A Broker’s Perspective: The BGA Newsletter: A Producer’s Most Unique Asset
By Gary S Dworkin for the November 2012 issue of Broker World Magazine. GARY S. DWORKIN CLU, RHU, is founder and president of Dworkin Associates, Inc. (DAI), with offices in Rochester, NH and Naples, FL. Dworkin was one of the original members of Broker World’s advisory board and is a frequent contributor to the magazine.
While there are many advantages to having an affiliation with a brokerage general agency (BGA), among the best is having access to timely updates on industry news, particularly relating to new products and developments with existing products.
Granted, these messages are somewhat self-serving in terms of pointing out special areas where a BGA may be of unique value to you and your clients (such as an imminent rate change or availability of a new product). However, these advanced notices and updates truly are valuable in terms of differentiating you to both your existing clients as well as to new ones. Never forget that your existing clients will have more interest in introducing you to their friends and colleagues if you have provided “special value” to them.
Like many brokers, you likely have a special relationship with a specific company and, thus, undoubtedly receive updates and bulletins from them directly. However, a view of the world beyond one particular window can make you secure that you are as knowledgeable as you need to be.
While each BGA may have a specific area of special expertise (such as special risk underwriting, jumbo term limits, LTC, etc.), they should provide you with information that will give you a level of extra value. Not only will this additional intelligence help you use your BGA to your greatest advantage, this information should also highlight those areas where your own primary carrier may fall short.
With the tremendous amount of information and changes in our profession, staying current while not becoming buried is a challenge. As most BGAs have increasingly sophisticated websites, where archives of bulletins and newsletters are maintained, items of special interest can be easily retrieved for review when you choose. The key to working with the right BGA is to find someone with a commitment to providing you with information when you need it.
While online tools are helpful and necessary, the most important tool of all is access to your BGA when you need it—by email or, best of all, a simple phone call. At all times, your BGA must demonstrate an interest in you and your business.
Someone once said that “knowledge is power,” and that is certainly true when you can receive timely updates on changes and news in your chosen field. As a matter of fact, I believe in this philosophy so strongly that, as both a contributing author and a BGA, I provide an annual subscription to Broker World (and Broker World Online) to any producer who requests it—at absolutely no cost or obligation! It is our hope that if a producer should learn about a new product or service of which we haven’t made them aware, it should trigger a quick phone call or email to learn more about why! As one way of knowing your BGA better, this type of inquiry is usually an extremely good idea.
Regardless of whether your BGA represents five companies or 50, there is no way that all information received will be of equal value. Therefore, your BGA must review all company information and forward only that of greatest benefit to you. If you have chosen your BGA with sufficient care in terms of how well he understands you and your market, this level of communication can be a really unique support.
Some BGAs even make a tailored portion of their marketing messages available with your own contact information so that you can pass them on to your own group of clients, either by mail or email. By taking advantage of this type of tailored communication, you can enhance your image while providing additional information and maintaining a more consistent level of contact with your clients—a higher level of contact that will surely increase your edge in obtaining referrals and expanding your client base.
In an active life insurance market with more than 1,500 life insurance companies, most producers currently enjoy a special relationship with perhaps one or two primary companies. Your BGA can provide comparative data from the most competitive tier of companies and products available— for free! Clearly, your BGA’s newsletters and bulletins can be some of your most valuable assets!