Getting insurance to cover yourself against all possible risks is a notoriously tricky goal to accomplish, whether you are buying a car, home, rented dwellings’, or life insurance. There is just so much to consider, which is why working with a knowledgeable intermediary in the form of an insurance broker is considered prudent.
But just as choosing an insurance policy with the right coverage isn’t the easiest of tasks, choosing the right insurance broker to simplify this process can be hard, too. Again, there is a lot to consider, further complicated by the sheer number of insurance brokers available to work within Toronto. But just in case you’re considering going it alone, here is why working with an insurance broker is important:
Why It Is Critical To Work With An Experienced Insurance Broker
There is no law that compels insurance buyers to work with registered insurance brokers. Consumers are free to do their own research, approach insurance companies directly, and choose insurance products they feel provide them with sufficient cover against perceived risks. Yet, a great many will choose to work with insurance brokers.
Among other duties, an insurance broker will:
- Assess your coverage needs and search the market to identify the right insurance policies
- Compare quotes from multiple insurers to find an insurance policy that offers the best value
- Negotiate insurance policies, claims, and renewals on your behalf
- Collect premiums and manage your accounts
For people who may still choose to go it alone, here why you should perhaps reconsider and engage the services of an insurance broker:
An Insurance Broker Is An Independent Advisor Who Will Serve Your Needs
Insurance companies, like all other businesses, must turn a profit to justify their existence. To turn a profit, insurers aim to cut costs where they can and earning more from your premiums than the claims they payout. It is for this reason that your insurer will review and possibly raise your auto insurance premiums after every accident benefits claim you file.
To protect their business interests and pay as few claims as possible, your insurer employs an army of underwriters, lawyers, claim investigators, appraisers, and agents. Against such a formidable force of highly competent and well-paid professionals, as a consumer shopping for insurance cover, you must ask yourself who will represent your interests. It is your insurance broker.
Insurance Brokers Do Not Suffer From Conflict Of Interest Issues
An insurance broker looks out for the interests of you the person buying insurance cover. They are professionals who have undergone extensive training and who must show evidence of continued professional development. They use their extensive experience and industry knowledge to find insurance products that meet both your budget and insurance needs.
Insurance brokers are not affiliated with any particular party. They are independent of insurance companies and free to explore and recommend insurance products from all insurers. For this reason, insurance brokers aren’t bogged down by conflict of interest issues and are the best placed to help you navigate the often rough terrain of the insurance industry.
So, how do you find the right insurance broker?
Tips On How To Choose The Right Insurance Broker
There is no established method or formula for finding the right insurance broker for your needs. But there are universally accepted best practices on how to select a broker who will competently represent your interests.
The goal is to find an insurance broker with a minimum set of attributes to sift through the many policies available until they isolate the one with adequate coverage that you can afford. Below we discuss five tips on how to find an insurance broker with this minimum set of attributes.
Determine what coverage you need
Insurance needs and levels of coverage differ from every industry, which is why some insurance companies choose to specialize. Even within what appears to be a homogenous insurance class, like home insurance, you will find subclasses with nuances that mark them apart.
A general broker can sometimes only take you so far. So the first task is to determine the coverage you need and identify brokers with the right experience. An example is truck insurance that a general broker may be a lump under auto insurance. Make a shortlist of insurance brokers with proven experience with the type of coverage you are looking to buy.
Know where to look for insurance brokers to shortlist
It follows that if you don’t know where to find potential insurance brokers to work with, you will struggle to even put a shortlist together. As a starting point, you can ask around among friends and work colleagues who have bought the same coverage. Also, trawl online forums where insurance brokers are known to congregate.
An even better idea is to search for review platforms like Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Glassdoor. Pay particular attention to reviews left by current and former clients, as well as past employees of the insurance brokers you are considering. Review sites also give you a general idea of the average profile of clients the broker has experience with.
Try to establish the broker’s work history, including how well they have resolved conflicts with clients. In all this, your goal should be to weed out those candidates that don’t fit the profile of insurance broker you can be comfortable working with. After this process, the more suitable candidates should rise to the top and you should be able to trim your list down to a number you can interview individually.
Ask for proof of the broker’s experience
Since all registered brokers must possess a minimum set of qualifications, it does not serve a practical purpose to ask for proof of qualifications. However, you can still ask for it as well as proof of their continual development and any professional bodies they are affiliated to.
Professional memberships help ensure adherence to a professional code of practice that sets out a minimum set of service standards that all brokers must live up to. Above all, the insurance broker must be able to provide references and testimonials by clients they have worked with. Your goal here is to also establish if the broker has a specialized experience they will rely on to find a policy with the right coverages.
A professional insurance broker with a clean service record and nothing to hide won’t have problems with you digging into their past. In fact, they should be happy to help you in this effort.
Test the waters with a request for a consultation
While your preferred broker may tick all the boxes, you may never know for sure if they will be the right fit until you have put them to the ultimate test. Do your research on the specific coverage you seek and then challenge the broker’s suitability with pointed questions in a sit-down consultation.
How well the broker can show a willingness to assess your personal circumstances and risk profile and prove their familiarity with the different insurance products available shows the level of personalized service they are likely to offer you. If a broker is impatient, not easily accessible, and shows a detached persona, you will be best advised to consider your other options.
Establish the broker’s independence
That brokers work independently and aren’t easily influenced by insurance companies is one of the great attractions of working with them. If they can prove their independence you will know for sure they won’t have divided loyalties.
Ask the broker for a list of insurance companies they have worked with. Make sure the different insurers listed aren’t all part of a larger conglomerate as that hardly qualifies for a diversified insurer portfolio. If an insurance broker can’t provide you with multiple options to consider the first attraction of working with them falls away.
Want to save yourself all the time and effort of finding the right insurance broker to work within Toronto?
Many people in Toronto trust the qualified guidance of the insurance brokers at Able Elite Team, a leading insurance brokerage in Ontario. We work with Canada’s leading insurers and will find you the right insurance policies for your needs. Contact us to discuss your needs.