“What is your superpower?”
A refreshing change to the usual question “what is your USP?”. This was asked by Melanie Mackie of Scarletta Media in a Facebook video focusing on the About Page of your website.
It really got me thinking….what do I do naturally, without thinking, to help and advise my clients.
I have over 25 years’ experience, so I have knowledge and expertise – essential for my job but not really a superpower. I’m a Chartered Insurance Broker and hold my FCII – fairly unique in my industry so I think this could probably qualify as a superpower.
After more careful thought, I realised that my real superpowers are actually nothing to do with my qualifications, status or knowledge but are deeply rooted in my genuine belief that no two businesses are the same and each has unique insurance needs. My superpowers are the time, understanding and care I give to you and your businesses.
Call me old fashioned…
The trend nowadays is for insurers and brokers to use online platforms or Etrade solutions for SME business. These are quick, time-saving, tick box solutions based on assumptions that don’t require a lot of effort or thought on either side. There is no discussion about processes, suppliers, customers or gross profit calculation. I, on the other hand, believe there is so much more to an SME risk than just ticking a few boxes and an online chat with an underwriter who often has to refer to a more senior underwriter. I don’t dispute that this way of transacting business has its place; I just don’t believe it is always appropriate for SMEs, where many material facts and covers can be overlooked.
Take, for example, a manufacturer who uses an overseas supplier to produce a fundamental part of their product. Should a fire occur at the overseas supplier’s premises, a serious interruption would occur to the manufacturer’s business. They would need to source the part in the UK to continue trading and this would be at a much greater cost. Lengthy discussions with underwriters were required to obtain the cover they needed. It wasn’t a tick box solution.
It’s good to talk
I’ve recently been working with a new client. A lot of time was spent asking questions, getting a deeper understanding of how their income was generated, where their profit came from and what would happen if they suffered a major fire at a site.
It was clear that they were significantly underinsured and lacking on their existing business interruption covers. No one had ever taken the time to visit them and discuss their business. Their policy was based on assumptions, many of which they could not agree to. It wasn’t a straightforward risk, and I puzzled at length over how best to insure them. I discussed it with underwriters and also asked the advice of a loss adjuster from Lorega. Eventually, I came up with a solution which I believed would cover the client adequately in the event of a loss. Again, this wasn’t a tick box solution.
Following the introduction of the Insurance Act, a business now has a duty to make a fair presentation of risk. The best way to help a client achieve this is to see firsthand what they do and discuss what their business involves. I visit most of my SME clients – this is how I get to understand and fully appreciate the risks they face.
Consider the wholesaler who operates in a fiercely competitive market and is committed to supply their customers within a specified timescale or face a penalty. Or the musical instrument restorers who need a different basis of settlement for instruments depending on whether they have been restored or not. When I see these clients in action, I can see the potential risks that need to be covered to protect their businesses and their livelihoods.
This is what I love about my job. Meetings, discussions and thinking which allows me to provide advice to my clients, ensuring that they are adequately covered so that in the event of a claim they are up and running again quickly.
I care about my clients’ businesses and so I take the time to understand them – therein lie my superpowers.
If you own or run an SME in Oxfordshire or Berkshire and would like a review of your insurances done with care, time and understanding, then please contact me on 01235 868535 or [email protected].