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What Happens When the CEO of One of Your Largest Clients Retires?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Written By
John Kuehn

Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series. Here’s where you can read the first post.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you’re on the back nine at your go-to golf course with a client. “Some good business has been conducted out here,” you think to yourself as you tee it up. And, if your golf game is anything like mine, you’ll be headed off to the right, into the woods for your second shot.

At the end of the round, you sit down with your client for a well-deserved round of drinks, and then he lets it drop. “I’m retiring at the end of this year.” Congrats! That’s fantastic, you’ll have a ton more free time to be out here!

Ugh. That’s a huge piece of business and a 20-year relationship that’s up in the air now. Questions flood your mind: Who is taking over? Will they still want to do business with you? Will you continue servicing this client?

Are you concerned? Heck yeah.

I’m sure you can imagine this exact scenario. In fact, it may have already happened to you. Expect to see this occurring more and more, because 50% of baby boomers will be retiring within the next five years.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to combat this before it even comes up—internal staff impact. Brokers need to demonstrate their value to the business as a whole, and make sure that all employees depend on them for one thing or another.

The best brokers don’t simply call themselves a “trusted advisor.” They provide valuable services to the whole business. Let’s take a look at some of the different stakeholders in a business and how you could make an impact with each of them:

Business Owners

Sure, you know the CEO, but there may be other partners in ownership that you may not be as close to. Make sure they know you and your story. Take the time to show them you understand their business issues and exposures. Are you leading renewal meetings with mod analysis? If not, it’s time you open clients’ eyes to the impact of the mod.

Workers’ compensation experience mod analysis identifies cost drivers and trends to achieve long-term cost reduction strategies. If you aren’t providing mod analysis to offer business insight, uncover actionable problem areas and prove your impact on total workers’ compensation costs, another broker will.


CFOs care about numbers, so help them control their bottom line. Conducting a mod analysis and offering tools to improve the mod will lower premiums. CFOs will love that! In addition to improving the mod, remind them that OSHA violations can mean big monetary losses. OSHA fines have been increasing in frequency and severity. As their trusted advisor, offer to conduct a compliance audit and offer solutions for areas in which they’re out of compliance.

HR and Safety Professionals

Typically, workers’ compensation and OSHA compliance fall under their responsibilities. Employee education items are a must for brokers today, so provide this group with safety manuals and posting materials.

However, the best way you can become indispensable in HR’s eyes is by helping with compliance issues—OSHA requirements, ERISA documents, DOL audit control and preparedness. Remind this group how much they need you by keeping them up to date and in the know with compliance newsletters, articles, action plans and support.

Ask about their hiring and firing practices. Assess their EPL exposure, since that’s an area where the frequency and severity of claims has been skyrocketing. Ask if they have an up-to-date employee policies and procedures handbook that each employee has signed off on. That can give you an opportunity to work with the HR director while you reduce the business’s overall exposure.

Mid-level Managers

These are the doers of the organization. They are the ones running the safety meetings and educational sessions. Teach these managers about trends and tactics commonly used in fraudulent workplace injury claims. Provide them with materials to host safety meetings. Help them implement programs for new OSHA regulations, such as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), that will get them and keep them in compliance.

How would you demonstrate your value?

Ownership changes within your client base will become even more frequent over the next few years, so you need to be ready. Provide value to multiple people within your client’s organization rather than relying on a one-dimensional client relationship. That way, by expanding your center of influence, you’ll be much more secure when a change does occur.

Don’t miss our next blog in the series, which will take a look at how we successfully onboard new employees. 

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