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When thinking of how commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs, you might assume that there’s not much to do other than sell policies. While insurance policies certainly can help entrepreneurs improve their businesses, there’s often more that commercial insurance agents can do to holistically help entrepreneurs.
To start, insurance agents generally need to make themselves more available to entrepreneurs and communicate more proactively.
Even during a time as challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic, six out of ten small business owners said they want to talk with their insurance agents; yet the majority of agents thought their clients were too consumed with getting through this difficult period, according to a June 2020 survey commissioned by Nationwide. The study also found that one-quarter of small business owners did not think their insurance agents were always there when they needed them.
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When making themselves more available, insurance agents can also extend support in a way that’s more relationship-focused rather than transactional. Many entrepreneurs have their hands in more than one business, could start new companies in the future, or at least have a network of other entrepreneurs that could be valuable leads for insurance agents, so it often pays to build strong relationships.
In this guide, we’ll examine some of the more specific ways commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs grow. In turn, providing support that goes beyond just providing policy quotes can go a long way toward helping insurance agents expand their own businesses.
Helping Entrepreneurs Manage Risks
One of the ways commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs is by identifying some of the risks they may face and sharing potential solutions. Entrepreneurs with experience running other companies may assume that what they did in the past will work going forward. Yet insurance agents may be able to provide guidance based on what they’re seeing across their client base and in their own work.
In particular, commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs identify risks across areas such as:
One of the more direct ways commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs is by reducing financial risk with insurance. But it’s important to walk through how specifically different types of coverage can reduce risk, such as explaining different scenarios that could trigger a claim.
Try to make these use cases applicable to the specific entrepreneur you’re working with, while also offering support where possible beyond insurance. For example, instead of just discussing how liability coverage can reduce the risk of an unforeseen event wiping out an entrepreneur’s assets, you may want to also provide guidance on budgeting for unforeseen events as a whole, e.g., by creating a business emergency fund.
Another way commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs is by identifying and offering solutions to reduce operational risks. The Nationwide study found that business owners often want help in areas like disaster planning and cybersecurity. There may be a policy you can offer to reduce the financial risks of these areas, such as cyber insurance that covers some of the costs to recover from a data breach. And operationally, you may be able to provide guidance on what other entrepreneurs are doing to reduce risks in these areas so that a claim doesn’t have to be triggered in the first place. That can be a win-win situation.
Connected to operational risks are digital ones. In addition to cybersecurity concerns, entrepreneurs may be more exposed than they realize to digital risks. For example, they may need to take more precautions around data privacy, especially in states like California with strong consumer privacy laws.
Entrepreneurs may also face digital risks related to evolving technology trends disrupting business models. While an insurance agent can only do so much in this regard, it can still be helpful to discuss this aspect in client conversations. Perhaps an insurer has been trying to create a digital agency of their own, and they can share this experience with other entrepreneurs. Sharing tips with one another could go a long way toward building strong relationships.
Helping Entrepreneurs Make Connections
In addition to helping entrepreneurs manage risks, commercial insurance agents can help entrepreneurs build out their contacts. Entrepreneurs, especially serial ones, often need to continually network to find people that help move their businesses forward. Insurers who have clients across industries and who may have strong networks of their own can help entrepreneurs make connections for areas like:
Banks and Financing:
Entrepreneurs often need funding to launch and grow businesses. Insurers may have close ties to other financial institutions that may be able to provide loans. Or, an insurance agent might work with clients in the banking, asset management, fintech, or related sectors. Making introductions for the purposes of helping entrepreneurs find financing can help strengthen relationships.
More generally, entrepreneurs can usually benefit from finding other business owners to collaborate with, whether it’s for sales, marketing, training, or many other purposes. Here too, insurance agents can use their networks to make connections for their entrepreneur clients. One way to facilitate these connections is by hosting a networking event, in which your clients can interact with one another and you may be able to find new prospects of your own.
Similar to helping entrepreneurs find other business owners to collaborate with, insurance agents may also be able to introduce entrepreneurs to potential customers. Especially for B2B entrepreneurs, an insurance agent may have other clients or contacts who would benefit from working with one another.
For example, an insurer who works with a marketing software entrepreneur may want to introduce that client to a first-time business owner in the consumer goods space that’s having trouble with their marketing. In doing so, you can help one of your clients find a customer while helping your other client improve their business.
Saving Entrepreneurs Time
Entrepreneurs typically have a lot on their plates. Those who launch and scale businesses often wear the hats of a CEO, chief marketing officer, sales lead, and more. So, if an insurance agent can save entrepreneurs time, then that could be a big help.
Still, that’s not to say insurers shouldn’t reach out to entrepreneurs because they’re too busy. As noted, the Nationwide study finds that clients still want to hear from insurers. But these interactions should have efficiency in mind. If you want to make introductions to potential collaborators, for instance, perhaps start by sharing that you’d like to do so over email, rather than jumping straight into a lunch invite.
Also, keep efficiency in mind when it comes to transactions. Since you already don’t want to get too bogged in pushing policies to clients, try to make the sales process simple and user friendly.
With a tool like Wheelhouse, entrepreneurs can quickly gain bindable quotes from multiple providers on their own and then contact you when they’re ready. That’s a lot more efficient than, say, calling you to obtain pricing and having you get back to them in a few days with an appointment to go over quotes. Wheelhouse also lets insurance agents proactively send out renewal requests, which helps that process run efficiently for both the agent and client.
Overall, agents that can be mindful of entrepreneurs’ limited time, while making the most of their interactions by providing helpful advice and connections, can improve their chances of helping entrepreneurs and ultimately growing their own insurance businesses.
Wheelhouse can help you grow your business and generate more leads.