Let me be very clear- We are way beyond the days when providing a policy was enough
Since the days of Ben Franklin, the process for obtaining insurance hasn’t changed much- complete an application, pay the premium, get the policy. At one point, this was the minimum to qualify as an excellent customer experience. (fun bit of trivia- Ben Franklin helped popularize and standardize the modern idea of insurance. In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire).
The minimum is no longer good enough
Customers are requiring, perhaps even DEMANDING new levels of responsiveness from their insurance agents.
Hell, in our 24/7, always on society, do you blame them?
So in preparation for an upcoming Google Plus Hangout whose title just happens to be the same as this post (details below), I did some brainstorming and came up with the following “wish list.” A note: by no means do I meet every single item on my wish list. There are still several things I struggle with on a daily basis. But, this brainstorming exercise did require me to take a long, hard look at myself. Self-analysis can be brutal, but it can also be rejuvenating.
My “Wish” List Description of Today’s Insurance Agent
Consistent communication, NOT just at renewal
However, there’s a fine line between consistent, helpful communication and just being plain annoying. A good insurance agent needs to figure out where that line exists. Communication could be any of the following: newsletter, email message, postcard, flyer, phone call, etc. And when I say “communication” I’m not talking “selly sell.” I’m talking information that’s of value. Something that actually helps, not necessarily pushing a new product.
And speaking of value, any Joe Blow can hop on the Internet and find a glossary of terms & definitions. They can even Google “homeowners policy” and eventually find the ISO HO 3 contract.
Where the rubber meets the road is when your agent can take the policy and interpret what it means for you. Here’s some real-life examples:
- Discussing an umbrella policy and explaining how a claim is paid when you don’t carry the required underlying limits and why that matters to YOU.
- Explaining co-insurance and how suffering a co-insurance penalty means you don’t get the full amount of the claim settlement (Come again?) And illustrating the math.
- Why, if you’re a homeowner or have other assets to protect, what really happens when your state minimum auto insurance policy runs out of coverage. (hint- you get to pay. And if you have no cash- they’ll get it some other way. Think your house, vacation property, your car, stocks, your paycheck…..
- When you screw up a job, the commercial liability policy pays for resulting property damage or bodily injury and not for the screw-up itself. And what this could mean for you business.
An insurance agent’s job is to “dig deep” and take what is basically a boilerplate policy and apply it specifically to you. Because otherwise why should you care?
And speaking of 24/7 access, this includes access to the insurance agent. That may include your cell phone number.
They also want access via their preferred method of communication. Note I didn’t say the agent’s preferred method. Very important distinction.
That could be text, email, Skype, social media. And on the subject of social media, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be sitting and staring at your computer screen for 8 hours a day hoping for interaction. It does mean having a presence so you can respond to messages sent through social media channels. Just last week, I talked with a potential customer via Facebook message. We even set an appointment.
Here’s the details for “What Should You Expect from Your Insurance Agent?” Hangout
Date: Wednesday, July 10 (yes, that’s TOMORROW)
Time: 1pm-2pm EST
Can’t attend? Go to http://www.giangolainsurance.com/health–care–insurance–hangout-0 and enter your email address to have the replay delivered to you.