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When three is definitely not a crowd

At a glance

  • James Roberts, Zurich’s Head of Broker Market – South, discusses the real benefits for brokers and corporates of the tripartite relationship
  • Brokers and their close relationships with customers, remain the key link in the chain
  • Zurich uses its skills and services to compliment those of the broker

Zurich has long believed in the benefits of working closely with both its brokers and their corporate customers to develop an open and transparent tripartite relationship.

Insider caught up with James Roberts, Zurich’s Head of Broker Market – South, to find out how the relationship works in practice and the benefits it brings to all involved.

Q: Is there such a thing as an average day?

A: No, and that is what helps to make the job so interesting. Typically, customer contact revolves around claim review meetings or getting ready for renewal discussions, but there are always a variety of other things to discuss and deal with.

As the key contact for major customers and brokers, I provide a fast and convenient pathway to the particular risk related expertise that they are looking for.

Major customer proposition

I will co-ordinate access to risk management support, underwriting experts and claims account managers, as required. I can also put them in touch with other specialists dealing with everything from law and litigation to crisis management and the environment.

Then there are the more unusual requests like helping a broker or major customer to find a media trainer for a senior executive team through our third-party contacts.

In short, I am here to help tailor our proposition to fit each client’s specific needs.

Q: Is your contact generally with the broker or the policyholder?

A: The majority of contact is with the broker and, certainly, they are my first point of contact when it comes to dealing with a particular issue. I am here to compliment the broker offering and any direct contact with the client is agreed up front with the broker.

When it comes to getting ready for renewal, for example, the first contact would be with the broker to discuss any issues that are going to be important in the renewal process from our side. This helps the broker manage the day-to-day relationship with the client, but means that when we all get together round the table there are no surprises and everyone knows what the other is trying to achieve.

Having regular contact with brokers means I can also see where we could provide additional resource and support beyond the broker’s existing proposition. This lets us dovetail effectively with the broker to provide both a complimentary and supplementary service. As a result the major customer gets the very best of what we have to offer.

Q: What benefits does a genuine tripartite relationship bring?

A: I believe that it gives the customer confidence and lets them know who the insurer is, how we operate and what we can offer not just at the point of claim, but also on an everyday basis. It helps keep our underwriters fully informed, enabling them to make the best decisions on pricing to support a smoother renewal negotiation.

The majority of contact is with the broker and, certainly, they are my first port of call when it comes to dealing with a particular issue

James Roberts, Zurich’s Head of Broker Market – South

In addition, we get a much better understanding of the customer and their attitude to risk and risk management. Brokers can sit down and discuss particular issues with us and, the more open and transparent the relationship, the easier it is to find ways of overcoming any problems.

When speaking to their client, brokers can also point to the relationship as evidence that the insurance programme is about more than just an insurance policy and working together we can really begin to improve a client’s overall risk management programme. The approach gives the client a fuller insurance proposition that is closely aligned to their needs.

By developing an upfront and open relationship, customers enjoy real certainty that we will respond as they need us to if there is a claim.

Q: Is this a new approach taken by Zurich?

A: Not at all, it is one we have been employing and developing for a long time. Experience shows us that it brings challenges and issues out into the open quickly and makes it easier to address and overcome them. It also highlights where our skills and services can best compliment those of the broker and be used to create a fuller insurance programme for clients.

Image © Getty

For more information, get in touch

James Roberts | Head of Broker Market - South | 0208 212 4242

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