Agency Performance Partners


Increase Your Insurance Retention Rate With Renewal Reviews

Posted on September 5, 2023 by Kelly Donahue Piro

Introduction: Increase Your Insurance Retention Rate with Renewal Reviews

You may be wondering if you can increase your insurance retention rate with renewal reviews. The answer is YES! 

Too many insurance agencies think that by contacting your customer it will cause them to shop or trigger them to look. The renewal will do that either way – at least when you call them it’s an opportunity to work with them. 

Remember, clients take the path of least resistance, and staying with their current insurance agency is the path of least resistance!

When making renewal reviews the goal is to be the advocate for the client (FYI this is certainly about more than price!) 

We must earn our commission every year and if we put the client on set and forget it, it’s very easy for the client to forget who we are. We must remember that our best (and most profitable) clients don’t need us that much so it is incredibly easy for those dream clients to wonder why they are doing business with us. 

We must insert ourselves onto the client’s radar screen because well things change. The carriers change, people’s lives and businesses change and let’s face it people don’t always know what to tell us. 

One item we have to remember is that we do not always know what may trigger someone to look at alternative quotes but here are some common reasons that renewal review calls solve:

  • Indifference: They don’t feel strongly about the service they are getting so why not shop?
  • Price: We do not know the price trigger that can cause client deflection – every client is different
  • Life/Business Change: If we don’t stay in contact with clients when they do have a chance they may not remember to call us and go elsewhere
  • Coverage Gaps: If a client does start shopping another agent will surely bring up coverage gaps. This makes sure your policies are tight and right. 

“Remember, clients take the path of least resistance, and staying with their current insurance agency is the path of least resistance!” Kelly Donahue-Piro

Why Is Insurance Retention Important

Retaining customers is vital for a growing agency. You do not make money the first year you have a client on the books for many agencies it takes 1.5 to 2 years to become profitable. 

When agencies churn and burn clients it’s a recipe to do a lot of work without much growth. Insurance is one of the greatest industries for this reason. 

We have a renewable income! We know that about 88% of our clients will renew every single year. However, top agencies have a retention rate of 94% and it is indeed more profitable to retain a client than it is to find a new one. 

According to Insuredmine.com “A 5% improvement in retention rate can double your profits in 5 years.” So many agencies focus on new business but what if we put part of that budget into retaining clients? 

We could grow even faster! For many insurance agencies, cross-selling can be a challenge. However, multiline policies have a 95% retention rate. 

Many agency team members need a plan of when to ask and how to ask to help facilitate cross-sales. 

A strong and healthy retention rate also has several positive side effects. These can include:

  • High team member retention (less rif raf happier team)
  • Better agency valuation
  • Great community reputation and word of mouth
  • Growth through referrals from happy customers
  • Less dependency on marketing and leads
  • Better-educated clients for greater efficiency

Watch this video on How To Retain Existing Insurance Customers for additional strategies other than just renewal reviews!

The Role of Renewal Reviews

You may be wondering what is a renewal review. Across the industry, there are different versions of reviews. Renewal reviews are not a new fango hot and happening trend – far from it! 

It’s one of the most traditional activities an insurance agent can do. For this blog, I will outline what a renewal review entails at APP. 

It’s a simple process:

  • Alert there is an upcoming renewal
  • Review the account with a checklist (Note we review the entire account on the call 1 call per year)
  • Call the customer (if you do not get them send an email – but no chasing and no follow-up_
  • Review the account with a checklist 
    • Contact Information
    • Updates
    • Coverage Review
    • Price
    • Discounts
    • Confirmation of the next steps
    • Gratitude
    • Referral Request
  • Document the management system 

Some agencies can become nervous about contacting the clients because they fear it will open a can of worms or poke the sleeping bear. 

The reality is today lots of people are poking your client and when you are silent you may lose. 

Renewal reviews can solve many agency challenges! Here are just some of the challenges a solid renewal review can solve:

  • Updated contact information: you can’t give WOW customer service if you can’t contact the person
  • Client Updates: Many clients have no idea when to call their agent so their policies may not be reflective of their current situation
  • Client Education: Educate clients on apps, EFT, pay in full, and any new agency programs. You can teach clients how to work efficiently with you. 
  • Review Rate: I know this may be scary but when you control the narrative people appreciate the information and the why. When you deliver the details they trust you. 
  • Discount Review: There is always a way to get a client’s rate down. It just depends on how many discounts the client is willing to apply. 
  • Reduced E&O Exposure: With renewal reviews, you find issues before claims come about 

In addition to this, you can get a pulse on how satisfied the customer is with your team and agency. I know this may be a reason to shy away from renewal reviews however, when you know about it you can fix it. 

Renewal reviews also open up an opportunity for the client to discuss questions, concerns and work with you on staying. When you get proactive you can reduce client churn and boost your client’s loyalty to your agency. 

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Conducting A High-Quality Renewal Review Call 

Just like a veteran airplane pilot checks the plane before taking off with a checklist – insurance renewal reviews are no different. Every person (even seasoned veterans) needs to follow a checklist. 

