Let’s get this out of the way – this market is crazy and your agency needs insurance customer retention strategies. If you apply the same strategy that you did over the past 5 years I can guarantee you two things:
- You will burn out your team
- Your retention will lag
Now, your retention will lag BUT your balance sheet may look bomb.com. The rate increases will pad your bank account but it’s fictitious you may grow $$ but you have to be careful your PIF holds strong.
For this reason, your agency needs a clear retention strategy that educates the client, assists the team in burnout, and keeps your retention sky high’.
You may be wondering if this is possible, it is. Top agencies are leading their team through rate increases while limiting remarketing. What is their secret – an annual proactive renewal review?
Now some of you may be thinking – my team can’t keep up as is! Adding calling every customer may cause a mutiny. Sure that may be the initial reaction (heck you had that reaction!)
Here is the dirty little secret – being proactive allows you to be in fire prevention rather than a firefighter.
Now many agency owners resist renewal calls due to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt):
- Fear their team can do it
- Uncertainty about what they may say
- Doubt that being proactive yields enough of a result to outlast the suck of change
In this blog, we are going to review the exact steps your team can take to be all-star GOATs at renewal review calls and master our insurance customer retention strategy.
Challenges Solved From an Insurance Renewal Review Call
When you think about calling every customer once per year for an annual review you may think – holy shnikeys that’s a lot of work. However, so is chasing your tail!
The trick is to think of renewal reviews as an opportunity – in reality, they are growth nuggets if we have the right mindset. If agencies can turn from looking at growth from new business to grow through the current book all the metrics can change.
By adopting a strong renewal review strategy your agency can experience:
- Reduced Inbound Calls: Over time the clients learn to use your mobile app, email you questions, and connect with your agency on a relationship rather than a transactional level.
- Increased Retention: There is no doubt when you are proactively building relationships with your clients you will find that retention increases. When your clients all know the agency name and agent name the breakup is MUCH MUCH harder.
- Reduced Remarketing: You can make 4 renewal review calls in the time it takes to do one remarket. Which is easier? When you are proactive in reaching out to clients you control that conversation and can proactively find solutions (that aren’t remarketing!)
- Increases in Coverage: Many clients only find out they have the wrong insurance at the time of a claim. People’s lives and businesses change, and not everyone thinks to call us with these updates. That means we have an opportunity to improve coverage.
- Account Rounding: Our definition of account rounding is to find an opportunity in your department. Maybe there is a large monoline list to tackle. When we proactively review those accounts we can ask for and make recommendations.
- Cross-Selling: Our definition of cross-selling is selling between departments. This is the 360 client where clients have policies with each department you maintain.
- Reduced E&O Exposure: When you proactively review accounts you find things – because we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Finding it before the claim is the key to success.
- Updated Contact Information: We can’t give WOW Service without the best contact information. If we can’t call, text, or email a client we will struggle to be efficient and effective.
- More Referrals: The more clients we speak with the more referrals we will get. It’s the law of numbers when we stay top of mind clients refer us more!
The question is – is the juice worth the squeeze? Can you endure 60-90 days of the transformation to get proactive to be among the top-run agencies in North America?
We will walk you through insurance customer retention strategies with the anatomy of a great renewal call.
Anatomy of a Great Insurance Renewal Review Call
For some people getting started on making renewal calls can be perplexing! What do we say? What do we ask? Will anyone pick up? For this reason, we will walk you through the steps we take on a renewal review call.
Also just for you we are giving away our Personal Lines Renewal Review Call Form that you can use and customize just for you:
Here are the steps we take in a renewal review call:
- Call Preparation
- Voicemail Script and Documentation
- Intro & Contact Information
- Coverage Review
- Rate Discussion
- Discount Check
- Conclusion & Documentation
- BONUS – If you need to remarket
Step 1: Renewal Review Call Preparation
There is no substitute for preparation. If you do not prepare for the call most likely the client will have control of the call and you will have to submit to the rate question.
