In today’s commoditized market, growing the business isn’t just a recommendation — expanding a roster of high-value clients is a necessity for all agencies. But where to start?
First and foremost, agencies must establish the correct tools and strategies to not only keep current customers happy, but cast a wider net into unchartered territory.
Diversify by Expanding Into Niche and Specialty Lines
By expanding into new lines of business, agencies are able to gain more referrals, become more competitive, and enjoy better retention rates.
Niche industries continue to grow exponentially, with specialty lines ranging from cyber security to student housing.
Cyber insurance, in particular, is expected to grow to $20 billion in the next 10 years, according toAllianz Global.
Student housing insurance could be particularly valuable, as the number of university-enrolled students will grow to a projected 23 million in 2020, according to CCIM Institute.
Additionally, it is projected seniors over the age of 60 will increase by 41 percent from 2010 to 2050, carving a new niche for adult day care center insurance, according to Non-Profit Insurance Services.
Overall, the value of specialty and niche lines is clear: 60 to 80 percent of revenue in an agency comes from five to 10 clearly distinct target markets.
Streamline Carrier Connectivity to Better Serve Customers
Streamlined connections with carriers give agencies the ability to build relationships and provide the best coverage options for customers. When producers don’t have to waste time logging into multiple carrier websites and entering duplicate information, agencies can instead focus time on providing the best possible customer experience.
The ID Federation’s SignOn Once initiative helps eliminate this problem. By enabling one identity to replace multiple IDs and passwords, SignOn Once allows agents to make faster, easier, and more secure transactions and ultimately improve customer service.
According to the Real Time/Download campaign, agents who use connectivity tools save, on average, one hour per day by eliminating multiple data entry, password management, and other redundant tools.
Communicate with Customers on their Terms
Consumer behavior has not only changed with the advent of technology, so too have their preferences when it comes to how they like to communicate.
However, agencies can’t assume how to best engage with their customers — they need to talk to their customers through the channels they prefer and continually seek feedback on how to better improve.
To no one’s surprise, text messaging is today’s most engaging form of agent/client communication, with a 98 percent open rate. Email, on the other hand, has only a 20 percent open rate, per Mobile Marketing Watch. Agents need to reach their agents where they are and texting is a fast, accessible way to speak with insureds effectively.
Ultimately, insurance is an industry that thrives on relationships and an agency that operates under this mindset is one that will be successful.
Technology shouldn’t be feared. Instead, agencies should focus on how technology can enable relationships — whether through eliminating non-value add tasks through automation, simplifying communication, or providing best-in-class customer service through the channels customers find most valuable.
Recognizing the importance of staying competitive, embracing technological changes in the market, and diversifying into new lines will help agencies grow their book of business today and beyond.
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