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The questions every broker should be asking their GI BDM – Berkeley Alexander

by: Mark Hutchings, managing director of Berkeley Alexander
  • 24/06/2019
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The questions every broker should be asking their GI BDM – Berkeley Alexander
Most general insurance (GI) providers have business development teams that visit mortgage brokers. Time is precious, so how can advisers make the most of these meetings?


What can a GI business development manager (BDM) do for a broker’s business and what questions can advisers ask to ensure they’re not missing a trick? I have worked in the GI market for 20 years, beginning my career as a BDM.

So here are my top tips for getting the most from a GI relationship.


What system training and support do you offer?

GI providers should offer online and offline services. These should support brokers to quote and buy electronically, call to talk through more unusual or ‘struggle’ cases and refer clients to be dealt with directly by their own in-house teams. BDMs are there to provide training and ongoing support. They should enable brokers to do more business in less time and with greater financial return. 

What marketing support can I get?

Any materials should be kept up-to-date and refreshed as and when the product changes or in line with any regulatory changes.

Compliance and legal – have you got it covered?

GI BDMs should be helping intermediaries to keep abreast of changes in legislation that impact the sales process, client marketing and any documentation that firms produce.  

Trouble-shooting – when can I call you?

When all else fails, can you call your BDM team? Are they able to find a way through your problems, especially when they involve policy, underwriting, processing systems or claims? They can and should provide the human face and the thinking mind of a process-driven world. We were contacted recently by a broker whose client was looking to set up a jewellery wholesale business, but he couldn’t find a GI broker who could help. The broker contacted us and within two days, the client had his quote.

What are your unique selling points?

Establish why the GI provider is different to the many that come knocking on the door. It’s a competitive market out there. What can they offer that the others do not to give your business another unique selling point? It’s not just about price, selecting which GI provider to partner with is important to your business. Do you have a client bank that will not always meet the standard vanilla five-star offering?  Make sure they can cater for non-standard too.

How good is your GI claims service and how do you benchmark it?

Insurance is a promise on a piece of paper – unless you have a claim. It’s the claims service that an insured is buying and advisers should be reassured that their clients will be looked after in the event of a claim. A good claims experience is by far the best retention tool. Customers are far more likely to stay with you at renewal if they have had a good claims experience and realised the worth of the policy and service you provide.

What commissions do you pay and when will I receive my money?

Commission and cash flow are drivers whether we like it or not, but don’t be lulled into chasing the highest commission rate; consider the price competitiveness and the range of products offered too.

Can I quote or is your service client-introduced only? 

Advisers want to understand the process and what flexibility is available to them. Not all GI providers operate in the same way. Make sure the model fits your business plan now and has the flexibility to meet your changing needs in the future.

How financially secure are your insurance markets and are any of your insurers likely to withdraw their products?

With any number of insurers going bump in the headlines recently, it’s not surprising that this should be high on advisers’ list of concerns. Advisers would not want their reputation tarnished should one of their insurers go bust or withdraw from the market, leaving their clients potentially exposed.   

Product, policy and underwriting knowledge – when and how will I be kept up to date?

These should be a given. You need to be kept up to date with new or changing products and services. These will directly affect a broker’s ability to find products that match clients’ needs. 


A good BDM will be a product and policy problem solver, a process trouble shooter and a sounding board for new business ideas. Their job is to assist in attracting new clients, servicing and ring-fencing existing ones, selling GI products effectively and compliantly and increasing revenue and profit for your business.

Use them wisely.

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