Have you ever had the Thursday at 3:30 pm moment? You know that moment when your brain is fuzzy and hazy and well stringing together even a sentence can be a challenge – that is the reason we all need a checklist. What’s amazing to me is that the new people entering the insurance industry all really like the checklists. 

It gives them confidence in what they are doing and what to do next. 

The key to a great renewal review is the agency taking some time to stop and plan out the strategy. You will want to identify who gets called, and when, identify email templates, checklists, and more. 

We have created a renewal review call planner you can download to help you get started:

September 2023 - Freemium Download - Renewal Review Process Planner

The goal of a renewal review call is to review coverage – not just deal with price. Too often in insurance, we don’t focus on our value, we go straight to price. 

We need to slow down and make sure we take the time to educate the client about our value, efficient ways to get service, and their coverages. 

One big decision you have to make when making renewal review calls that can increase your insurance retention rate is when to call. 

Generally, there are two options:

  • Call X days before renewal 
  • Call upon download

We lean a little more toward download (if the bulk of your renewals download). We reason that you are getting the rate about the same time as the client so you can address it with options and opportunities. 

If you call too early or too late you can be stuck behind the rate. 

In our renewal program, we also encourage you to make 1 call and 1 email and then close the activity. Too many agencies get tripped up on renewal reviews because they may it too labor intensive. 

We have seen some agencies call the client 2-3 times. Since this is an opportunity, not a requirement we want to call once and then leave the door open for the client to return our call. If you have to make more than 1 outreach you will find the calls pile up pretty quickly. 

Another key to a great renewal review call is to make sure you customize and tailor the call to your client. One key tactic we always use in our Agency Retention program is to gather personal details about the client. 

For example, ask the business owner how they got started or find out the kid’s and pets’ names in the renewal review call. This way in future interactions you can make the client feel at home and personalized. 

When making renewal reviews it’s important to be prepared to make coverage recommendations. This means making the interaction about more than price. Now, one note we find that many teams struggle with how to show the value of these key coverage improvements. 

You will need to consider scripts and role-playing to help your team become comfortable with coverage sales. 

If you have 8 carriers with all different products do you think that you can keep track of all of the discounts and fees? Probably not! To have an effective renewal review you will want to scrub the account for discounts. 

Let’s use telematics as an example. We see a lot of apprehension around this product. 

Here are some reasons why we have telematics challenges:

  • With several carriers its difficult to keep how it works straight
  • Fear that if the client does not download it and use they will get a nasty call when the discount drops
  • There is the distrust that it won’t hurt the client
  • The agent themselves wouldn’t use it so they struggle to recommend it to others

So we know the insurance carriers have invested a lot of money and time into telematics and it’s not going away. Also, you can increase your insurance retention rate by making this suggestion to clients. 

Now your team has to become educated and comfortable with the product. We must remember this is not our policy, our job is to educate the clients and allow them to make their decision. 

Remember the more you interact with your clients the more opportunity you have. 

“If you are scared to call your clients because they may leave, the problem is your customer experience, not the renewal review call.” Kelly Donahue-Piro

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Using Renewal Reviews To Build Long-Term Relationships

One mission of successful insurance agencies is the ability to create long-term relationships. What can support that more than proactive renewal reviews?

When the clients know, like, and trust you your job becomes easier, referrals come in and you increase your insurance retention rate. There are so many great things that come from focusing on building relationships. 

Some agencies focus on service and some on sales. We recommend that agencies focus on growth. So much growth in trusting relationships. 

Let’s review what destroys trust in insurance:

  • Claims that are not paid as expected
  • Return calls not made
  • Discounts not proactively reviewed
  • Coverage gaps that were not addressed 
  • Pricing differences that were not expected

Guess what insurance renewal reviews help you get ahead of these trust-busting issues. By being proactive in good times and bad you can build trust. Trust equals long-term relationships that increase your insurance retention rate. 

How To Monitor and Analyze Your Renewal Reviews

The saying You can’t manage what you can’t measure is so very true. Identifying the facts of renewal calls are critical. Commonly, the team may push off renewal reviews because they feel there are more pressing matters. 

We MUST identify that there can be nothing more important than building trust with our clients and increasing your insurance retention. 

The premise of proactive renewal reviews is you have to set time aside for these critical trust-building interactions. 

You will want to track the following:

  • Number of calls to make 
  • Number of calls made
  • Number of clients connected with
  • Number of coverage increases
  • Number of cross-sell quotes
  • Number of cross-sell sales
  • Number of remarket quotes
  • Number of remarket moves
  • Retention rate

You can do this in every single management system (I promise!) Our Agency Retention program will help with this. 

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Renewal reviews can be challenging to get started – but just like Burbees they are worth it. You have to deeply believe that renewal reviews are the right thing to do. 

They do solve a whole lot of agency challenges all with one phone call. If agencies start thinking about renewal reviews as growth opportunities not service your agency will find the time. 

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