An annual commercial insurance review is an important touchpoint between an insurance agent and a business client. It is a critical component in establishing, building, and maintaining a trusted relationship with your client as their business advisor. It’s also important to client retention and should be scheduled as part of an annual renewal process.
First, the annual review process begins long before the meeting itself. It’s a process that starts early in your relationship when onboarding a new client. Often, a business client doesn’t understand the role of the agent/broker or has misconceptions about the role. Don’t leave it to their imagination or what their last agent told them to expect. Define your role and expertise in your initial meeting. Explain the advisory and quoting services that you provide, explain how risk mitigation and insurance coverage is an important part of their organization’s health, stability, and wellbeing. Just as they meet regularly with a tax advisor or a financial advisor, establish the expectation that you would also be in the cycle.
Set the annual review expectation when you sell the policy. “Annual” should be the floor, not the ceiling. If your client is large, growing, or dynamic, you may need to meet more frequently. Educate commercial clients to think about business events that might warrant a coverage change and get them to alert you. Ideally, they would pull you in to discuss insurance implications of growth plans. And just as you don’t want to be surprised by them in the annual review, avoid surprising them. If there are events that might impact coverage, such as a hardening market, keep them apprised.
Use every meeting and insurance review as an opportunity to educate your client. Don’t assume because they are in business that they understand insurance. Chances are, they don’t know the laws, the jargon, the coverage ins and outs, and the differences in coverage from one product or one insurer to another. They may have misunderstandings. For a recent example think of the claims and the ensuing lawsuits related to business interruption during the pandemic. Or the all-too-common assumption that flood is included in covered perils.
Insurance Review: Preparing for your Meeting
The first step in setting up a review is determining when it should occur. It should be held enough time before renewal that you can determine client satisfaction, have time to address any issues, and leave sufficient time to shop quotes. Consider scheduling 6 to 12 weeks prior to renewal. A small company may need less time, while a larger, more complex business should be scheduled further out.
Here are steps you should take in advance to ensure a productive meeting:
- Determine who, what, where, when. Set a meeting date and a location or format. Will it be in person? An online meeting? By phone? Who should be in attendance? (Hint: make sure the decision maker is a mandatory attendee.)
- Verify and update key contact information for any attendees: phone, email, and address.
- Review policies, current coverage, and client notes; Develop a custom checklist for your client that you will review together in the meeting.
- Review any key industry trends for your client, particularly if they are a larger client in a dynamic business sector.
- Prep your client in advance. Send a customized checklist and if there is any documentation you will need, let them know what you need them to have available.
- Issue meeting reminders, perhaps a week in advance and two days prior.
Insurance Review: What to cover in the meeting
Discuss any business changes that expand the risk exposure of your client’s business in two primary buckets: Assets and Liabilities. Also, assess their satisfaction with you and your services and with the insurance company and insurance product. You want to learn if requoting is in order, if there are opportunities to save your client money, or if they have gaps in coverage that should be addressed.
- Learn if the client:
- Experienced significant change in scope of business, either a growth or decrease.
- Moved to a new location, added or closed locations, expanded to other cities or states.
- Bought or leased any land, buildings equipment, technology, vehicles, or other business assets.
- Initiated new business relationships, M&A activity, partnerships, or contractor relationships.
- Changed products, services, or business model.
- Added risk mitigation systems, such as surveillance, smart technology, or fire alarms.
- Increased or decreased payroll.
- Added employees, contractors, subcontractors, or freelancers.
- Have employees who work remotely.
- Have employees who drive or travel for work.
- Review and suggest discounts or money saving opportunities, if available. Discuss current deductibles and risk tolerance, and the pros and cons of reducing or increasing.
- Advise clients of any loss mitigation services available from the insurer.
- Discuss and agree on what coverage will be requoted.
- Raise awareness about other products and services that might strengthen or supplement their coverage, such as Employee Benefits, Key Person Life, and Cyber Liability.
- End the meeting with a list of action items and a time frame for deliverables.
An insurance review should be standard operating procedure for any of your commercial clients so that you can review and adjust coverage and earn your keep as a trusted advisor. One of the underlying goals of the insurance review is to deepen your relationship as a trusted advisor and to demonstrate your commitment to your client’s business growth and prosperity. You should go away with a good sense of the health of that relationship after this meeting.
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