4 Tips All Insurance Agents Need In Order To Grow And Maintain Their Book

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Insurance is a difficult market. You’ve likely noticed a shift in the market towards lower-commission life and higher-paying whole lives if you sell life. If you are in the P&C industry, you will have noticed the focus on low prices. When comparing two companies with one that has no affiliation, price can be a major initial selling point. It’s not as simple as it used to be selling insurance. Because people are tight on cash, they tend to buy smaller policies and “jump ship” for lower premiums. This has created volatile markets and, for many agents, volatile business books. There are some key things that you can do in this volatile insurance market to grow your business and increase persistency rates.

Agents have tried to call “cold leads”, or to get “warm leads” that they can contact to make sales. Although leads can be a partial business solution at first, I don’t think they can ever replace the real thing. The majority of insurance leads will be price-shoppers. If they are willing to drop their current carrier to save a few hundred bucks a year, then what do they do when another company offers them a better deal?

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Instead of becoming dependent on leads, there are steps you can take to increase the volume of business in your books as well as the persistence of your business. These are in no particular order.

  1. Make Your Clients More Accessible. Call them. Talk to them. Establish a relationship. A good relationship with your current agent is the #1 reason people don’t switch insurance companies that offer lower rates. My family was fortunate to have “our” agent growing up. He knew my entire family by sight. When I knew Larry would be my best friend, I wouldn’t think of switching to anyone else.
  2. Keep your clients’ best interests in mind. It will work like a charm if you follow the steps and call your clients. Although it may seem counterintuitive for some agents to offer clients a lower plan than they currently have, it is a great way to secure your clients over the long-term.
  3. Stand out from your competition. This step can be both the most rewarding and the most difficult because you might have to get out of your comfort zone. Giving back to your community will increase visibility and help you achieve step 1. Volunteer. Volunteer at your local school or community organization. It seems obvious, but it is important to join your local chambers of commerce. These are simple steps that will make you more visible and make you stand out from your competitors.
  4. Build Your Portfolio. Similar to step 3, offering plans your competitors do not offer is a great way of securing your book. Research has repeatedly shown that customers are less likely to switch agents if they have more policies with them. Agents are currently struggling to decide what to add. There is a lot of competition in the traditional insurance market.
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A friend of mine compared the insurance market to fishing on an overfished and understocked lake. There are markets that, although less traditional, are starting to emerge as viable markets. Here are two examples of these over-stocked, under-fished ponds.

Pet insurance is the first. Pet insurance is the first. As the number and age of children in a family has decreased, so has the number and age of pets. More pets are being adopted into our families. Some clients jump at the chance to pay Rover’s vet bills. This market is still a new concept by most standards but it is definitely viable and has little penetration.

Legal insurance, or pre-paid legal plans, is the second open area. Broker world stated that pre-paid legal plans, once considered a novelty, has become an accepted insurance marketing opportunity. (March 2003) Many people will have an instinctive reaction to the idea of legal coverage. However, in today’s litigious society, the concept of legal coverage is becoming more than a novelty. Many plans cover a range of issues. These include: Personal and business consultations, phone calls and letters for members, contract review and will preparation, motor vehicle coverage and trial coverage. Audit coverage is also available.

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There are many benefits to expanding your portfolio. These include the ability for clients to contact you with information they cannot get anywhere else, which makes you more approachable (#1) and differentiates you (#3). It can also be extremely liberating and lucrative to be able to find new business, even outside your territory. While many businesses will not consider changing their insurance policies often, they may be open to offering highly-demanded benefits that can increase their bottom line or worker satisfaction. Once an agent has gained access to these doors, they can begin to discuss the benefits of switching to other insurance products (Health, Life, Dental, and so on).

Offering a non-traditional product is a great way to help agents gain access to new markets.

A mistake is to rely solely or primarily upon insurance in order to grow and expand one’s business. Agents with 500-1000 clients could potentially be able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are the services that your clients will buy. Shouldn’t you be the one they choose to purchase it from?

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