3 Things Insurance Companies Need to Know #1- Company field representatives are for the most part, pretty worthless
I can count on one hand the number of solid field representatives I’ve had the last 17 years. Insurance companies: here’s a tip:
Just because you’ve ALWAYS used field representatives does not mean you MUST continue to do so.
If all your field rep. does is a “rah rah, our company is great” type of visit, this is NOT what agents need. We could care less. In fact, if you had a chart showing different levels of caring, the “rah rah” visit would come just BELOW hearing about someone’s belly button lint collection. Seriously.
We simply don’t have time for these kind of visits. It only takes away the precious time we already have far too little of. My solution- fire the field reps. who only do this and increase my commission. Yes, I’m 110% serious.
I’m not saying field reps are bad people. What I am saying is that the above types simply become “time suckers” that provide nothing of value. And rest assured, if you want us to be more productive, the first step you can take is to eliminate any sort of “time sucker.”
What we do have time for are these types of visits:
- A summary of the latest news items that directly affect how we do business with the company. This could include the 500 email updates you send on a daily basis.
- A demonstration of the latest time-saving or marketing tool on the company website.
(Enormously helpful tip alert- we don’t care about Joe Senior Vice President just getting a promotion. Sorry, we just don’t.)
3 Things Insurance Companies Need to Know #2- Underwriters, PLEASE trust your agents
The insurance industry has evolved into a system where agents do the majority of the “field work.” We inspect the properties, take the photos, do the cost estimators, run the insurance scores and get the policy issued. Underwriters exist to discuss cases that fall outside the normal guidelines and provide final approval.
So when your agent gives you a valid case for consideration, PLEASE, PLEASE, tear yourself away from your underwriting manual and listen.
Real-life example: I was asked to offer a proposal for a community center. I did the building cost estimator (which I’ve been doing for 17 years mind you) and got a solid figure. The underwriter did his. And came up with a different figure that was TWICE as much as mine. I KNOW this building well. I spent several of my formative years in said building. I used the industry accepted software. I argued and pleaded my case and he would not budge. Didn’t care what I had to say, didn’t believe me, whatever. No dice.
I WAS PISSED OFF a shade of purple that ain’t in ANY Crayola box.
And we’re not talking about a piddly-ass account- this is easily $10,000 premium. Maybe not big to some, but big to me.
So, underwriters, if you’ve got good agents- writes quality business, does the work, gets you what you need- LISTEN to them. They know more about the risk than you do. They’ve done their homework. And when they’re good, it makes your job a hell of a lot easier.
3 Things Insurance Companies Need to Know #3- Insurance company execs need to get out of their “ivory tower” and mingle with us common folk
I am always amused when I get the email blast or the company visit that exclaims they’ve just developed a new rating system, new auto program, new way to eat asparagus, fill-in-the-blank, that- quote, unquote- “You’ll just love!”
What they’re really saying is that they spent gazillions of dollars developing this kick-ass new whatever, on the vague assumption it’s something you would actually want to use and could actually help you.
Tip: Not Helpful.
What happens is the company lets the programmers operate in a silo designing something that works well for them, NOT what works well for the end user (which BTW, is-news flash- us agents).
We have that situation at my office- one of our companies spent a buttload of money for a commercial lines quoting and issuance system that TOTALLY sucks. The underwriters hate it, the agents hate it. The janitor would if he looked at it. I am confident the company got no input from the field and just had their happy little developers writing code and making it look “pretty.”
Insurance company execs- it’s time to get out of your ivory tower and roll up your sleeves in our offices. Actually see what we do and how we work. I’m not saying you have to visit every single agent. Pick a handful. Make it easy on you. But just do it.
It’s hard enough to attract top talent to the insurance industry. Throw in a lot of the road blocks & crap I’ve described and I fear it will drive out those few who are crazy enough to stay.