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Selling in a Hard Market

Feb 18, 2020 | Learning resources, Sales

Read time | 4 mins 

We have not seen a true hard market since the 1980s; indeed, a large number of today’s insurance professionals would not have traded in these conditions. While we are not currently operating in a truly hard market, there are signs which indicate a shift in this direction. We’ve designed this guide to equip you with the tools to navigate a hard market and protect your client and insurer relationships.

What is a Hard Market?

A hard market is essentially an upswing which results in increased premiums due to a shrinking of capacity. This capacity shortage can be the result of increases in frequency and severity of losses, poor investment returns for insurers and increases in regulation.

Tips for Navigating a Hard Market


Know your market

We all claim to know our client, but how well do we really understand their business, their demands and needs and the challenges faced in their sector? Spend time with your client to allow you to develop deeper, more complex relationships. Enabling you to soften the blow of increases in premium and potentially more onerous policy conditions through professional and effective communication.

Market your risks efficiently

Changes in insurer appetite could increase the need for you to market renewals. In doing so, you must understand which markets to approach, not wasting time marketing to insurers who have no interest in assisting you. Partnering with a wholesale broker with expertise in your client’s niche and the ability to market on your behalf is critical.

Begin the renewal process early

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail’; this is critical in hard market conditions. With insurers reducing exposure, you may need the support of multiple capacity partners to fulfil the needs of your client. Running around the market on the day of renewal, trying to layer a risk to 100% will not only increase your stress levels but will mean the client is unable to make an informed decision on the suitability of the cover sourced and leave a lasting impression of lack of control on your client.

Focus on new business

With harsher market conditions comes opportunity. Where competing brokers are not providing education and support to their clients, you have the chance to position yourself as a credible alternative to review their needs. Tenacity in these conditions will see those willing to fight hard for client needs, to succeed where others fail.

Provide solutions and not just policies

While this should be the case regardless of market conditions, you must provide solutions and not just policies. Remember why your client needs you, it’s not just about premium and limits, more so peace of mind, confidence that you can be trusted to respond at their time of need. 

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