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Monday, 4 March 2013

Getting the most from your broker-client relationship


In today's world, where we outsource so many aspects of our lives, we are used to paying for a service, then standing by passively as we hope for things to fall into place; and we feel pretty helpless when instead, they go amiss. This is because it has become the cultural norm to not be involved in many of the processes that shape our lives (think of your medical care, for example: to what degree to you control the outcome of your doctor visits?)

As a result of how client-provider relationships have evolved, even the insurance industry has at times been guilty of a transformation for the worse: from meaningful engagement between insurance providers and their clients, to cookie cutter packages that see all individuals as alike. The danger here, of course, is that this leads to clients who are not receiving the optimal advice—and thereby, not making the optimal financial decisions—for their particular circumstances. At Sharp, we are passionate about advising people to advocate for better financial advice from those they seek it from. Here is an outline of behaviours that we believe will best help you to get the most from your broker-client relationship:

  1. Spare no details. When you sit down with your insurance provider to discuss the financial decisions that are before you, tell your story in its entirety. If you come across a provider who is not willing to listen to these details, that may be a cue for you to shop around. A good broker will not try to steer you away from details that you believe are relevant and pertinent to your financial well being.

  2. Participate. A good broker will take the information you give them, and think aloud, allowing you to participate in the thought process with them. A good way for you to do this is to ask questions: what is your broker thinking, and why? In addition to participating in the thought process, it's key that you are an active part of the decision-making phase as well. Making judgement calls together will ensure that you are at the forefront of every decision made.

  3. Apply advice rationally. Do not just consent to the suggestions your broker makes without understanding them. Ensure that your insurance provider explains why each step of your plan is beneficial to you.

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