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Two decades in business and word-of-mouth is still our best strategy

Bill Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR”. Given that Public Relations (PR) is all about communication, I’d have to agree. You see, in 18 years in business, we’ve barely spent any money on traditional advertising or mass marketing avenues, and yet, we still welcome — on average — six new clients every day. How do we do this? We prefer sharing our good news through human-to-human interaction, and learning about our clients’ needs in order to provide solutions. We invest our budget in staff and client experiences, not ads. 

Listening and Responding

At ii-A, we understand every minute a business owner is underinsured or not insured, they are at significant financial risk. It is this understanding and empathy that drives our three-pronged customer service model – fast response, intimate understanding, and personalised long-term relationships, and is the reason we welcome approximately 6 new clients every working day.

Referrals are the foundation of our business. Respecting the referrer and prospect, we commit ourselves to contacting all new leads the same business day. We pride ourselves on delivering fast digital solutions, obtaining information with a speedy and thorough policy investigation.

Some of the insurances we support our business clients with:

  • Public Liability 
  • Professional Indemnity 
  • Personal Accident and Illness
  • Income Protection
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Business Interruption 
  • Business Property and Contents
  • Electronic Equipment 
  • Management Liability 
  • Cyber 

Making connections

I am by nature a connector. In 2022, I turned this passion into two business ventures – the Network Business Directory and the Business Gym.

The Network Business Directory is a free, vetted community of 170+ (and counting) financial and professional services representatives who wish to make and receive referrals to and from other quality professionals. I greet every member personally, connecting them to their ideal referrer. 

I also started a virtual co-working space to bring businesses and teams together. The Business Gym gives members 24/7 access to networking, events, connections, collaboration, companionship, and virtual hot-desking. I converse with guests and members every day which is both personally rewarding while also diversifying our lead generation on a professional level.

Having a point of difference

ii-A educates and supports clients at every stage of their insurance journey. Through our communications, we educate our audiences on our point of difference.

Unlike many brokerages, we do not have a ‘sales’ or ‘claims’ department. Every team member services their client from the onboarding process through to claims, providing the ultimate in personalised service. While not every client will make a claim, we believe it is during this process that our customer service truly shines. With 10-15 claims made in a typical month at ii-A, this is where we demonstrate completely, the principle that insurance brokers act on behalf of clients, not insurance companies.

For every claim at ii-A, the broker knows their client intimately which results in a genuinely empathetic response and speedy turnaround. No matter how big or small a claim is, we act as soon as we are notified as we know our client is experiencing distress. We ensure the right information and documents are lodged as quickly as possible and maintain communication with our clients throughout the process. 

Where a claim is denied, we review the decision prior to communicating with the client; we don’t just forward it on! Occasionally we’re able to influence the insurer to overturn the decision by identifying missed or miscommunicated policy wording, or stressing extenuating circumstances. In these instances, our clients never need to know the work we’ve done to secure their good news, they simply need to feel reassured in their decision to engage a broker. Where an insurer definitively denies a claim, we make sure there is substantial evidence provided. Often, we receive notifications without rationale, so we invest time into this for our client’s benefit. 

We actually love our job!

When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. We truly love helping people with their insurance! Case in point: not all customer service activities are visible to our clients or even have a financial benefit for us. With an intimate understanding of our NDIS clients, for example, we could see the sector had undergone significant change over the past 12 months. Existing policies aren’t accommodating the increased demands, so rather than deferring to outdated policies because that’s all that is available, we have, for the past three months, been working with underwriters to create a new policy to properly protect NDIS workers. This exercise is for the benefit of those working in NDIS, whether they are a client of ii-A or not. Many we will never meet – that is what I believe genuine customer service is.

Investing in tech and team

I mentioned earlier that we invest in our staff and client experiences. Over the past year, this has been largely in technology. 

Introducing technology into the business has driven our customer service capacity and capabilities. Everything we’ve invested in has been designed to offer faster and more efficient service for clients, and by reducing manual processes, staff are more present with clients, as they are no longer weighed down by administrative tasks. 

From software to VOIP phones, we invested over $60K in technology in 2022 to better service our clients, staff, and underwriters. 

One platform we’ve implemented offers policy comparisons to accompany our recommendations. A key part of brokering is that of an advisor, helping clients make informed decisions that result in them having the best policy for their needs. With this in mind, offering detailed comparisons with pricing, inclusions, and terms helps us provide clients with complete transparency, and gives them control over the final decision. 

We’ve also automated our claim follow-ups with insurance companies to ensure that touchpoints are constantly created to prevent delays for our clients. This has created faster outcomes for our clients, fewer manual processes for our staff, and stronger relationships with our underwriters. 

Ensuring our people are upskilled has been another priority over the past 12 months. We encourage staff to participate in training, with many attending industry-specific and customer service-based webinars and on-site events every week. As a team, we attend at least three 30–60 minute training sessions each week (and more when time allows).

Marketing is what you make it

There are dozens of ways to market a business. From paid sponsorships and pay-per-click ads to organic blogging and competition giveaways, every business needs to find what will suit them best. For us, it has – and always will be – word of mouth through networking and providing excellent customer service. 

Want to know more about how we keep a 18-year insurance company fresh and focused? Email me at Polina@ii-a.com.au.

Get a free policy review today from our ii-A team to see if you’re adequately covered at the right price, or give us a call on 1300 00 2481 or email us at info@ii-a.com.au

*Insurance Council of Australia Report, Nov 2021 ** Safe Work Australia – Key Work health and safety statistics, Australia 2021