If you want to keep your insurance agent honest, here are 8 questions that only an insurance agent would think to ask…
One of the many reasons insurance agents get away with underdelivering to their customers is a lack of knowledge for business owners. In my ongoing effort to help educate businesses and give them the tools to take back control of the business insurance buying experience, I’ve compiled a list of 8 questions. I can guarantee you that 99% of agents out there have never been asked them. Why? Because they’re questions that only an insurance agent themself would think to ask.
Below are the 8 questions you HAVE to ask your insurance agent to find out if they’re qualified to help you and your business. Also, you will see what I would consider to be acceptable and unacceptable answers for most of them. Use this as you wish…but don’t be surprised if your agent starts stuttering when you ask some or all of these!
- What industries do you specialize in?
- Acceptable: “4-6 specific niche industries”
- Unacceptable: “All of them!” – Your insurance agent shouldn’t be a jack of all trades. Every industry has it’s own specific exposures that require in-depth knowledge. The best agents know what they’re good at & stick to it.
- What is your personal experience working with businesses like mine?
- Acceptable: “Yours is one of the few industries I work with, I serve “X” number of clients that do what you do”
- Unacceptable: “I have lots of experience!” – really? Provide details. The proof is in the referrals they are willing to share with you.
- What do you see is the biggest challenge when it comes to insurance for businesses like mine?
- Acceptable: “Right now, I’m seeing that “ABC” coverage is becoming hard to place. I’m also seeing a lot of loss challenges due to “XYZ” in your industry”.
- Unacceptable: “Right now, it’s a great market – there are lots of carriers and I can save you money!” – every industry has challenges…they either don’t know them or don’t care to share them with you.
- Who are the carriers that your agency works with?
- Acceptable: List of anywhere between 5-10 carriers they work with that write business in your industry
- Unacceptable: “We work with every carrier in the market” or “Just one or two carriers” – You want an agent with options, but specific ones that are aggressive in your industry.
- Follow up: Which carriers does your agency have the biggest commitments to?
- I’ll leave the acceptability of this answer up to you. But (if they answer) take note of who they have commitments with and pay attention to who it’s with when they bring you a proposal. Why does this question matter? Well, if an agency has one carrier that offers them significant profit-sharing or increased commissions, your agent might be less likely to shop your program around each year.
- After you earn my business, who will be responsible for servicing my account?
- Acceptable: “I will be your point-person moving forward”
- Unacceptable: “Our CSR will be your point-person moving forward”. – The CSR didn’t learn about your business and write your coverages, why would you go to them with questions or issues?
- What does your renewal process look like?
- Acceptable: “Typically, we start the conversation around 60 days out where we prepare for any changes for the renewal. Then, we typically will present your renewal 15-30 days before your renewal date.”
- Unacceptable: Anything other than what’s above. Any agent that delivers last second renewals is relying on you not shopping them out and “auto-renewing” each year so that they can cash-in on your renewals without putting in the work.
- How often do you quote out our business?
- Acceptable: “Every year, unless we’re expecting an inflationary increase that is below the market average, or better yet, a decrease.”
- Unacceptable: Anything other than what’s above. Agents are lazy. Just by asking this question, you can figure out how important it is to yours that they “earn” your commission every year.
Print these questions out. Keep them handy for the next time you meet with your agent or a prospective agent. Watch their reactions to each of your questions and hold them accountable to their answers. Insurance agents talk a lot about setting ground rules with their clients but this will give you a chance to set ground rules with your agent. If they don’t deliver – fire them.
Want to learn more about how you can take back control of the insurance buying process? Check out my free eBook here: https://blog.mchughinsurancegroup.com/ebook-leveling-the-playing-field