An independent broker has the opportunity to set those values for themselves, for their team and it helps to set standards across the market. James highlights that some consolidator models throughout the profession have made him feel a little cold, which is why The venture team was delighted to come under the umbrella of Aston Lark, Which allows them to maintain their independent brokerage practices and beliefs.
“And in my experience, one question I really want to ask most often is how the venture started and what advice I can give to those who want to start their own firm,” he said. “Over the last 10 to 15 years, I’ve seen unruly talents who have lost something or become frustrated and I want to give them a chance to say they don’t need it and other opportunities. [are available].
“And [if they start their own firms] Then ultimately, yes they will become competitive but a healthy, competitive industry is suitable for everyone. Clients only benefit from it and insurers respect brokers who have a distribution forum. So, that’s one of the things I often ask – how can I help? I’ve seen a lot of good people get kicked out of the industry through consolidation or shrinking their careers and I want to give them a solution.
In some cases, it takes a brave person to start their business, James said, but more than that it requires skill, perseverance and shared faith. When he and his three co-directors looked back to starting a venture, they all had the same belief, centering on the meaning of being a big insurance broker উত the dedication to clients and the ability to understand the complexities of the industry.
“And I’ve been doing this for about 38 years and of course, I still don’t know all the answers, but I know how to get away and find the answer,” he said. “I think, basically, a good broker wants to look after their clients and the client needs to know that their insurance needs are being met. And it really is.
“I hope there will always be a place for a good broker, and I see no reason why not. Because I know big insurers like to talk to independent brokers because they know they’re going to get representation from someone who goes to see the client, who understands the client’s needs – what they do, how they do it, where they do it – And who can return that information to them? So, they get a complete idea of what they are insuring and the client knows what they are representing.
The future looks bright for independent brokers and their talents who are thinking of starting their own firm, and James advised that those professionals should not stand in the way too much for fear of consent and control. In his experience, he said, compliance was never a big challenge, instead, it was something that should be learned and accepted as another aspect of doing business.
Establishing the right methods and always looking for their improvement certainly brings with it the complexity, he said. But if your employees are well trained, if they know what they are doing, and if you make it easy and help them advance their education and careers, then the compliance aspect really follows.
“It can be scary before you start your business, but once someone points you in the right direction, it’s much easier to get started.” Although the next day we can compete with each other … but we all want to see it because the last thing anyone wants is to be complacent and the competition keeps us all on our toes. You always want to look at your shoulder or side. And want to say ‘Wow, they’re doing well, I wonder what we can learn from them?’
He said some of the consolidation that has taken place in the market has taken some of the shotgun approach, and it doesn’t seem to have been done with proper care and integration, which has put clients in a more vulnerable position. This approach always comes down to just in time, James mentions, leaving the industry to take yourself back again. However, he has noticed that many insurers have changed their position and are betting on independent brokers and turning away from the security they are offering and the big consolidators and their significant commissions.
“And it’s good for the industry,” he said. “For me, I don’t want to be embarrassed when a client says I have to disclose what I earn as a commission. I’m happy to say ‘That’s what we earn, and we’re proud of it because we can justify it.’. This is a really important thing for people considering starting a business. You can get a good career and a good lifestyle, just right and with some passion and some commitment. And I think that’s a great place. ”