What An Insurance Consultant Wants

Here is a letter I wrote that was published in Agent & Broker Magazine in 2005. The points still hold true. Insurance agents need to improve their approach.

What an Insurance Consultant Wants

I just got an email note from Agent & Broker with suggestions on how to sell insurance with a laptop computer. To agents out there, I’m begging you! Leave the computer in the car!

I work with more than one hundred agents every year. My role is to help the insurance buyer with the insurance transaction. I bid coverage, work with agents on new policies and negotiate renewals for my clients. I never sell insurance. I only work for insurance buyers.

Several times in the past five years agents have brought their laptops into meetings. Some have used the computer for note taking. Several have made presentations. Every time the computer was used it caused some kind of disruption. The agent needs a plug or we have to wait while she boots the machine. Pull out a pad and paper! Take notes on a checklist form! Bring me a well thought out, complete proposal on paper. You don’t even need to bind the thing unless its more than ten pages long – a staple is fine. I want quality not glamour.

Think about the reader when you prepare a proposal.

I’m not impressed with your computer ability. I’m not astonished by your use of PowerPoint. In most cases it’s poorly done or the technology fails. My experience is that computer proposals waste time – yours and mine. Hand me the proposal and show me the value of doing business with you. Show me the exposures you identified and the unique coverage you have designed. That will impress me. Tell me why I should do business with you. Tell me why you are different and better than other agents. Lets have a detailed conversation about our client and how you can help.

By the way, I don’t care if your agency has been around since 1895! I want to know what you are doing for your clients now. What makes you and your agency valuable to me any my client?

Show me what a great insurance person you are by your knowledge of coverage and our client’s exposures and needs. Show me what a great agency you have by returning my calls quickly. Prove your value by replying to my emails. Promise me you’ll return my call in 90 minutes or return my email request in one day. That is something I can use!

If you want to wow me with technology put stuff on your website that provides useful information. I was on an agent’s web site the other day that didn’t even have the agent’s phone number on it! Dump the glitzy flash on your website and tell me the emergency after-hours contact info for your claims department.

Learn how to use the technology you have! Email is a wonderful tool. I still run into agents who refuse to use it! How much business am I going to do with them? Learn how to use spreadsheets so you can give me an analysis of our client’s property rates over the last five years. Learn how to use ModMaster so we can analyze our client’s workers’ compensation experience modification. Figure out how to leave an intelligible message in voice mail.

Leave the computer at the office and get back to the basics of providing exceptional insurance service and value for your clients.

Scott Simmonds, CPCU
Insurance Consultants Of Maine, Inc.
Saco, Maine