3 Tips for More Effective Carrier Meetings
When it comes to making the most of each day of work in an insurance agency, time management is essential. This time issue is especially applicable to the constant barrage of meeting invites that chime in our inboxes daily. Meetings can quickly consume hours of our days and cause a significant blow to productivity. While meetings occur with different parties for different reasons, the carrier marketing rep meetings can be particularly challenging. Depending on the number of markets the agency works with, these meetings can multiply and add up very quickly.
These meetings should help both the agency and the carrier meet specific business objectives but require time and attention. Here are tips for managing the carrier meeting.
Take the honest approach –
While some meetings will take place with marketing reps from your top carrier, there will also be those that need to happen with markets you haven’t had so much success with. When meeting with your top markets, it can be gratifying to sit down, look at the numbers, and applaud the success you’re having. Meeting with others will not be quite so much fun.
When meeting with some of your low priority carriers, you want to be honest. There is no point in spending time making up reasons why the submission rate is not so great or how it will be better in the future. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to have a candid conversation about the struggles the agency is encountering. Whether it is their appetite, a lack of the right accounts in the market, coverage forms, or pricing, be honest. Let them know in a very open and straightforward manner what the agency would need to find success in the future. This directness will help steer the conversation towards what real solutions look like so the marketing rep can accurately assess what they need to deliver on going forward.
Limit the time involved –
Some carriers will want to meet monthly, quarterly, and some you may see once a year or less. And while it may seem like you should accommodate all these requests, there are only so many hours and a lot of other work to be done.
When scheduling these meetings, recognize that you do not have to agree to an hour just because a rep asked for it. Depending on the frequency, an hour every month or every quarter may not be the best use of anyone’s time, considering the needle might not move much on agency production or any changes the carrier needs to deliver in such a short time frame. Instead, scheduling meetings for time frames that make sense to the frequency and amount of discussion that needs to be covered will help everyone make the best use of the time together. Using an agenda will keep meetings on schedule and better organized.
Don’t burn bridges –
As noted earlier, time is valuable. You can’t get more time, and the thought of giving an hour up to a low priority carrier can feel completely unnecessary. However, these meetings are part of the agency-carrier relationship.
Blowing off a meeting or refusing to entertain business conversations can be detrimental, even if the carrier is not a critical market at that moment. Insurance is a large industry, but small and very connected at the same time. Burning a bridge with a carrier can quickly become a regrettable mistake. Carriers adjust their appetites and underwriting guidelines. Sometimes they come out with rates and coverage that are unbeatable. Rather than make a decision that leaves the agency out in the cold, do what you can to preserve an amicable relationship and leave the door open for potential future success.
Effectively managing time and carrier relationships can certainly be a challenge and often present a bit of a conflict. Using these tips, you can find a way to do both!