ReOrientation to ReEmployAbility: Backing Brokers Edition
In this post, we will be delving into the world of Insurance Brokers as a key stakeholder in the ReEmployAbility ecosystem. Our very own Todd Loomis, ReEmployAbility Sales Manager, had the privilege of speaking with Paul Haywood and Roger McCreary of USI, experienced insurance brokers who graciously shared their expertise and offered valuable insights for us. Join us as we explore the career of an insurance broker and how it’s a rewarding career in the worker’s compensation industry.
- Todd Loomis, National Sales Manager, REA
- Paul Haywood, Commercial Practice Leader, USI
- Roger McCreary, Midsouth Regional Claims Manager, USI,
- Q&A for Brokers
Part 1: The Insurance Broker Career
*Responses are minimally modified for brevity and clarity.
What strategies do you utilize to recruit people to become a broker? How are you bringing new people into the industry?
Paul Haywood: We have a dedicated recruiter who is a USI employee who is assisting us as we’re looking for people that we think would be a good fit. We’re constantly reaching out and educating them on what we do and why we believe this is such a great place to be.
Roger McCreary: We have a career track or a trainee… program. Every year, we are bringing in new recruits, new employees from colleges universities that have risk management programs.
How has your career changed over the past few years as a broker?
Roger McCreary: I can tell you over my 10 years that I’ve been in this role, that it has gone from a primarily placement role of getting the best rate, getting the best premium, that kind of thing, to more of a true strategic risk management partner with our clients. They are looking to us to help guide them and build their risk management program. A lot of our clients have international exposures, or they have directors and officers exposures now that they didn’t have before. They’re looking to us as a key resource in their safety, their employee engagement programs. We’ve gone from simply being an agent to this outsourced risk management department for a lot of them, at least on the claim side. Paul, you seeing anything over on your side as well?
Paul Haywood: But I think that our message and our approach resonates with more organizations. Because it’s incumbent upon a broker to help put clients in control of this process, especially in this market that we’ve experienced. We could get into other lines of coverage and stuff where we’ve seen some improvement and properties gotten worse, et cetera. But it’s a time when people feel like they don’t have any control. Back to Roger’s point where before, a lot of people were, “Well, just give me the best price.” And that’s not what it’s about.
It’s taking stock of the client’s information, looking at what’s in their best interests, doing the analytics, doing the pre-underwriting before at an insurance company. Coming up with the optimal structure for them. Coming up with the optimal plan on the loss control based on our own analytics and not just carrier loss control going out. Well-meaning, but maybe not doing the things that would make the most impact. We want their time spent where it’ll make the most impact, et cetera. I would say that more people understand that the right broker partner can help put them in control and not be a victim of the marketplace, if you will. I think that resonates.
What do people need to learn, study, and understand before pursuing a career as a broker?
Roger McCreary: Well, there’s a couple of things, at least on the claim side. I think it’s very hard to come in as a trainee into this job. Like I said earlier, I think you need those years as an adjuster to develop those technical skills. Certainly, having some designations behind your name would help. I have a CPCU and AIC and CCLA, and some of those are more meaningful to me in my day-to-day role than others. But all have built a fairly-rounded knowledge of the business for me. I would say pursue those designations, build your knowledge base at the opportune time. Seek out opportunities to get into an account management kind of role because I think that customer service aspect of it is really critical for the broker side of the business.
Paul Haywood: I would just add to Roger if we have primarily claim professionals on the call today, claims is just a great area. Obviously, I started off there, great place to be. Our industry period is a good place to be through ups and downs of the economy. It allows for longevity in an industry. We’ve hired people just in the last few years from other industries that have suffered as the interest rates have ticked up and people in the mortgage industry, et cetera. This is a good place to be. If you’re feeling taxed or burned out or whatever the issue might be, don’t leave the industry. Make sure you do fully explore what your options are. This is a fantastic industry to spend your career in.
How does somebody identify the right company in which to pursue a career as an insurance broker?
Paul Haywood: I can tell you that one of the things we measure is our turnover, for instance. We know in this industry that if you retain at least 90% of your clients, that’s a home run. I can tell you in our region, in the Charlotte office, we had like 5% loss business last year. Which tells us that through these difficult times and as things have improved and people have had some time to just take a step back and make some changes, that they’re choosing to partner with us for those reasons. We’re finding people that are very frustrated with this environment, and they feel like they have no control, so we’re showing them how to be in control. For people who are looking to get into this business, I think you want to look at companies, look at the culture. Look at what drives you? Is that company aligned with your values? Would it be a place and people that you would enjoy working with, of course?
The other thing to look at is fundamentally what’s going on in our industry. I don’t want to make this a total USI plug, but unlike USI, you see a lot of just companies, private equity aggregators. Right now, we know that that makes it harder and harder for some of these firms out there as we’re seeing interest rates rise. Some people have equated it to, like, a mortgage. You go out, and you have a mortgage, and when you took out the mortgage, it was taking 50% of your income to cover the mortgage. Well, now that the mortgage costs you so much more and you’re spending 100% of your income to cover that mortgage, there’s nothing left to pay other bills and buy food for the kids and everything else you need to do. We see that in the industry that people are heading that direction and getting into those kinds of boxes. I would say if you’re looking to move to the broker side, you really want to look and see what that looks like, how they’re structured, what their ownership structure is, and do your due diligence.
Thank you for taking the time to read part 1 of the Broker blog post, which explores the insurance brokering industry and its career opportunities. We kindly remind you to keep an eye out for the release of part 2, which will be available shortly. Watch the full webinar Reorientation to ReEmployAbility: Backing Broker’s edition HERE that delves into changing trends in the insurance industry!