Agency Performance Partners


Posted on January 30, 2023 by Kelly Donahue Piro

Introduction: Insurance Policy Renewal Process

In your insurance agency do you have an insurance policy renewal process that is centered around a ridiculously amazing customer experience? In my experience, insurance agencies have a renewal scramble rather than a process.

In personal insurance, a proactive approach will always yield a better result, but that is hard to do! In commercial insurance, we find that we are following the underwriter’s directive. We get what the underwriter needs to renew the account but often miss the experience component, where we review and recommend.

In my experience, agency owners need to earn their renewal commission every single year, and far too many agencies lean on the automatic renewal or chase rate the renewal process is more of a scramble than an organized process that truly protects the client as their life or business changes.

This blog will identify how to build your insurance policy renewal process for success!

Common Insurance Policy Renewal Processes

In my work with over 1000 insurance agencies across the US and Canada, I have identified four typical renewal strategies. Each one of these strategies has some pros and cons. We at Agency Performance Partners have our favorite (I bet you can’t guess which one it is!)

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Wait and See Insurance Renewal Process

This approach is probably the most common insurance renewal process we encounter. In this insurance process, the agency has mainly automatic insurance renewals. The carrier will make the renewal offer, and if they don’t hear anything, the policy will be renewed.

The customer gets the renewal offer and makes a decision to stay, shop or leave. Often times this approach has been enacted due to two main philosophies:

  • Everyone at the agency is so busy, so the wait-and-see approach appears to be the best one
  • The mentality of don’t poke the sleeping bear – if we call the client it will open a can of worms they will shop and leave us

In this approach it is low maintenance to manage but puts your team in fire fighting mode all day. The nature of the wait-and-see model is that our client contacts us when they need us.

For many policies, they have been purchased over the phone, and they may not remember who their agent is – especially if the agency is not in the habit of routine communications with their client. The client may not know you have other companies; clients generally call in frustrated and upset.

This leads to more remarketing, lower retention rates, and a team that may get burned out. While it may seem like less work, it’s more work in the long run to sell more clients, put out fires, and not tend to a proactive client experience.

Shop Till You Drop Insurance Renewal Approach

This insurance policy renewal process involves the agency selecting a rate or premium increase trigger to tend to the client. There is always a debate on dollar amount vs. percentage to select, and in my honest opinion, you may never select the exact right one – every client is different.

In addition, if they take just under the threshold of rate year after year, you may miss some opportunities. Agencies often pick a number they see as best, but insurance is rarely one size fits all. In this model, you work to serve most of your clients, but you still get the inbound spicy client.

When the agency is alerted to the trigger, it generally follows one of the following processes:

  • The Automatic Remarket: the agency takes the information they have on file, shops the account, and calls the client to deliver the news. Or if there is nothing better, in regard to rate, they close the activity.
  • The Renewal Review Call: the agency calls the client, reviews the account, and then determines the need to remarket.

In my experience, the automatic remarketing insurance policy renewal process leaves much room for error. We have found that about 25% of those quotes get bound, so in all reality, is it worth the time?

We also miss any updates, key discounts, and identifying what is important to the client. We make our entire value proposition about rate – the thing we are trying to avoid.

The renewal review call is the better of the options. We only shop after a review.
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This manages our time. We obtain updates and connect with the client. We may avoid a reshop simply by getting key updates or understanding what is important to the client. Remember, with some rate increases, the client is still better served with the current company. Another rate reduction opportunity is the ability to add additional lines with a call where we can get that information.

My challenge with this model (it is better than Wait and See) is that we still make it all about rate. If we want to be seen as value providers and only reach out when rates go up, we are missing some of the opportunities to build relationships every renewal.

I completely understand why some agencies chose this model, it makes a lot of sense on paper. However, when you identify your agency’s value proposition, you may see it a bit differently.

Proactive Renewal Review Process

Let me ask you. In your agency, have you won business from your competition because the prospect has not heard from their current agent? Of course, you have – and you may have sold them because of it. However, if your agency isn’t proactively reaching out. Are you any better?

In the proactive renewal review process, the client gets a proactive communication once a year to invite them to have a renewal review.

We do find that phone calls drive a better result than automated emails (yes, this is harder, but harder things tend to work!) In this insurance policy renewal review process, we recommend

  • Pre-Call Renewal Review checklist: The team completes this to get ready for the call
  • Call Checklist: What to say and ask on the call

Having a detailed process where the team follows a checklist will boost your call results. In the APP insurance policy renewal process, our checklist includes:

  • Contact information review
  • Activity Review
  • Renewal Review Questions (to get updates from the clients)
  • Coverage Review (ensure the policies are up to agency standards and recommend additional coverages)
  • Cross Sale Review (discuss the need for additional policies and or the opportunity to review policies they have with other agents)
  • Rate Discussion (discuss current market conditions and recommend staying with the company or remarketing)
  • Remarketing Checklist (confirm the policy should be shopped)
  • Gratitude thank the client and let them know you are open for referrals
  • Management System Documentation for tracking

Having the right process means your team can conduct an effective renewal review call that helps the agency achieve their goals. Renewal review calls are like penicillin for an agency.

It really does solve all the agency’s major challenges. You may not believe it, but here are all the major agency headaches proactive insurance renewal reviews solve for:

  • Updated contact information
  • Catching E&O errors
  • Coverage increases
  • Cross sales
  • Reduced remarketing
  • Strategic remarketing
  • Carrier updates
  • Non-Renewals
  • Increased retention rate
  • Increased referrals

At APP our recommendation is always to enact a proactive insurance policy renewal process that can help your team see their value and demonstrate that value to your clients.

Selecting The Process That Works For Your Agency

Some of you are reading this blog right now, and your head is spinning – call every single renewal? My team will walk out there and revolt.

I get it, you are underwriting the risk. However, you still have the core challenges listed above. You need to make a plan to solve those challenges. With a proactive insurance renewal plan, we can kill two birds with one stone.

The reason that renewal reviews are hard is that the first 60 days are really hard for the following reasons:

  • It’s new, new things are hard
  • You have to get ahead of the renewals – for 60 days, you a salmon swimming upstream
  • The team has preconceived notions
    • We don’t have time
    • This will cause more remarkets
    • We are opening a can of worms
    • Or they have seen you try things like this before and back off so they will wait and see
  • The bottom line is the team needs strong and steady leadership to see them through this process

If you are interested in getting your team proactive you are not alone! Agency Performance Partners has options to help you get proactive on your insurance policy renewal process.

Here are some options:

Why Your Agency Needs an Insurance Policy Renewal Process

Before we conclude I wanted to remind all of the readers of the importance of an insurance policy renewal process. Having no process means your team is making individual decisions about each renewal. This also means that each team member has a different approach which leads to a disjointed and inconsistent process.

In many agencies, this leads to some team members being backlogged, others losing more clients than others, and some books shrinking rather than thriving. As an agency owner, it is critical that you set the stage for your agency’s processes.

Each client deserves the same experience; a fragmented approach leads to inconsistency.

Conclusion: Insurance Policy Renewal Process

Top insurance agencies spend time outlining the insurance policy renewal process. These agencies start with the customer experience and identify what it means to be insured with your agency. We want to caution you, trying a process very rarely works. Renewing policies is something that your agency does every single day – this is a top process each agency needs to have written, trained on, and practiced.

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