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OPINION: Buyers' choices reveal insights


INSURANCE BUYERS have a diverse set of expectations of their insurance service providers, and those expectations vary significantly depending on the size of the buyer's organization. That is the clear conclusion from Business Insurance's inaugural Buyers Choice Awards program.

As we report on page 3, an analysis of the findings shows that there are significant differences in the expertise and service qualities that organizations of differing sizes most value in their brokers, insurers and third-party administrators.

For example, while all sizes of buyers ranked deep knowledge of their own industry as a key attribute for insurers, the smaller the buyer, the more likely it was to see the assignment of appropriate underwriting talent as one of the main attributes most valued in an insurer.

There are several ways to interpret the data, but one possibility is that smaller buyers feel that they need a greater amount of special attention than some insurers are prepared to give them and they value highly those insurers that are prepared to offer personalized service and attention.

At the other end of the scale, it was intriguing to see that large organizations are much more concerned than midsize and smaller organizations about the use of cutting-edge technology by their TPAs and the availability of real-time data. That, in part, signals the sophistication of the risk management skills available in-house at large buyers—they know their business, and they are looking for the high-level tools to help them carry out their risk management strategies.

Interestingly, smaller organizations put a significant weight on the international capabilities of their brokers. This may suggest that a much wider variety of companies now have international exposures than previously thought, or maybe the interest is directly related to the supply chain problems that organizations of all sizes suffered as result of the Japanese earthquake and other events.

Either way, what is clear is that brokers, insurers and TPAs can't stand still and that the development of relevant expertise and services tailored to the specific needs of different clients is the key to success.