Strong agency-carrier relationships are critical; learn three ways to optimize your partnerships.
The high-pressure, ever-evolving nature of the insurance industry makes it all the more important for agencies to be strategic with their time—including the time spent on networking. Carrier-broker relationships are mutually beneficial and can be valuable in helping you reach your goals. Here are three steps to ensure you and your agents are making the most of these partnerships.
1. Find the Right Carriers to Partner With
As the link between carriers and your clients, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face as a broker is partnering with the right carriers and getting the right products to your clients. Working with the right carriers and having a diverse range of product offerings gives you a competitive edge in the marketplace by enabling you to provide great customer service.
Of course, in order to partner with a carrier, you must get a certification, license, or contract with them in order to sell their products. These all require time and financial investment, so you will want to choose your carriers wisely.
First, do your research on local, national, and non-carrier partnerships. While national carriers are a common choice, there may also be some local options that have ideal plans for your clients. You may want to have a mix of both—you could even throw some non-carrier partnerships into that mix.
You should also consider feedback from your agents and current and prospective clients. Are there certain carriers your agents have been able to sell more successfully than others? Are there specific products or carriers that your current clients are requesting? Have prospective clients gone with a competing agency because you lacked a product or carrier? This insight can help you make informed decisions that maximize your potential return on investment (ROI).
2. Cultivate and Manage Your Relationships With Carrier Reps
Insurance brokers have a lot on their plate, which means that investing in carrier relationships can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
Communication is fundamental to strengthening any relationship, so you want to ensure you’re communicating with your carriers and carrier reps strategically. Building rapport can be a powerful differentiator between you and competitors for a few reasons. Strong carrier relationships can:
- Help when it’s time to negotiate client quotes. A strong working relationship with your carrier rep gives you the opportunity to provide better quotes to your individual and group prospects and clients, compared to what they may receive from competitors.
- Enable you to find the most client-favorable combination of products or packages. Your carrier reps have a wealth of knowledge about ideal insurance product combinations. Leverage your strong carrier relationships to find the best package for your new and renewing health and life insurance clients.
- Provide you with insider knowledge and clarity on different plans, which allows you to better serve current and prospective clients. Again, your carrier reps have deep knowledge about the plans and products their company offers. Use this to your advantage to pick an optimal plan that will serve your clients well and increase your chances of retention.
Here are some tips to ensure you’re communicating well with your carriers:
Establish Dedicated Points of Contact
Consider making one to two team members the dedicated point of contact of each carrier rep to help divide the relationship-building workload and ensure open communication. This will also prevent important things from falling through the cracks.
Reach Out Regularly
With the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget to reach out to your carriers consistently. Don’t wait until you’re onboarding a new client or Open Enrollment to build rapport—schedule regular meetings to ask for feedback, get insights on specific products, and discuss goals, opportunities, and plans.
Use an Agency Management System
Tracking details on every carrier in an organized, easily accessible way can be difficult—especially if you work with many carriers or have a large agency. Overcome disorganization with an agency management system that has carrier-centric features.
Along with a suite of other solutions, AgencyBloc has a few tools that can help you stay organized and better manage your carrier relationships. The Carriers tab is great for keeping track of all of your carrier details such as meeting notes, important files, resources, website login information, and more. You can also make yourself to-dos, known in AgencyBloc as “Activities,” to set action items tied to specific carriers, such as sending them an email or scheduling a meeting. Utilize other tools, like Automated Workflow to better organize, prioritize, and stay intentional with your carrier relationship communications.
In addition, AgencyBloc also allows you to filter individual or group policies by carrier or coverage type. This gives you a clear view of what carriers and products your clients are buying and if certain carriers are getting more renewals than others, which is helpful when you get to step three.
3. Analyze the Partnership
It’s a good idea to regularly evaluate how your carrier relationships are going. Since you’ve been taking detailed notes throughout your partnership, you can easily analyze your ROI with each carrier. Getting an idea of how well you are selling a carrier’s products (or if things aren’t going as expected) can help you make informed decisions around continuing your partnership or optimizing your sales and marketing strategies moving forward.
Optimize Your Agency As a Whole With the Right Technology
With so many options and an ever-changing, digitally-based industry landscape, it can be difficult to choose a software solution that supports your agency. AgencyBloc’s agency management system can help you significantly enhance your carrier relationships and agency as a whole.
Our platform has a range of features that can support the many operations of your agency. Our industry-specific CRM and agency management tools can help you effectively manage carrier relationships, clients, policies, agents, and more, all in one location.
Build Strong Carrier Relationships & More With AgencyBloc
As the #1 Recommended Agency Management Platform for life and health agencies, AgencyBloc can help you enhance your carrier relationships and much, much more.
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by Allison Babberl on Thursday, July 27, 2023
Customer & Policy Management