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8 Steps to Build a Strong Carrier-Broker Relationship

By and 01.11.23
Reading time: 5 minutes

As more and more organizations now consider keeping remote or hybrid workforces, they are facing a whole new set of workers’ compensation challenges. Insurers must now consider the safety of a company’s remote work locations in the insurance and underwriting process. They are looking at details such as if employers are accurately reporting the state for employees’ remote work locations, which can have significant tax implications.

The pandemic has infiltrated many aspects of workers’ compensation, from new government regulations to labor shortages. Insurance companies need to address not only the impact of the pandemic, but also the myriad other workers’ compensation issues that have arisen from it. And they need to do so from all aspects of the workers’ compensation process:

  • Broker interactions
  • Sales and distribution
  • Underwriting processes
  • Service capabilities
  • Safety measures
  • Claims processes
  • Renewal opportunities

A strong carrier-broker relationship

An effective carrier-broker relationship is key to a successful and expanding broker network. In as much as carriers make life easier for brokers, brokers provide an incredible benefit to carriers. This mutually symbiotic relationship helps ensure that both broker and carrier get what they need, and that customers receive the highest quality information and interactions.

As carriers help build out an individual broker’s business, both the broker and carrier’s sales grow. Likewise, effective, efficient, and energetic working relationships can act as a recruiting tool to expand carrier distribution by attracting additional brokers. And recruiting is needed now more than ever. 

There is a major talent shortage happening across the insurance industry as a result of a high retirement rate. The median age of insurance company employees is higher than other financial sectors, and finding the right talent to replace retirees is a challenge. According to research, 43% of insurance talent respondents feel it’s getting harder to find skilled candidates, especially those with technology skills in the areas of cloud engineering, data science and analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, software development, and cybersecurity.

Fuel broker success

If you’re a broker you can sell for anybody. Carriers are very aware of this, so they make sure they maintain a healthy, productive working relationship with their brokers.

Workers’ compensation insurance is sold through broker networks, and carriers actively try to help build their broker’s business. Carriers work to nurture brokers and their business, providing vital information to help the broker’s network — and the carrier’s policy count — grow.

The easiest and most efficient way for carriers to maintain a strong working relationship with their brokers is to provide additional sales tools and technology to help build their network. A great way to deploy these tools and capabilities is through an exceptional broker portal that acts as a single source of truth for all things workers compensation. The broker portal should feature: 

  • Commissions
  • Digital downloads
  • Gamifications for next-level tracking
  • Collaborating with underwriters and operations teams
  • Client base insights
  • Next best actions
  • Renewals
  • Continuing education for brokers around licenses
  • Sales tools and lead distribution
  • Marketing campaigns


Generally speaking, when it comes to selling workers’ comp, agents get a commission shortly after the initial sale. But there are times when a commission can increase after initial policy purchase.

Let’s say a customer submits an application for a catastrophic event and they check the specific coverage required for that event. The broker agent could suggest that the customer turn the coverage on for potential future disasters, which benefits them greatly. But it also benefits the broker because their commissions increase with the additional sale.

Provide digital downloads

The easiest way to ensure your broker shares the right information with new prospects and current customers is to provide that information to them. By making the appropriate brochures, datasheets, stats, and talking points available for download, you can be certain the whole team is on the same page. When new information becomes available, carriers can easily push out new content or updated versions to the broker portal.

Whether it’s updated policy info for current customers or research on safety impacts by industry for prospective buyers, an up-to-date broker portal helps everyone stay on message.

Eliminate channel conflict

Within the broker portal, it’s imperative that the carrier can properly segment data between their brokers. If brokers don’t trust their portal, they won’t store all of their data within it.

Carriers must maintain broker trust that their customer data won’t be shared with other brokers who might want to poach new clients.

Gamify your broker portal

If you find that your brokers aren’t using the portal, or their enthusiasm has waned, you can use the same proactive interaction techniques you might use to gain back customer attention. Positive or negative reinforcement goes a long way to motivate action.

A gentle reminder
Get on their radar with a customized, automated message that launches after certain points in the quoting process are or are not followed. By adding a KPI dashboard to your portal homepage, brokers will see ways they can improve.

Reward good behavior
Everybody likes to win things. Create an incentive for your brokers to pursue new policy opportunities. A classic achievement is a tropical trip when a certain selling tier is achieved. More grounded options can be gift cards or bonuses when goals are reached.

Provide quality leads

Carriers can provide information about potential clients by gathering data on their website as leads are pushed back to brokers. Carriers can use Marketing Cloud journeys to help brokers track their sales opportunities and impact their buying decisions by providing the right information at the right time on the right channel. One example of this is social listening, uncovering what your customers are saying and marrying those insights with your market research. 

Carriers can feed these identified leads into the broker portal as a part of their sales process. It’s also important to continue providing data and intelligence to brokers during a policy life cycle. Brokers can then facilitate informed discussions with their clients.

Enable Next Best Offer

One major area of focus is providing the right amount of coverage for when the unexpected occurs. But it can be difficult to instantly know which policy offers the best coverage and value.

Every carrier and broker is interested in the ability to effectively cross-sell and up-sell their clients. Today, that’s accomplished by applying AI to the data in your systems to determine the likelihood that the client could be better served by different coverage or by purchasing additional products. 

Manage your messaging

It’s important for any branch of insurance to properly communicate their policies, rules, and regulations to their customers. It’s even more important that the messaging meets compliance standards.

A carrier can create customer communications with the right information and calls to action, and hand it off as a form-fillable template to their brokers to brand and personalize. This lets carriers maintain compliance by controlling the content while keeping the broker’s brand intact. 

Added engagement opportunities

Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows you to be proactive and prescriptive with your customer interactions. With Salesforce Flow for Industries, you can design smart workflows and automations that are efficient in self-service applications. From a self-service standpoint, carriers can stand up guided process flows to manage the intake of all transactions, using a standard database with common insurance transactions built in. 

For example, if a customer hired many people or has plans to open a new branch or division, a repricing workflow would trigger due to the large adjustment in their risk profile. Brokers can go through the database, pull up the correct workflow, and launch a process for taking phone calls or handling live agent chats through their website or mobile app. These guided workflows also account for proactive follow-ups for building openings, hiring confirmations, and more.

While automated follow-ups may sound cold and technical, they enable your team to act with more compassion. Oftentimes, insurance firms are supporting claimants through the emotional journey often associated with situations that require claims. Faster, friendlier follow-ups; next best action suggestions for call center teams; tailored responses based on circumstances and specific claim information — these actions show customers that they are more than just their policy number.

Drive digital transformation with Silverline

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation plans for claims among insurers. For a number of carriers, the percentage of claims being handled virtually over mobile apps and digitally with automated straight-through processing went from single digits to as high as 55%. Silverline’s insurance experts have helped organizations navigate this shift with the help of Salesforce technology, placing them in the optimal position for long-term growth. Find out how we can help your team.

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