Although the insurance business has weathered the initial storm, we believe that this is a critical juncture for the industry as a whole, as well as for individual companies. The board’s agenda is dominated by strategy, growth, business transformation, and the rate of organizational change. Insurers are also trying to strike a balance between financial conservatism and challenging trade conditions and the need to invest and position themselves for long-term success.

While there are various ways you can get your business through hard times, we asked insurance industry experts for their top ways to make their business withstand considerable challenges, continuing to survive in the market.

The Biggest Help for Insurance Business Survival: Experts’ Views

  1. Expanding into other niches

Jason Graybeal, President, Graybeal Group Inc.

Insurance Skill: Our biggest pivot was expanding into other niches that weren’t as affected by COVID. Obviously, a restaurant or gym-focused agency would have a tough time surviving, but expanding into agriculture, habitation, or construction would be an example of a more consistent market. That being said, the agencies I see that are flourishing, not just surviving, have been doing things differently for a few years. Commitment to technology, commitment to learning, and commitment to growth. Those agencies have continued to prosper, regardless of what 2020 threw at us.

  1. Learning search engine optimization

Jake Irving, Owner of Willamette Life Insurance

In a year of unpredictable curve balls thrown at insurance agencies and businesses in general, the way that my agency was able to cut costs to survive these unprecedented times was by learning how to get organic traffic to my website. Learning search engine optimization allowed me to cut my expenses to virtually nothing to gain a lead. The process consisted of writing content while the lockdown was in place. I continued this for several months, coupled with enhancing my sales techniques through free online resources.

  1. Grow from against after this hard storm

 

David Baddeley, Director at Scottish Trust Deed

Being able to make the hard financial decisions is the hope you had to stay afloat last year, and that will not go away this year, unfortunately, too. Sometimes you have to cut down, tighten your bootstraps or let people go, but it is for the greater good of the company and making sure that above anything else, your company can survive. For some people, their employees are down to a few or even one, but it meant that they could have a foundation to grow from again. Ultimately that is the thing that matters here, being able to have somewhere to grow from against after this hard storm.

  1. Generate new opportunities for our agents and business through telesales

Randy Vander Vaate, President and Owner, Funeral Funds of America

Our insurance agency changed our selling method. This saved our insurance business and helped us survive in 2020. We used to sell life insurance both face-to-face sales and through telesales. In 2020 we pivoted to 100% telesales to increase our revenue and to generate new opportunities for our agents and business. Since the pandemic started, we only conduct insurance sales presentations and insurance applications over the phone. We stopped face-to-face selling to comply with the government COVID-19 safety mandate of social distancing. Telesales has proved to be more effective in the long run for us, and it has streamlined our entire sales process. We were able to save time, help more people, increase our productivity, and generate more revenue.

  1. Keeping costs down and keeping others safe in the process.

Stefan Cordova, CEO of FriendWithA

Although not an insurance company, FriendWithA protects individuals’ equipment rented through our marketplace by providing damage and theft protection. The major innovation that helped us survive and thrive during the pandemic was the huge improvement in our fraud detection. Really becoming masters of spotting synthetic identities, criminal history, and fake accounts. We did this by searching for new and innovative ways to help keep our business secure. Never becoming over-reliant on a single data source and using a combination of machine and human intelligence to predict fraud and areas needed for manual review. Keeping costs down and keeping others safe in the process.

 

6.My blog provided information on certain medical conditions and tips

Mike Raines, Owner of Raines Insurance Group

I think, without a doubt, my niche marketing in the special risk life insurance arena really helped me in 2020. With the pandemic, more people were searching for life insurance. And since I have a website that is specifically designed for people with pre-existing medical conditions, I was able to help people find coverage through the substandard marketplace. My blog provided information on certain medical conditions and tips on the best way to go about finding life insurance protection for these conditions.

  1. Ability to complete underwriting requirements from home

 

Colin Nabity, CEO & Co-Founder of Breeze

Internally, our team fully embraced collaborative tools like Zoom, Slack, and Hugo right away in order to keep our remote meetings as productive as possible. The pandemic also arrived at a time when we were expanding our automated underwriting capabilities for our customers. This means fewer paramedical exams needed among young, healthy applicants and, more importantly, the ability to complete underwriting requirements from the safety of their home (as opposed to on-site) during the pandemic.

  1. Communication via email marketing helped our business to survive

 

Steven Moore, Managing Director, CraftCover

One skill that really helped our business to survive in 2020 was communication, largely via email marketing. As a fleet insurance business, our clients faced a lot of changes to their business activities due to restrictions fluctuating so much throughout the year. We used email marketing to keep in constant contact with our clients, reminding them to let us know of any changes that may affect their insurance policies, such as the occupancy of buildings, the type of work they are doing, etc.

For customers that have Motor Fleet policies with us, we used email marketing to remind them that any insured vehicle that may be declared as SORN for the foreseeable future can be removed from their policies. In turn, we looked to obtain credit from their Insurers for the unused period of cover. Although this seems like quite a backward way of driving revenue, it actually helped us to retain our current client base, which has been so important for us to survive. Without giving leeway, we believe many of our clients could have looked at other insurance providers or even canceled altogether.

  1. Ability to leverage our technology to quickly respond to the needs of our customers

 

Curtis Inberg, VP, Sales & Distribution, Foxquilt

Despite these unexpected events, the past year has been a success for our Foxquilt team. We have doubled our staff, announced our $3.5M seed round, and partnered with Digital Partners, Munich Re, to co-create innovative insurance products and transform into a full-service insurance provider offering end-to-end insurance programs to small businesses.

Throughout the pandemic, one of the skills we are most proud of was our ability to leverage our technology to quickly respond to the needs of our customers, our employees, and our community. Our team, like many others, had to quickly switch to a remote working environment to help protect the health and well-being of our team and their families. As an insurance technology company, we were well-positioned, making this a smooth transition and allowing us to continue to support new and existing customers during a time when many of them had questions and concerns about their business insurance. Having the infrastructure to pivot effortlessly to remote work proved to be invaluable and allowed us to accelerate our mission to simplify the lives of business owners.

Conclusion

As unsettling and challenging as these times are, they present a unique opportunity for insurers to live their purpose and, in so doing, elevate their relevance to younger generations of buyers who don’t necessarily see or understand the industry’s value. In addition, you can take expert assistance for possible uncertain times. For example, to help your staff focus on revenue-generating areas, you can take advantage of virtual insurance services. That way, you will have a reliable partner on your side who will be managing your insurance back-office, while your in-house staff can focus on value-adding aspects like customer satisfaction, sales, underwriting, etc. All in all, you may need to use as many opportunities as you can by preparing a hybrid plan to not only survive but also thrive and shine.

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