The role of the independent agent and broker is changing along with the construction sector. Going forward, construction clients need a specialist that understands the risks.
This is not a segment for generalists, construction insurance specialists say.
“I think there are still a surplus of generalists that dabble that probably shouldn’t,” said Evan Aldrich, office president at CRC Group based in Redondo Beach, California. “The era of the generalist, in my opinion, is not conducive in this part of the market cycle. This is the time when you need to have people that are playing in the sandbox every single day.”
“I think that the communication is key and being transparent with details is key,” said Russ Stein, area executive vice president, RPS National Brokerage.
“The role of the agent broker right now in helping construction clients is to be a resource,” he said. Given increased project terms and budget costs, it’s important to continue to craft creative and tailor-made solutions for these clients, because what they don’t want is surprises. “We don’t need a huge audit at the end of a project because we didn’t account for the cost of lumber going up 47% since we started the project three years ago.”
As construction specialists, agents must always stay in front of their contractor clients, says Kevin A. Viana, senior vice president, specialty risks division, at Marshall & Sterling Inc. in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“I am typically out at 6 a.m. to visit contractors because that’s their quiet time,” Viana said. “I just stick my head in and see if there’s something that’s needed. And it’s the time to just talk with people.”
Construction needs specialists, he said. “You need a stronger service team than typical insurance deals for a Hallmark store or a restaurant that may only needs certificates of insurance issued once or twice a year,” he added.
“We’ve got accounts that had almost 5,000 certificates last year alone,” he said. “It’s definitely a different service model than the typical P/C main street business.”
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