2022 was a trying year for businesses and consumers alike, and 2023 will no doubt face its own set of challenges.
In an interview with Insurance Business America, Mike Becker, CEO of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, offers encouragement to independent insurance agents: “Any sort of economic uncertainty is unnerving to business owners and agencies alike. At the same time, this is an opportunity for agents to showcase the strongest part of their value proposition, which is the communication and education of consumers on their insurance.”
Here are Becker’s tips (alongside a few of our own!) for how independent agents can help their clients and build their businesses during an economic downturn.
- Double down on client education. Although no one can control the industry-wide premium jumps, agents can be a strong, confident voice to guide their clients through these changes. Taking the time to proactively explain the reasoning behind rate increases and policy changes can go a long way to providing the peace of mind insureds need to weather financial uncertainty.
- Use technology to your advantage. Automating repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks — like funneling client data into a robust client management database — can free up time and energy to work with your clients more. Once that data is collected, agents can use other tools to review client policies and uncover potential coverage needs or complimentary services. Other automated tools and workflows can also save you (and your clients) time by streamlining the process for quoting, binding policies, and managing claims.
- Ramp up client communication. Another way to leverage technology is through your marketing and communication strategy. Regular email newsletters, blog articles, and social posts are all ways to stay connected to your audience and share helpful and important information. And don’t be afraid to try something new in 2023! Consider adding video to your marketing content mix as a way to showcase your expertise, feature happy customers, and stand apart from the competition. And though video may sound fancy and complicated, it’s not as hard as you may think!
- Tap into your local community. Does the idea of networking feel awkward and uncomfortable? Instead of attending events with the sole intention of generating new business, think of it as an excuse to participate in activities you already enjoy. Focus on events or groups that you are interested in — like fundraisers for causes you care about, workshops for skills you want to learn, or meetup groups for your favorite hobby. These are all great places to informally and authentically connect with people who share your interests. You never know who you might bump into that needs your services, whether it be now or down the road.
- Build a local referral network. Independent agencies have a strong advantage when it comes to serving their local communities. By getting to know other professionals in your area — like investment bankers, real estate agents, legal professionals, and building contractors — you can offer recommendations for quality professionals when your clients need them. In addition to offering this unexpected value-add to your clients, your own business will benefit from being part of a strong network that refers business back to you.
- Invest in strong wholesale relationships. Working with an insurance wholesaler allows you to offer your clients deeper expertise and more market options. Wholesalers, like Jencap, have specialized expertise and broad carrier access that allows us to provide industry-leading insurance solutions that you may not otherwise be able to access. Tapping into a wholesalers network of carriers proves especially useful with hard to place risks or specialized coverages.
Jencap partners with thousands of independent agents countrywide to provide competitive and comprehensive risk placements for their insureds. From cannabis and construction risks to garage and workers’ compensation accounts, our team has you covered. Contact one of our expert brokers today to learn more. You can also read more industry insights here.