Direct vs Broker: An Inside Perspective
by Rebecca Davis
I started in insurance as a producer for a direct writer. I learned the ins and outs of the industry, its norms and regulations. After a couple of years in sales, I made the switch to AA Munro as a communications and marketing specialist.
Direct writers sell their own insurance products, while brokers sell the products of several insurers and shop for the best price. Beyond this, though, are nuances that make all the difference.
#1) Corporate vs Community Culture
Working for a direct writer that serviced the country meant corporate culture was established over time with little room for malleability. Work relationships were quantity over quality. Working for a smaller Atlantic brokerage that puts effort into connecting with the local community has made me feel part of a welcoming culture.
#2) Numbers vs Names
Although performance matters in any service industry, and every business strives for good working relationships with customers, an unflinching focus on performance can lead to burnout. A healthy work environment means feeling valued and secure in your job. AA Munro’s people-based approach to insurance was refreshing, and showed me the importance of finding a balance.
#3) Coaching vs Development
Growth in an insurance company means more than increased profit—coworker development and education is necessary for us to evolve in an ever-changing world. Most companies have some sort of development plan in place, but the correct approach needs to be taken in order to maintain engagement and achieve goals. Coaching is driven by numbers, with a “go, go, go, more, more, more” mentality. I respond better to unique development plans that acknowledge weaknesses and celebrate strengths.
It’s safe to say that almost everyone will require some form of insurance at one time or another—myself included. As a customer, there were noticeable differences in the sales process too. Even without the bundling discount I previously had, I saved money on my personal auto insurance policy when I moved to a broker. Having someone shop the different options for me took the stress off my back.
Your relationship to your job depends on many things, and experiences can differ within the same industry. I was really glad to be able to get a foundation for insurance at a direct writer. I’m also happy I continued to explore other kinds of companies. Expectations, capabilities, culture and attitude impact the way you feel about the work you do. Make sure you’re comfortable with it!