Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.
    • Protect the environment. Think before you print.

Brokers and underwriters: Why the relationship matters

October 30, 2018

Building a mutually supportive working relationship with a Select Broker helps a Zurich underwriter score a major win for both of them.

Success Story Jason Mortimer

Why brokers matter: Success doesn’t occur in a vacuum. When Zurich scores a victory with a new customer, one of the key contributors is often a Select Broker.

Just ask Jason Mortimer, Middle Markets Underwriter for Zurich North America.

“Relationships play a major role in any business transaction, but they are especially important when it comes to writing new business in the insurance world,” Jason said.

A case in point is the recent victory securing Property and Casualty, International and Excess Casualty coverages with a major manufacturer of molded plastics in the South.

“This account is a prime example of what can happen when the cards are played correctly, and how a broker can collaborate with an insurance provider to strategically target an account together,” Jason said. “The likelihood of success is greater for all involved parties when everyone is comfortable with the people they are dealing with.”

Zurich had made an unsuccessful pitch for the business in 2017, but this year was different, with one of Jason’s key broker associates involved. “We had cultivated a strong working relationship with each other over the past few years and have done a lot of business with one another,” Jason said. “When he gauged interest to see if we had an appetite for the business, we were absolutely willing to support him and try to write it again.”

Supporting the relationship: One of the main reasons the broker reached out to Jason first was knowing, from experience, that he and Zurich would be fully committed to securing the business, regardless of the challenges to overcome.

“We’re always up against fierce competition, especially in the manufacturing space,” Jason said. “It’s highly sought-after business and this account had attracted a lot of attention due to their level of sophistication around their operations. My point of attack with deals of this magnitude is always asking myself, ‘How can I meet the insurance needs of a growing account with international exposures, while creating a win-win situation for both the customer and the broker?’ Having the ability to add value and bring underwriting insight can help raise awareness to emerging exposures that either the broker or customer was not aware of. Everyone benefits from working as a team, one way or another.”

Jason conducted exhaustive research on the company. He saw that their operations in Canada and China created foreign exposures that could benefit from Zurich’s International space. He also enlisted the Specialties division to discuss Excess Casualty solutions.

“My goal was to build a true one-carrier solution for the customer’s global insurance needs that was specifically tailored to the insured’s operations,” Jason said. “In terms of the program administration side, I also knew it would also make it easier for the broker and customer if all of the business was with one insurance provider. My plan was to make it as seamless as possible for both the broker and the customer, and to showcase Zurich’s global capabilities on all fronts.”

His next point of attack was an untraditional one. He requested — and secured — a meeting with key decision-makers at the customer’s headquarters to present the value Zurich could offer them.

“It went exceptionally well,” Jason said. “My questions were very specific and showed the customer that we did our due diligence and came to the meeting well prepared. We were the only insurance provider to get a meeting with the insured, and that speaks volumes to the relationship we have with this broker.”

Rallying the home team: With an even better understanding of the company’s needs, Jason returned to Zurich and “quarterbacked” the account, eager to establish a strong game plan with his colleagues in Middle Markets, International and Specialties. He also initiated day-to-day negotiations with the brokerage team to troubleshoot a variety of possible scenarios, and to ensure that a favorable outcome was on the horizon.

“I knew there were a few carriers in the running, so I wanted to make sure that we were consistent with our messaging and were offering the most competitive terms throughout the entire process,” he said. “That consistent communication was critical to our success.”

Providing so many solutions for the customer led to the successful outcome Jason and his colleagues had worked toward. “We brought much more to the table than just quoting the business,” Jason said. “We knew exactly what the customer needed and wanted to be a valued resource for them. With our Risk Engineering department and global footprint, they also saw that there was tremendous value to be gained by working with Zurich.”

Jason emphasized that the key to this win goes back to the broker-Zurich connection – on one side, the broker’s trust in Jason, and on the other, his confidence that Jason and his Zurich colleagues would deliver and follow through on their commitments.

“The broker had a strong level of trust in my ability to get the job done,” Jason said. “Zurich helped make him look like the strong producer that he is, and the value that he brings. It just shows the strength of our collaboration within this relationship. He wins, the customer wins and Zurich wins. That’s what it’s all about. It’s simple as that.”