Insurance producers may be sidelined when it comes to managing claims – but chances are, your clients don’t know that. And you can play a key role in helping the claims process go more smoothly. Here’s a case in point.
You spent time romancing this client, getting to know their needs, providing links and reading materials that fit their situation, and you finally closed the deal. And you’ve continued to stay in touch like a good producer, cross-selling and keeping them aware of additional opportunities. You’ve connected on social media, and they’ve even sent a decent referral your way.
Now, six months later, they’ve just experienced a loss. Who are they going to call?
You, of course. You’re the face of the insurance agency. You’re the one they trust to give them good advice, because you’ve proven yourself to be a good consultant.
While it’s the insurance company that they need to work with, chances are they may still want you involved, and it’s in your best interest to do so. I like the way John Carroll put it in his blog, InsuranceSplash:
"A claim is the moment of truth. It’s the single point in time when your promises are put to the test. Do you really want to rely on someone else to make sure your promises are fulfilled?"
So here are a few tips to work out the kinks of the claims process – before and during the claim.
When you’re selling the policy
These are all no-brainers, but we’ll state them anyway as a good reminder.
- Take the time to explain in layman’s terms what their policy covers – and what it does not cover
- Recommend any suitable endorsements
- Help them select the optimum deductibles and policy limits for their needs
- If they decide to forego any coverages or endorsements, be sure to spell out in writing what will not be covered
- Provide clear instructions on who to contact with their claim
When they call with a claim
Emotions run the gamut, from resignation to panic. Meet them where they are, and provide the information they need such as claims contact information, how their loss is evaluated, how quickly they can expect compensation, how filing a claim may impact their rates, and whether their insurer can cancel their policy. You as their consultant need to be familiar with your various insurers so that you can accurately answer their questions. Just be sure not to make promises about coverage based on the client’s initial account of the incident. John Carroll’s suggested answer is very good:
"In my experience, your coverage usually works like ______, however every insurance claim is handled differently and you’ll get the best explanation directly from your claim adjuster."
Continue to follow up
Check back with your client several times over the next few weeks or until their claim is settled. Let them vent their frustration to you, and be empathetic. Many times they just want to be heard, so be their sounding board without becoming defensive.
Encourage insurance clients to respond as quickly as possible to their adjuster’s request for any paperwork or information. Carroll suggests offering your office – your copier, fax or scanner – to help them get any documents to their adjuster. If you have a notary on staff, be sure they know that as well.
Maintaining client relationships are the key to insurance success, whether as a producer you’re selling or servicing a policy. A hiccup in the claims cycle can leave your clients with a negative opinion of you – even though the fault lies with the insurer, not you. Your proactive client relationship management can go a long way towards not only greasing that claims pipeline, but also soothing clients’ ruffled feathers.