Group Personal Lines? Is that possible? Yes, but you have to be creative.
One of the best ways to cross-sell to your commercial and benefit accounts is through group personal line sales.
As we move into the uncertainty around the new healthcare arrangements I have spoken with many agents nervous about their benefits departments. They are not nervous because their products will suddenly vanish. They are nervous because everything may become individual products, which could drop revenue through decreasing return on investment.
On the commercial side, agencies have just come out of a time when rates got soft and businesses contracted leading to dramatic drops in commercial commission income.
Group Personal Lines is a way of diversifying your revenue sources with leads you already have within your agency.
The trouble with marketing in Personal Lines is that you tend to market to one customer at a time. Ultimately the sale comes down to person to person, but marketing one to one inhibits growth. It does not scale. You only have the capacity for so many marketing pitches.
Group Personal Lines allows you to market to a mass of people rather than one at a time.
What are the options?
Many carriers especially within the IA channel have special PL program for small businesses, associations, credit unions, banks, etc.
Once you start asking you will find multiple variations. Some companies will discount every line of business for the groups, some will only discount auto, some offer payroll deduct, others give discounts on billing fees. You will also find a multitude of different marketing options such as brochures, posters, payslips, letters, email templates.
The beauty of this as an Independent Agent is that you are not necessarily tied to the Insurance Carrier that provides the program. Not all customers will fit, and pricing may not be competitive even with discounts, but don’t worry, you have a portfolio of company options.
It’s not about the discounts and special features. It’s about lead generation. It’s about getting your foot into the door to talk to 25, 50, 100 people about their personal insurance in one fell swoop.
Even if you don’t have carriers with special “group” programs, you can still do this. Create your own special group program, because remember it’s not about the price or the features. It’s about you and the value you create for customers.
You can design your own marketing toward that group. You can create your own special features: annual reviews, email updates, dedicated claims people.
How do you do it?
1. Think through groups where you already have current relationships. These could be commercial or benefit customers, associations, or businesses you know.
2. Make sure they are big enough. I would always shoot for 50+ people. If you go smaller, the numbers in the beginning will be frustrating, and you will be tempted to quit.
3. Think through the demographics of the employees or members. Do they match up with your ideal customer? Are they people you have had good risk experience writing?
4. You have your list. Approach your carriers, and see if you can find any special deals. Don’t get hung up here. If there is nothing or little available, it is not a big deal, you can create your own. Pricing is not the issue.
5. Create a sales sheet to use to pitch to the group. This is a one-pager that will be the start of your marketing efforts. Don’t go further than this. If they don’t buy, you haven’t spent too much time developing adwork. Again ask your companies. They may not have exactly what you need, but it can be a launching pad to developing your own. They may have templates to use.
6. Present to the group.
7. If they are ready to go, get them to commit up front to the types of marketing you can do with them. Create a checklist of options, and have them choose what fits in their group. For example, access to employee email addresses, ability to call at work, regular meetings, promotions, break room or lunch room access, payslip stuffers, employee newsletters, etc. Also get them to commit to how often you can visit. Personally I don’t think you need to physically be there monthly, but you do need to have some type of monthly communication touch points
8. Launch. Make sure this is as big as you can make it. Bring in food, have your marketing ready to hand out, have them bring dec pages and insurance questions. If you leave with commitments, make sure you follow up quickly.
9. Follow up. Be consistent with your communication plan. Schedule it on the calendar, and make sure you review consistently, and be patient.
10. Repeat with another group. Remember this is not magic and requires work, but the payoff can be big in time.
Bonus: Depending on how tech savvy you are you can make yourself look much bigger than you really are, and make them feel incredibly special by developing an internet landing page that captures customer emails and quote details. This is much easier than you could imagine. Your teenager can figure this out for you. You can do the same with Facebook as well. Email newsletters work as well.
Have you had experience selling PL to groups? Any other thoughts or tips?