Providing Value in Hard Insurance Markets:Key Differentiators

In a hard market, insurance agents have to work twice as hard – and their clients may still be dissatisfied with the coverage they offer. You know you’re doing your best in difficult market conditions, but, to retain business, you need to make sure your clients know that, too. For this reason, it’s especially important to demonstrate your value in a hard market.

1. Keep clients informed of market conditions.

CIAB says commercial property rates rose 17.1% in the third quarter of 2023. ValuePenguin says homeowners insurance premiums have increased by 19.1% over the past five years. Some regions are seeing even steeper hikes, and carriers have been pulling out of unprofitable markets.

As an insurance professional, you’re aware of these issues, but your clients might not be. Receiving a notice of non-renewal or a rate hike may be the first time customers become aware of adverse market conditions. As a result, they might be unprepared to pay more for coverage. Even worse, they may think they can find better coverage elsewhere, as they won’t realize how widespread the challenges are.

You can help by providing market information well ahead of renewals. By giving your clients a heads-up, you make sure they’re not blindsided. This extra communication enables them to budget and plan accordingly.

2. Provide risk management resources.

Risk management is always worthwhile, but it’s especially important during hard insurance markets. By providing risk management tips, you can help your clients position themselves as appealing underwriting risks so they can receive the best rates possible under current market conditions. Proactive risk management can also help clients avoid claims, positioning them to lower their total cost of risk over time.

There are many types of risk management resources to provide, such as:

  • Evergreen Tips. These risk management resources are useful year-round and could include topics like cybersecurity and safe driving.
  • Seasonal Reminders. Some tips are relevant at certain times of the year, such as protecting pipes during the winter or watching out for slip and fall exposures during rainy seasons.
  • Emerging Issues. Current trends or issues in underwriting and claims is useful information to share with your clients. Informing business clients of skyrocketing wire transfer fraud exposures is one example.

3. Demonstrate your advocacy.

If you’re the modest type, you may not want to toot your own horn, but you should. You’re working hard for your clients, but a lot happens behind the scenes. If you don’t tell clients what you’re doing, they won’t know.

When you’re negotiating for better rates or shopping around with an extensive list of carriers, keep clients informed of your efforts. Send emails to document your actions and follow up with a monthly phone call or visit to check in, answer questions and keep the relationship strong.

4. Provide ample options.

If the carriers you normally use are no longer offering sufficient options, you’ll need to expand. For example, personal lines clients who are upset with their auto insurance rates may be interested in trying usage-based options, whereas business clients who can’t secure the terms they need may want to explore the excess and surplus market or parametric insurance options.

For some clients, a captive or self-insured approach could make sense.

This is your chance to shine. Many agencies simply don’t have access to the creative options and deep expertise you can leverage by being part of our network. When you talk to your clients, show them you’ve explored all the available coverage options and help them navigate the pros and cons of each.

5. Stay in touch.

You don’t need to wait until renewals to reach out to your clients – there are ways to stay in touch throughout the year.

  • Send cards for holidays and birthdays. Although a small gesture, this can strengthen your client relationships.
  • Create a monthly e-newsletter. This is an effective way to share risk management tips and information on market conditions with your clients.
  • Maintain an active social media presence or blog and invite your clients to follow you. This is another good way to share tips and insights.

Heffernan Network helps you provide more value in hard and soft markets. We offer access to national A-rated carriers and exclusive programs and products. We also provide back-office support and market intelligence. Learn more