This blog post was originally published on the Engagex blog on February 22, 2021.
Updated with new info and republished on April 29, 2022.
What is a Customer Insurance Review?
Being in the insurance industry, you're probably already familiar with customer insurance reviews, or you may call them by a different name (policy reviews, IFRs, FFRs, PPRs, Simple Conversations, annual reviews, etc.).
Captive and independent agents alike meet with existing clients every 1-2 years to review their current coverage and needs in these reviews.
They discuss any life changes that may have recently taken place in your client's life.
Did their customer move, have a baby, sell a car?
Do they need more or less coverage on an already-insured vehicle or a life policy?
When conducted properly, these meetings provide you with the perfect environment to cross-sell policies, obtain referrals, and develop a lasting relationship with your customers.
You can accomplish your goals and grow your business through these simple meetings.
What will an effective customer insurance review program do for your agency?
When you think about building your agency, the natural inclination might be to wonder, "How can I find new sales?".
After all, acquisition is paramount to revenue and growth.
However, new sales are not the only thing you should focus on when growing your agency.
Without a solid retention strategy in place, your agency will become what we'll refer to as the "leaky bucket."
By focusing too intently on acquisition, you may find that your existing clients are leaking out of the bottom of your figurative bucket.
New customers will only begin to make a difference as you focus your efforts on preventing the leak.
Implementing a customer review program is the best way to prevent the leaking.
Regularly meeting with your customers enables you to build a solid personal relationship that helps them feel secure and that you are taking care of them.
You'll be able to cultivate strong, long-term relationships as their trusted advisor.
Note that this isn't just hearsay - a factor that over 50% of insurance clients cite as a reason for cancellation is that they believe their agent feels indifferent about them. (Agent Pipeline)
You show them you care by simply inviting a customer into your office (physically or virtually) to ensure they have the best coverage in case of loss or accident.
Rocket Referrals found in another study that 81% of clients who leave their agents say it's because they "lack regular and meaningful communication" with their agency.
Using your time to reach out to and meet with your customers will increase your retention rate by giving your customers a better experience.
These appointments are perfect for identifying opportunities to turn a mono-lined customer into a multi-lined customer.
During a review meeting, you may find that a customer's existing coverage doesn't meet their current needs.
Maybe their lives have outgrown their current policies and require additional or adjusted coverage.
*Remember, you shouldn't go in with salesman guns blazing in an attempt to hard-sell DURING THE MEETING.
Read more about when to sell to your customers in this blog post: Why You Shouldn't Sell During a Customer Insurance Review Meeting
On another note, the profitability of multi-lining is significantly higher than selling to a new prospect.
According to Agentero, selling to new prospects typically has a profitability of 5-20%, while the profitability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%.
To ensure you get enough cross-selling opportunities in these appointments, target specific groups of customers depending on the policies they have with you.
One list we recommend to use for cross-selling success is your customers ages 25-55 who do not have life insurance.
Asking for referrals feels daunting to many agents, but a review meeting creates a comfortable environment to make it a little easier.
Insurance agent and Engagex customer Debbie Beach told me that now that they meet with their customers regularly for reviews, not only do they have more opportunities to ask for referrals, but her customers are much more apt to give them!
When you're talking about your client's life changes, it will be natural to ask about a family member or friend who has also experienced similar life changes and might need coverage.
Educating your customers about all the different products or services you have available prepares them to refer their friends to you when it comes up in conversation.
They might not need a specific policy, but if they know you offer it and find that a friend needs it, you'll be the first person they think of!
The first step to receiving a referral is to provide an exceptional experience to your existing customers. Review meetings are a great way to provide that experience.
What will an effective Customer Insurance Review Program do for your customers?
While Customer Insurance Reviews are an effective tool for improving your agency, they also provide substantial value to your customers!
Confidence & Peace of Mind
As mentioned before, taking care of your customers establishes you as a trusted advisor.
Meeting with them gives your customers confidence and peace of mind knowing that you are looking out for their best interest.
You're not just an insurance salesperson.
You're genuinely looking out for them.
Another agent and Engagex customer, Mark Peter, put it plainly,
"They (your customers) are not going to know and trust you if they never meet and visit with you."
It's as simple as that.
Your customer might provide you with information that will allow them to receive discounts.
Maybe these don't come up all the time, but it's pretty exciting and can mean a lot to your customer when they do.
Who doesn't love discounts?
Most importantly, reviewing policies resolves potential gaps or overlaps in coverage which can prevent even more loss in the event of a potential disaster.
Consider this example:
A family who enjoyed boating at Lake Powell in Southern Utah decided to purchase a houseboat.
Shortly after purchasing the boat, the family took out a policy to cover it in case of an accident.
As the years went by, they made significant renovations to the boat.
It was fitted with accessories that improved its value by tens of thousands of dollars.
However, they didn't think about the fact that their insurance policy covered the boat as it was purchased years earlier, not covering the total updated value.
One day, the family loaned their boat to some vacationers at the lake.
Those borrowing the boat hit a rock and sunk it.
After speaking with their insurance agent, the family discovered that for a minimal increase in premiums, they could have covered the updated value of the boat and would have saved tens of thousands of dollars.
Yes, this is an extreme example, but the concept is clear:
Through consistent customer insurance reviews, you can help your clients avoid sad stories like this one by making them aware of gaps in their coverage.
Why don't all agencies implement a consistent customer insurance review program?
If customer insurance reviews are so beneficial to insurance agencies AND their customers, why doesn't everyone already do them?
Lack of Know-How
First of all, many agents don't know how to do it.
That's one of the reasons we produce content like this: to help agents be as effective as possible.
We've spent over 15 years setting insurance appointments working closely with thousands of agents and have gathered insights and data about what makes them successful.
We've also created tools to correspond with the insights we have gathered.
To help agents succeed, we want to share our tools and information, including the training needed to implement this program.
Many agents do not implement a customer insurance review program because the specifics of doing so aren't straightforward.
What do you do to prepare for a meeting?
What do you even say to your customers?
How do you sell new policies once the customer has left the office?
If this rings true for you at all, check out our FREE AgencyThrive program.
We've compiled videos and resources to teach you how to implement a successful Customer Insurance Review program in your agency.
Lack of Resources
Second, agencies often lack the internal resources to set the number of appointments necessary for a successful program.
Even once the staff has the skills necessary to conduct reviews, it is still challenging to make the phone calls, set appointments and get a high volume of customers to come in with a consistent flow.
Agency owners all over the country have found success with their customer insurance review program by outsourcing the appointment setting to us at Engagex! It's much more cost-effective than hiring your own appointment setters.
Learn more about our appointment setting services here.
Third, agencies often focus on low-quality cold leads.
They don't understand the value of retention, referrals, and cross-selling, so they focus on acquisition.
A customer review program isn't a quick fix; it creates sustainable, consistent, long-term insurance agency growth over time.
To make the most of a customer insurance review program, continue visiting our content to get tips and ideas to guide you along the way.