, the industry and its potential risks. A hard insurance market brings new clients to brokers, so take advantage of the competitive arena and make sure your broker has proven their capability to you, above all the rest.
With the right broker and a trustworthy partnership, you will be guaranteed to receive the best price, coverage and policy to secure your business’ future.
3 – Prepare the business for increased insurance costs
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Being aware of the potential for increased insurance costs isn’t the same as actually preparing for the occasion. Insurers need to be proactive and commence their renewal process early to ensure the best outcomes. Present risks in the best light and allow adequate time to address any surprises or consider strategies which may mitigate premium increases, such as increased deductibles.
It can often become a shock when the market turns and many find themselves mentally unprepared for the sudden shift. Pre-emptive action is better than reaction, so prepare your business early.
It’s understandable to start sweating at the mention of insurance premiums on the rise, but there’s plenty to start considering, planning and actioning now to prepare your business for the worst. Taking an active and strategic approach to managing your company’s risks and insurance claims will minimize the impact of a hard insurance market, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later.
I offer a 30-minute business review session. During that session I provide my advice on if and how I can help you minimize the impact of a hard insurance market. To find out more email me at email@example.com or phone 0401 109 324.
By Nick Hill, Director, Hillster Marketing
Unfashionable industries, like insurance, face an uphill challenge when it comes to building a profitable online and social media presence. Here are 5 tips to improve your visibility and traction:
1. Should I use personal or company profiles?
This is a common question. As a general rule, especially with smaller firms, personal branding is the way to go. All the social channels prefer individuals to post rather than businesses. With that said, unless you want all your prospects/clients to see the personal things you post on Facebook, having a business page makes sense. Effective personal branding will build your trust and credibility.
2. Use the right channels
Have a plan and focus on the channels that will work best for your business. For example, a resource like Advisr.com.au is a good alternative to classic social media channels, as it is actually built to deliver leads – and you can share content too. LinkedIn is great if you are targeting specific industries and Facebook is better if you are chasing smaller businesses in specific geographical areas.
3. Educate, don’t just sell
The rule of thumb is 80% education, 20% sales. Video content gets much more traction too – if you are using LinkedIn, upload the videos directly rather than share a YouTube link. Aim to post regularly, not just when you ‘get a moment’.
4. Don’t just post, broaden your reach
Most brokers I know struggle to get a large, engaged social following. There is little point in posting lots of content that just reaches a limited audience (unless that audience is your target market). By using your partners/sponsorships you can boost your reach without the need for thousands of direct followers. Paying to sponsor updates can be a good way for cost effectively reaching more people.
5. Integrate your offline and online activities
Use your offline activities to help provide content for your online channels and use online work to promote offline activities. Not only will this boost your content but also reduce the resources you need.
Social media can suck up a huge amount of resources, often with little return. You need to make sure you have a targeted plan and integrate it with your broader sales and marketing activity. This will mean you devote the appropriate resources to increase your bottom line.
Need a hand? Contact Nick for a free 30 minute insight session.
Nick Hill is the Director of Hillster Marketing with 20 years’ experience of marketing within the insurance industry around the world. Hillster Marketing is a Partner Service Provider for Steadfast and works with companies from all areas of the insurance industry. He can be contacted on 0419 371 018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posting your content on Advisr is a great way to drive new business by showing the world your expertise. We will help to share it online with potential customers and others in the insurance industry. You can share your Advisr Post on your LinkedIn, website and in emails, and send it to potential new customers to establish trust in your knowledge.
Choosing a topic
What are you an expert in? If you specialise in a certain type of insurance then focus on an aspect of that. Is there a change in how that type of insurance is offered? Consider what is timely and newsworthy – could you link your topic with something that will be happening soon in your readers lives, to maximise the chances of them wanting to read it? One example is insurance considerations for small businesses in the lead-up to party season. Are they fully covered and how can they minimise risks of being liable for any mishaps? (you can’t use that idea though because we’re publishing an article all about that on Advisr soon ;))
It helps to sketch out your initial structure in headings that represent each key paragraph or point, then expand and explain each point in more detail for your reader afterwards. Deciding a logical structure that naturally flows through to prompt the reader to contact you is easier to do at the beginning.
