What does an insurance broker do, anyway? Many people – even those who run businesses – think of them as simply people who help them place their insurance, and then they forget about them once that annual ritual is finished. But its not quite that simple, and companies who approach risk management from that perspective are both shortchanging themselves and underestimating what their brokers can bring to the table.

I mention this because most think the value added of brokers comes in trying to pin down the nature of a client’s exposures and then proceeding to try to sell that into the marketplace at the lowest price possible. That’s certainly front and center of what a good broker does. But those of us who have worked with insurers, policyholders and brokers for years know that they often bring hidden, more substantial benefits to the table. This article, on Aon’s general counsel, provides a perfect example. While in some ways it’s a personality profile of a prominent in-house lawyer, buried in it is something more important: the story of a reinsurance product that Aon created with Lloyds to bring immediate reinsurance capacity to Aon’s clients. That’s a meaningful value added, and the type of thing that, behind the scenes, a strong broker can bring to a relationship with a policyholder.