Each month, Aviva’s intermediary and partnerships director Janice Deakin answers burning questions from young brokers. This week: retaining clients and developing underwriter relationships

Janice Deakin Aviva

Q My role has just expanded to include direct contact with underwriters. I often find this quite intimidating, and I can be tongue-tied when I meet them. What is the best way to develop a relationship with underwriters and to get them to consider my proposal in the first place?

Janice: The main thing in situations like this is to be yourself, and I always find trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes helps, as it may give you some insight into what might be motivating them.

The more information underwriters have, the more comfortable they are. If you invest the time upfront to go through what information they require and why, that will help you be prepared for the conversations you have with them.

Over a period of time this will build up trust and confidence as you trade more cases with them. This respect and rapport will position you well for future trading relationships.

Q Recently some of my accounts have been threatened by rival brokers trying to poach the business. I know this is a feature of the market, but I am still trying to work out the best way to deal with it and retain as many clients as I can. What is your advice?

Janice: I know how tough the broker market continues to be and that this is testing even the strongest of client relationships.

A few things you might want to think about are making sure you are having the renewal conversation at the right time and working with your insurers to ensure there are no surprises for your client.

Remember you have the benefit of knowing your client’s business and what their business drivers, are so you can tailor the renewal solution to really meet their needs.

Another thing to watch out for is making sure you are speaking with the decision-maker in your clients’ offices. There is nothing worse than thinking you have secured a deal, only to discover someone higher up has made a deal with someone else.

Do you have a question for the Career Doctor? Send your workplace dilemma to rachel.douglass@insurancetimes.co.uk

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