Technological innovation has meant that consumers have far wider choice and far more information at their fingertips than they have ever had. Coupled with this is the stellar growth in recent years of direct insurance, which harnesses technology and connectivity to provide consumers with near-instant insurance covers and greater convenience. Both of these factors have impacted brokers heavily, with consumers no longer necessarily needing to use their services. With a drop-off in intermediated business, as well as the regulatory changes that cap the fees brokers may earn.
I disagree. In fact, we believe more than ever that brokers are a necessity. While consumers have access to more information, navigating it to arrive at the best possible cover can be a nightmare for them. And that is where brokers really come into their own: they provide expert advice, which one will never get with direct insurance; they are able to arrange proper, relevant cover for individual customers; and they are able to assist customers when it comes to submitting a claim.
As the world becomes more generic, more ersatz, even dumbed down, we need specialists more than ever; this applies especially to the insurance industry. We need people who know insurance intimately, who know their clients and their needs personally, and who can help them navigate the sometimes very complex insurance landscape.
When it comes to eyeballs and handshakes, we are saying that there is still no substitute for good old-fashioned face-to-face, human interaction. When you look someone in the eye and grasp their hand, you are ultimately seeing that person and telling them that you have their best interests at heart.
Convenience is wonderful, but it is trumped every time by great advice and service from an intermediary who knows and cares about his or her client. We need to actively look after the wonderful resource that is the intermediary.