When a system fails, consumers and the people they need to run them, we all lose.
Take this example; Mrs. C is an existing customer of an agency. Came referred and has kept paying her auto, home and umbrella for three years now. The insurance has gone up in price(failure for a different article) despite the risk not changing. Now you have one household who has referred other business to the agency and is worth about $800 in gross commission. Factor in the people who have been referred and this one household easily generates $1000+ in commission.
Now Mrs. C is in need of another policy. This is for a small venture she is involved in. Now keep in mind this small commercial type policy is not one that most agents have an interest in. The total premium is going to be $455. Maybe the gross commission is $50. Keep in mind, she is already a customer, there was no selling. This was a person who simply wanted to give the agency more money.
So what happened. The options available to me are via www.theeventhelper.com who although they are very easy to use is written on a claims made form. Now we can debate claims made versus occurrence but in reality it is the same mistake auto quoting websites are making.
- They are giving the customer too much to think about.
- They are allowing poor choices to take place instead of eliminating the possibility of them happening.
- They are leaving themselves vulnerable for the when/if the customer shops a bit or worse a claim happens.
What is worse about this is they don’t have to do it this way.
So instead of having an easy online option that has a quality product behind it, instead we provide the customer with an application to fill out and return. She does it. Then we submit it to the wholesaler and wait, and wait, and wait then we get an offer. But despite filling out an application, the underwriter has more questions. So now we go back to the insured and get the answers. She provides the answers so we give them to the underwriter. Then they send us an offer but wait, this offer has three more questions that need answers prior to binding. So back to the insured we go. She then provides the answer and after a few more hours we get authority to bind.
It gets better, the event is on a Saturday and this is Friday at, you guessed it 4:00 ish. I have a 5:00 tee time, not looking good. Now fortunately the insured can make a payment on-line and after another human stepping in, the insured has her certificate. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL Remember, this was for $50. But it gets worse, did the existing client lose some faith in your agency? How much time in total was spent on this by the insured, you, your assistant, the other company as well. Enough already. Are we working for free?
Think of it this way, what if instead the customer could simply log into the agents website and have the option of an on-line quote ready and waiting for them. You already have the customer, you already have their personal information this can upload into a new site and you can easily build in a feature like this one. BUT the product needs to be up to standards. You need to be able to cover 95ish% of the customers you already have. **Yes, I think you need to impose different standards for people you have not already vetted*** Want an example? Go look at Amazon, have they ever upsold you anything? Any chance you’ve ever been on a website that already had your data and made your next purchase easier. You probably do this once a week.
Maybe it will all change when more agencies act like businesses and less like insurance agencies.
Maybe it will get better when more agents stop using social media as a crutch?
Maybe it will get better when there are less agents?
The bottom line is still the same; The core piece of any business is having a set of customers who want to pay you. The next piece of it is keeping this group of customers so they continue to pay you. I suppose one more piece is continuing to evolve your business in such a way that those customers bring you new customers and instead of spending money on what they call traditional advertising you instead spend a smaller fraction of money on making the user experience better then you ever would need to on advertising.
Just some thoughts, on going work in progress.