New business

How the Pandemic Has Changed Brokers Prospecting for New Business

High workloads during the pandemic have impacted brokers’ ability to prospect for new business, Canadian underwriterThe 2022 National Broker Survey has been found. The survey polled more than 250 brokers nationwide in February about broker distribution channel challenges.

More brokers report relying on client referrals to generate new business, and 71% say it’s their primary method of earning new business, compared to just 63% of brokers who reported it in 2021.

Along with referrals generally bringing higher quality of business, one broker attributes this in part to an unusually high workload during the pandemic.

“Referrals, no question,” commented one broker, regarding the best way to find new clients. “In a difficult market, I don’t have time to actively seek new customers. I consider those who flow my way.

Indeed, the tough market has made finding new business a greater challenge.

The survey showed that 57% of brokers found “researching a prospect before their first meeting” to be very beneficial. This compared to 63% last year and 64% in 2020.

Additionally, meaningful engagement with prospects, while still popular (81% rated it “very beneficial”), was down from 89% in 2020.

This may be partly due to brokers setting limits on their working hours, especially at larger brokerages. During the pandemic, brokers were more likely to make themselves available to clients outside of traditional business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

In 2020, when the pandemic began, 63% of brokers surveyed found “responding to after-hours inquiries” beneficial for converting leads into new business.

This year, only 56% of brokers think so.

And while 41% of brokers then found that “contacting leads after hours” was a good way to convert leads into new business, only 33% said so this year.

This article is excerpted from an article that appeared in the May issue of Canadian underwriter. Featured image courtesy of iStock.com/life journeys