Add relevant subheaders to help the reader who scan-reads, and to set the context of each section.
Tone and language
While keeping the tone professional, positive and polite goes without saying, you can tailor the tone and language to your own personality and personal style. Do you like to have a laugh and joke with your clients? You can inject that into your article by writing as you’d speak. Like to tell stories to illustrate your points? Again, something to include in your article. Do you want it to be fun, lighthearted or urgent and serious? It all depends on your personal style, and the topic you’re writing about.
Use language that’s simple and easy to understand. Consider whether a ten year old could read and understand it. That’s the benchmark copywriters use.
Get someone new to look over your content at least once before you publish. When you’ve been editing and writing for a while you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees and miss errors and mistakes, punctuation or typos. Check, check and check again. Also ask them to ensure it is clear, and makes easy reading.
Adding your content to Advisr
This bit is super easy – just follow the instructions below:
- Log in – using your email or username and password
- My content – click into ‘my content’
- Add content – copy and paste the text from your content
- Image – ensure you choose an image that is high enough quality and not blurry. If you know how to resize it, the size should be: 800 x 400 px If you don’t know how to resize it, just click the button below the screen and the Advisr team can do it for you once you’ve submitted it.
- Category – select the insurance category that aligns with the content you have added.
- Save – Your article is automatically saved every 5 seconds. So if you want to go back and edit your article again before submitting click ‘save’
- Save and send – Your article goes to the Advisr editorial team to review and then publish. You’ll be notified once your content has been published.
Need help creating content?
If you have an idea for an article but don’t have the time or writing skills to write it, we can help! Advisr ghostwrites articles for professionals just like you. And if you sign up for a premium profile we will write your first article for free using our expert copywriters. Just get in touch and let us know the topic you’d like to focus on.
The importance of a good quality professional photo can’t be underplayed. Potential customers often see you for the first time online, and first impressions count! Having a good profile photo on professional websites (such as your company website, Advisr profile, LinkedIn and Yellow Pages) helps people to identify you when you meet, puts a face behind the name so people can picture you, and adds trust and credibility.
Simply having a profile photo on a professional network results in up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests. (according to LinkedIn Statistics)
Are you an insurance broker?
If you don’t yet have an Advisr profile, or your profile is incomplete then log in and udpate it today – be sure to add a professional profile photo.
The tips below will help you decide whether it’s time for a new profile picture, and give some examples of the type of photos to avoid.
1. Wear professional clothes
It goes without saying that you should plan the day before and wear something professional and smart. This all depends on your own personal brand of course – if your usual sense of style is bright and funky then go for that, otherwise neutral colours are an easy bet.
2. Hair and makeup
Make sure your face isn’t shiny. If you wear makeup make sure you don’t overdo it, unless you’re in the fashion industry! Wearing your hair as it usually is will mean people are more likely to recognise you. And of course, make sure it’s neat and brushed. Avoid excessive jewellery if you wear it as it can be distracting.
3. Use a high resolution photo
Nothing shouts unprofessional like a blurry pixelated photo. Make sure you choose one that’s crisp and clear. Ideally well-lit and professionally shot.
4. No sunglasses or a hats
Remember that people need to be able to recognise you when they meet you, so seeing your eyes and whole face is important.
5. Professional not social setting
Steer clear of pictures from weddings, nights out or holidays! You might love that photo of you, but remember, it’s not professional.
6. Positioning is important
Make sure you’re facing the camera. Professional photographers will often get you to position your body slightly to one side, but with your face facing forward.
7. Lighting should be direct, bright and consistent
Avoid taking your photo in low lighting or where the light casts strong shadows on your face. Shadows can make it difficult to see your face clearly and don’t look professional.
In today’s climate of mistrust in the insurance industry it’s more important than ever to ensure your online profile photos look professional, friendly and trustworthy. People buy from people and build trust with those they recognise.
