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In the realm of relationships, the bond between risk managers and their insurance brokers is right up there with that of patient/doctor or lawyer/client. Many of these relationships last as long—or longer—than the average marriage, and the good ones are built on many of the same elements: trust, growth, reciprocity and good communication.

But unlike a personal relationship, the risk manager/broker bond leaves no room for error. A communication misstep on the part of either party could result in a coverage gap that could prove financially devastating for the client, and in turn get the broker tossed out the door. And in today’s hyper-competitive insurance marketplace, it’s a relationship that gets re-evaluated regularly.

“We keep testing the relationship to see if they can go the extra mile,” says Michael Liebowitz, senior director of insurance and enterprise risk management for New York University. “They have to keep showing what the results are based on the difficult questions that are asked. This gives you an idea of how professional, how deep they are in terms of providing service to the customer. They’re only as good as their last conversation with me.”

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