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

Insurance is a tough market. If you sell life, you’ve probably noticed the obvious shift towards low-commission term life vs. the better paying whole life. If you’re in the P&C crowd, you’ve noticed the fixation on the low price game (and when comparing two companies towards with one has no affiliation, price is a big initial selling point). Selling insurance is not as easy as it was in years past. People are strapped for cash, so their buying fewer and smaller policies these days, and a tendency to “jump ship” for a slightly reduced premium (even before contacting their current agent) has created a volatile market and — for many agents — volatile books of business. In this modern and touchy insurance market, there are a few key things you can do to both grow your business and increase your persistency rates.

Many agents have turned to calling “cold leads,” or even trying to generate “warm leads” to contact and eventually make a sale. While I’m not going to deny the initial usefulness of leads as a partial business solution, they cannot be the whole game. Most insurance leads are going to be the aforementioned price-shoppers, and if they’re willing to dump their present carrier for you to save a few hundred dollars a year, what do you think they’ll do when someone else comes along who offers them a better deal than you?

So, rather than become dependent upon leads, there are some steps you can take today to increase both the amount of business on your books and also the persistency of your book of business. In no particular order, here they are.

  1. Increase Your Accessibility To Your Clients. Call them. Talk to them. Build that relation. The #1 reason that people don’t switch to cheaper insurance is an established relation with their present agent. Growing up, my family had “our” agent, and our agent knew our whole family by sight! I’d never think to switch to anyone else when I knew that “Larry” would have my best interests in mind.
  2. Have Your Clients Best Interests In Mind. Guaranteed to work like a charm, if you follow step 1’s advice and call them, so much better to call them when you can save them some money. It seems counter intuitive to some agents to offer their clients a cheaper plan than what they have presently, but if you want to cement your clients into place for the long haul, nothing does that like calling them to save them money over what they’re already paying.
  3. Differentiate Your Agency From Your Competition. This can be the most rewarding step, and also the most challenging, because it might force you out of your comfort zone. Give back to your community (which increases visibility, which also helps you under step 1). Volunteer. Help out at local schools or community organizations. This seems like a no-brainer, but join your local chamber of commerce! These simple steps make you more visible, but also make you stand out in sharp relief to your competition!
  4. Expand Your Portfolio. Along the same lines as step three, offering plans that your competition does not offer is a great way to further cement your book in place. Studies have repeatedly shown that the more policies a customer has with a particular agent, the less likely they are to switch. The problem most agents are facing right now is what to add. The traditional insurance market is admittedly over-saturated, hence the price competition.

One insurance broker I know has likened the insurance market to fishing in an over-fished and under-stocked pond. But there are some markets which, though less traditional, are beginning to show themselves as viable markets. I’ll high-light just two of these under-fished, over-stocked ponds here.

The first is pet insurance. As the number of children per family has declined, the number of pets per family has increased, and more and more those pets are becoming a part of our families. Veterinary bills are pricey, so some clients are jumping at the opportunity to cover Rover’s risks for a reasonable price. Still a novelty by most standards, this is certainly a viable market with little penetration as of yet.

The second area of open ground is legal insurance or “pre-paid legal plans”. Broker world declared that, though once a novelty, the concept of pre-paid legal plans has come “from a novelty to an accepted insurance marketing opportunity.” (March 2003) While many people may have a knee-jerk reaction of “I’ve never needed an attorney” when initially broaching the topic, our increasingly litigious society is making the notion of legal coverage something beyond a practicality — in many cases the service is bordering on a necessity. Most plans will cover a variety of issues, including: Consultation about personal and business matters, phone calls and letters on behalf of the members, contract and document review, will preparation, motor vehicle coverage, trial coverage, audit coverage and more, including identity theft protection and 24 hour “emergency legal coverage”.

