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Working With Independent Insurance Agencies


Heres a five-year marketing and advertising plan worth a million dollars for a local insurance agency.

Family-owned independent insurance agencies make great local direct customers. Their money comes from commissions paid by the insurance companies. Gross margin of profit after the cost of labor is 30 percent. Average sale for auto insurance for a two-car family is just under $1,000 per year. Most family-owned local insurance agencies depend on sales of automobile coverage because auto premiums give the agency the chance to up-sell and also get the customers home, life, health, business, and other policies.

The local independent agents biggest problem is the plague of national discount companies competing for his auto insurance business.

Consumers are concerned about escalating insurance premiums. But an even deeper concern is that the insurance company will fight the customer on claims. Most people are under-insured. It is in the clients best interest to educate the people on how best to use his services. But first the client must convince consumers that he is trustworthy and will assist the customer when its time to pay claims.

Get the owner to come to the station and share his stories about what happens to people who are underinsured or have no insurance at all when a crisis hits. He probably has hundreds of good stories. Let him tell them without reading from a script. Record them and edit them, leading with the most provocative thing he says. Again, no scripts. Let him tell his stories in his own conversational way, the same way hed speak to the people if they were sitting across the desk from him.

Agency owners usually become very animated when theyre telling their stories. Heres what one independent agent told me. When its time to get the claim paid Im right here to represent my people. The folks in this town know Ill help them when they have a claim. In fact, I love filling out claim forms. Its like a hobby. And, Ill stand by my customers when the claims adjuster comes to make sure my customers get exactly what they deserve. When you go with one of those national discount companies with a claim good luck. I mean, who are you going to talk to? A lizard?  Wow. So, working with him is like having an insurance policy inside an insurance policy.

He also had this to offer. Hey, Ive got news for you. Youre the bread-winner and youre going to die. Thats a fact, my friend. Youre going to die and what is going to happen to your dependents when that happens? Have you thought about that? Getting over your death is bad enough. Are you going to send them the poorhouse too? Ninety percent of the people in this town are UNDER insured. Do the right thing and cover your assets. He put emphasis on the first syllable of assets.

And this. If youre a renter, Im telling you, get renters insurance. Do it. I see people every week who come to me after theyve already lost everything to a thief or a fire or a flood and it just breaks my heart.

Or this regarding disability insurance. I call it paycheck insurance, because thats exactly what it is. If youre disabled this policy pays you up to 75 percent of what you were making before you were disabled. I sold a policy to a man in his 40s. All he had to do was sign the form and write me a check. He kept putting me off. For his birthday he bought himself a motorcycle. He was hit by a truck within the first week and was paralyzed from the waist down. The first thing he told his wife was that he had never signed the disability insurance policy I left him.

He also mentioned that, Whether you want to see me or not, I make it a point to visit our customers at least once per year and photograph all of their valuable property. We put those photos on a thumb drive and keep it in a bank safe deposit box so that if you ever have a claim, weve got evidence for the insurance adjuster.  Thats another important service difference that deserves to be mentioned.

These stories bring to life intangible products like insurance policies. And they deserve to be told and heard.

Paul Weyland is a local direct sales trainer. He works with station groups and broadcast associations to bring more long-term local direct business to broadcasters. You can reach Paul at 512 347 9883 or . Pauls new book Think like an Adman, Sell like a Madman" is available at

For more articles by Paul Weyland, go HERE.

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