by Angus MacCaull

As brokers, we often think of insurance policies as our main product. We focus on our markets and what we have to offer customers from our insurer partners.

But customer referrals, which are key to organic growth, can provide an insight into what we’re also selling—ourselves!

When a customer makes a referral, they often point to a specific broker before they recommend a brand. Or, if they mention a brand first, they’ll qualify their recommendation by talking about an individual broker.

“I would say the majority of customers do buy from the person,” says Bree Rudolph, our local Account Manager at RSA. “The experience they get from the person they’re dealing with determines how they view the brand. Their interaction with their broker gives them a feeling for the brokerage.”

Another way of saying this might be that in the broker channel, people are the real product.

Bree also finds that the same interpersonal dynamic at play between customers and brokers is a big part of what goes on between brokers and insurers. When the contract offerings are relatively equal, brokers will turn first to insurers that give them a good feeling.

“You want to do business with people you like,” says Bree, “people that are good to you.”

When things are going well, the insurer and broker go to bat for each other, and the broker and customer do too.

Insurance is a relationship. Of course you have to start with a competitive price for excellent coverage—but the markets aren’t the end of the story. People will pay a little more to feel that they’re looked after, and to feel that their broker has their best interests at heart.