Be Proactive to Avoid Claims
It’s a mantra for most insurance agents: keep loss ratios low. But that doesn’t mean you should discourage your customers from filing a claim when needed. It’s also a goal that can be in your customer’s best interests.
You can influence when and how often claims are filed. Here are four ways to have an impact:
You’re the expert on insurance claims. If you can help prevent negative events, it’s a win-win for you and your customers.
For example, lots of people take vacations during the winter months. If you live in a cold climate and see that subzero temperatures are on the way, you could send out a short email to your clients reminding them to keep cabinet doors open under sinks to help prevent frozen pipes while they are away.
Whether your communications take the form of an as-needed email or a scheduled newsletter, staying in touch also sends the message that you care about your clients. Just be sure that your message is clear and your writing is clean. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, hire it out to someone who can do it for you.
Explain How Life Changes Affect Insurance
Staying in touch with your customers helps you keep track of changes in their lives.
Some changes may be obvious. If you know a client has a child who is 15, it’s a good bet that they will soon have a teen driver in the home. Reach out to let that family know about available discounts for defensive-driving courses and good grades. Ask for a meeting with the parents and the teen to explain the impact an accident can have on insurance rates. The parents will likely appreciate having another voice in their corner encouraging safe driving.
Other changes may require some digging. You might consider a semi-regular email to your customers asking about major life events so you know if someone has a new baby in the home or a new job that requires lots of driving. Then you can tailor your tips accordingly.
Discourage Small Claims
A $1,200 home repair is nothing to sneeze at. But if a customer has a $1,000 deductible, they’re only going to collect $200. Is it worth it?
Help your customer determine whether or not they should file a claim. There are times when it will absolutely make sense for them to do so, and in that case, your job will be to help them through the process. But there are cases when the hassle and potentially higher future premiums make it an unwise decision. Your insight can be valuable to your client as they think through their situation.
Encourage Higher Deductibles
The other side of the coin is to sometimes encourage higher deductibles.
For you, a higher deductible means fewer claims filed. For your clients who can afford to pay for modest claims out of pocket, this strategy can save money in the long run because they will lower their monthly premiums, sometimes significantly. You can help them do the math to determine the just-right deductible.
This is the first of three blog posts about how to be a proactive agent. Look for more ideas in the coming weeks.