Agency Performance Partners


Posted on September 26, 2022 by Camille Maraguinot

As an agency leader, do you wonder if your team could be cross-selling insurance at renewal time? As a team member, do you ever struggle to ask clients about their other lines of business without sounding salesy or pushy? Do you think that the client will ask you if they are interested?

Or maybe you feel that the client doesn’t have the time to answer a few questions. We have all been there at some point in our careers.

What about this: 

-Do you feel pushy when talking to your favorite customer about the coverage they might need or missing policy? 

-What about your best friend or a family member? 

It has been shown that 1 in 3 people will shop for auto insurance this year, and half will only look at one quote before making a purchase. What if that customer only had auto insurance with you? Would the customer leave your agency? Here we will review several reasons that the perfect time to gather information and make a cross-sell is when a policy is renewed. In this blog, we will discuss and see if your team is cross-selling insurance at renewal.

APP Update

Where was APP last week?

Kelly: Detroit and Bellefointaine OH, Iueter Training Day with APP, Aitken Ormond Leadership Day, Coverlink AppX Retention Launch

Heath: Rock Creek Agency Assessment, AppX Retention Call, Agency Assessment Meeting – Gartman Insurance

Stephen: Office

The Challenge with Cross-Selling at Renewal

Our feelings and experiences are the primary reason we have challenges while cross-selling at renewal. We are afraid of a NO, of upsetting the customer, and we often assume that the client is in a hurry. Maybe a client has gotten upset over price, so we think now is not the time to ask for more.

More often than not, we decide how the client will respond by answering the question in our head, not by asking the client the question. That means – we are having the conversation with the wrong person! We need to engage the client to get cross-selling going.

In the APP Agency Retention Program we also talk about how you are often more worried about price or changes to their policy than the consumer. We want to help remove some of the fears of cross-selling and give you the confidence to “Just Ask”! 

The Myths and Facts about Cross-Selling Insurance at Renewal

  • Myth: The customer is in a hurry and doesn’t have time to discuss other options. 

Fact: You have a captive audience. The customer wants to hear what you have to say.

  • Myth: The rate increased, so I probably shouldn’t bring up other coverages and policies.

Fact: Double checking for discounts and offering the multi-policy option is helpful.

  • Myth: The customer will get upset and think that I am being pushy.

Fact: You are the teacher. Help the client decide what a good fit is.

  • Myth: I’m only a CSR. I can’t ask about other policies.

Fact: While you might not be able to discuss coverage or give recommendations, you can ask where the other lines of business are, then transfer the call to a licensed agent. 

Six ways to Cross-Sell Insurance at Renewal 

STOP! Don’t Reshop! 

When facing a rate increase, you might consider reshopping the policy before talking to the client. 

Let’s stop and take a moment. Start by doing a quick review:

  • Did you look at the reason for the change in rates? 
  • Was there something that changed in the household, such as driving activity, a new vehicle, a recent claim, or a protection class change? 
  • Did they have payment issues that are challenging the rate?
  • Was there an underwriting guideline update – such the year of the roof just became a little too old
  • Were there weather-related issues in the area?

Take the time to look into the reason for the increase, reach out to the customer to review the reasoning, and then take action. Ask questions, get a clear picture of any changes to the risk, and then present options. 

If the customer only has one line of business, they miss out on the most significant discount most carriers offer the multi-policy discount. 

This is one of the most accessible conversations to have when it comes to rating:

“Did you know that Carrier Y offers an X% discount when both the home and auto are written with them? I would hate for you to miss out on this discount! Would you mind asking me a few additional questions to see if you qualify?” 

If the client declines to answer any additional questions, that’s ok, just remind them that you were trying to help and then move on. If they say yes, then ask away. Just make sure that you follow through on your promise by setting a date and time to reach back out to review the options available to them. 

If You’re Good Enough to be Their Auto Agent, Why Not Their Home Agent? 

The biggest obstacle most service agents face is the fact that they don’t want to sound salesy. We hear more often than not that “I don’t want to upset the customer” or “I don’t want them to think that I’m pushy”

Ask yourself this question: 

How do I know what limits they have or if they even have coverage for X… We get in our own way. 

We love to think that the client loves us and that their homeowner’s policy is nearly perfect, but if we don’t know where their auto insurance is, are we really providing the best service possible? Here is a trick. The next time you are reviewing the renewal with a client, say this:

 “I have a box that pops up in my system that asks where your (insert line of business here) is. Would you mind telling me so I can close this box?” 

