As many of us have learned by now insurance rates are continuing to increase. Whether it is due to the increased cost of raw materials, labor shortages, severity of losses, new technology, or mother nature, insurance rates are on the rise across the country.
One of the most common calls that we receive is “How do I help my team keep clients happy without remarketing every account”. We know that customers can be frustrated by increasing rates when they don’t have any claims, their vehicle is getting older, or in commercial lines when rates go up as the business grows.
In our experience, frontline team members often lack confidence in discussing rate increases and lean specifically on remarketing strategies that are time-consuming and create a perpetual focus on price rather than value.
This causes a revolving door of rewrites year after year. Unfortunately, one remarket/rewrite for a client causes them the false belief it can be rewritten every 6 months-year. What if instead, we focused our training efforts on building the team members into confident agents that are ready to face the conversation head-on?
Role-playing with scripts can seem a little uncomfortable at first, but once you get used to having these types of conversations, they become much easier. Role-playing shouldn’t be feared; it should be a safe opportunity to make mistakes in front of people who can give you constructive feedback in order to build confidence in front of the client.
The second part of the solution is to make sure that you have a clear process for how your agency handles rate increase calls. This must focus on value and coverage and not on price. You can view our online course of 10 Ridiculously Amazing Insurance Processes and/or How to Reduce Remarketing
How to Handle Insurance Rate Increases
To handle an insurance rate increase, we must first start by taking back control of the call. The best way is to have insurance rate increase scripts. Remember, when clients have rate frustrations, it’s not personal. In fact, they most likely don’t even really know you well enough to make it personal!
Oftentimes, they have told themselves a story for a while about how unfair their insurance rate is. We need to start by taking control of the call. Instead of being fearful about rates, lean into that conversation. Remember, they are coming to you because you have the tools to help them.
“Take the stance that you are their insurance hero and there is a challenge that you have to bring options to.”
Gaining Control of the Call
- Start by introducing yourself with a quick fact and an offer to help. “Hi this is NAME in the LOCATION Office and I am going to help get to the bottom of this. Tell me what is going on.” Use the below Insurance Rate Increase Scripts
- When someone calls in upset, do your best to not interrupt them and listen to their concerns, frustrations, and the tone of their voice. As they are talking, alert them that you are going to take notes while they speak, so if they hear a keyboard or silence, it does not further frustrate them. “I’m going to be taking some notes while you are talking to make sure that I don’t miss anything. I just wanted to make you aware of this in case you hear me typing. You will know that I am still focused on you!”
- Once they have completed their statements, offer to repeat what you took out of the conversation so you can best assist them. “Just to make sure that I understand what you are saying. (Repeat the comments in a warm friendly tone.)”
- Upon agreement of the challenge, work to confirm their contact information. This is a great neutral way to gain back control of the call. “I just need to verify that the best phone number for you is NUMBER and that your email address is EMAIL. Is there a secondary email or phone number I should add to your file?”
Review the Account
- Identify the following on the account:
- Monthly $ amount of the rate increase
- Cause, if any, for the rate increase
- For the rate increases that are for just cause (accident, ticket, loss of multi-policy discount, endorsements, etc.) share with them what you are seeing. Factually say something like, “I see on your X policy you had an at-fault accident this year that paid out $X. This could be one of the reasons that your insurance premium increased.”
- Be prepared for them to respond with the comment, “Isn’t that why I have insurance?” or “It saved me money to move my home.”
- You can respond with, “Yes, with claims your risk profile with the carrier changes, and this can often impact your rates. I’m glad you called so we can review some options.”
- For the rate increases that are due to the loss of a discount (multi-policy, alarm credit, AAA, etc.) share with them what you are seeing. Factually say something like, “I see that you had the multi-line discount on your auto, but you have since canceled your home policy.”
- Be prepared for them to respond with the comment, “It saved me money to move my home. What does that have to do with my auto?”
- You can respond with, “I’m glad that you were able to find something that you were happy with for your home, let’s review and see what other discount we might be able to apply to your auto.”
Whenever anyone in your life is upset about something, it is generally because they don’t feel like they have options. When people feel trapped, they often become the most frustrated.
In this situation make sure you provide people with options to get their premium down with the current carrier first:
- Payment Strategy
- Confirm Discounts
- Look at the RCE
When Remarketing Makes Sense
If you opt to remarket and rewrite a client, please make sure that you always provide the entire range of pricing. For example, if you rate the risk and one carrier comes out at double, share this with the client. They can then clearly see they weren’t getting completely taken advantage of, and that there are carriers out there with even more robust rates!
