Finding Your Differentiator

In today’s mutual and mid-market carrier industry, it’s important to ask strategic questions about your business to determine where you fit in the marketplace. The answers will inform future business decisions and product line offerings and help you stand out from the competition. We spoke with Caryn Siebert, VP & Director – Carrier Engagement, and Amy Cooper, VP – Carrier Practice, on the tips mutual and mid-market carriers can use to help find their marketing differentiator.

What are the advantages of establishing credibility and building a strong and respected reputation? And how can mutuals and mid-markets build this in today’s current landscape?

Amy Cooper: Whether looking to expand into new markets or grow in a current market, brand credibility can make or break a carrier’s ability to succeed. There have never been more opportunities to misstep, which can, unfortunately, end up being the first association potential clients have before ever engaging with a brand. For example, cybersecurity has never been more complicated as supply chains through vendors create a number of complex risks and have a permanent, negative impact on a potential clients’ perception of a brand. Keeping a finger on the pulse of potential risks and diverse claim information is key to ensuring preparedness. You are only as good as the company you keep, and partnering with dedicated experts who have the infrastructure to support your needs and mitigate exposure is the safest way to protect your reputation.

Caryn Siebert: It is critical to stay up to date with changing regulations and legislation, especially for insurers entering additional states or adding lines of business. It’s essential for carriers to protect their credibility and mitigate reputational risk. When underwriting, carriers are selling a promise to deliver if and when a claim arises, potentially jeopardizing the survival of the insured. Gallagher Bassett (GB) prides itself on ensuring partners deliver superior outcomes for their clients while remaining compliant. Whether dealing with state filings, replying timely to data calls, assisting with the department of insurance audits, or keeping up with new legislation (MMSEA, OSHA, HIPAA, etc.), GB has the resources and tools available to support dynamic carrier needs. We rely heavily on a robust risk management framework, a culture focused on risk and compliance, and strong relationships with various regulatory and legislative authorities to deliver quality service for every challenge.

The battle for talent continues to prove to be a challenge in today’s carrier landscape. What strategies can mutual and mid-market carriers implement as they compete with larger carriers for top talent?

Amy: Mutual and mid-market carriers have unique characteristics that set them apart from marketplace competitors. For example, one of the great benefits of being a mutual is not having to report to a Board of Directors that could mandate changes in the number of employees that need to be added or subtracted at any given time. This sets up mutual carriers to find the right talent that is willing to commit and stay for the long term. Additionally, many carriers we meet have a staff with long tenure, and highlighting this to candidates can help demonstrate the type of culture where people find opportunity for career pathing, development, and growth. Focusing on benefits like work–life balance, education reimbursement, involvement in the local community, and training can also showcase the value a carrier places on each new hire and their individual contribution.

Caryn: Just as all companies are not the same and offer different opportunities to various stakeholders, the same holds true regarding talent. Some candidates are looking for a company offering a more intimate, family-oriented culture, while other potential employees are looking to be the proverbial big fish in a smaller pond. Identifying the profile of your business and successfully communicating the type of culture you champion when interviewing candidates is critical. Consider that recruiting top talent is analogous to a courtship. Candidates will do their research, speak with others they know about your business and your reputation, and then, following a few interviews (i.e., dates), decide whether to enter into a potentially long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

How can integrating leading technology and decision support tools enhance and provide differentiation for mutual and mid-market carriers?

Amy: When it comes to technology, the challenge for mutual and mid-market carriers always comes back to the question of “build or buy?” For many carriers with aging legacy systems, choosing to update and maintain technology infrastructure can reduce the ability to invest in other necessary areas, like recruiting and other opportunities to grow. Entering into strategic partnerships that support carriers with cutting-edge technology systems and data-driven insights can provide an advantage in a competitive marketplace by freeing up capital. Furthermore, having access to decision support tools enhances how carriers identify trends, influence underwriting decisions, and make adjustments to increase cost savings.

Caryn: Technology is transforming the industry and constantly evolving. The need for state-of-the-art technology and the right tools continually elevates as a priority as the landscape transitions to more work-from-home, remote, and AI-enhanced roles. The right technology and decision support tools can empower your workforce and be a key differentiator in the marketplace—for employees and clients. Rather than hiring and spending funds on a dedicated department focused on constantly iterating on technology infrastructure, integrating a technology and decision support strategy such as that provided by a TPA partner like GB can yield broader benchmarking and more robust AI and predictive analytics, enabling mutual and mid-market carriers to focus on their “core” business.

How can partnering with a third-party administrator (TPA) help mutual and mid-market carriers find their strategic advantages and points of differentiation?

Amy: For mutual and mid-market carriers, successful growth in a new or existing market often comes down to two key challenges: talent and technology. Partnering with a TPA, like GB, gives carriers access to claims expertise in any number of markets and lines of business while remaining flexible in the amount of overhead they take on. When it comes to technology, we provide a suite of industry-leading solutions that gives carriers access to technology that will set them apart from their competitors. Having a partner that understands your unique challenges can help carriers navigate the regulatory environment, address talent constraints, and leverage industry-leading technology solutions to drive growth, achieve superior outcomes, and stand out from their competition.

Caryn: Partnering with a TPA like GB can help mutual and mid-market carriers in the event they have capital constraints or reduced geographical access to talent. It is often easier for a national TPA to recruit, reward, and retain skilled claims professionals. Additionally, the right partner can give mutual and mid-market carriers access to expert, on-the-ground support at any location while also supporting the communities in which they live and work.

Contact our team today to discuss how we can help you find your differentiator. Or if you’re planning to make the trip up to the NAMIC Management Conference this summer, let’s talk now so we can set aside time to connect in person. 

Amy Cooper

VP - Carrier Practice

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