The benefits of expanding your portfolio are manifold: from the ability to contact your present book with something they can get nowhere else – which makes you more accessible (#1), differentiates you (#3), and shows that you’ve got your clients interests in mind (#3). Moreover, the ability to find new business where otherwise there would be none, including the ability to work insurance markets outside of your assigned territory (if you have one), can be very liberating — and lucrative! Many businesses won’t consider changing insurance policies very often, but they will entertain offering a highly sought after benefit which can demonstrably increase their bottom line and worker satisfaction. And getting oneo’s foot in these doors gets an agent one step closer to being able to speak to the benefit of considering switching other insurance products (Health, Life, Dental, etc).

Not only that, but with generally no claim forms and simplified applications, the ability for onsite group enrollments with payroll deduction, and generally very generous commission structures, offering a non-traditional insurance product can be a viable way to help new agents get their foot in many doors which would be otherwise closed off.

Relying solely or primarily on insurance leads to expand and grow one’s business while neglecting one’s extant one’s book of business is a mistake. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are potentially on the table for an agent with a book of just 500-1000 clients. These are services your clients are going to buy, shouldn’t it be you that they buy it from?

Prepaid Legal: A Practical way to “Retain” Lawyers and Legal Help

Nearly everyone will need lawyers at some point in his or her life. Whether it’s to draft a will, draw up a contract, find legal help and advice or obtain a divorce, lawyers provide the expertise other citizens don’t have. However, legal help can be expensive, and most people can’t afford to retain a lawyer or a firm for those instances when something just comes up. An increasingly popular solution to this problem is prepaid legal.

Prepaid legal functions on much the same premise as insurance. When one buys auto insurance, the expectation is that a regularly paid premium assures the purchaser that the company will cover the expenses necessary to fix an unexpected problem. Medical/health insurance carries with it the same expectation.

When purchasing legal help through a prepaid legal plan, one is, in essence, receiving legal insurance. Lawyers are on hand to provide advice and/or representation as needed. However, like other forms of insurance, prepaid legal features different levels of covered services and different prices, depending upon which plan is chosen.

Some employers offer prepaid legal help as a fringe benefit. It is also possible to purchase through “group legal plans” through coops and other groups. Before choosing a plan, however, it is important to be sure the company offering the service is reputable. Checking with the Better Business Bureau can be a big help.

Lawyers can be expensive. Hourly rates are high, and the cost of legal help on retainer is often prohibitive for most people without large amounts of wealth. But at some point everyone will experience a need for legal help, or at least access to lawyers. A prepaid legal plan can help alleviate the high cost of legal representation, while ensuring that legal advice is readily available.

What is Prepaid Legal and Is it Legitimate?

This is one of the hottest internet promotion firms around, so it’s only natural that folks would wish to know the lawfulness of the business before getting concerned. The fact is, this is an exceedingly legitimate opportunity and many folks are earning 6 figure incomes with them now.

Do not buy into the “get rich quick” message they evangelize. Like any social marketing company, you may hear how it’s possible for you to start earning a 6 figure earnings the day on which you sign up, which I believe is true. the actuality is, making any money immediately, not to mention a massive income, isn’t possible unless you have prior selling experience. Sure, some folk do come on and begin to make a money in their first week in the business, but what you do not hear about them is they had prior selling experience and possibly a lot of money to take a position in advertising. If you’re like the majority, it’ll take you a bit to begin to make a serious income, so don’t plan on giving up your real job right after joining. Also, you need to ensure you have cash available for advertising and for getting started. With that disclaimer, what are you really going to be doing with the company? You’ll be selling legal insurance, and this works fundamentally like vehicle or home insurance. Legal costs are famously pricey, so rather than paying out those thousands of bucks for an one off fee, you can pay Prepaid Legal a once per month fee and save cash (so they claim), though this is highly debatable. How much coverage you’ll get is depending on how much you pay a month. The least expensive coverage usually only covers the most elementary legal services, for example traffic tickets, the way to write up a will, and it’s all done over the telephone.

