Don’t Let Social Distancing Keep You from Helping Clients

Commercial Insurance Buyers Looking for Informed, Focused Brokers

Over a relatively short period of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed the way we conduct our gatherings, business operations, and personal behaviors. As the crisis presses on, however, it has become increasingly clear that what we once believed would be temporary changes may last well into the future.

While a lucky few will adapt to the new normal (such as working from home) with ease, for the countless businesses which thrive around handshakes and face-to-face meetings, adaptation is a little more complicated.

Insurance brokers, in particular, live in a fast-paced, up-close, and personal environment. They are constantly helping clients assess and navigate risks, or developing new relationships to grow their book of business. But when up close and personal is out of the question, how can brokers engage with existing clients and prospects in a meaningful way?

Existing Clients Need You to Be a Leader

At its core, insurance is a contract between the insurance company and the client, with the broker playing the role of advisor. When clients experience a loss, have questions about coverages, or face an unexpected event such as COVID-19, they want to know that their advisor is able to provide insight and guidance.

For decades, brokers wanted to be viewed as trusted advisors, similar to lawyers and accountants. Now is the time to shine.

As the COVID-19 situation becomes increasingly complex, brokers are finding themselves one of the first people clients turn to, and that’s a good thing. For decades, brokers wanted to be viewed as trusted advisors, similar to lawyers and accountants. Now is the time to shine by keeping pace with current events, emerging trends, and defining what it means to be a source of business value.

Let’s look at three strategies for conveying value to clients during uncertain times.

1. Be Insightful

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, benefit brokers had to provide guidance to employers for how to implement compliance requirements in a timely manner.

In 2020, both property and casualty (P&C) and group health brokers will have the opportunity to help business owners handle FMLA and COBRA in compliance with the newly enacted Families First Coronavirus Act.

At the same time, P&C brokers will have their hands full helping businesses identify and address new risks arising from employees working from home. Business coverages, such as workers’ compensation, cyber, and what constitutes property, take on new meaning when viewed through the lens of remote work.

2. Create Predictability

During times of uncertainty, clients will appreciate more predictable communications. Delivering daily or weekly messages can help to keep your clients up-to-date and alleviate phone calls and emails that require one-on-one attention. For the 20% of accounts that drive 80% of revenue, brokers may want to set up regularly scheduled calls to address specific concerns or needs.

3. Show Transparency

Now is not the time to withhold information. If you are facing difficulties in the way you do business, admit it. Don’t think of this as showing vulnerability, but as the first step in building trust. Once you have done that, demonstrate to your clients that you are actively working to resolve those difficulties, and if the circumstances change, are willing to revise your approach accordingly.

Attract New Business with Empathy and Credibility

Keep in mind that managing the needs of existing clients is just half the equation; brokers still have to close new business. A potential aftermath of any crisis is that business revenues and employee counts are reduced. We saw this in 2008 during the Great Recession, and while the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the economy remains to be seen, it is safe to say that brokers could very well see their books of business shrink. 

To keep deals happening, adjust your approach. During crises, business owners find themselves juggling not just normal business operations, but enacting new measures to protect their employees, comply with new laws, or remain viable. These additional pressures stress both large and small businesses. Tailor your approach to this new reality.

1. Narrow Your Focus

As businesses search for insights, they will gravitate toward those who consistently display a keen understanding of their business and business concerns. To make the most efficient use of their time, brokers should laser focus their approach by working on a top-100 list of potential opportunities and messaging only those prospects.

2. Put Their Risks First

Messages that demonstrate empathy while also conveying timely, relevant information will immediately stand out to busy executives, who are otherwise bombarded with useless calls and emails. Rather than focusing on agency resources and capabilities, brokers may want to encourage prospects to engage in a risk assessment or audit to identify policy limitations that could pose substantial threats to business continuity and coverage.

3. Diversify Your Communication Touch Points

In light of the pandemic, traditional communications strategies such as emails and phone calls should be augmented with webinars, videos, and social media posts for messaging to truly break through. The leadership methods discussed earlier in this article can be applied to prospects too as they demonstrate the capabilities of the broker and agency.

Albert Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” The opportunity to help business owners and executives make more informed decisions, whether in a crisis or not, is one brokers can’t afford to pass by.

If you need help elevating your conversation with clients during COVID-19, contact us today.