Here are a few things everyone needs to remember:
- Rates will increase naturally every year. We need to be prepared.
- Rate increases come from the carrier as well as the client.
- We need to take our time to review the account rather than get trapped in the rate game.
- Your best strategy is to run into a rate increase, not away from it.
Different Role-Playing Scenarios with your Team
- Rate increase with tickets and accidents.
- A general rate increase for no real reason.
- Rate increase due to a claim (remember to use the amount paid out usually the amount the carrier increases policy does not compare to the amount of the actual incident).
- Rate increase when a car was added or removed and/or multi-car discount increased the policy.
- Rate increase home car discount fell off (check to see when, if it has been a long time don’t promise any back premium, just add it as if it was never removed and speak to the carrier before mentioning to the client you may be able to get premium from when it dropped off!) Clients will leave if you make this mistake and say you stole from them!
- Rate increase added Inexperienced operator.
These insurance rate increase scripts will help guide you through the process of what to say. Keep in mind none of these will be exactly what you need to say as you need to be prepared and review their account for the little details. Sometimes knowing little details means a lot.
If you need to review it and call them back, be honest, but be careful, do not give them time to call around to other agents. Be mindful of their time and set an appointment with them to call and discuss/review it.
Script: Hello this is NAME from AGENCY, how can I help you today, or how can I make this the best call of your day? LISTEN, and explain back to the customer what their needs are. (USE A CALM TONE OF VOICE) Thank you so much for calling today and making us aware of this issue. I am here to help, let me take a closer look to find some solutions. I am showing a violation from last year that was just added to the policy and made it increase. Unfortunately, this changes your risk score with the company, the percentage of increase or amount of increase a month is ($/%), which is less than expected or less than the average. This violation will cost all the carriers and maybe even higher than others.
Script: Hello this is NAME from AGENCY, how can I help you today, or how can I make this the best call of your day? LISTEN, (review the policy for discounts) and explain what you hear from the customer. As I review your policy here I see that there was a general rate increase for the area. Our state took an average rate increase of 20%, the good news is your policy only increased 8% so you are doing way better than most. Let’s look for some discounts you may qualify for so we can get this back down some, does that sound ok? (Look for and ask for cross-sell opportunities)
Script: Hello this is NAME from AGENCY, how can I help you today, or how can I make this the best call of your day? LISTEN, (review the policy for discounts) and explain what you hear from the customer. I see here that there was a claim in MONTH, it looks like your policy increased by $30 a month, and the claim paid out 15,500. Usually, the increase due to a claim will last 3 years. That is an increase of $1,080 over the 3 years, that seems way better than paying out-of-pocket $15,500, right? (Be careful with this one you need to have a full understanding of who was at fault and many of the details, but you are stating a fact)
Script: Hello this is NAME from AGENCY, how can I help you today, or how can I make this the best call of your day? LISTEN, (review the policy for discounts) and explain what you hear from the customer. I see you added a car in MONTH, that car added $X a month and that looks like what the increase is about. When you added it X months were remaining so it seemed cheaper at that time but now it distributes that over the 6 months/year. (This process may be different with carriers use your better judgment to explain)
Script: Hello this is NAME from AGENCY, how can I help you today, or how can I make this the best call of your day? LISTEN, (review the policy for discounts) and explain what you hear from the customer. Looks like you added your son/daughter to this policy, at the time they were added it added $X because only X MONTHS were remaining. Now they will be on for the full policy term, therefore it will cost $X more a month. Let me look for other discounts we can possibly add to reduce that, (ask about good grades, and safety courses, if applicable)
Always be honest but factual. Do not assume that the client understands. You have to make it as easy as possible for them. Also, do not talk to them like they don’t know insurance. Be mindful of the client, build rapport, and show them that you are their insurance hero and that you are on their side and here to help!
Your clients are your biggest assets. They are what brings in your paycheck, and treat them as such. Create some of your insurance rate increase scripts in your agency with your staff.
Again, we might dislike role-playing but sometimes it is a necessary evil to make us look and be great in front of our clients. We are the experts and want to be great at what we do and that means practicing and knowing insurance rates and how to explain them.
APP has a WOW Customer service course that is also very helpful when dealing with clients, you can find it in the school or as a separate course, go check it out!