There’s a small amount of telephone calls you can make them. The more that you pay a month, the more services you get. Even if you get the maximum basic coverage, you continue to receive a reduced price should you want a bigger service performed. I know you are far more curious about the chance than the product, but understanding the product is vital to understanding how the business works and whether you would like to become involved or not. The general public do not use legal services that much, and therefore the amount they are going to save is low, if anything.

That’s the reason why distributors for the company basically market the business venture, and the majority only get the legal insurance to become involved with the cash generating opportunity. Although it could be bigoted to call Prepaid Legal a trick or bad deal, remember that there’s not too much benefit much from legal insurance, and it’s doubtless going to cost more in the future with it than without.

Consideration When Insuring Your Business

When running a business you will want to ensure that you have considered all possibilities of protection and insurance policies available. If you have your own premises, like insuring your own home, you should have buildings insurance. If you rent your premises your landlord should provide the buildings cover. You will also need to ensure that you have covered the contents of your business.

Depending on the type of your business, you may need your contents insurance to cover items such as stock, machinery and all other contents including office, furniture and other equipment which would not be covered under your buildings insurance. When buying contents insurance you will have a choice of either replacement as new insurance or indemnity insurance. Most business owners choose indemnity cover. This cover deducts the cost of any wear and tear when settling a claim. Contents are usually only insured for theft as long as there has been a forcible and violent entry or exit, so would not cover any theft if one of your employees or ex-employees still had key access. Some content insurance policies will have an upper limit for the amount of cash insured on site and again depending on your type of business, you may need to look at buying a specialist insurance policy to cover greater amounts of cash.

Specialist insurance policies will offer different business different levels of cover to suit their needs. As we briefly mentioned, if you deal with larger amounts of cash, you will need to ensure that you purchase a loss of cash insurance which will cover an agreed limit for the loss of money and will also cover the money if it is in transit to and from the business premises as well as on site. There is also a fidelity guarantee insurance which covers you as a result of loss of money or stock from any staff dishonesty. You can also purchase goods in transit insurance which will cover the cost of any goods which are damaged while being moved. There is also commercial legal insurance which would cover legal expenses in certain circumstances or credit insurance which can insure you against your debtors if they are unable to pay or go bankrupt. You may need to consider specialist insurance for machinery called an engineering insurance or tradesman’s tools insurance to cover their tools. You could insure any of the glass against any accidental damage. There is also professional indemnity insurance which is an insurance policy to cover you against any compensation claims against if you have been negligent. There is also a business interruption policy which will insure your business against any loss of profit or higher overheads resulting for example from damaged machinery.

There are also specific insurance policies for covering directors and key personnel as well as all employees for travel, life and health insurances as well as specific and specialist motor insurance policies to cover your vehicles or employees’ vehicles for business use.

If you work from home, you will need to ensure that you have adequate business cover available. Standard household insurance policies will not cover for any business use.

So depending on the type of your business there is many different insurance policies available to ensure that you cover and insure your business adequately. It is best to discuss all your requirements with specialist business insurance policies to ensure that you get insurance policies tailored to your needs and you are covered as you expected. It is always beneficial when seeking business insurance that you get a couple of quotes from different insurers. As well as cost you may want to consider their level of service, especially if you have to make a claim, no claims bonus, 24 hour legal advice and emergency help lines and the excess levels (the amount you will have to pay towards each claim).

There are also various policies on liability insurance, insurance policies to protect you if an incident arises and you or your business can be held legally responsible for it including the compulsory employers’ liability insurance.

As we know insurance can be expensive although essential compared to the cost and risk of having no insurance, but you can reduce your company’s risk which can help reduce the insurance premiums by having adequate risk and safety audits on your business and its premises as well as health and safety hazards and regular servicing of your machinery.

By discussing your requirements fully with a broker or specialist business insurance company you can find out and insure your business fully giving it added protection.