Ethics Center: Sales & Marketing

Four Ways to Get P/C Prospects through the Sales Process

In the property-casualty insurance business, the focus is on acquiring new customers through effective marketing and sales. No doubt these tasks are important. But equally important are efforts not to lose prospects once they are in the new-business pipeline. To this end, PropertyCasualty360.com recently published an article entitled, “Here are 4 Ways You Lose Potential Insurance Customers.” Following are the points we learned from that article, including an errors-and-omissions insurance takeaway from EOforLess.com.

The first drop-off occurs during data collection, says writer Rosalie Donlon. This involves insurers continuing to use manual, paper-based forms or archaic electronic systems that focus more on insurer, not customer needs. Others problems include forms that pose overly broad questions or that fail to follow up on prior answers.

The point, says Donlon, is to make data collection quick and convenient from the customer’s point of view and to leave the impression that the process is well managed, not chaotic. Adopting paperless applications is a key strategy for making data gathering seamless, efficient, and effective, Donlon adds.

The second drop-off occurs when prospects become frustrated while completing an application and either voluntarily abandon the process or are forced to quit in order to find additional information. Poorly designed application engines often fail to retain data already provided, making prospects start over once they come back. This is extremely frustrating to them and is a common reason they abandon the sale.

The third drop-off point happens when data gathering is over and agents begin the process of shopping the case to one or more insurance companies. Here, delays happen when agent/agency systems fail to interface appropriately with carrier systems. If quotes come back wrong or late, prospects will often give up, taking their business to another agent.

The fourth and final drop-off arises when insurers force prospects to provide information at any point in the new-business process that could have easily been sourced electronically from other places. For example, why ask prospects for detailed information about their vehicles or driving records when it could be accessed from third-party databases such as those maintained by state departments of motor vehicles?

Doing any of these four things will not only jeopardize your ability to close the sale, it will sow seeds of doubt in the mind of your prospects. For example, according to EOforLess, they’ll ask themselves, “If the process of applying for insurance is this difficult, how will the agent perform once I become a customer? Will he or she provide efficient service, be responsive if I have a claim, and avoid errors-and-omissions insurance mistakes that could increase my risk exposures and even cost me money down the line?”

At the end of the day, property-casualty insurance agents must not only identify sales opportunities, but also shepherd prospects through the new-business process in a way that results in policy issue and that enhances, not erodes, consumer confidence. Are you up to the challenge?

For information on affordable errors and omissions insurance for low-risk insurance, investment, and real estate professionals, visit EOforLess.com. For information on ethical sales practices, please visit the National Ethics Association’s Ethics Center.