This article was provided by Zywave
Previously, a catastrophic season may have indicated a certain period over the course of the year. Still, over the past few years, it’s become clear that severe weather and natural disasters can occur regardless of time and place.
Insurers and commercial policyholders in the Gulf and the Mid-and-South Atlantic states no longer have to just worry about hurricane season. And, insurers and commercial policyholders in the north have to worry about more than ice storms and snow squalls. It’s now essential to be prepared for a variety of major storms, fires, blizzards, and other various types of weather.
That’s where you come in.
Be a community ally
As an independent agency, you’re a foundational ally within your community. When businesses in your community experience hardship, so does your agency. Your success is directly tied to the success of your neighbors.
Your agency can be a resource during inclement weather, natural disasters, community hardships, a pandemic, and other unavoidable or unexpected events. During times like those, your clients will look to you with questions about coverage, safety guidelines, workplace guidelines, and their employees.
What are the challenges?
According to a recent JD Power Study, “small commercial lines customer satisfaction has declined 15 points in the past two years — a 7-point decline from a year ago and an 8-point decline in 2020 from 2019.”
Two notable concerns arose from this study:
- Insureds were concerned with the lack of interaction that insurers, primarily the big carriers, had with policyholders about business impacts from COVID-19. Now, this is to be expected. It would take time to understand, address, and disseminate information about coronavirus specific to individual states, counties, etc.
- Insureds were dissatisfied with the lack of proactivity when addressing business impacts from COVID-19. Now, it is important to add context to this statement. Unsurprisingly, proactive contact with policyholders significantly increased in 2021 to 45%.
It was not the speed at which carriers made contact; it was the content of the communication. Policyholders expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of information provided during that contact.
This does not bode well for the direct-to-consumer insurance model. The big carriers’ inability to provide a personal touch to individual communities, timely support, and various policy options negatively impacts their once championed user experience. Now, independent agents can offer a much richer, hybrid model for consumers. Well, that is… if you make that choice.
What do you need to serve your community better?
To be a resource, help your community prepare for events that are both common and unexpected. When events are unexpected, you must be timely. You must implement processes that make your agency agile. Agile in your communication to clients and prospects. Agile in your ability to update your website with helpful resources.
Prepare your community
Content is king.
If your community is regularly impacted by hurricanes, help your neighbors and local businesses prepare with yearly dissemination of checklists and guides. If you live in a region where wildfires are common, help prevent them with preventative materials. If your agency doesn’t have the resources to create and quickly disseminate helpful information during disastrous or unanticipated events to your clients and prospects, trust technology to aid in this regard.
Your clients will appreciate it and remember that you did.
To be timely, you must be prepared when the unexpected happens — like Will Smith says: “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”
Automate processes. Have tools at your disposal to segment, compose, and disseminate helpful information to your clients and prospects. Have a website that enables you to be agile and update information on it quickly. Yes, it’s possible to be able to update a high-quality, powerful website on your own.
Remember, inclement weather, natural disaster, pandemics, and catastrophic events happen. There’s no way to avoid them. The best thing you can do is be there for your community when disaster strikes. With the proper process, preparedness, and a little agility, you can service your clients like never before. After all, who knows your community better than you?
Visit zywave.com today to learn how your business can gain access to the industry’s most expansive and comprehensive library of P&C resources designed by industry experts to cover any commercial insurance issue, including risk management, workers’ comp, safety, and compliance.