The first step is standardizing renewal review call preparation. We highly recommend your team has a checklist (hint download our sample Personal Lines Renewal Call Form).
Here are a few items we always have on the pre-call prep:
- Contact Information
- Policies and rate change
- Payment type
- Review activities and claims
- Policy coverages (do they meet the agency standard)
- Cross sales/Account rounds (what they have and what can we recommend)
- Discount review – what discounts do they have and what can we review
Here is the beauty of the prep for the call: if they don’t pick up you have this on file to catch them next time they call in and do an on-the-spot review. Also, if the client doesn’t pick up when they call back you can easily grab the pre-call prep and get to business.
The pre-call prep should take 5-8 minutes maximum.
Step 2: Voicemail Script and Documentation
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good form. We all focus on processes but too often processes sit on a shelf and never get really used. Now a form that can guide a process and be functional all at the same time. 2 birds one stone= success.
So, in our insurance customer retention strategy, we insert the voicemail into the form. Why not right?
You may be thinking, Kelly. A voicemail? My people don’t need that. Ohhh but they do!
When calling out to a client we need to always include the following:
- Agent Name
- Carrier Name
- Policy Name
- Agency Name
- Why your calling
- The consequence for non-response
Your voicemail is a sales pitch to get the person to call you back for what really could be the most important call of the year. When you script out the voicemail it’s a starting point.
Now the person can add the sparkle and make it their own.
We also need to focus on documentation. After they leave a voicemail, is there an email (yes we think so!) and or a text (double yes!)
When that client calls back it may be 2 weeks later or the agent may not be available. The beauty of the form is that your renewal review call notes are all right there, uniform, and ready for action.
Step 3: Introduction and Contact Information
You may only have a few moments to make a first impression. So how you open your renewal review call is critical.
We have to remember the following:
- No one was expecting your call today
- People have lives, and meetings and may be at work
- If you have zero passion or warmth at the start of the call no one will be interested
- Asking for is now a good time to talk about your insurance is like asking if you want a root canal
- Your opening needs to be warm, valuable, and engaging
So now back to our handy dandy renewal review form. Let’s add the intro script right to the form. Here is the hook… you lead with a discount review.
No, I don’t want the call to be price-driven but discounts get engagement and attention.
So if we start with “we wanted to make sure we had the best information, you were maximizing your discounts and your coverage fit your needs” we cover all of our bases.
We then go right into the least threatening thing in the world. Updating contact information. Also, very valuable if you get disconnected. If we accomplish nothing else but getting the best contact information – the interaction was still a win.
Let’s get info for everyone in the household and or business – this will allow us to give WOW service.
Step 4: Review
Without a plan, there is no doubt that control of the call can be lost rather quickly. After we update the client’s contact information the next step is to update what is going on in their lives and or businesses.
Let’s be honest the average homeowner doesn’t think to call their insurance agent to alert them to a new roof. Just like a small BOP client doesn’t think to call you when they double in size. Our next objective is to get updates.
Now if you look at the renewal review download the great news is the review questions are formed in a very kind and encouraging way. We can gather these updates and the form triggers the agent for coverage increases and cross-sales.
The review is the best part – you start to find all the coverage gaps and opportunities.
If a client wants to talk about price we always let them know we will once we get their updates.
Remember the rate will and can change based on these updates for this reason we do not discuss pricing until the end of the call. We may find great discounts and give them the great news of savings – or we may find a coverage gap that needs attention. The rate stays at the end until we conduct the review.
This review section should be conversational, educational, and about matching the right coverage to the client’s needs. When done right you will learn a ton during this portion.
If you are interested in having APP training your team on exactly what to say, how to say it, and how to overcome objections subscribe to our Agency School!
Step 5: Coverage Review
Updates are completed, it’s now time to right-size their coverage. We will take what we have learned in the review as well as the agency standard to educate and encourage coverage increases.
