This post is part of a series sponsored by ITC (Insurance Technologies Corporation).
The future seems unclear right now. Even the very near future as things are changing quickly.
Of course, there is basis to that concern. Every industry is feeling it. Some more so than others.
Thankfully, the insurance industry is strong. And, now is the time to show our strength and capture the essence of what makes working with an independent agency great.
Insurance Isn’t Going Anywhere
Regardless of what happens as a result of COVID-19, the insurance industry isn’t going anywhere. While everyone tries to define an essential business, we can clear one thing up. Insurance is such an essential service that the law requires it.
Now is the time for insurance agents to shine. How? By being there for your clients during this constantly changing situation. That does not mean you need to visit clients in person or leave your office open.
But, you can still provide essential insurance services to your clients. Through the use of browser-based tools, you can enable your agency to work remotely. These solutions include VoIP phone systems, comparative raters, agency management systems and automated marketing tools.
If your agency is closed, your insurance agency website should be your most powerful tool. A powerful website is going to help you keep quoting because your clients will be definitely be looking for answers to insurance questions online right now.
How You Can Help Your Clients
We at ITC have had many conversations with many agencies who are feeling worried right now. If you share in this concern, remember your clients are feeling the same pain, just in different ways.
Here’s the hard truth. Insurance is the one thing consumers have to have, yet they hope to never use. Your clients might forget that while they are practicing social distancing and not driving as much. They might even think of insurance as non-essential and allow their policy to lapse.
This where you show your strength and value as an independent agent and offer them options to retain their coverages. Here are some ideas.
We all know that you must keep insurance on a vehicle. Although not all lines of business are mandated, this principle applies to anything of value to a person. Remind your clients of that.
Remind them that risk does not get sick. It doesn’t work remote. It’s out there everywhere. On your way to get takeout. Coming back from the doctor’s office. Risk is always there. Whether one goes out once a month, or once an hour. Insurance is the cure for risk.
Many consumers feel that insurance comes in only one size. They are often unaware that there are many levers controlling the cost of an insurance policy.
This is where insurance agents can make their mark. Use these levers to assist clients who are looking to lower expenses. It’s better for a client to remove coverages related to decreased driving than to allow their policy to lapse altogether. Reach out and tell them this. Write a blog post or email that lets them know they have options, and share it with your clients.
The Power of Choice
What sets an independent agent apart from the others? Choice.
If a client becomes concerned about the cost of their insurance, but requires the same level of coverage, empower them with choice. The choice of carrier.
There could be another carrier that offers the same level of coverage and service but provides lower commissions and contingency bonuses.
This is an option unique to the independent agent. Once again, it is better to keep the client than lose them altogether.
Available in most states, prior coverage is one of the biggest discounts and most significant rating factors used in insurance. Consumers do not always understand this about insurance.
It is an agent’s duty to tell their clients what they’re giving up. Allowing policies to lapse is a short-term gain with long-term pain. The additional premium paid later eclipses the money they save today.
Changing Laws and Regulations
Another option available to agents is the ever-changing laws and regulations provided by various relief acts.
As you can imagine, sweeping changes like this can create more damage than they are meant to help. Are commissions paid during this period? Are insured’s really insured? How will claims be handled? Can carrier’s policy systems properly handle these changes? Will consumers have to pay back premiums? All unanswered questions persist.
While a change in the regulatory environment is our backstop, insurance agents should do what they do well. Be conservative and remain on the side where they are comfortable.
You can start all the suggestions above by providing consultative policy reviews for your clients. Perform these reviews with the client’s interests in mind.
It’s true, you might have a loss to your book of business during these unprecedented times. However, it’s still better to keep 75¢ than lose $1.
An automated marketing system can assist you in this task. Use it to send automated emails offering policy reviews. You can also send timely notices of policy lapses, changes and other pertinent information your clients may need.
As we begin the process of bringing the economy back, consumers will need their agents more than ever. As their financial advisors, you have a chance to raise the bar and help your clients find answers. All of this is available to you without stepping out of your remote or home office. It is time to use technology designed to make your job easier no matter where you are.
We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about our browser-based solutions that enable insurance agents like you to work remotely.
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