Technical Committees

Broker Committee

Jamil Bahou

THE ROLE OF THE INSURANCE BROKER

In today’s world the importance of adequate business insurance cannot be overemphasized. Having the right coverage may mean the difference between success and failure when faced with fire, natural disaster, accident or liability claim. For the individual it is also essential to have appropriate insurance in place to cover health of loved ones, as well as damage to property. Navigating the array of insurance offerings on the market can be daunting but insurance brokers can help to find the best fit for the client’s needs by using their in depth knowledge of insurance products available in today’s market.

Responsibilities of an Insurance Broker

It is the broker’s duty to:

  • assess the client’s needs and explain the importance of the duty of disclosure of material facts;
  • represent the client’s risks honestly to the insurer and in accordance with the client’s requirements;
  • obtain competitive terms from various insurance companies;
  • review and compare the terms received and present these to the client in order that the client may evaluate the terms and make an informed decision;
  • in the event of a claim, assist with settlement and collection of money from the insurer and ensure there is a fair and equitable
  • resolution in accordance with terms of the insurance policy.

Benefits of using an Insurance Broker

Insurance brokers are more than just experts who shop the market for the best packages on behalf of their clients; an insurance broker is similar to an accountant or lawyer who provides impartial professional advice, based on years of training, education and experience. They are also advocates for the client at every level. An insurance broker will help the client to understand and identify insurance needs, to look for the best insurance proposals meeting their specific requirements, to “translate” the jargon found in most insurance contracts to comprehensible language and to assist with claims that might occur during the policy period.

As with everything in life the cheapest is not necessarily the best. When arranging insurance it is easy to take short cuts and look for the cheapest, without considering policy wordings, insurance companies’ financial stability and their claims paying history. Often a wider policy wording, which would provide cover in different situations, does not cost much extra. Because brokers act on behalf of the client and deal with many insurance companies (unlike agents who deal with only one company) the insurance broker should be able to provide the client with insurance cover most appropriate for his needs at the optimal price.

Insurance brokers’ clients range from individuals to large commercial enterprises. The role of the professional insurance broker becomes of extreme importance when and if the client’s operations involve big, complex risks that insurance companies are reluctant or unable to retain, or hazardous activities that are difficult or very expensive to insure. A professional insurance broker can even advise you on alternative (other than insurance) risk transfer tools to be considered.

In addition, brokers who are members of the BIA undertake to adhere to the BIA’s Code of Conduct which ensures that they will at all times act in the interests of their clients in “utmost good faith”.