Starting insurance enhancement discussions with your clients

By Ken Kukral

One of the things I like most about being a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) is that once a year I get to go to an “update” class.  They usually go through the ISO changes to the main forms and then get into topics that help to “upsell” an account.  Knowing more about these topics helps to build a confidence in selling these types of coverage and helps me to work with retail agents who are looking to enhance their clients insurance programs.

So the question I was trying to figure out is how do we go about “upselling” our clients without coming off like we are just trying to sell them more coverage?

Some ideas:

– Like selling life insurance, you need to spend more time creating the “need” (at least in the “clients mind”) and then providing a solution for covering that need.  Asking probing questions like, “Do you travel internationally for business?”, will help them to understand the need for International Insurance coverage.

– Discussing coverage gaps – Much like going over with a homeowner’s insurance client, you need to explain what is not covered.  As everyone should already know, flood is not covered by a homeowner’s policy.  What many of them may not know is what constitutes the “flood” peril.  I am sure there are a number of claimants from Hurricane Sandy that are now getting a more accurate picture of what is covered and what is NOT covered.  This gives a perfect opportunity to offer and hopefully sell this type of coverage.

–  Walking them through claims scenarios.  This will be a learning experience for them, will help them with some disaster planning and help them to understand what is covered and not covered.  When they realize what is not covered, they will better understand why the coverages you have been recommending are so important.

– Developing “must have” type coverage listings for your clients.  By this I mean that you need to come up with a list of coverages that should be part of a comprehensive insurance program and then look to complete that package of coverages rather than just offer these as fringe coverages or “optional” coverages.  Coverage such as employment practices liability and cyber liability should be “must haves” and not just coverage to enhance your client’s insurance program.  Too many of these type of losses can put your clients out of business if they don’t have them.

– Asking your clients what “concerns them” in their business and then helping them to calm those fears and makes them feel more comfortable that they are properly covered.  This may bring about needs for enhancing their insurance program.

– Via website articles or newsletters, walk them through recent current events and discussing how their coverage would react or NOT react.  Discussing the issues with a recent hurricane, flood loss, local fire or recent lawsuit will help them to understand how coverage comes into place.  Letting them build the expectation that NOT all losses are covered will help them at the time when they have a loss.  Less of the “I can’t believe this is not covered” expectation will help and may also create questions from them and requests to add coverage.

– Coverage values or limits discussions.  With coverage such as crime insurance (employee dishonesty) most clients are underinsured.  Taking a recent claim example will help to show that they need higher limits and you can be ready with an indication to show that the cost to increase that coverage is not as much as they think.  The same scenario for business income coverage may also come as a surprise to them on how much they need in order to survive a major loss.

Bottom line, is that we need to continue to have these discussions with our clients on a regular basis so that they gain a comfort level with them and become convinced they need them to be properly covered.  Our job is to “protect the assets” of our clients and inform them of the real world hazards that can erode or eradicate those assets.  It is our job to make them “see the light”.  Just like closing in sales, you may not get the order the first time but you eventually will if you are unrelenting, methodical in your approach and have your client’s best interests in mind.

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