Things for Insurance agents to consider this year….or any year

1. If you work as part of a larger agency; Are you builiding your business or someone elses?
2. What is really a “fair” split on commissions?
3. Why am I more focused on buying leads instead of cultivating referrals?
4. What is the household and PIF growth I am looking for this year?
5. Would you settle for only one option anywhere else in your life?  Than why are you only working with one company?
6. What is the last marketing book I read?
7. Am I regularly reading about marketing concepts or insurance marketing concepts?
8. Are you a part of someone else’s perpetuation plan or do you have your own?
9. How are you dealing with the changing consumer?
10.  The agent/broker has lots of control they are not using.  What about you?
11. Do you still believe in rate increases?  Are they really “a necessary evil”  or part of the business….
12.Are you taking advice and listening to people who have done things before or just people who write/talk about it?
13. If you are paying for some sort of label/qualfication is it really valid?  Was it earned?
14. Why are you not averaging at least half if not one referral from every household you work with?
15. Issuing an insurance policy(ies) is not enough.  What else are you doing for your customer?
Will you be surfing the wave of change that has started or being washed away by it?

Let’s be friends

So most of us have friends.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  You are closer with some more than others.  Some you hang out with more often.  Some are “on-line” friends or “work” friends but they all get the label friends.  They all on some level have a place in your world.

At the same turn, each of them needs or wants something from you.  Some need/want more than others.  At various times one or more of them may need a lot from you.  Over time some friends sort of increase in value(feelings) while others get less.  But they are  all still your friends.

Why I took your customer?

Several times a month a new person hires me and I am shocked.  See I know I am “good” and I know how to do a lot of things.  But there is a recurring theme, there is really no reason why this opportunity should exist.  There is no reason why this person should have called.  But then again there are quite a few.

The one that set me over is something like this, husband and wife with the same agent for 20+ years.  Husband and wife fit perfectly into dozens of companies; married, great credit, college degrees, home owners, clean records.  He is also a business owner and the paths fairly regularly cross with the agent who should appreciate his business.  Sounds familiar?

What price do you really pay for your auto and home insurance?

With several hundred companies offering auto and home insurance in the U.S. you would think a bit more variety would exist.  The reality is that the majority of them are after the same demographic; good to great credit, home ownership, college educated, multiple cars. Then there is everybody else.  With a constant turn over of actuaries and heads of underwriting everybody else inevitably can get luck and fit into a preferred companies model.  Generally due to a fluke in the sophistication of underwriting.  But the reality is still that there are only three prices available to the public and YOU choose your price.

Rate increases are bad for everyone

Unfortunately people have come to accept rate increases with their auto and home insurance policies.  Kind of sad.  They have heard all sorts of silly excuses;

” Rates are going up across the state…”

“It’s inflation…”

” The big storms across the country are the cause..”

BLAH BLAH BLAH

Time to make ABC into ABO

So in the iconic sales based movie Glengarry Glen Ross the scene emphasizing “Always be closing” stands out as a signature moment;

Although the scene itself(**Some language, not for everyone) is brief the message it portrays covers decades of sales attitude.  Good for the rest of us that those decades are over and people much prefer to be buy then be sold.

Then of course there is this;

About all this line, made famous here **some language**  Coffee in my world is for OPENING.

Opening conversations

Opening relationships

Opening dialogue

62 years of loyalty and you get…

A rate $600 higher than the market will bear.  Such a shame.  I have been told that if an insurance company has a customer with no claims they become profitable within about three years.  Based on this it is safe to say a customer of 62 years has earned your company some money, yet you let them go.  Kind of like the goofy T.V. or movie scenario where the employee of 30 years gets a cheap watch and a certificate of appreciation.

In your own world be sure that loyalty goes both ways.  Loyalty is earned and should not be given.  If you vote with your dollars you will likely not have this happen to you.

Dear Enterprise Rental Car,

8/29/13

I had an unfortunate moment last Thursday when my car was struck by another one.  Now that I have had some time to relax and think I thought I would right you a letter.  I believe that if you are going to hand out feedback you need to be willing to share good and bad.  DISCLAIMER, I have been haphazardly recommending you for about ten years since a previous employer had arrangements with you.  Shame on me.

Can you send that to me in writing?

I say this a couple of times a week.  When it comes to insurance there are two specific times that this is a popular phrase; claims and loyalty.

With claims, I am asked “but will my rate go up?”  Odds are pretty good but it is not certain that your rate goes up if you file a claim.  I have seen plenty of awful driving records but since they have not had their records reviewed by the current company the rate is solid.  That doesn’t mean rates do not go up with claims, it just means that you have somehow avoided having your record looked at.  Also find it amusing to watch Nationwide and Allstate advertise “diminishing deductibles.”  Seriously, most people do not have claims.  The most common claim is an auto insurance glass claim and that already has no deductible.  In my opinion you are better off holding on to to your money.