10 Tips to Help You Maximize Results by Partnering with the Account Manager at your insurance broker or agent. Having a great working relationship starts with the selection process and continues throughout the relationship between client and insurance broker.
Today’s unprecedented global economic conditions have changed the way we work. Everyone is doing much more, often with much less. Priorities seem to change by the minute, as do deadlines, and expectations keep increasing. Multi-tasking has taken on a whole new meaning.
There is a positive in all of this, however. Challenges often present us with opportunities to be creative and to look at things in a different light. Are you getting the maximum possible value, and the best outcomes, from the resources you do have? Specifically, think about how you interact with your account manager.
Having led a large third-party administrator account management team, I was deeply involved in many client relationships. Almost without exception, the strongest, most productive client relationships were those that involved true partnership. They were a win-win for both parties, and they stood the test of time.
Many of these relationships did not start out as partnerships, but grew into them with a little investment of time and effort. There are key components that help foster partnership and collaboration. Listed below are some of the most important:
- Workingknowledge of each other’s organization, including
a. Mission, vision and culture
b. Strategic plan and objectives
c. Opportunities and challenges
d. Financial performance
e. Management team and other key players
f. Industry trends and outlooks
- Clearlyarticulated and agreed upon objectives, supported by action plans which identify tasks, responsible team members and target dates.
- Metricsto measure outcomes, identify emerging trends and determine levels of success.
- Equallyimportant, celebrating success as a team and building on it.
- Openand frequent communication, with prior agreement on the preferred methods (emails, conference calls, in-person meetings or web meetings), how frequently and acceptable response times.
- Clientexpectations and hot buttons – we all have them. What are the golden rules that must always be followed? Some examples:
a. Acceptable number of meeting attendees
b. Dress code at the client’s locations
c. Is the client technology/data driven or technology/data phobic?
d. What is the client’s policy on entertainment and gifts
e. Does the client expect regular executive management contact?ï¿½
Some of these should be common sense, but I have had to do my share of damage control simply because the wrong assumption was made. Ask and agree beforehand.
- A willingnessto challenge “We’ve always done it this way.” by asking, “Does this still make sense, and is it the best possible use of resources?” Go after the low hanging fruit first, such as:
a. Routine meetings, especially if travel is required.
Can they be done via video or teleconference?
b. Claim reviews – can the frequency be reduced with equal,
or even better, results?
c. Electronic and paper reports – do a complete inventory of
who is getting what, and then ask “why,” and if the report is
even being used. This is a big area of potential savings.
Regularly challenging convention is healthy, and it can result in reduced expenses, more resources for critical projects and better outcomes.
- Flexibilityand the ability to adapt to changing conditions; think about and develop a Plan B before you need one.
- NO SURPRISES! There is nothing worse than being blindsided. Err on the side of caution.
10. Respect, courtesy and recognition – If someone has a different opinion, listen and respect it. If someone does a great job, say so. If someone makes a mistake, help him learn from it.
Partnerships create positive energy and help you accomplish more, with less. And, a true partnership can make the rough patches of road a little easier to navigate. Now, who wouldn’t welcome that in today’s new work environment?
We welcome our newest guest-blogger Debra Drinane, ARM.
Author: Debra Drinane, ARM, has extensive experience in risk management, claims management and relationship management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her at: http:/www.linkedin.com/in/debradrinane.
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