By Andrea Caruso
A number of articles have been published recently about why consumers are looking at purchasing insurance now. In addition, online searches for insurance are on the upswing.
We know financial and retirement security, health and well-being are likely top of mind for consumers, but how do we approach and service clients when we can no longer sit with them face-to-face?
How do we stay motivated to keep our activity up when so many of us are stuck at home, having switched from our well-known office habits to a short commute to another room in our house?
- Why we do what we do. Let’s start by reminding ourselves why we are in this business and the value we bring. Insurance can help provide planning, business continuity, stable income, protection and, most importantly, peace of mind for individuals. In the recent environment of uncertainty, I would challenge that one of the most important things we can offer to others is the comfort that they are taking care of the things they value – their loved ones, their legacy or their financial stability.
- You have a business to run. Don’t forget that it is a business, and businesses need nurturing to survive. Are you letting yourself get distracted by all the noise around you, or can you remain focused on delivering the value of your services? Empathy is critical in times like this, but it is equally important to turn good listening skills into productive conversations that address clients’ fears and concerns. If you can provide options to minimize your clients’ worries, you are not acting in their best long-term interests, you are also further solidifying your advisor-client relationships.
- You are not in this alone. Unfortunately, the impact of recent events is expected to have a significant impact on small-business owners. There are resources to help you get through this including:
- Industry sources such as professional associations provide timely tax and regulatory information for small businesses and individuals.
- Support from insurance industry business partners with technology and tools to help you do business in a virtual environment from e-applications to electronic commissions and everything in between.
- The CARES Act, offering liquidity to businesses to maintain their workforce and weather the economic storm.
- Educational resources from many sources offering guidance on using online tools to hold virtual appointments, team meetings and educational sessions.
- Look for stability from strong business partners. Make sure you have the right allies who can help you and your business weather this storm.
- Change your perspective. Yes, I know you would rather be out and about with prospects and colleagues, but let’s use the time we have at home wisely. After all – how much Netflix can we watch? Beyond the day-to-day business activities, try using this time to grow your skills – whether it’s insurance-specific concepts, technology tools, or productivity and efficiency skills, there’s an online course available to help, and many of them are free right now. Check out Dale Carnegie and LinkedIn as a starting point. While we may not fit into our skinny jeans when we come out of isolation, there is no reason our knowledge can’t expand!
- Communication creates the connection. From what I’ve seen, there is more information coming at us than ever before, but information is not communication. Take the time to wade through the information, figure out what is important for your business, your employees and your clients, and get those messages out. And it’s critical to have a quick follow-up conversation to those messages to make sure what you communicated was understood.
- Down markets can be the catalyst for change and opportunity. We are seeing potential changes with some reinsurers looking to lower their available limits, so now may be the right time to look at opportunities while capacity still exists. Carriers are providing almost daily updates, communicating changes on how they are looking to underwrite in this new environment. Many reconsiderations or enhancements include an increased acceptance of accelerated underwriting programs, e-signatures and electronically-issued and delivered policies, an increasing reliance on attending physician statements or data analytics, or a decreasing reliance on fluid. These are just a few of the carrier responses to help each of you continue to help your clients secure and maintain coverage.
We still have a long way to go to further streamline the client experience and automate backend processes. However, recent events have driven the industry to push forward to see what they can do within their immediate constraints. While we hope to quickly get back to pre-pandemic activities, we must make sure that we do not lose our focus on helping clients now.
Andrea Caruso is senior vice president and general manager for the independent channel of Crump Life Insurance Services, and a member of the Crump Executive Management Team. Andrea may be contacted at [email protected].
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