If you’re an insurance broker, make sure your Advisr profile includes your friendly, professional inviting face:
What is a Certificate of Currency:
A Certificate of Currency is a document that confirms a current insurance policy is in place. A certificate of currency outlines the sums insured on the date of the certificate. A Certificate of Currency is valid only for the day on which it is issued and represents information current at the time of your request.
Important Factors of a Certificate of Currency:
- Valid on the day it is issued.
- Provides a summary of provisions in longer-form insurance policy wording.
- Maybe requested by third-parties when rendering services.
- Do not enable you to make an insurance claim.
More Depth on a Certificate of Currency:
1: Valid on the day it is issued:
A Certificate of Currency is valid on the day they are issued. When a Certificate of Currency is issued, they indicate that an insurance policy is active and valid. However, on the days after a Certificate of Currency has been issued, an insurance policy may have been cancelled, changed or revoked and as such, the Certificate of Currency cannot provide insight to the continuation of an insurance policy beyond the day on which it has been issued.
2: Provides a summary of provisions in longer-form insurance policy wording:
A Certificate of Currency provides a summary of the provisions that are covered in a longer-from insurance policy wording. This enables you to accurately understand the core coverage that your insurance provides and often the limits of the cover that is in place.
3: Can be requested by third-parties when rendering services:
Certificates of Currency are used to confirm that insurance is in place and the depth of cover that the policy provides. Often a certificate of currency is requested by third-parties when a service is being rendered. The certificate of Currency shows that there is sufficient insurance in place and can enable people to enter a premise and perform the required work.
4: Do not enable you to make an insurance claim:
A certificate of currency does not enable you to make a claim on an insurance policy. Often you’ll need to have your original insurance documents in full and given that a Certificate of Currency provides a summary, whilst there might be some helpful information for initiating a claim with your insurer, your insurer may request the exhaustive documentation.
To access a certificate of currency, please contact your insurer directly or your insurance broker. To find an insurance broker use Advisr and see ratings and reviews from customers, just like you on what it is like to work with different insurance brokers.
Youi Dollars or YouiDollars or YOUI $$$
So what are YouiDollars, how can you earn them and where can you use them?
YouiDollars are a rewards program by Youi and YouiDollars are available to both new and existing Youi customers.
Here is what Youi says about YouiDollars.
“Just by using YouiRewards®. You could save big. Sound good? Each of your Youi policies will earn you half your premium in the form ofYouiDollars®. You can use them to save real money on things like food, fuel and flights with our great partners.”
So what steps do you need to do to ensure that you can claim your YouiDollars?
In order to be eligible to participate in YouiRewards, you must be an individual who:
(a) holds one or more Eligible Youi Policies;
(b) possesses a smartphone device operating iOS or Android;
(c) has installed the Youi App on that device;
(d) Create a YouiRewards Account on the Youi App; and
(i) via the Youi App; or
(ii) by calling the Youi Client Services team on 13 YOUI.
Did you know you can Earn Bonus YOUI Dollars:
For every eligible policy that you link to YouiRewards, Youi will credit its customers with 50 YouiDollars immediately. Youi call this Bonus YouiDollars.
To use your YouiDollars, you need to link your policy to your Youi Rewards Account. You earn YouiDollars for each Eligible Policy, irrespective of whether you link those Eligible Policies to a YouiRewards Account. However, until an Eligible Policy is linked to a YouiRewards Account, the YouiDollars you earn will be Inactive. So if you want to use your YouiDollars, then you’ll need to link them.
Do YouiDollars expire?
Yes, YouiDollars will automatically expire and be forfeit if you have not redeemed those YouiDollars via the App within 18 months of those YouiDollars being earned. So make sure you are aware of them as then
What is an eligible Youi policy for earning YouiDollars:
Eligible Policy means an active Youi Car, Home Building and/or Contents, Motorcycle, Watercraft, Business Liability, and/or Caravan and Trailer insurance policy held by you. However, NSW Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance policies underwritten by QBE are not an Eligible Policy.
YouiDollars – Some of the Partner Rewards available include:
Here are some of the offers available through Youi Dollars:
There are many many more offers to consider.
Want to know more?
YouiDollars – Terms and Conditions: