Establishing a commercial insurance policy renewal checklist can help insurance agents reduce the risk of current clients slipping through the cracks when their initial policies conclude. Because growth isn’t just about bringing on new clients, it’s just as important to tend to the clients you’ve already won over.
“The Achilles’ heel of a recurring revenue-business is customer churn; even a small change in the renewal rate makes a big difference in the performance of the business,” notes Forrester.
Customer retention not only helps retain sales but can also lead to new ones, such as if renewing clients refer others to your business. So, in order to keep existing clients and build stronger relationships that can lead to more sales overall, insurance agents can create a commercial insurance policy renewal checklist that helps you continue to earn clients’ business.
Insurance agents may differ a bit in terms of how they structure their checklists. However, in this guide, we’ll cover some of the more prominent steps of a commercial insurance policy renewal checklist that you may want to incorporate into your own list.
Step 1: Inform Clients of Upcoming Renewal
The first step on your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist should be to let clients know when they have policies up for renewal. These dates can be shared with clients when they first sign up, as well as with specific reminders sent out a few months before the renewal date.
Generally, the sooner you can inform clients of an upcoming renewal, the better. “This is true for a few reasons. First, it’s a great excuse to get your brand in front of your customer. If there is an issue (or if they are happy/satisfied), they are more likely to let you know,” says Marketo. The company also notes that early notifications can help you secure sales sooner. Instead of stressing as a deadline approaches, you can lock in renewals early and have a better sense of your upcoming revenue.
Some of the ways to inform clients of upcoming renewals that you can add to your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist include:
- Email campaigns: Sending a reminder by email is a great way to capture your clients attention, but afford them the flexibility to respond when it works best for them. In addition, insurance agents can set up automated email campaigns, where if a client does not respond to the initial reminder, a follow-up policy renewal reminder email can go out a week or so later.
- Mail campaigns: Some insurance agents and their clients may appreciate using physical mail, like postcards, for reminders. Doing so might help your renewal notices stand out, though they may not be as easy to track and automate as email campaigns.
- Phone calls: Picking up the phone to call your clients can also be an effective tactic for some insurance agents. However, it may be a bit intrusive for a first reminder, so you might want to save this tactic for clients who are closer to their policy expiration dates.
- Meetings: If you have regular check-in meetings with your clients, that can be a great time to let them know of upcoming policy renewal dates. Or, you may want to schedule meetings with clients specifically to discuss their renewal needs, as discussed more in the following commercial insurance policy renewal checklist step.
To be better prepared for these reminders and any questions your clients may have, you can use a software solution like Wheelhouse to retrieve a bindable quote directly from the carrier’s underwriting systems. This simple step can make it easier for clients to renew with you.
However, you may need to go through some trial-and-error to see what works best (e.g., testing reminders two months in advance vs. three). But the general takeaway should be that you want to leave clients with what feels like plenty of time to review their options and make changes if necessary.
Step 2: Discuss Client Needs
Simply informing clients of their renewal dates likely will not be enough to get all customers to purchase with you again. Some may need more of a nudge through meetings or other forms of personalized communication to discuss their business needs in more detail.
During these interactions, take the time to listen to what clients are looking for and consider whether a renewal of their current policy would be the best fit. Also, use these interactions as a time to get to know your clients more and ensure that they’re getting the most out of working with you.
Make Your Policies Feel Applicable
Because insurance can be complex, clients may not always understand if they’re adequately covered or how they can receive the support they need in the event of a claim. So, to help increase renewals, insurance agents may want to walk clients through their coverage in more detail and explain how any changes might specifically align with their needs.
For example, when discussing a client’s needs, they may share that they plan to expand their business to a new market. You then may be able to share how another client similarly had that business goal and benefited from a policy that allowed them to easily scale up coverage.
Insurance agents can even set up meetings specifically to help clients feel like they’re getting more out of your offerings, even if they haven’t had to make a claim yet. As Gartner suggests as part of customer success strategies across sectors, “consider a user group meeting where you present new customer success stories that explain how organizations achieved business value with your product or single-customer meetings to address best practices and allow for questions. This approach covers fewer clients, but enables better relationship building and two way-interaction.”
Step 3: Provide Renewal Options
Once you’ve informed clients of upcoming renewals and discussed their business needs, providing specific renewal options should come next on your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist.
Examples of these options can include:
- Keeping existing coverage entirely
- Keeping the same areas covered but with higher coverage limits
- Adjusting coverage areas, e.g., expanding a general liability policy to include an additional property
- Bundling different types of policies together
Informing clients of these renewal options can come at various points in the cycle, depending on both your own and your clients’ preferences. For example, you may want to provide a few options in a renewal reminder email, but perhaps you find more success discussing these options in more detail during meetings.
One thing to keep in mind though is that providing renewal options as part of your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist doesn’t mean you always have to upsell. Instead, genuinely try to recommend renewal options that align with clients’ needs. For example, during a one-on-one meeting, a client may share that they don’t think their policy is worth the cost. In that case, you may be better off sharing a renewal option that lowers their monthly payments but at least allows the customer to renew with you, rather than canceling entirely.
Step 4: Complete Renewals
After you’ve provided clients with their options, it’s time to complete the renewals. This part of your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist may seem too obvious to consider as a step, but the way in which you go about actually completing the renewals can affect future renewals.
For example, if a client decides to make a few adjustments during their renewal, can you provide a simple way to complete that transaction? Or do clients need to go through several signup steps as if they were a new client? If the transaction isn’t simple and efficient, that can sour the relationship. Generally, the more clients feel like they don’t have to do anything administratively to complete the renewal, the better.
Keeping Track of Completed Renewals
Your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist should also include keeping track of completed renewals. You may be able to handle most of the operational work for your clients behind-the-scenes so that they can easily complete renewals, but the process should also be efficient on your end.
Ideally, you can use a system such as a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that allows you to keep track of all your completed renewals. That way, you can easily know which clients you still need to focus on. At the same time, the CRM may be able to automate areas such as sending out thank you emails to clients who completed their renewals.
Step 5: Get a Head Start on Next Year’s Renewals
Efficiently tracking completed renewals can also help you get a head start on next year’s renewal process. Instead of trying to manually keep track of when to send out reminder notices, you can often set reminders up in advance to automatically go out.
You also might want to complete your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist by getting a head start on scheduling client check-ins. If you can touch base, say, three or six months later, that may help clients feel appreciated and allow you to understand their business needs well in advance of when it’s time to renew again.
Using technology like Wheelhouse can help. The platform’s new features allow insurance agents to complete renewals from within the portal. In conjunction with a CRM, agents can easily see when a renewal is coming due, and proactively reach out to clients to quickly send over a renewal quote.
The more you can stay on top of your commercial insurance policy renewal checklist through these types of tools, the easier it can be to earn repeat revenue from customers and ultimately grow.