ITC CEO Laird Rixford shares a story about his experience with his insurance agent from his perspective as the consumer. It is a customer service lesson we all need to remember.
I’ve worked in the insurance industry for many years. But, like you, I’m also an insurance consumer.
So, this story I’m about to share with you is not from my perspective as a technology vendor but as a consumer, and it’s a customer service lesson we all need to remember.
Last summer, I had a realization: It had been roughly a year, and I hadn’t heard from my insurance agency about my renewal.
This agency handles a specialty line of insurance outside my normal auto and property policies. And, I was pretty sure it was nearing a year since I bought the policy.
So, I dug it up and lo and behold… it had expired two weeks prior to my realization.
I immediately wondered what I could do, and what options I had.
The agency’s website didn’t give me any insight into what happens next. So, I called to ask about my now-defunct policy.
After a few prompts of the phone system, I finally spoke to someone who confirmed my policy had lapsed.
They also told me they had sent AN email two months back with my renewal information. That would be a single email. I searched my inbox and found it in the junk folder.
There were several problems with this single email:
Number 1, the email didn't come from the person who originally had sold me my policy.
Number 2, the email came from a different company, as the agency had recently been acquired.
And, number 3, the subject line stated it was a quote. It did not mention renewal or convey any existing business relationship.
I was promised a call back the next day. I waited for two days, uninsured.
This is a real life, personal example of a breakdown of an insurance client experience.
Better communication from the agency could have avoided this terrible experience.
Like a simple email stating my point of contact had changed.
Or, an email stating the agency was acquired and to expect a new look and name.
Or, a follow up email stating they sent a renewal quote and had not yet heard from me.
They could have even made that final attempt at customer service: An email or a call a few days before expiration. “Please call us immediately to avoid a lapse in coverage.”
That would have saved me a lot of heartache and stress.
Most businesses build long-term value through retention. Insurance is no exception.
To a consumer, insurance is a product you should forget about. We pay for it for once or twice a year. It is something we hope to never use.
For these reasons, agencies should be diligent in their efforts to keep policies renewing. You do this by creating a complete customer experience before, during and after the sale.
It shouldn’t be this hard. Technology today allows agencies to create a curated client experience. Like comparative raters, online portals linking with agency management systems, and automated marketing platforms. These and other solutions can greatly improve a client experience.
Oh, and I did end up getting covered again with a new policy. But, I bought it from a different insurance agency.