Advocacy is one of the most important aspects of the role of an insurance broker: In order to be a trusted key advisor to a customer in protecting property and assets, the broker must put the interests of that customer first and foremost.
Brokers work for their clients, not for the insurance companies. As part of their licensing requirements, brokers adhere to a code of conduct that holds the interests of the customer paramount. This means that brokers will match available coverages to needs and recommend policies that provide the best coverage at the best price. If your situation changes, your broker helps keep your coverage current by changing your policy mid-term. If you suffer a loss and have to make a claim, your broker's loyalty will be to you when dealing with the insurance company on your behalf.
A brokers' advocacy role goes beyond their day-to-day business interactions with customers and business associates, however. Brokers have been and continue to be strong advocates for consumers in influencing public policy.
For nearly a century, brokers have worked together to elevate professional standards. In B.C. they have worked through the Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. and directly in their communities, volunteering in grass-roots efforts with industry stakeholders and government. Some of their successes include:
- Recommending the basic principles of today's step licensing requirements and continuing education standards,
- Developing the education programs and examinations licensees need to serve the public, and more recently, offering these programs online as well as in the classroom,
- Consulting with government on all statutes relating to property and casualty insurance,
- Working closely with ICBC to evolve today's Autoplan coverage and distribution system,
- Maintaining insurance as a separate financial pillar to insulate insurance from the economic downturns suffered in other areas of the financial sector, and
- Public education on road safety, fire safety, emergency preparedness and crime prevention.
Further information, Trudy Lancelyn, deputy executive director, IBABC, 604 606 8008.