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Renewal in the Time of COVID

Two Questions Brokers Should Ask Themselves Before Their Next Conversation

If I had told you in June 2019 that you’d feel lucky just to have a job in 12 months, would you have believed me?

You know, I suspect the answer might be yes. You’re an insurance broker, after all. It’s not like survival in this industry was simple before the COVID-19 pandemic.

But our current crisis has undoubtedly complicated things. It’s forced all of us to reevaluate our short- and long-term goals and priorities. To make difficult compromises. To cut back. To adapt to life in a constant state of uncertainty.

No one knows what the future holds—what the world will look like a year, 6 months, or even 3 months from now. Turns out we never knew.

And yet here we are, navigating policy renewal conversations in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. While the nature of the insurance business hasn’t changed, your clients’ circumstances have. And renewal conversations now likely sound much different than they would have in 2019.

Here are a couple questions every broker should consider in advance of their next renewal conversation:

1. What’s your retention strategy?

For most brokers in 2020, the focus has shifted from winning new business to maximizing client retention. Insurance isn’t exactly an easy sell for employers concerned with layoffs or avoiding bankruptcy. If you just had to fire or furlough 30 employees, you’re taking a harder look at all your finances, including your insurance costs.

And if an organization isn’t already in the sales pipeline, it might be tough to start the conversation now. It is still possible to pick up new business opportunities, but in all likelihood those opportunities will arise through established relationships. Your network is your most important resource right now. You need to nurture it, starting with your lifeblood—your existing client base.

Regardless of what kinds of clients you serve, you can’t just sell them policies and expect to stay in business. The same conversation you had last July might not lead to a renewal next month. Insureds are taking a closer look at every expense and dropping brokers who they can no longer justify paying. They aren’t necessarily switching to firms with lower prices, but to people who serve as trusted advisors. They want partners, not paper placers.

It’s never been more important for brokers to step up and become problem-solvers. This is true for retaining clients as well as attracting new business. The pipeline can still flow, but you need to take an active part in moving the conversations along.

Think about what kind of value you’re offering insureds. Right now, employers are looking for help keeping workers safe and healthy, reducing liability, and complying with rigorous new rules and guidelines. If you can offer that help, you can differentiate yourself in the market and forge lasting relationships. Doing so is imperative for your business. Don’t fall short in this time of need.

2. Where’s your niche?

Not every employer is feeling the impact of COVID-19 in the same way, or at the same level of severity. Some are even finding a few opportunities within the crisis.

The same is true for brokers. If your business is Main Street—e.g. retail and restaurants—the past few months have been brutal, the future looks bleak, and policy renewal conversations won’t be easy. On the other hand, if you’re working with a company like Peloton, securing that renewal might be a cinch.

If retention among your current niche isn’t feasible, now is the time to consider your market and business strategy, and perhaps to rethink your approach. Take a step back and look at your insureds. What kinds of organizations are you going after, and why? Are you working with businesses that are truly sustainable in today’s social and economic environment?

Cast off your old assumptions and look for newly opened doors. For instance, if you leverage technology like KPA’s Risk Management Center, you could now be a viable option for an enterprise client looking for loss control and risk management services at a different price point. Don’t be afraid to be an opportunist.

At KPA, we offer multiple solutions for brokers looking to compete and win business in the COVID-19 era.

The Risk Management Center empowers brokers to make their insureds’ lives easier with automated facility inspection, incident response, employee training, and compliance tools, along with a comprehensive library of safety and HR resources. One key feature of the RMC is the Audit Track, which lets employers create custom audits, surveys, questionnaires, and self-assessments for staff—a safe, reliable way to manage risk among a workforce dispersed across multiple locations. Employers can also schedule remote inspections to identify and address safety issues without putting people at risk. Learn more.

KPA pages on laptop, desktop, tablet

Meanwhile, KPA’s award-winning online training program lets employers educate their workers on key practices and regulatory updates in a virtual setting. Wherever they’re located, regardless of travel restrictions or local ordinances, all members of the workforce can receive the interactive, information-packed training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. Learn more.

Finally, our new Return to Work Safely program makes it easy for employers to welcome workers and customers back to work safely and in compliance with OSHA and state regulations. Users get the following—and more:

  • Daily Health Assessment and Checklist
  • Sanitizing the Workplace Sample Policy
  • Social Distancing – Workplace Guidelines Poster
  • Monthly Return to Work Self-Service Safety Training Templates
  • Return to Work Online Training Module

Learn more.

All of these tools are available remotely and supported by our team of safety, regulatory, and HR experts. Together, we can address your clients’ biggest challenges and concerns in this challenging time—and you’ll get the credit for it.

Find out how KPA can serve you and your insureds. Schedule a consultation with us.

About The Author

Rob Stansbury

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