Want more revenue? More market share? Shrink the available pie

First draft, part 1 of about 12

**Written for my counterparts who consider themselves Independent Agents and Insurance Brokers***

So I regularly read a publication called Rough Notes.  Kind of interesting, some value each month.  They do a pretty neat thing each month, they publish a brief article from a much older issue.  The one that caught my attention was titled “Producing New Business to Balance Cancellations” It’s a topic that I have been working on for over three years.  Fascinating one to me and actually I have my own soluton.  More on that later.

But what if we are measuring the wrong things

**GEARED towards brokers/agents,   feel free to read on regardless of who we are**

1. So if you have a customer and the service/product you are providing has not improved but you are now charging more for it, is this right?

2. So last year you had 100 customers to start and ended the year with say 120.  BUT 30 of those are completely new because you lost 10 of those you started with.  Is this good?  Why did you lose them?  Was this avoidable?

Tipping point on home insurance?

It has been routine for several years to review home insurance and there has been a huge discrepency from the market value to the insurance value to whatever the replacement cost may be.  Who’s right, who’s wrong, I have no idea.  My default guestimate keeps me in the realm of $150 to $200 per finished square foot.  But routinely this figure, combined with the figures set forth by the insurance companies are way off.  Here is one that through me off; 106 Cedar Ave Poughkeepsie New York 12603.

About a year ago this was a vacant lot listed for about $70,000.  Now it is this;

“He knows everybody” and more useless wrong uses of phrases

I get it I know they are expressions but please use some caution.  How about ” he/she knows a lot of people”?  Makes more sense than saying everybody from a grammatical standpoint it is also more more logical.

How about the word “know”  do you really know someone?  My guess is you maybe getting to know someone or have a good sense of who the person is.  When you know someone my guess is you need to think to yourself; Do I know them to the point that I will point my name next to theirs and refer them?  Not that you need to stand by their work, things happen.  But what I mean is if you really “know” someone you should be willing to share them with others and be willing to risk a piece of your reputation when referring them.

Delusions in insurance

1. We want to be the largest in america…. WHO CARES my guess is your policyholders don’t.

2. We can save you $480 or 15% or an average of … WHO CARES reality is saving that amount of money just means something was wrong.

3. Rates go up due to inflation…MOSTLY CRAP rates go up to keep the bottom line healthy. If people knew how much money was floating around in insurance they would go bonkers

4. Discount double check, in good hands, join the nation, like a good neighbor…SLOGANS are for the company not for you.  Sooner the companies put more resources into helping their policyholders and less into marketing the sooner you will see insurance improve.

Took weeks of jabs and then a wonderful right hook

And actually the right hook was delivered by Seth Godin.  Having read Thank You Economy and Crush It I knew I would enjoy Gary’s latest but for some reason I kept delaying.  See I am attempting to consume all I can on-line but like a few other authors who bring great value to me it was time for me to do a little something in return.  Actually three copies were bought; 1 for me, 1 for Holly and 1 for a new potential partner.  With my copy read and highlighted it will now go to a potential new hire so I can speed up there learning curve.  So the review;

Let’s make rate increases more interesting

Generally, a conversation starts with  ” wow I got my renewal and the rate is up…”  followed by them explaining how they looked at last years policy and are now not happy.  How about this, if you are going to raise the rates you must put last years rate right next to the new one.  Followed by a sentence like;

” We raised our rates due to a tough year, sorry.”

or

” Your rate is up because we ran your motor vehicle report.  Please drive more responsibly.”

or

11 things from 11 years

So on the 11th day of the 11th month I have just finished 11 years in insurance.  Like most 11 year stretches there is a lot that has been learned.  But what stands out?  Well more then 11 things but I’ll pick 11 anyhow.

1. Reserve your loyalty for people not companies.  Although my first 8.5 was with one company, my last 2.5 have confirmed this statement.  You are a policyholder and they all like you as long as you are paying your bills and not having claims.  Mess up either of those two and see how much they like you.  Instead find a human being that can reciprocate your loyalty.

Can you do more while being the best?

Kind of liken this one to “Gym Class Theory”

So while in gym class, more times than not there were captains when picking teams.  Now as a captain you are choosing the people who will help you win whatever it is you are playing.  What are you thinking about?  Hopefully the correct people you can pick in order to win whatever it is you are playing.