The world was taken by surprise this year with a global health crisis and a widespread quarantine that sent all but the most essential workers home. Markets change constantly, the situation is unpredictable and volatile, and if you’re in the insurance business it’s a good time to make some changes to your business model and marketing and turn a profit in these interesting times.
Instead of sitting at home looking at declining sales and wishing that everything could go back to normal, consider this might be the perfect time to pivot into the virtual insurance market, in which agents and brokers work from home in a more permanent fashion.
Managing Remote Employees
Managing teams remotely is a lot easier and more transparent than many imagine. Your customer service team and insurance agents will not simply slack off just because you are not watching them. Make sure your team is working towards clear goals instead of just punching cards, and keep them motivated to meet and exceed their metrics and quotas.
Team communication and meetings can be held with the same frequency as usual, and you can assign and track tasks efficiently using web-based software and tools, such as the ones we are about to outline.
Work from home Software
When managing a virtual insurance agency, communication is vital. Keep your team linked using any of the many free and paid networking tools available: Google chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Workplace. Some favor Slack because you can have separate channels according to your business needs. Zoom is a great video conferencing tool, and it has become incredibly popular during the last few months, but you can also use Skype or many others.
"Don't be afraid of going virtual."
There are countless web-based project management tools such as Jira, Asana, and Click-up, as well as more sales-specific ones - Salesforce and HubSpot come to mind. They can help you stay on top of tasks and projects, send job alerts when things are going off track, and even track time and automate payroll.
Don’t be afraid of going virtual. Agent-customer relations need not suffer if you keep in contact via phone and email, and virtual meetings and presentations can be just as engaging and warm as those you used to have in person.
Virtual Insurance agency finances
Agency management is an art and a science, and going virtual may actually make things easier for you. Most of the expenses that come from running a brick-and-mortar office will be reduced or gone altogether: rent, utilities, equipment, amenities, even cleaning and maintenance!
While you may have to pay for some software licenses, you will find that overall you will be saving a significant sum. Also, if you manage your team with a time-keeping tool, wages will be easier to calculate and account for.
One option to consider is outsourcing customer service and call center operations - this has been proven to reduce operating costs between 30-50%, as well as increase customer satisfaction. Engaging the services of an insurance service center will simplify your operations, and turn fixed costs into tax-deductible expenses.
Marketing a Virtual insurance agency
People are staying at home and spending a lot more time online. If you didn’t have a solid social media and online marketing plan, this is the time to make one and get it rolling. Insurance sales are on the rise, and you should take advantage of the crisis to create opportunities.
"In times like these, people become interested in purchasing life insurance and expanding their health insurance."
The COVID pandemic has everyone worried - turn this into an opportunity by doubling down on advertising for your life and health insurance products. In times like these, people become interested in purchasing life insurance and expanding their health insurance, and insurance carriers may be willing to negotiate rates and commissions with you.
One big plus of going virtual is that your market is no longer bound by geography - you can recruit and hire independent agents regardless of location, and you can also sell and serve customers anywhere in the country. Make sure your insurance licensing is not limited to a specific region, and start selling in places you had never considered before.
A virtual insurance agency can be a very profitable business - take advantage of all that technology has to offer, and turn a crisis into an opportunity for growth for yourself, your company, and your team
Always keen on helping others make their dreams come true, Tony and his team have helped independent agents grow into more than 250 independent agencies. This has made OAA the number one ranked Strategic Master Agency of SIAA for the last 5 years, and one of Oklahoma's 25 Best Companies to Work for.
Tony loves to share his knowledge, insight and wisdom through his bestselling books as well as in free mediums including podcasts and blogs.
Tony and his family are members of Crossings Community Church, and he is very active in community initiatives: he’s chairman of It’s My Community Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit working with disadvantaged people in Oklahoma City; and chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs., and he has served through many other organizations including the Salvation Army, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Rotary Club.
In his spare time, Tony enjoys time with his family. He’s also an active outdoorsman and instrument-rated commercial pilot.