SPECIAL FEATURE: How to sell insurance

The recent Financial Services Expo in London provided the Select & Protect team with a great opportunity to meet many of you and find out how you’re managing the sale of general insurance products as part of your day to day business.

It was hugely encouraging to learn that a significant number of you view selling appropriate home insurance to your clients as an excellent way not only to build your relationship with your client further, but also to create a valuable revenue stream that allows you to earn commission year after year if your client renews their policy.

However while the sale of home insurance is firmly linked to the mortgage sales process itself, many of you told us that you would appreciate ideas and suggestions to improve your existing general insurance sales and marketing activity or help in building your confidence in selling these products.

The most important thing to remember is that selling general insurance is no different to arranging a mortgage. Treating customers fairly is at the heart of the process, so it’s essential to identify your clients’ individual needs and circumstances and ensure that they understand the terms of the policy and the costs involved, enabling them to make an informed decision.

Here are a few top tips to help you:

Know your client

The more you know about your clients, the better positioned you are to build financial solutions that are relevant and appropriate. The mortgage sales process involves a lot of fact finding, particularly in the post MMR environment, but take the time to find out more about your clients’ day-to-day lives as the more you know, the better advice you deliver.

Know the product

Knowing what protection general insurance products do and don’t provide, what your client will experience should they make a claim and the benefits they will receive, all lead to a successful outcome for both you and your client. If you’re in any doubt about home insurance in general or specific products, then speak to the broker team at your general insurance provider who should be more than willing to help you build your knowledge and understanding of these covers as well as your confidence in selling them.

Talk about what matters

Insurance is all about protecting the things that matter most to people – yet most of your clients probably won’t recognise the value of an insurance policy until they actually have to make a claim. When discussing insurance with your clients, find out what they have that is important to them and focus on protecting those items that they feel they can’t live without.

Get personal

Every home has different insurance needs and standardised ‘packaged’ products may often include unnecessary extras or not enough cover depending on individual circumstances. Take time to research the options available to your clients and do consider home insurance propositions that provide you with the flexibility to personalise cover to your client’s individual needs. Putting them in control of what they cover and how much they pay can reinforce the value you deliver through your help and advice.

Create value perceptions

Some insurers only increase their premiums above certain chosen limits. If a client asks for £1000 of personal possessions cover, for example, try increasing the cover to a higher amount to see if you can obtain greater cover for the same price. Who doesn’t like to get more for nothing? It’s also worth reviewing excesses. Most clients will have excesses of £200 or more as standard. You may find that lowering the excess doesn’t add a great deal to the premium meaning that for just a few pence extra a month, they may end up saving hundreds of pounds in the event of a claim.

Renewal dates

Always gather and record the renewal dates of any insurance policies, including those you don’t arrange for them such as car and pet, and the companies that your clients are with. You can be sure that someone will be contacting them around these times to offer to help them find new cover so there’s a risk that you may lose your client. Keep in touch regularly to protect future sales opportunities – and you never know, your call or email may lead to something new.

Don’t be afraid to refer

It’s clear from what many of you told us at the Expo, MMR is negatively impacting the time you need to advise and sell general insurance. Every broker wants to protect their relationship with their clients and no-one wants to give away valuable income. This doesn’t have to be a problem as some general insurance providers will take care of everything surrounding the insurance sale from start to finish. You simply refer your clients’ details and they’ll take care of the rest – even renewals, meaning you can continue to earn commission year after year.

Selling home insurance and other types of general insurance products doesn’t have to be difficult and can deliver significant reward. Providers like Select & Protect are there to help you.