Now, coverage increases will buy coffee not lunch in many instances but they are as powerful as the first cup of morning joe. Increases make the conversation about coverage NOT price. When clients are educated they make better decisions.
To earn coverage increases we have to remember:
- Client’s lives change
- Carriers have new endorsements
- $ does not go quite as far as it used to
- In the event of a claim most people what it is done right not cheap
We can educate and document any declines in the coverages. Here is the best part: in our Agency School we are offering full scripts and role-playing videos with how to encourage clients to increase their coverage.
Step 6: Price
Ugghhh the dreaded price part. We just made a new friend. Do we now need to also talk about rate?
Here is our secret:
- Rate increases above agency standard yes we tell them and tell them the monthly increase and see what they say (remember we haven’t scrubbed for discounts yet)
- Rate increases below the agency standard – no mention unless they mention it
We have a few strategies for explaining the rate:
- Use monthly amounts to describe the increase
- Let the client know the state average increase
- Alert them the insurance commission approves rate increases
- Don’t assume they will freak 🙂
- Explain Coverage A
However, our biggest strategy is to say the increase in a monthly amount and then shut your mouth.
We want to over-talk. I want you to listen to the client’s reaction so you can take the next step.
Step 7: Discount Review
Now, whether you did or did not need to review the rate the next step is the discount review. It’s time for you to be a hero!
Imagine calling your clients and finding ways to save them money. Do you think that is worth a referral, google review, or cross-sell? Well, I think so!
You want to get a list of the common discounts between your top carriers. These do change and get updated. For example, for some carriers, paying in full is a great discount. We love discount cheat sheets.
A great and documented list of each carrier’s discounts makes a huge difference!
Step 8: Conclusion and Documentation
We made it we got to the end of the review! It feels great. How we conclude the renewal review call makes a big difference.
We want to leave them with a little imprint that we are ridiculously amazing. Why wouldn’t I leave a Google Review or send a friend over?
Our steps include:
- Recap all the changes you are making and make sure to state the date they will take effect (we want to know confusion here)
- Recap if there will be any billing changes and what to expect (don’t let this call create another call when someone gets an additional bill!)
- Identify any account rounds or cross-sells that you will be quoting (hopefully where we can we are quoting over the phone) but if not we need to set that appointment to go over their options.
- If you have to remarket we will also set a time to review their options (we never, ever, ever want to email that quote!)
- Referral ask. Yes, we should let every customer know we are open for business, and if they know someone who needs help with their insurance we need to rise to that occasion.
- Gratitude. Ending the call with sincere “thanks for being a customer” matters. It really does. Remember people have a choice on where to have their insurance. They chose you – recognize them for that.
Then we have to document the call. If you look at our complimentary download of the renewal review call form you can see there are guidelines for how to document.
You can choose our way or your way but that sheet needs to get in there with open activities for anything that needs to get completed. You will want this form so next year making updates is a breeze.
Step 9: Bonus – If A Remarket Is Brought Up
On occasion you will face either the need or request to shop the market. Shopping is one of the insurance customer retention strategies. However, it’s not always the magic bullet that people think. It takes a lot of time but also can leave the client vulnerable.
Imagine we remarket and:
- Miss a coverage
- Move them to a company that doesn’t offer a certain endorsement
- Flag inspection issues
- Create mortgage bill issues
While saving money is great, it’s not always the case. The last part of our form actually gives you remarketing underwriting scripts.
Conclusion on Insurance Customer Retention Strategies
While renewal review calls are hard to launch they are like penicillin. They cover your bases on a lot of insurance challenges. Being proactive will always reign supreme and your team needs a plan!
It’s common for people to have concerns about calling the insured. At Agency Performance Partners we help overcome the fear, and the challenges and hold your team’s hand through a 6-month process to get them proactive.
When these calls are viewed as an opportunity vs. work your entire agency can change.
What can be more important than taking care of your current customer? Growing from your current clients and protecting the agency from E&O issues? Every agency needs a clear and executed proactive renewal strategy to thrive.