Broker Perspective: Get Back to Basics – Kevin McPoyle

Kevin McPoyle Carrier Management

Having recently attended a number of carrier events during which the structure of market contacts, departments and the underwriting process were once again reimagined as new and novel in a “back to the future” style conversion, I was struck more by what was missing than what had been added: fundamentals.

It isn’t time to overthink the process but to simplify it. Rather than going back to the future, we need to get back to basics.

Specialization of interest and industry are often touted as providing benefits to insurance buyers. For example, unique risk and underwriting characteristics for construction companies are not shared with pharmaceutical companies. For companies operating in both spaces, understanding the difference is critical to successful risk management. It is in this area, specialization, where we must pause and consider common core issues. I maintain specialization often misses the point of the process. And the point of the process, from a broker’s perspective, is to provide value to the insured. When an organization is deficient, or perhaps simply marginal in technical and organizational fundamentals, specialization is just a different way to fail the insured and ultimately the provider—perhaps even faster than usual.

When a lack of fundamental expertise in insurance is hidden beneath the cloak of specialization, it is only a matter of time before business trends south. If the fundamentals are strong, on the other hand, specialization is a powerful “force multiplier” for an agency or carrier.

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