AM Best and Fitch Ratings are developing stress test for insurance companies to gauge how COVID-19 virus might impact their balance sheets, if and how risk-adjustments need to be made to their capital levels, investment portfolios, reserve adequacy and other aspects.
Allstate was recently moved from positive to a stable rating in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact to insurers. Part of these rating reviews are a consequence of the financial markets and its volatile reaction to the Coronavirus which has plummeted interest rates, stocks, bonds and derivatives.
What should you stress test?
Insurance agents and advisors are smart, intuitive and resourceful. We’re used to having more month left than check, we’re used to investing in leads that lead to nowhere and we are resilient to market fluctuation and industry changes.
We are in a great industry. Long-term the coronavirus will not have a meaningful adverse impact on our business.
The nature of our industry requires us to stay educated on our products, informed on evolving marketing methods and experts at messaging.
What is a concern during this current crisis (and it is a societal and economic crisis) is the unique scope and complexity of the potential loss of income and uncertainty and the near-term impact our situation? With that in mind we need to stress test what we know right now about our business. Here’s what we know about our prospects and clients right now:
- We know right where our prospects are — at home taking care of their families.
- We know how to get in front of them: social media, web conferencing, video email marketing.
- We know what they want to hear about, what impacts them, now and in the future.
- We know what they are interested in, what they can’t get or what they might lose!
I did a training this week with a call center and one of the issues we discussed is how to get past all the “Noise” of the prospects’ daily living when doing outbound calls. When you call, they are often (or say they are),
- Leaving to go out to dinner,
- Leaving to go to kids’ sports practice,
- Leaving to go to work, or
- Family is over visiting
We discussed ways to craft their message to break through all that noise. Now that noise has changed and they aren’t leaving – they are anxious for the following:
- A cure to their stress
- A way to curtail the impact of this stress and
- A way to contain the damage to their family and lifestyle
Business stress test action plan
Guess what: People are curious about what’s happening, they are concerned about what the impact will be for them as a result of what’s happening (or not happening), and they and their are cautious about what’s next. You can reach out:
1. Inform and educate yourself about the unique or most-used benefits of your product or service and how clients have been helped. Anticipate what problems they have or will have:
- Payment options.
- Cash value loans.
- Rider options.
- Ways you or the carrier can mitigate potential issues they may have.
2. This is the time to pull out every old lead who said “I want to think about it,” “Now’s not a good time,” “Maybe later in the year” or “I just bought from…” and call them.
3. Buy a profile list, with phone number when available and call – they’re home (note some telemarketing laws in some states have been implemented during the pandemic, such as in New York).
4. Work with your direct mail vendor and create an oversize postcard with 3 things your product is there to do for them (the benefit not the feature) and either a phone number, website or email address to contact you.
Better yet, create a landing page they can go to to see a 2-minute video of you sharing some valuable, relatable information, available as a free download after they enter their email address.
5. Schedule an informative (not salesy) screen share about three or four specific problems clients have had and how you helped mitigate or solve those problems with a CTA (call to action) at the end, private consultation, download or e-appointment to do a review.
6. You are a highly trained professional, with tons of experience – blog, share what you know across multiple platforms. This shows you’re an expert and that you are relevant. You can demonstrate “local” knowledge. Your impact goes beyond insurance.
7. Create your own YouTube channel – make 1-minute to 2-minute videos that answer questions prospects/clients have asked you in the past or that they should be asking (don’t sell, tell). Add these videos to your website and email them out.
Don’t know how? You’re home, watch some YouTube videos and learn, you can ‘t lose something you don’t have, right?
8. Create a Facebook business page. Post original content of interest to your market, provide links to your blogs, carrier info or your YouTube channel (you’re making one, now, aren’t you?) Create 1, 2 or 3 question quizzes and interact with your audience (don’t have an audience, this will create one).
You can’t expect what you don’t inspect. Success happens when opportunity and preparedness meet! Your success will come from the next thing you do, so go do it now and do it big!
Lloyd Lofton is the founder of Power Behind the Sales and the author of The Saleshero’s Guide To Handling Objections.