Specialization is Insurance “Google”!

Gone is the day of the “do all” insurance agent. The old school insurance agent would write your policy, manage your account, handle your claims and so on.  This is no longer the winning formula to a successful insurance agency.  Our society has become a place where we need the answer yesterday and exceeding clients expectation has become the standard.  With Insurance commercials blaring on every program intermission, shopping around is at an all-time high.  One mistake, or one expectation that was not met could be the reason for a client to pick up the phone.  Loyalty is no longer with the agent, but rather the experience.  With expectations almost unrealistic and the amount of clients that are shopping at an all-time high, how can we keep clients from picking up that phone?  The answer to this is specialization.

We have to break down the strengths of our employees and put them in the right seat. One of the most important aspects of this is a winning sales team.  Sales is the driving force in any business and insurance is no different, especially with the number of people shopping out their insurance.  The need for a winning sales team has never been more apparent.  You need a team out in front, not only creating a competitive advantage but selling the team that comes along with the insurance policy.  The first Impression is an important one and this is where the sales team must deliver.

Client servicing is the second area we look at. This is such a large role and without being able to separate these roles into specialized positions, efficiency will never be optimal.  As mentioned earlier, people want answers now and leaving a voicemail for a call back just won’t do.  They may not be available when you are ready to answer their question so something that could have been handled at the client’s convenience is now unanswered and the client is left to dial the phone, hopefully to you.  That is a missed opportunity to showcase why their decision to go with an independent agent was the right one.  You need people that handle day to day questions.  People that man the phones and the doors where no question goes unanswered and no opportunity is missed to deliver on efficiency.

The next area is proactively addressing accounts. Clients experience price increases every year.  Sometimes there is no other reason for the increase other than the insurance company is taking a rate increase.  This answer is no good and does not fly.  A major advantage we have as independent agents is we represent a wide array of insurance companies. Quite often we can find a way to reduce your premium through different credits, or if all else fails, we can remarket your account with one of our other carriers. Nothing is more painful than finding out a client left for another agent, but was written with a carrier that you represent.  That is a missed opportunity to showcase your ability to call them before they call you.  Speaking in terms of a consumer, if I was contacted by my agent on a price increase and advised that they are doing everything possible to mitigate the price increase then I would be impressed.  My loyalty would remain with that agent.  So secondly within the account management positions you need people specializing in reviewing accounts and proactively targeting those accounts that need to be reviewed.

Finally, why do people buy insurance? They buy it for the possibility that they may have a claim.  This leads to the third specialization and that is a dedicated claims advocate.  This person acts as a claims liaison between you and the carrier, watching the claim to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If a claim is not going smoothly then they intervene and advocate for the client.  They are the buffer between client and company.  Many accounts are lost because of a claim not going smoothly.  We can prevent this by having someone specifically dedicated to insuring we as an agency are doing everything possible to help.  The client is not left feeling likes it is us against them.  They feel they have a positive advocate in us as their agent.

Specialization is the winning formula. It allows people to become experts in their field.  It makes an agency able to sell and retain business.  It turns a once inefficient answering service into an answer producing insurance “Google.”  It contacts clients before they contact another agent for a company that we represent and it advocates for our clients when they needs us the most.