Insurance companies have made agents’ work easier, by establishing claim hotlines and other services to assist when their customers have a claim. This reduces the agent’s workload, and usually improves the customer’s experience, with speed of settlement. But, it may also destroy an agent’s opportunity to create an unbreakable client relationship.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Certainly, the agent can still be involved in the processing of claim notices and the process of getting the claim properly and timely paid. The agent can be an advocate for the policyholder. These are increasingly optional tasks for many agents. If that agent is satisfied with high customer turnover, and focused primarily on building business through premium savings, then it may even be an acceptable business model.
On the other hand, if the agent is a good business person, she will recognize that customer retention is far more profitable than customer acquisition. She will see claims as the biggest opportunity she ever gets to build her business for the profitable long term.
Clients for life are not created when a policy is sold, they are created when a problem occurs. There is no bigger problem for a client than a life altering claim.
Here are some suggestions for ways to make a permanent relationship impact when your client experiences a claim:

1. Show up. Go to the claim whether it’s a body shop or a burned hulk that used to be someone’s home. Go visit in the hospital. Meet at the body shop.
2. Care. There are a myriad of ways to do this. Showing up is the first. Listening is important. Doing things that help instead of just offering to makes an indelible impression.
3. Communicate. At the beginning, and regularly, throughout the claim. Explain what to expect. Ask if expectations are being met. Intervene whenever, and wherever necessary to solve problems. Demonstrate that service is more than a slogan.
4. Explain. Help your client understand what they are entitled to, and when necessary, what they are not, and why.
5. Do the unexpected. Send a note, text, flowers or anything else that just says, “we’re thinking about you. Let us know if we can help in any way.” This used to be commonplace in life. It’s not any longer, so common decency stands out.
6. Wrap it up. When the claim is over, recap what happened including all the things that were done on the client’s behalf.
7. Ask. Did it go as the client expected? Worse? Better? Is there a way you could improve next time?
All of this is easy to manage and simple to do. I guarantee that if you do it, all the time, your retention AND your referrals will skyrocket.

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