8 Out of 10 Times, They’ll Tell You Where Their Policies Are

This starts the conversation of coverage, carrier and current agent. Ask questions and find out how they feel about their current coverage, agent, and carrier. Have they had stellar service, or have they even heard from their current agent? Now is your time to shine. 

They’re Not in a Hurry If You Schedule the Call

The easiest way to get over feeling like the client doesn’t have time to talk is to schedule the call with them. Let the client know that you have several things that you need to speak to them about, and let them know how long the call should take. Then be prepared. Have suggestions for their current coverage ready as well as a list of questions. Keep them engaged and be their advisor. Whenever possible, quote the policy over the phone and review it with them during their renewal review. Make it as easy as possible for them to purchase the policy and set clear expectations of the process. You might be shocked that the client thought you only offered the type of policy you wrote for them or that you only had one carrier available. Educate the customer on the products and carriers you offer.  

Here is another challenge we have found with cross-selling. When the account management team feels like they don’t have time, cross-selling drops way down. Cross-selling may feel like a luxury item – when I have time, I’ll cross-sell insurance. This is a bit like seeing the forest through the trees. You will have more time and less hassle when your book is cross-sold. Cross-sold clients do not have another agent in their ear, and often rate increases are minimized for package business. 

If you don’t ask them, someone else will

By providing outstanding service, the client gains confidence in you and your opinions. They look to you to tell them what they need. Just as a good waiter recommends a delicious appetizer or an unexpected seasonal beverage, you should also be making suggestions. The client is looking for a reason to say yes, not no. Make every renewal call special by being professional, knowledgeable, and helpful. 

Ask open-ended questions and wait for the answer. Don’t try to answer the question for the client. Bring up something you might remember about them, their kids, pets, hobbies, classic car, or the last place you saw them. Customize the conversation to the type of client that you are talking to. Make sure to refer to the existing coverage they do have and then ask where their other policies are or if there is a note in the file that they had auto insurance with Carrier W, then ask if they still have that policy. Ask when the last time the other agent reached out to review their coverage options with them. Build the relationship and be the person they want to turn to with all their insurance questions and needs. If you never ask the question, you will never know the answer. One thing is for sure, someone else will ask and get the answer.     

Monoline business is a race to the finish. Generally the first person to ask wins the business. 

Cross Sell an Insurance: Talk About Lines of Business Nobody Else Does

When was the last time you saw a commercial on TV for an umbrella policy, flood insurance, or earthquake coverage?

Bringing up the less common policies can lead to a conversation that engages the client. If they didn’t know the range was available, how could they decline it? Talking about specialty products and less common policy types helps to establish you as an insurance advisor, not an order taker.

The thing that the client will remember long after the call is the fact that you added value and knowledge to the conversation. What other lines of business does your office offer?

Think about:

  • Personal lines department
  • Commercial lines department
  • Life department
  • Benefits department

Just because you ask about a policy doesn’t mean you have to be the expert in it. All you need to know is to whom you’ll direct the client for expert guidance. You’re part of a team, not on an island of one.

Cross-selling a doesn’t have to be complicated.   

Our recommended script includes:

“While I have you, do you happen to have any other policies with other agents”

This is an excellent script for new and renewal businesses as it casts a large net!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Make cross-sell an insurance during renewal review a game. Stick with me on this one. 

  • Let’s say you have 10 renewal review calls to do in a day. 
  • You speak with 40% of the calls you make (4 people you connect with). That’s four opportunities to shine (and get the information needed for another line of business)
  • Keep a document on your computer desktop. For each call you make, keep track of the outcome.
    • How many cross-sells did you recommend? 
    • Voicemails did you leave?
    •  What increases did you offer? 
  • At the end of each week, look at your stats. 
  • Then challenge yourself to ask a few more times the following week. 

Once you get into the habit of asking, you will see an increase in your own confidence as well as an increase in the customer’s experience. People want to do business with people they feel are helpful and friendly.

Challenge a coworker to track their calls as well; this will help keep you and them accountable for growing and learning. Discuss successes as well as learning moments with each other.

It’s always more fun to play checkers with another person than it is to play alone. 

In the end, to cross sell an insurance try something new 

Make small conscious decisions to try something new. Take one of the tips above and try it out. Every renewal call is an opportunity to solidify the client relationship, learn more about their needs, and offer solutions. Remember, if you are the best option for one of their policies, you are the best option for all of their policies. Make each review memorable. Share your knowledge and expertise.   

If your agency is missing cross-sales at renewal, make sure you take a look at our Agency Retention Program for you to better cross-sell an insurance

New call-to-action