Leading Your Independent Insurance Team On Renewal Reviews
We all have that wonky story about how we got into insurance. Kelly jokes that you don’t choose it, but it sure does choose you and our guest can definitely relate. She went from being a teacher to a stay-at-home mom to an owner of an independent insurance agency.
Through a series of challenges, twists, turns, losses, and gains, she ended up an agency owner and had to learn very quickly how to make it all work.
Today, she is a mom, a business developer, a speaker, a successful agency owner, and a podcaster. She learned and conquered the insurance game and has made room for a new, authentic kind of growth in the industry with her podcast, which is so good to see.
And you might be wondering…
What Does This Have To Do With Renewal Reviews?
Great question. Just like rest of us, Teresa (and all the notches on her professional belt) is not immune to the challenges most agencies face.
The first was at the two year mark, where she realized she needed to run her agency more like a business and stop being so bogged by the phone all the time. She had to read the terrain and adapt, which she did. Because of those changes, they are thriving and just opened a location in Colorado. Yay!
But it never ends there, right?
Recently, she noticed a nasty little pattern in her retention, more like in the whole agency. They were strictly reactive. Things happen to them and they respond, ending all of their days tired and worn. She felt like they were never, ever being proactive and she wanted to change that.
So, she reached out to Kelly.
Old Dog, Meet New Tricks
Insurance is an old dog living in an everchanging world. There are so many things shifting that it’s almost impossible to keep up. New developments, new buildings, new tech, new issues and it’s all flying at your face at 140mph.
If you allow too much in you could be weighed down by the need to fix everything, to do everything. That is where the idea of multitasking comes in. We all think it’s a good idea to handle as much as humanly possible all at one time because there is so much that needs our attention.
But it doesn’t work like that.
Sometimes, you actually have to slow down. You have to “monotask” and lay a foundation one brick at a time. As Teresa likes to say, eat the (vegan, gummy, life-sized) elephant one bite at a time—something we’ll explain more later.
When life throws a punch or put’s you down a path that you weren’t expecting, you have to alter your course. Teresa never thought she’d be an agency owner. Kelly for sure did not think she’d own an insurance consulting firm.
You never thought that things could get as crazy as they are now, but they are. Now what?
“But New Tricks Suck”
Of all the industries out there that do not like to get with the time, insurance must be up there. It makes sense as to why Kelly is always warning people that if this industry doesn’t change, we will be as irrelevant as going Blockbuster while paying for a Netflix subscription.
Because it’s true!
Growth is how we keep going and make the best of the turns we have no control over. An independent insurance agency completing with those online, “do it in 15 minutes” carriers needs to beat those guys at their own game. And to do that you need to be willing to at least try!
You might be thinking, “But that’s impossible, no one can compete with those guys.”
But you can.
That is why Teresa reached out to Kelly. Teresa had heard about what we do and specifically wanted to start doing renewal review calls.
“My Team Would Never Get On Board With That”
Teresa being Teresa was ready to go all in. Once she makes a decision she is like that.
And you know how it goes, she had the idea and her team had all the fears. It happens all the time. Someone in leadership has an the *vision* and the team does not. To them, it just seems like change for the sake of disrupting the agency’s peace that is holding on by a thread.
How do you fix that? How do you help them see what you see?
#1. Believe For Them
#2. Give Them The Tools
#3. Be Starbucks
#4. Keep People Accountable
- Team Reaction
- Help them not be exhausted
- Believing For Them
- Team gains confidence
- Focusing on good customers and rebuild trust
- Car salespeople
- Burnt Out
- Taling to happy people
- Starbucks Example
- Don’t apologize for things you weren’t involved in
- Better service
- Your value
- See the Elephant – Leaders
- Baby steps
- Accountability & Meetings
- Closing (Hard things, Loving people through it, the honor of being able to be there, you are worth it – your people are out there)
The way Teresa did that is by making sure her customers felt cared for. She left reactive, problem fixing behind for proactive check-ins that met the customers on their terf.
Women power this industry
Having her daughter on (chronicle the process)
- Dad was in allstate
- 20 years ago TX black mold crisis, Everyone stopped writing home and personal, dad had non-compete, she was planning on going back to teaching
- Mom passed away when T was 22, mesophelioma
- “Take care of him.”
- Sign the dotted line, no license, no nothing
- Little by little build up agency, 2 years later he joins
- Not great CRM system to pick up online leads, so she opened second business to receive those because online leads = HOT
- Developed CRM
- Dad was hands off on CRM thing, she was trying to run agency, CRM took off, Dad left allstate and took over independent agency
- 2015 – he sold off section of CRM thing, she refocused on the agency
- She wanted to run it like a business and not be bogged down on the phone
- Agency took off
- 2022 – acquired
- Locations in CO
- Employ 7 people
- Not what she thought
Life takes us on it’s own trip
- What did you study
- What do you do today?
- Never in line
- It’s so interesting how people get where they are
- Business is living organism
Agencies dealing with difficult things
- Carrier tightening
- High turnover
- Cost of leads
What is this trying to teach me?
- I’m going to let it teach me
- What lessons did the hard things teach you?
- They always have that
- Purpose changes to legacy
- Financial stability
- I appreciate the journey
She reached out
- Hey, I think I want to do renewal calls!
- Bought the course and went with it
- How’d you get here?
- Consistent rate increases in TX
- We said it was because of X and it would end soon, but then we had A, B,….. G happen
- The key was looking at retention
- You have consistent ones and the ones that love you
- The industry needs to be different in the way the online market isn’t
- Relationships and reaching out
- We have to proactive
- People rave about APP’s program
- Most office is virtual
- When we talk to customers, it works
- Reactive insurance agency
- Trying to change that
- No more ending the day exhausted
- We are going to make your life easier after 3 mo of hell
- Her son passed away and it was hard to keep people accountable
- They saw the benefit and were on it
You have to belief for them
- They gain confidence
- They get better at taking about rate
- 20 billion in claims
- Latest disaster – cost this much money
- Not having coverage you need
- People don’t see the benefit and they need to
- Roof example
- We became used car sales people
- Stay focused on good ones and rebuild trust
- We need to ask for what we want, we will meet you there
- We are here to protect you
- Don’t be a call center – you are an inconvenience
- Be chick fil a “my pleasure”
- Be their advocate
Staff is burnt out
- Obstacle course
- The reactive people how complain – frequent flyers
- Happy people
- Meeting them there
- Be professional and we don’t need to think for people
- Nordstrom way
- We have to be what we want to attract
- Get away from good and bad
- You did not change their rate
- Don’t apologize for things you had no involvement in
- Sympathetic vs empathetic – we can love them through that space and it’s not about price
- They know they are covered – fire example
- Thinks they want to
- Gonna do it
- AMs doing it
- Rome wasn’t built in a day, don’t put our back up against the wall
- Baby steps
- See the elephant, your job as a leader
- Eat an elephant one bite at a time – vegan elephant
- Recognize it’s an elephant – that vision
- Team not doing it
- Fear of keeping them accountable
- How do you approach that?
- Monday.com see colors, record it
- Use script, took the stress off
- Every week we see what calls have been made
- The whole team knows whether they have or not
- Get out of naggy space
- Helped get over the fear
- Allow them to make their appointment, calling if not
- Sharing the stories of women changing the game in insurance