Got a case of the broker sweats?

“I only have 2 hours left in my day. I need to plan for our management team meeting, but I also have to get back to three urgent customer needs.”

“I know I need to understand and invest in new customer-facing technology but I don’t have the time to research it and I’m terrified of investing in something the team won’t use.”

“The new consolidators scare me. They are gobbling up brokerages faster than I ever thought possible. When will they start using their scale to hurt my business? How do we protect ourselves?”

“Carriers are constantly pushing the boundaries on how they want to engage with our customers. How do I make sure that the way we help customers works with how they envision engaging with customers too?”

“My staff seem like they are going through the motions since they are working from home more. How do I know if they still like where they work?”

Running a brokerage is one of the most complex jobs in the insurance industry. How do you have the time to understand all these issues, plan for them, get the team organized to help build solutions, and take care of the customers that still call you for help directly?

This is no time to be a rugged individualist!

Early in my career as a brokerage owner, I was fortunate enough to meet three exceptional brokers who agreed to partner with me in a broker discussion group. We called it the Plus 4. We met fairly regularly, became good friends, exchanged many interesting ideas, and had lots of fun together.

My experience was not unique. I know that many of you are involved in at least one or more broker discussion groups. I also know that you are probably thinking about how to take the broker discussion group experience to a higher level. We all know this is no time to be a rugged individualist. We need to pool our thinking and our plans and our ideas to cope with the significant challenges that brokers face.

Based on your comments, I get the sense that you’re not sure how to do this.

Let me offer one idea. I suggest you consider converting your broker discussion group into a true performance group. What are the characteristics of a performance group?

To me, there are four traits of an effective performance group

  1. Measure performance

The first step in launching a performance group is to agree upon a shortlist of key performance indicators [KPI’s] that can be used to objectively measure the performance of a brokerage. We suggest five KPI’s

  • EBITDA
  • Productivity [commission per employee]
  • Growth [rolling 12-month commission income this year versus last year]
  • Employee engagement
  • Client engagement
  1. Share the data

Once the performance measurement has been completed, share the results on a full disclosure basis amongst all members of the performance group.

  1. Compare results

Examine each member’s performance results and dig out best practices and success stories to be shared amongst the members of the performance group.

  1. Be accountable.

Once the group has established a high level of mutual trust, it’s time to go for the real power of a performance group – challenge each other on your results, good and bad. The outcome of this process should be commitments made by each member to the other members to take action to capitalize on strengths and rectify weaknesses.

If you think this model has merit, I would urge you to place the coordination and facilitation of the meetings of the performance group in the hands of a qualified third-party advisor. This will add an expense item but based on our experience, it will increase the likelihood of success of the performance group by a major factor.

I am sure there are many ways to take your broker discussion group to a higher level. Hopefully you find my broker performance group model useful in your planning. Again, as I said before this is no time to be a rugged individualist.

Creating your own successful future is going to take a lot of hard work. The good news is this is a time of unprecedented opportunity. Good luck!