Among the main factors currently shaping property and casualty insurance in Canada are changing consumer demand and rapidly evolving technology, and the two are often interconnected, says Peter Braid, CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC). Against this changing backdrop, the central tenets of the insurance broker value proposition – choice, advice and advocacy – have stayed constant or are even growing stronger.
"When it comes to choice, a broker is in the position to provide a range of options from different insurance providers, ensuring that clients have access to insurance that best meets their needs at the best price," he says.
"In addition to advising clients on the best policy, the broker can also advise them on ways of mitigating risks to decrease their risk profile." The third tenet, advocacy, is especially important in the event of a claim, explains Braid. "The insurance broker plays an important role as the client's advocate in helping to navigate the claims process."
A wealth of online sources can enable Canadians to do valuable research up front, says Braid. "In many respects, clients need advice to sort through the significant amount of information that is out there. And our research shows that even younger generations, including millennials, see the importance of working with an expert for making their purchase decision."
Like many other products available in the market place, insurance is getting more complex, says Braid. To stay up-to-date, the broker channel needs to constantly adapt to changing market dynamics and be aware of consumer needs as well as product innovation.
"We see product innovation for overland flood insurance coming on the heels of an increase in extreme weather events, for example, or for cyber security risks, which many small business owners have to deal with," he says. "Brokers are also working to be responsive to the needs of today's consumers, who want to have the ability to connect with their brokers 24/7 through the platform of their choice."
Braid stresses that consumers should know that insurance brokers work for them – and not for insurance companies – and have the best interest of their clients in mind. In addition, insurance brokers are also small business owners and community builders, who are making a significant difference in their communities, he says. "The combination of choice, advice and advocacy really add up to a superior customer experience not only for the purchase but throughout the life of an insurance policy."
As consumers age, their circumstances change, and brokers can help them navigate their changing home and auto insurance needs, says Braid. "Having insurance coverage that reflects a client's unique need at a specific point in time can contribute to that person's peace of mind."
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications for Globe Content Studio. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.