2020 truly tested the resilience of our governments, health care systems and organizations in profound ways as it forced them to quickly take stock of their operations and, in many cases, embrace systemic change almost overnight. The organizations that have been able to overcome these challenges are those that continued to evolve their operations to meet their stakeholder expectations.
Amidst all the turbulence caused by this radical change, trust has become even more critical. For RSA Canada, this meant working closely with industry and broker communities — within days of COVID-19 measures being announced by local governments — to swiftly implement changes and offer customer relief measures.
The top tenets of trust
In partnership with RSA Canada, Insurance Business conducted a survey last year that revealed 82 per cent of Canadians trust their broker and that the top tenets of a great insurance broker are honesty and integrity, good customer service and product knowledge. It was found that the most effective business practices in gaining client trust - aside from area expertise - include simple policy language, cost transparency, and the ability to provide sufficient information when discussing renewals and policy terms. On the softer skill side, the survey showed being able to deal with concerns in a straightforward manner and encouraging customer-led conversations go a long way when earning and maintaining client trust.
“We recognize that the quality of the insurer-broker trust is reflected in the broker-customer relationship, which was critical in a tumultuous year like 2020,” says Paul Lucarelli, SVP of Personal and Commercial Lines at RSA Canada. “The market remains very challenging for our broker partners, and our capacity and expertise are needed now more than ever. To that end, we are doubling down on our commitment to retain our broker partners’ trust and engage them in open dialogue.”
For RSA, helping brokers foster and strengthen client trust has always been a priority. The insurer recently rolled out training for its frontline staff, including underwriters and claims teams, to help them to be more proactive and empathetic when communicating with brokers. This investment, in turn, helps to inform the tone of conversations brokers have with their clients.
With many work-from-home mandates in place, RSA’s virtual education provides an opportunity to stay connected with brokers and equip them with the relevant industry knowledge they need to support their clients. Webinars and supporting material on relevant topics such as ethics and underwriting and are all available on Wise Up®, a recently enhanced online learning platform exclusively available for RSA brokers.
Throughout 2020, RSA’s communication with its brokers reached an all-time high and the actions taken by the insurer - including economic relief measures, uninterrupted service levels, and customized education offerings — helped ensure brokers were equipped with updated information to counsel their clients. The results of this multifaceted effort to maintain relationships with brokers are telling; a recent RSA Broker Poll showed that the insurer had maintained the trust of 90 per cent of its brokers following the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic and that 16 per cent felt that their trust in RSA was actually higher than ever.
Connection and continuity are key
Never has trust - among institutions, health care, education systems and in each other - been more tested than in the context of the global pandemic. While the first months of 2021 still hold a lot of uncertainty, this is the time for organizations to really show up for their stakeholders. For brokers, this means connecting with clients early and transparently to ensure longevity of the strength and trust in the relationship.
Maintaining the trust of brokers and customers has not been an easy task and there is much work to be done. However, RSA’s rich legacy of working in partnership with brokers to be there for customers in times of need has helped. Over the past three decades alone, RSA has overcome various challenges including recessions, hard market cycles and extreme weather events across the country. RSA was able to persevere through it all by investing in its relationship with their broker partners.
“The unpredictability of the pandemic’s impact on the business was a big challenge in 2020, forcing our hand to be reactive versus forward thinking, which is where we want to be,” said Lucarelli. “But by staying connected to our broker partners and finding new ways of collaborating and adapting to change, we have emerged with a deeper level of mutual trust and a shared passion to grow together; the uncertainty of the environment around us doesn’t change the fact that RSA is stronger than ever across our portfolio, proposition and people and we are excited to grow with our brokers in 2021.”
For more information on the steps RSA is taking to increase broker and customer trust, brokers are encouraged to contact their Underwriting Team or Regional Sales Manager or by visiting rsabroker.ca.
This article originally appeared in Insurance Business Canada Magazine (print).