Renewal Success: Tips for Insurance Agents to Maintain a Solid Book of Business
New business is king, but retaining renewal business is crucial for every insurance agency. A strong existing book of business ensures financial stability and enables agencies to concentrate on new prospecting opportunities while growing their team. Pathpoint understands the significance of maintaining customer satisfaction and trust for insurance agents. To help you start the year off strong, we have made improvements to streamline our renewal processes and developed resources for agents. In this blog, we’ll provide new tools and tips available at your disposal.
We all understand that insurance is a relationship-based industry. People prefer to work with individuals they like and feel familiar with. That's why many insurance businesses feature pictures of their Labradoodles as their "Office Greeters". This is an example of using pathos or appealing to clients' emotions, which is a common practice in the insurance industry.
Maintaining consistent communication is important to establish a strong connection with your clients. Regularly reach out to your clients via phone or email to check on their well-being and acknowledge holidays, birthdays, milestones, and so on. By doing this, you can build upon the relationship and provide guidance, expertise, and honest feedback regarding their policies. This approach lays the foundation for another core principle in insurance: trust, also known as ethos.
Know Your Dates
Most agencies have a good policy management system, using insurance agency management systems (AMS) like connecteam or Jenesis to track their account expirations. While digital software is a great start, being prepared with all the necessary information ahead of time will make you an all-star.
Many agents wait for carriers to send renewal or cancellation notices prior to policy expiration, which is ok. However, it's important to note that each state has its own conditional renewal statutes for cancellations of policies. For example, states like Connecticut and Pennsylvania require carriers to provide cancellation notices 60 days in advance, while Maine only requires 14 days before cancellation. Agents, especially those who work in multiple states, should be familiar with the compliance guidelines and base their renewal tracking accordingly. WSIA’s Cancellation/Nonrenewal Applicability to Surplus Lines chart is a great resource. (WSIA, 2023)
Once you know the timeframe, it is important to act quickly in order to meet it. This step in the renewal process can be time-consuming and challenging. Even if you are highly organized, if your clients and carriers take too long on their end- game over. Being prepared and starting the renewal process early will help you stay ahead of the ticking clock.
Let's say you usually receive renewal notices 60 days before expiration and cancellation notices 30 days before. Start gathering information from your clients 75-60 days before expiration. This will give both you and your clients enough time to have the most up-to-date information on the account. A lot can change for a business in a year, so it is necessary to gather updated sales, improvements, and services in order to provide the most accurate coverage. For example, if a pizza shop decides to sell liquor and you only offer the same general liability coverage at renewal, you would be failing your client and putting your errors & omissions at risk.
Once you get the client's information, you will be giving your carrier time to provide terms for a new quote and, most importantly, give yourself time to shop it out. Sure, keeping policies in the same place is easier; however, it's not always the best option for the client. Carrier appetites change frequently, resulting in changes in premiums and coverages. Just as you would with your own insurance, it's advisable to compare and present multiple options at renewal. This reinforces the trust you have built with your clients.
A Refined Renewal Process at Pathpoint
At Pathpoint, our goal is to provide timely quotes with options from various carriers, making it easier for you to find the best coverage for your clients without any extra effort. One common issue we have heard from agents is that Excess and Surplus (E&S) carriers do not provide quotes 120 or 90 days before expiration. To address this, we notify our agents 60 days before renewal and 60 or more days in advance if we anticipate significant changes in premium or terms. We also streamline the renewal process by providing agents with a prefilled link to the renewal account in our portal, so they only need to complete new questions and subjectivities. To obtain updates from your clients, simply direct them to the Renewal Questionnaire.
Additionally, we automatically provide you with additional markets whenever they are available. This allows you to submit your renewal application to both the incumbent carriers and new ones, saving you time in researching new markets. Once you submit your renewal application, Pathpoint will deliver renewal quotes 30-45 days before expiration based on the terms offered by our carriers. If the policy expiration date is within 45 days and requires referral to an underwriter for losses or claims, you will receive an email within eight business hours regarding quotes. Once you select the winning quote, we offer a seamless, end-to-end e-signable binding process, allowing you to process payments digitally and effortlessly.
Maintaining a strong book of renewal business is essential for insurance agencies. By establishing relationships with clients, consistently communicating with them, and earning their trust, agents can create a solid foundation for success. It is also crucial to be knowledgeable about policy expiration dates and compliance guidelines in different states. Being prepared and starting the renewal process early allows agents to gather updated information, compare multiple options, and provide the best policies for your clients. At Pathpoint, we strive to streamline the renewal process and provide timely quotes from various carriers, making it easier for agents to find the best coverage without extra effort.