Powter Insurance President Says Insurance Agents Shouldn’t Just Talk About Insurance

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Giving his half-term report card on the insurance industry, John Powter - President Powter Insurance (Contributing Member of YourInsuranceQuestion.com) explained why insurance agents in 2012 shouldn’t ask about insurance.

John Powter gave his assessment of the insurance industry in 2012 this month and says the insurance provider role has changed.

He says that insurance in 2012 is about being a combination of an agent and an advisor. He explains, ‘the agent is the guy who goes out and does the pricing, negotiates and tries to find the best value. Whereas the advisor looks at the clients business and identifies where he can add value, he puts the clients needs ahead of his own.’

‘Don’t just knock off 20%’

Mr. Powter describes the need for Insurance professionals to combine these roles, to put the needs of the client first and then seek the best price for that insurance need.

Why not just focus on insurance costs? ‘These days, everybody says they can save 20% on your premiums. Well, insurance is pretty cheap these days. Say it accounts for 1.5% of your budget, a saving of 20% isn’t really that much. But if we can make a difference and improve how a business operates, that’s how we add value.’

‘Lets have a conversation.’

So how should these advisor-agents go about adding value? Powter describes his process, ‘We go into a meeting and sometimes they have their polices on the table waiting for us to look at and we say, ‘We don’t want to talk about that just yet, let’s have a conversation.’’

‘We ask high-end, strategic questions, like where do you want your company to be in 12 months, 3 years, 10 years? Then we ask how they want to get there.’ In identifying the where, what and how, Powter says, the risks come out on their own.

‘We look at areas like strategy, even productivity, and try to add value with advice first, before we get to the insurance option. In fact, we know it’s a good meeting when they ask, ‘What does this have to do with Insurance?’

Mr. Powter describes the need to stay sharp and keep putting their clients first, ‘I’ve got to keep adding value every year. You have to stay on top of it. I’ve been in this industry 18 years and I still practice what I do, every day.’

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Andrea Bell
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