If I had told you in February 2020 that you’d feel lucky just to have a job in 12 months, would you have believed me? It’s not like survival as an insurance agent was simple before COVID-19, but the pandemic has undoubtedly complicated things. Zoom calls, social distancing, and mask mandates can all be barriers to maintaining solid ongoing relationships with your clients. Not only that, but the pandemic has forced all of us to reevaluate our short- and long-term goals and priorities; make difficult compromises; cut back, and adapt to life in a constant state of uncertainty.
Although it looks like things are moving in a positive direction, no one knows what the future holds—what the world will look like a year, 6 months, or even 3 months from now. And yet here we are, navigating policy renewal conversations for clients whose entire last policy year was turned upside down because of the pandemic.
What is your retention strategy?
While the nature of the insurance business hasn’t changed, your clients’ circumstances have. And renewal conversations now likely sound much different than they would have at this time last year.
Regardless of what kinds of clients you serve, you can’t just “sell” them policies and expect to stay in business. The same conversation you had at last year’s renewal might not be enough to retain the client this year. The pandemic has made business financially challenging for many employers. Because of that employers are taking a closer look at every expense and may be more inclined to shop for a different agency. They aren’t necessarily switching to firms with lower prices, but to people who serve as trusted advisors. They want partners, not paper placers. It’s never been more important for agents to step up and become problem-solvers.
Think about what kind of value you’re offering insureds. Right now, employers are looking for help keeping workers safe and healthy, and comply with rigorous new rules and guidelines. If you can offer that help, you can differentiate yourself in the market and forge lasting relationships.
What’s your new business strategy?
In 2020, the focus for many agencies shifted from winning new business to maximizing client retention. At the height of the pandemic, it wasn’t easy to get your foot in the door when employers were concerned about layoffs or avoiding bankruptcy. If an employer wasn’t already in your sales pipeline, it might have been more difficult than normal to start the conversation amid all that turmoil and uncertainty.
However, in today’s climate, the employers who survived are likely much more optimistic than they were just 6 months ago. There is a perceived light at the end of the tunnel. That hope and optimism might just be enough to open some previously closed doors. Because we are not completely out of the woods yet, many new opportunities will likely arise through established relationships. For that reason, your network is your most important resource right now. You need to nurture it, starting with your lifeblood—your existing client base.
Beyond nurturing, your existing client base to identify and capitalize on opportunities to win new business, you may need to cast off some pre-COVID assumptions. For instance, it may be time to rethink the role of technology in your new business strategy.
Although some were forced against their will, there is no doubt that the pandemic caused nearly everyone to embrace technology to a much greater extent. In fact, like the cell phone, GPS, and other technological innovations, many employers who adopted technology as a means of communicating with remote employees are now finding it hard to imagine going back to life without it. Because of that, this is an ideal time make technology an important component of your new business strategy.
Whether you are facing a renewal with a client and want to lead with a value-add that will help cement your relationship, or if you are face-to-face with a new prospect and want to leverage the recent trend towards greater use of technology, Midwestern’s Risk Management Center may be the very thing that you need.
Our Risk Management Center will empower you to make your clients’ lives easier with automated tools for conducting facility inspections, incident investigations, employee training, and ensuring compliance, along with a comprehensive library of safety and HR resources. One key feature of our Risk Management Center is the Audit Track application, which lets employers create custom audits, surveys, questionnaires, and self-assessments for staff— which is a safe, reliable way to manage risk among a workforce dispersed across multiple locations. Employers can also schedule remote inspections to identify and address safety issues without putting people at risk. Also, the Training Track application within our Risk Management Center lets your clients educate their employees on key practices and regulatory updates in a virtual setting. Wherever they’re located, regardless of travel restrictions or local ordinances, all members of the workforce can receive the interactive, information-packed training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. There is even a COVID-19 Return to Work Safely program built into our Risk Management Center that makes it easy for employers to welcome workers and customers back to work safely and in compliance with OSHA and state regulations.
Midwestern’s Risk Management Center is available for free unlimited use by all of your clients that you have placed with Midwestern Insurance Alliance for workers’ compensation coverage, irrespective of premium size or industry. If your curiosity is peaked, check out the video overviews of the various applications within Midwestern’s Risk Management Center.