How to hit your 2022 milestones by finding the right partner who understands mutual and mid-market carriers
Gallagher Bassett’s (GB) Vice President of Carrier Practice Sales, Amy Cooper, sat down with Senior Vice President of Gallagher Bassett Services, Jon Stambaugh to discuss what carriers should look for when outsourcing or seeking guidance.
Amy: We both know from speaking with industry leaders around the country that mid-market and mutual carriers are facing a variety of disruptive trends and market challenges. What are the hot topics we’re hearing about from our clients?
Jon: Correct. We’re seeing our mutual and mid-market carriers under pressure to balance capital constraints against the urgent need to grow and transform their businesses in a constantly evolving market. On top of this, we are seeing the disruption of hard market trends, complex claimant needs, and evolving methodologies to recruit and retain much-needed talent. These are major trends that have direct implications on how our carrier partners will build their businesses this year and beyond.
Amy: Yes, Jon, the war for talent, specifically, is such a big issue facing our carriers, with a critical talent shortage. We see an aging industry population and heightened competition from other financial services and technology firms. Additionally, the pandemic has exacerbated these pressures with a shift in employees wanting to work remotely.
Jon: We absolutely see the war on talent impacting all areas of the insurance industry, but we know, in particular, that mutual and mid-market carriers are feeling this in a much more direct way. The pandemic has really changed the way that people work, with interest shifting to purposeful remote work, technology-first remote environments and values-based work. Although we know that mutual and mid-markets are a great fit for those picturing values-based businesses, the segment is struggling to attract talent due to the high demand for remote or flexible/hybrid work options.
Amy: We also know that our mutual and mid-market carrier partners are finding that capital constraints and geographical access to talent can be quite difficult, meaning they are struggling to find and hold on to skilled claims professionals.
Jon: Yes, we know that some of our clients are dismayed, but there’s no need to be. There are some ways we can guide you toward innovating your talent attraction and retention strategies to ensure you’re providing what skilled workers want, in line with your bottom line.
Amy: So, Jon, that leads us to the question of how carriers can ensure they’re focusing on talent in the right ways.
Jon: We find that mutual carriers often have the natural advantage of being focused on values, purpose, and community which is appealing, especially for younger talent. This can be an advantage over larger corporations. I think the value here for mutual and mid-market carriers is to leverage their natural strengths, prioritizing people, local growth, and community.
Amy: That’s a great point Jon, and in my experience, I find that younger employees really value the connection to members and policyholders, as it takes away the “cog in the wheel” feeling employees in larger corporations sometimes have. I also think there are so many factors for enabling mutual and mid-market carriers to become employers of choice, such as utilizing partnerships with third-party administrators (TPA).
Jon: Absolutely, Amy. There is a lot of value that can be unlocked by working with a TPA. Here at Gallagher Bassett, we have the experience and reach to position our mutual and mid-market clients for growth and innovation opportunities which will attract top talent. By tapping into our expertise and experience, mutual and mid-market carriers can move into new lines of business or geographic areas strategically.
Amy: Jon, what do you think is the most critical factor for addressing the challenges of transformation for mutual and mid-market carriers?
Jon: Well, Amy, I know recently you spoke on one of our webinars about prioritizing the acceleration of transformation to match a disruptive future. I really agree that it’s all about the technology and tools that mutual and mid-market carriers can focus on to support both claimants and employees and grow their business.
Amy: Yes, there really are a plethora of options available to the market, and it’s important that carriers make careful and evidence-based decisions about what tools are best for their short-term needs and long-term objectives. Of course, this can often be easier said than done, because business transformation requires long-term strategy and significant capital investment. So how can they overcome these obstacles?
Jon: It can absolutely be challenging for mutual and mid-market carriers to transform at a rapid pace and be able to implement the right tools and technology. Partnering with a TPA provides a solution where the carrier can access technology already acquired and being utilized at scale.
Amy: So, do we think that GB can essentially be the secret weapon for mid-market and mutual carriers?
Jon: There’s no doubt that we’re able to provide significant support to mutual and mid-market carriers by helping them realize their business goals and connecting them with tailored solutions. This could include extensive provider panels, medical management tools, our award-winning RMIS platform, and other key solutions. This access can help carriers to meet and exceed their claimants’ needs without the necessity of investing in, developing, and implementing these tools on their own.
Amy: I also think it’s important to note one critical thing that mutual and mid-market carriers should focus on in such an evolving and disruptive market, which is staying connected to customers and maintaining their loyalty by delivering exceptional customer service. Failing to meet claimant needs can result in losing customers.
Jon: Absolutely, Amy, we know that growth and diversity when it comes to customers is key for survival in the future market, so it’s worth taking the time now to identify your most valuable customers and to work on attracting and retaining them.
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