At face value, insurance rate increases aren’t fun for anyone. They can make your clients feel annoyed, angry, or even fearful (“If I can’t afford to pay for this, could I lose everything?”). As an agent, it can also put you in an uncomfortable position. You have to attempt to justify the rate increase to your customers, even though the rate hike is completely out of your hands.
You can approach these conversations by trying to educate your customers on how much rates went up statewide and how their particular increase compares. But even if they have a lower increase than others, it may still feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick since they’re going to have to spend more for the same product.
That is, unless you can find a way to offset the rate increase or add new features or coverages. Here are a few ways you can turn a rate increase into a “value-add” situation for your customers!
Find Extra Savings
A rate increase is the perfect time for you to dust off your detective hat and go snooping for new savings. Has your client resisted going paperless in the past? Maybe they’ve gotten more comfortable since you last asked them. Or perhaps they were skeptical about doing electronic fund transfers with a new insurance company, but now feel more comfortable since you’ve established rapport. The pressure of an increased premium bill can create a new openness to saving a few dollars.
Reassess Their Coverage
A rate increase is also an excellent reason to review current coverages to look for places to sell additional products or higher coverages.
Getting ahead of the increase will give you this opportunity. Instead of waiting for questions about higher bills, call your clients and say something like this:
“With all of the wildfires/hail damage/blizzard claims last year, our state took a real hit when it comes to insurance claims, and I’ve recently found out that rates are going to rise an average of X percent this next year. Since your renewal is coming up soon, I’d love to take a few minutes to review your coverages and see if we might be able to get you a better value.”
This opens the door for you to be able to ask about how their life may have changed in the last year and how they think it will change going forward. This can be anything from planned vehicle purchases or home improvements to checking in on their current coverage rates and deductible levels.
You may be able to suggest an improvement to their coverage by assessing more than one policy, creating savings in one area that will offset an increase in another. For example, it may be appropriate to recommend increasing homeowners coverage due to rising construction costs in your area, or maybe you can decrease coverage on an aging vehicle that isn’t worth as much anymore.
Once you change the current coverage, it’s no longer an apples-to-apples rate comparison. Changing the value proposition like this can make an overall rate increase easier to stomach.
Rate increases are a fact of life in the insurance business, but they don’t have to lead to lost customers. If you suspect a rate increase is going to trigger a client to shop around, why not take advantage of that opportunity and sell them an even better policy? Maintaining an optimistic mindset about your prospects includes those who are already your customers, too.
For more ideas about how to work through rate increases, call Hometown Quotes at 800-820-2981 and speak to one of our Regional Directors. All of our Regional Directors are successful insurance agents who have gone through their share of insurance rate increases and many other common situations, and they’ve got great advice to share!