In 2016, the estimated total number of independent Agencies in the United States stood at 38,000, according to Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Inc. Given the huge number, it comes as no surprise that the competition is extensive to run an agency profitably. Today, we will examine 7 steps that can guide an agent towards success.
1. Be available:
Being available to your customers and prospects at any time of the day is crucial to having a successful relationship. In today’s world, there is no excuse to not use technology to achieve this. Some of the ways successful agents are achieving this are through contracting with call centers for after hours; using an online communication tool like an email, and messaging systems for instant messaging, and many others. Being available is going to vary for every agent, and the wide spectrum can be from having a website with required information for clients to having chatbot or call center to answer specific questions, but the fact remains that highly effective agents are always available.
Check out our post on Chatbot and how it is helping insurance agents.
2. Stay focused:
‘Focus where you want to be, not just where you are.’ Successful independent agents are highly focused and pay equal attention to the tasks at hand and also on future tasks. They do not let current distractions become excuses for failing their long-term goals. They learn to prioritize and delegate work and find time for important daily tasks. When running an agency, some everyday distractions are inevitable. Have procedures and processes in place for routine hiccups and handle them without being distracted from your goals. Preset a certain time of the day to focus on process improvements. Find technology solutions for high-frequency low-value activities and commit yourself and valuable resources to low-frequency high-value events – be it meeting with clients, analyzing his risk profile or doing the right research to deliver insights for optimized policy needs. For issues insurance cards, basic client information or COI – integrate your website with client portal, have your co-branded agency app to cater to these basic needs.
3. Maximize social media use:
There are now 3.196 billion people using social media. Make your content social, all your posts on social media do not have to pertain to insurance or your agency. Post about life, purchases, holidays, children, money saving tips, etc. People that like what you say will also like to know more about what you do. This might lead them to think about you when they need to buy or renew their insurances. It is, however, important to stay neutral and not advertise our personal views on sensitive issues like politics, race or religion on social media. Remember, the worldview on these issues is always divided and it is not a very bright idea to alienate half of your prospects by being opinionated.
Check out our blog on if you are sharing too much on social media
4. Offer Mobility:
Gone are the days when a prospective customer walked into an agency to discuss or get insurance quotes. People like to do almost everything on the go. Getting quotes, selecting a product, comparing quotes and buying policies can all be done on the go. So it is really not a choice for independent agents to offer mobility; it is almost mandatory. Choose the tools that you think suit your business needs to offer this convenience. There are multiple options to choose from including mobile-friendly websites, apps, and chatbots, etc. Compare the features that you are most likely to use and select the right option that will help your business. Being able to offer services to clients via omnichannel and the time and convenience of their choices make a whole lot of difference in retention and more business. Even from the point of consolidation and book of record where clients don’t need to have multiple apps for all their policies can be a game changer.
Also, read why – InsuredMine launched Mobile App for Independent Agents
5. Use your databank:
Every independent agency has a goldmine of data. Don’t miss out on using this data to build a relationship with your customers. Use dates to send out birthday cards; policy expiration notices; use policy info to suggest a missing line of coverage, adequacy of coverage, use demographics for better risk profiling and segmentation for individual, family or business, etc. All these actions speak to the customer and convey that you are engaged and have their best interests in mind. It is also important to find that fine line between being considerate and being over enthusiastic. People don’t like to be bombarded with communication. Create your own balance.
Good read Insurance Customer Engagement – 3 winning strategies
6. Community Outreach:
Get involved in the community. This can be done by helping at the local schools or libraries, helping with a cleaning project (a beach, park), participating in community festivities, etc. The beauty of being local is that you can connect with the community at a personal level. It will help build your brand and let them know you better. Agencies supporting a social cause and active in the community have historically better retention rate and higher lifetime customer value with increased referrals, more policies, and retention.
7. Embrace Technology:
It cannot be stressed enough! Everyone uses the internet these days. By trying to stick to traditional methods of doing business, you are bound to miss the vast opportunity that technology brings to your agency. From quotes to claims, all aspects of your agency business can be done online. So be the ambassador for change and promote your agency and your brand through the use of technology. Create an honest and simple website promoting your brand. Make people understand that you are there to help them and make it easy for them to use your website and to connect with you. Again embracing technology and being digital can mean many things from just having a website to being all digital with a quote to bind process completed 100% digitally. But we understand really is somewhere in between.
One of our previous blogs on how Digitization is transforming insurance experience
Independent agents exercise explicit amounts of power in terms of choice and decision making, but with great power comes great responsibility. People place their faith in your judgment to protect their assets, life, and businesses. As an independent agent, your duty is not only to find an affordable price for your customers, but also to use your expertise to advice appropriately. No one said it’s going to be easy, and nobody achieved success overnight. As an independent agent, all that you need to remember is that it is going to take a lot of hard and smart work to achieve success; and success is what you want it to be. However, just a word of caution on data privacy and security as they can make or break your business. We take security very seriously and assume all businesses do the same.