Throughout the year readers can find countless words of wisdom on how to be a better and more successful professional insurance agent inside the pages of Insurance Journal magazine. Here are a few ideas from columnists in no special order that, if you are so inclined and resolved, could be borrowed and followed to help shape your new year. Look for continued advice from these same professionals in 2020 and beyond.
Embrace It: Insurance Is NOT a Commodity. Insurance coverage guru Bill Wilson is adamant: You must know the policies you sell and service and the differences between them. Being able to read, understand and apply policy form language is a critical skill that is a fundamental prerequisite for successfully resolving coverage and claims disputes. Read Wilson’s 2019 “When Words Collide” series or stay tuned for his 2020 “Is It Covered?” series in the next issue of Insurance Journal magazine.
Conduct an E&O Audit. An errors and omissions claim can take its toll on an agency. The financial burden can be a huge blow and individuals involved will face tremendous stress, which can impact the morale of the agency. Agencies should hire an independent consultant to do an E&O audit of agency practices. But if that is not in the cards, learn how to conduct a self-audit. Don’t miss more from Bill Schoeffler and Catherine Oak in the Minding Your Business monthly column.
Do Your Job. Agents are the translators between two people speaking different languages. Silence is a message that says an agent does not care, yet silence is what small commercial and personal lines clients hear from agents over and over. Many agents think they can’t make money spending time with small customers. But that is the agent’s job. Don’t miss outspoken consultant and monthly “The Competitive Advantage” columnist Chris Burand in upcoming pages of Insurance Journal.
Improve Your Hiring Results. There’s a lot of money to be gained or lost in an agency’s hiring process. But most agencies still use a process that doesn’t work because it says: “He seems like a good guy. Let’s give him a shot!” Expert Randy Schwantz offers a system that does work for improving results. It starts with two people: a good cop and a bad cop: The 5-Step Evidence Based Hiring System. Don’t miss Schwantz’s monthly column, “The Wedge,” in upcoming issues.
Build a Recruiting Plan. Insurance agencies too readily accept that the job market is tight and there are not many good candidates. They treat the process the same for every position. But consultant and monthly “Ask the Insurance Recruiter” columnist Mary Newgard believes that recruiting is sales and, like sales, it needs a structure and a plan. Don’t miss out on Newgard’s valuable advice in 2020.
Response Time. Consumers consider timeliness to be not just one factor but indeed the most important differentiator — above efficiency, professionalism and knowledge. With increasing pressure from insurtechs coupled with rising consumer expectations, response time must now be measured in minutes, not hours or days. That’s just one tip from Tech Talk columnist Tom Wetzel, an longtime insurance marketing consultant, that readers can enjoy once again in 2020.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous new year to you all!
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