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3 Ways to Thrive During Renewals

Friday, November 11, 2016
Written By
John Kuehn

You’re in the throes of your Jan. 1 renewals. There are major opportunities for accounts and revenue to change hands this time of year. Some brokers I speak with equate this renewal process to insanity, yet the definition of insanity, as the saying goes, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That prompts me to ask: What are you doing differently this renewal season to not only retain your accounts, but also win new ones? Successful brokers see the Jan. 1 renewal season as an opportunity to gain a bigger piece of the pie. Consider executing the following additional strategies.

1. Leading with the Mod

“What is the potential dollar savings you could have by working with a broker to help identify areas where we can manage and reduce your mod?”

A successful broker I work with in the New York area decided not to bury the workers’ comp mod in paperwork anymore. Instead, he takes the mod—something that is unfamiliar to his clients—and translates it into a dollar amount that they can relate to. Think about increasing client satisfaction. Any mod above 1.0 is costing your client money—this is money they’re leaving on the table due to lack of knowledge.

Being able to use value-added solutions to control price is important. We know P&C insurance buyers are price buyers, many producers are price sellers, and leading with the mod is a great way to control prices for those buyers. Markets are hardening, so get the mod under control now to lessen the impact of future market fluctuations. If we control the mod, we control the premium and the price. That way, we can help clients understand why they get the right price and the value we bring to them.

2. Fostering Dependency

According to our 2018 Broker Services Survey, 80 percent of employers say it’s important that a broker provides access to OSHA compliance information and recordkeeping tools, yet 56 percent of clients aren’t seeing this need met by their current broker.

So why is this all worth mentioning? When you provide services beyond the typical “insurance guidance” that the guy down the street is preaching, you foster a dependency on both you and your agency. Throw in the technology that clients crave, such as an online portal where they can access all of the information and materials you provide, and you’ve got a way to retain and prospect during renewal season as well.

3. Generating a Stewardship Report

Getting producers to focus on winning new business is key to agency growth—but their efforts can be undermined by the loss of just one important account at renewal time. Of course, it is much more cost-effective to keep an existing client than to find a new one. So, if you’re already providing excellent service and making a positive impact on the bottom line, what else can you do to build your client relationship and keep your clients loyal?

High-growth firms are justifying their existence by quantifying their value. “Tangibilize” your value, as a co-worker of mine would say. (And, yes, I know it’s not a real word.) Remind them of the value you provide all year long with an annual stewardship report. A stewardship report is more than a policy and claims review. It lists the services you have performed in the past year and how they benefited your client. Use it in conjunction with your strategic risk management plan.

A stewardship report delivered in advance of renewal ensures your client understands your full value proposition, demonstrates your commitment to the relationship and removes any tension around the upcoming renewal. Even better, a personal meeting gives you a window for cross-selling, upselling and discussing future plans. I recently connected with a broker who had a 27-year client relationship at risk that was saved, in part, due to the investment they made in managing their mod, offering compliance resources and “tangibilizing” the services they provide day in and day out.

So, avoid the insanity by taking a different approach this year—one that speaks to the increased expectations of the new insurance buyer today—and increase your piece of the renewal pie.

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