"The decisions you make today can affect your way of life tomorrow, always think carefully before making any big decisions.”

We live in a world where you can source insurance through a Broker, or by calling a toll free number or going on line.

Just a word of caution, you would not conduct your annual medical examination over the telephone with a complete stranger, why should your insurance be any different?

If you have a single item need such as insuring a car, or need to insure a home, a business or anything that is unique, you are better off finding a Broker that will advise you and help you find the right cover.

Smart insurance buyers spend their time selecting the right Broker with a clear understanding of what they expect of the Broker and what the Broker will expect of them. They leave the navigation of the tiny details and concepts of insurance to the Broker they have selected. Service Level Agreements between a Broker and a client will become the way of the future and is an excellent tool with which to establish expectations and agree on them.

So how do you go about selecting the right Broker?

Personal recommendations: Ask friends, co-workers. People tend to refer people with whom they have had a positive experience with. Ask about the experiences with the Broker. Is the Broker engaging, responsive, able to answer questions clearly, knowledgeable and compliant?

Testimonials: Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media tools can help you gauge good service and quality business but always keeping in mind that feedback is usually one sided and everyone’s expectation of service levels are different. These sites can be helpful, but dealing with a Broker face-to-face is one of the best ways of establishing if they will take good care of your Insurance needs: Reference the Broker you’re thinking of engaging with by contacting Insurers they represent – this will give you a good idea of the Broker’s business practise integrity. Because the Broker represents you as the client, you want to make sure that they conduct themselves with ethic and integrity in every way, especially at claim stage.

Broker history: Is the Broker well established in the line of business they operate in? Is the Broker well known in the community? Does the Brokerage offer a team of quality people? Reputation says a lot!

Specialised needs: If you have a unique situation or your property or business is considered high risk, you will want to find a Broker who has the expertise to help you.

Personalised service: A good Broker will be familiar with the product they are selling and explain ways you can tailor your cover to suit your needs. The Broker needs to understand the Client’s business and form a partnership. Is the Broker easily accessible, even after hours in the event of a claim?

Premium: Is the premium in relation to the cover you receive? Remember cheap insurance is not always the best deal. It may suit your pocket in the short term, but will not go a long way in maintaining the health status of your policy in the long term. A prudent Broker will advise and not rely on the premium alone to secure a deal. Choosing your Broker and Insurer purely on cheap premium is not always a ‘good bargain’. Consider Excess Structures, turnaround times, policy content and transparency before making your decision.

Transparency: Broker must display transparency regarding commissions, potential conflicts of interests and the services that insurance premiums will buy.

Product offering: Does the Broker offer products from various Insurance Companies, or do they have limited access to various Insurance Companies?

We do hope that the pointers were helpful.

To wrap up, Confucius says “Man who eat many prunes get good run for money”. As a consumer make sure that you are realistic when considering value for money.

Should you require more information on how your short term insurance portfolio can be tailor made to suit your needs, we kindly invite you to contact Marius Marais at the Scottfin Scottburgh office.