Frequently Asked Questions | Insurance Alchemy | The Risk Factor
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Frequently Asked Questions

How are you different to my broker?

We are unique in the way we work. Our history signifies how strongly we feel about providing a service that truly benefits you, without overselling or underinsuring your insurance.

Our advice on which insurer to pick can’t be influenced by payments from insurers if we don’t accept them, or ensure they are all equal. We prefer to work on a transparent fee basis with our clients so you know exactly how and where we earn our money.

We have the confidence to give you advice. Many brokers are reluctant to offer advice, particularly to reduce cover – so the service you receive is immediately limited by other agendas.

Our structure enables us to become part of your organisational team. It makes us part of the information, sharing and guidance on new ideas and risks right from the beginning. Some of our clients have us on site as much as once a week to make sure we are part of the discussions on risks, innovations and developments. It allows us to provide recommendations that truly reflect your requirements in a timely fashion.

Our offering aims to help you, and is formulated from decades of experience.

Why shouldn’t we employ our own Insurance Practitioner or Officer?

Firstly, cost. Using our in-house practitioner means no recruitment costs, no NI to pay, no sick pay or pensions to fund, and no additional costs such as computers or phones.

Secondly, expertise. Every one of our practitioners has over 20 years of experience. We’re former national brokers and use this insider experience to ensure the smooth running of your risks and insurance. What’s more, our team includes Chartered Insurance Brokers, so we’re in an ideal position to guide you.

Thirdly, resource. You don’t get a single practitioner but a team. Whilst you will have a nominated lead practitioner who you will get to know very well, there is always a second who provides an internal audit function on our recommendations, and is also familiar to the organisation. More practitioners make up your team depending on the size and complexity of the risks. This eliminates work overflow and any absence issues employing an individual practitioner may bring.

Worry not if you’re not local to us, either. We work remotely for many of our clients whilst regular visits ensure we’re always on the same page.

Why does transparency matter so much?

It’s usual for most brokers to take a small proportion of their earnings directly from the client in the form a fee but in practice, this fee is like an iceberg…

Most of the income for a broker is from insurers. It comes from commission, an Insurer Service Brokerage charge, growth bonuses, retention bonuses, profit shares, work transfer fees and information sharing fees and even fees for a ‘seat’ on the broker’s preferred panel of insurers. The range of fees can expand further where a broker owns another broker, underwriting agency or a Managing General Agent (MGA) through which they place business.

Many of these earnings are not voluntarily declared and so remain hidden. Such background earnings can impact the broker’s placing strategies and can ultimately result in conflicts of interest.

At The Risk Factor, we keep it simple. Behind the scenes “silent” payments aren’t part of what we do. And the cost savings can be passed on to you. The fee we charge you is transparent, and free of conflicts that may sway our opinion of where business goes. We charge in a way that fits your organisation, perhaps an hourly rate, a proportion of what we save you, a fee for the project, or a declared commission. Simple and clean.

How do you align our risk strategy and business strategy?

By listening to you. We take an all-encompassing look at your organisation; the pressures you’re under, priorities, an appetite for risk and reward, and the way finances are managed. We evaluate your approach to risk mitigation and management, reporting, training, and more. We then compare this information with the aims and objectives you have provided to us. We’ll install a plan of action to close this gap. We garner key information from leading figures in the organisation, consider the nature of your historical claims, uncover gaps that should be filled, and areas covered which don’t need to be, or may be duplicated. Whilst it’s not always an overnight process, our clients see considerable savings over time and we’re proud to be a part of that process.

So do we need to use a broker?

We are authorised to broke. Even if you’re part-way through a Long Term Agreement, you can often give notice to your broker and still continue to deal with your current insurers until the end of your agreement. If you’d rather see what we can do for you by way of one-off audits and reviews, some initial training on saving money, or are simply interested in getting a second opinion, our insurance alchemists are here to help. If you are working with a direct insurer, you can still use our expertise to analyse and improve the cover and risk strategies employed.

Are you FCA authorised?

Yes, we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our advice is also covered by Professional Indemnity Cover.

What else do you stand for?

The Risk Factor prides itself on transparency and fairness. We believe in sustainable living, as shown by our commitment to operate paperless and office-less. All of our team work from home, reducing our energy usage, carbon emissions and more. It also enables our practitioners to live a more balanced work-life and allows us to visit our clients in person.

We believe in social inclusion and diversity and work tirelessly to promote this in everything we do. We push opportunity, whether in-house, with associates, the industry or elsewhere. The relations we make with our clients every day only serve to strengthen this. Our in-house professional development encourages our alchemists to improve their skills and enhance their career too, be they through apprenticeships, training schemes or promotions. We were delighted to have been selected as finalists in the Insurance Times 2018 Awards in the categories of Diversity & Inclusion Excellence and Excellence in Personal Development.

We’re also strong advocates of corporate social responsibility and our ethical strategy in helping our clients in a much-criticised industry is translated to our ethical approach outside of work.