While teaching basic insurance, ethics, and errors and omissions for the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida I have noted several trends I would like to share with you.
The good is very good, in fact, it is excellent. Never before could we access information as completely and as quickly as we can now. In the insurance business, this is a tremendous asset. By pressing a couple of buttons, you can: Look at an aerial view of the risk or glance at the corporate filing of the entity you are insuring; reach an audience you have chosen and corner a niche; and access that niche and communicate your message.
The Florida Department of Financial Services gives us access to rules and regulations, laws and pertinent changes that occur at a moment’s notice; including changed forms that are instantly available online.
With an investment in an association and the resources it provides; along with the investment in data that pertains to your particular niche, the basic elements for success are at hand.
Florida: A billion dollar market
Yes, insurance markets in Florida are straightening out after four hurricanes. However, if you want to sell insurance in Florida, you really can. Billions of dollars are available in Florida and anyone who wants to be a success in the insurance business, can. With today’s access, you can be successful just about anywhere you want–Florida’s growth is phenomenal.
The bad is not too bad–but could be better. All the wonderful things I just mentioned are only partially used. Yellow Page advertising is wonderful and I use it, but it is not the beginning and end of selling in this business. Many people mistakenly think that waiting for the phone to ring from a Yellow Page ad is what our business is all about.
Focus to the max!
The most successful companies have something going on beside an ad. They are usually focused to the max! They usually have a marketing plan and a follow through action plan.
I know one agency that sells boat insurance. They sell boat insurance like nobody’s business. They are present at every major boat show, have a newsletter for people in clubs, and seek out their niche. Is their price better? Who knows? But they sell boat insurance. Do they sell auto, home, life and health insurance? Yes. Do they have a Yellow Page ad for their two agency locations? Yes. But they sell boat insurance. Their marketing is directed to everyone who buys boats, boat magazines and boat equipment. Their technology e-mails, faxes and contacts customers on their boat, in their boat, around their boat and off their boat.
Are you fishing, or in business?
Contrast this with the agent who asked, “How do I get my people to stop chasing after these one- man, gonna-be-in-business someday never-go-nowhere risks?” The answer is simple. Take a long hard look in the mirror. Are you on a fishing expedition or are you in business? If you are in business, get off the sidelines, pick your game and play. You have been given access to everything you want to know; you just have to start using what you have in front of you. Establish a system to approach clients. There is nothing greater than talking to your clients. In short, don’t wait for the phone to ring, make the phone ring.
The ugly. Oh brother, it is ugly. Learn the business you are in before you sell any of it. Nothing is as ugly as someone who doesn’t know what they are selling. The concept of, “I think we will start selling some commercial insurance!” scares me to death.
Get educated before you attempt to sell something you don’t know anything about. One of my students was once very happy to place a client in a beautiful HO-3 policy. “None of the agents in town would help this client and it was so easy and gee–all those cute little horses the client had on the property; it was such a treat to go out and visit.” She put an HO-3 on a horse ranch–Ouch!
There is a great need for workers’ compensation specialists because many people don’t know what they are doing. Take courses and seminars and visit workers’ compensation adjusters and learn the ethics of the system. Immerse yourself–and then, and only then, pursue it with a passion.
The nice thing about the ugly is that with education, good ethics and with good knowledge of the errors and omissions of the line you work in–the ugly can and will become beautiful. Best of all, you will be doing unto others which you would have them do unto you. Good selling to you–in the deepest sense of the words.
Ronald N. Silverman, CIC, CISR, is an agent in Deltona, Fla. He is a past president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida and in 2004 was National Agent of The Year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (386) 860-0001.