In the world of insurance, there is perhaps no more singularly important goal than retaining your commercial accounts. Acquisition costs and time invested are immense. The wave of impact throughout your teams, departments and organization can be devastating. This is why your investment in commercial account retention strategies and implementation must be proportionate to the value that those accounts hold to your company. In this piece, we will share with you how to keep these high-value customers right where they are, on your books.
Go on Defense – Whether you played sports in school, practiced martial arts, took a defensive driving course, or enjoy watching a boxing match from time to time, you understand the value of a great defense. While acquiring that account, your teams were in offense mode, meeting smaller objectives, earning trust points and closing that deal. But now it’s time to defend the ground that you’ve won with this client.
Identify your top underwriters and sales force members. Design a team of sales and underwriting specifically around critical accounts. Make it part of their goals and objectives to work together, using retention strategies to protect that account. Or depending on your companies means and human resources, set this team up as emergency response, before the emergency preferably, to rally around an account that has been identified as at-risk. These top employees can advise the at-risk company through challenges and demonstrate a heightened level of support during more difficult times.
Don’t Make Mistakes – That is easier said than done, of course, so let’s focus on the most critical time in the whole process. That is writing the initial policy correctly. Each time you acquire a commercial account, it should be reviewed in duplicate and triplicate, bringing your top experts as needed to verify the accuracy and viability of everything. Assure that you are using proper classifications, limits, payroll deductions and so on. It’s really about treating people right from the start, to demonstrate that you deserve their business. Make sure that the decision makers clearly understand what they’re buying.
Over-Communicate – It is possible to take over-communication too far, but it’s not easy. There are several ways to do this and yes you should be doing them.
- Provide a plethora of helpful content, both specific to the account and in the form of blogs, FAQs and straight webpages. Anticipate pain points and questions. Design posts around them, thoroughly explaining trouble-shooting techniques or walking companies through processes. Target specific industries in which you have large commercial accounts to make the content very relatable and actionable.
- Post case studies, with permission of course, on how real companies have benefited from various services. Use video when possible.
- Arrange to have certain employees sit in front of a camera to explain why they are proud to work for your company and how they help the insured.
- Schedule regular calls and visits with decision makers to head off any concerns by catching them before they have time to simmer and become a “deal-breaker”
- Through email lists, keep companies informed about upcoming industry trends, regulation changes and other things that may impact their policy. When possible, make the information industry-specific. Also add this content to your site.
Give Yourself Some Negotiating Room – Without pricing yourself out of the policy, or over-charging the company, when you originally close a new account, quote a slightly higher price than is indicated. When renewals come around, you can evaluate the account health and pull out your safety net, by lowering their rates rather than raising them. This can have a tremendous impact psychologically.
Offer the Extras – Differentiation is key in any industry. This couldn’t be more true than in insurance. Make it difficult to leave by providing valuable services that your competition isn’t offering, as permitted by law. We are obviously not talking about kickbacks here.
Your Next Steps
Depending on where you and your company stand today, you may be considering selling the company or you may be researching a possible merger or acquisition. If you are, call us first. We’ve seen it all and we know how to get things done. We want you to know, we’re here to help save you time and aggravation and work to get the you the best price. You only get one shot, so do it right. Give us a call.