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Client relationships crucial to insurance industry

By Staff Writer

Intermediaries are obliged to stay current with various insurance industry developments, the statutory environment and global trends. As a result, brokers are able to assess and understand the constant changes within the insurance industry and, in turn, be able to advise their clients accordingly.

According to Jonjon Smit, sales director at CIB Insurance Solutions (CIB), brokers need to be ably supported by their insurance partners, not only to ensure that their relationship with clients remains streamlined and efficient, but also to create a thriving and innovative short-term insurance sector. “Insurance companies and product suppliers have a specific responsibility to intermediaries. With our input and assistance they can create a lasting relationship with their clients.”

Smit goes on to say that a solid relationship with a broker, who understands a client’s business and personal environment, is crucial in today’s fast-paced commercial sector. “Although there has been a move to the direct insurers by people with relatively basic needs and requirements, the fact that most business owners prefer to deal with a broker that can offer professional advice, revolves around building a relationship through understanding the clients’ needs.”

Fethon Zapheriou,  of Fethon Zapheriou Brokers based in Johannesburg, agrees that insurance needs to be explained and investigated properly, as it is not as simple as many direct players make out. “The insurance sector is a highly specialised profession that requires a specific skills set, knowledge and training, making an insurance broker instrumental in this environment.”

“It is not often that insurance clients understand the potential risks they could expect or encounter in their business transactions. However, brokers provide risk analysis expertise and understand the details surrounding specific cover options, which if not considered could leave the business owner in a position where the entire operation is at risk, ” adds Zapheriou.

Smit says that the true value of a broker is felt when clients have complicated portfolios and seek valuable advice at claim stage. “Brokers understand their market, the latest trends in the insurance industry and new product developments. As a result they are able to offer the best advice on how to structure a portfolio that suits the individual needs of their clients.”

“Having a relationship with your client is of utmost importance. Our brokers have each built a personal relationship with their various clients over the years and understand the particular requirements of each individual, so when there is a claim the broker is able to give balanced advice,” concludes Smit.

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