On broker wellbeing
25 October 2018
26 April 2019
As insurance strives to become more inclusive, mental health conditions are gradually becoming acknowledged and included in certain types of cover. However where does this leave the person providing the cover?
Every single job has stressful elements to it and insurance broking is no exception. By creating a protection plan for clients, brokers are exposing themselves daily to worst-case scenarios and the aftermath of traumatic events. This can involve planning for morbid eventualities where the outcome may include disease, disability, dismemberment or death. Catastrophic losses resulting in the loss of a client’s business or home are also considered in depth when putting together a quotation.
Brokers don’t just source covering a risk, they must also deliver their service in a sympathetic and constructive way when handling a claim. Brokers have to prepare their clients for any eventuality, even if it’s one they don’t want to hear. There may be cases where a client suffers a significant personal loss that requires delicate handling due to the sensitivity of the claim. Brokers not only have to maintain professional standards, but also be able to handle a claim objectively, delivering bad news when necessary.
Not all claims are paid out and not all claims pay out what a client might be hoping for. The pressure of assessing claims like these, especially when a broker is juggling several complicated cases at the same time, can put a considerable strain on even the most resilient of experts. There will be times when brokers must have difficult conversations, especially when their client is distressed due to the nature of their claim. Training may be provided on how the broker should approach their client, but consideration must also be applied to the broker processing the information. Everyone deals with stress differently and each person will react differently to extreme situations. This is why it is important that firms maintain good mental health practices for their own staff and not just consider how their staff treats customers.
The CII, in partnership with the mental health charity Mind, are publishing ‘A guide to implementing the Thriving at Work standards’ as a way to examine and implement positive mental wellbeing practices. During their research they idenified the following:
- one in six British workers are affected by mental health problems each year
- poor mental health costs employers up to £44 billion each year
- 300,000 people with long-term health problems lose their jobs each year
In an effort to promote a diverse and inclusive approach to improving mental health amongst employees, the forthcoming guide will outline a set of recommended standards:
- Produce, implement and communicate a ‘mental health at work’ plan that encourages good mental health of all staff and an open organisational culture.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools and support accessible.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling, during the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, with appropriate workplace adjustments offered to employees who require them.
- Provide your employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work-life balance and opportunities for development.
- Promote effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and wellbeing with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader and train and support line managers in effective management practices.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing by understanding available data, talking to employees and understanding risk factors.
By looking at these standards, brokers and their employers could benefit from adopting a healthy and ongoing approach to the general mental wellbeing of everyone in the firm. Anyone can be affected by a mental health issue. Rather than waiting for an incident to occur, employers should be thinking of ways to cultivate a regular supportive environment that is approachable and consistent.
The stressful nature of being an insurance broker, whether it’s the volume of work or the particular nature of a claim, means that anyone would benefit from knowing they have a support system and opportunity to ask for help if required. By creating a positive working environment, employees who may struggle to ask for help can talk openly without fear or stigma.
You can read the full guide here.