By Patrick Manning, Associate Account Executive
In everything we do, there is some level of expectation for the results of our work. Whether we are expecting someone to answer the phone when we call or expecting a specific premium on a quote we have requested, we mentally come to a conclusion before our task is even complete. Tragically, unless expectations are set in advance, they are only assumptions, which can let us down more often than not.
In the quoting process, setting expectations with both the insurance carrier and the insured are absolutely paramount to receiving a smooth and successful outcome for an account. It allows us to set a timeframe, a premium amount, and the coverages we are looking for. It also gives us a realistic view of whether or not any of our goals are even possible. When looking at a specific account, we can usually identify carriers that will be a good fit, but that doesn’t guarantee they will be able to reach the price, coverage, or timeframe that is needed if they aren’t aware of what is expected from the agent and insured. The advantage of having these expectations set early is that we can determine if it’s possible to achieve our goal from a carrier or not without wasting time. We should, at the very least, be able to provide an answer to our agent about whether or not a carrier can help with an account. I was once told by an underwriter “People don’t always deserve a quote, but they absolutely deserve an answer. Without setting expectations, people can find themselves with neither.”
Given the complex nature of our industry, coverage is not always cookie cutter and variations in coverage can mean substantial differences in the premiums we are able to attain. There comes a point when working on an account becomes pointless if we have passed the assumed time for presentation. If an insured decides to go with someone else because they were able to get a quote faster, or if a broker was unable to get a quote to an agent in time because they were unaware of when a presentation was scheduled, then there was a clear break down of expectations. This type of issue has a tendency to put a strain on relationships, both with the insured and agent, as well as the broker and underwriter.
Whether you are an insured, an agent, or a wholesaler, setting the expectations for those you are working with will make the process much smoother. Insurance is a relationship business, so being upfront and clear about your objectives will help you build stronger partnerships with your clients while making your job much easier.