Renewal season is coming up fast, and we all know it’s an extremely taxing and overwhelming time for benefits brokers. While you can’t necessarily reduce the volume of work, you can streamline certain processes to save you (and your clients) time and frustration. This blog examines three insurance renewal strategies to consider as you plan for the 2017 renewal season.
1. Evaluate last year’s renewals
If you haven’t already, spend some time examining the 2016 renewal season. This can be a valuable agency-wide exercise, or something to explore personally as you prepare for the busy season. Here are some questions you may want to consider:
- What were the most frustrating or overwhelming moments or days of last year’s renewal season? Can you prepare for those scenarios to reduce chaos?
- Where did you (or your agency) experience log-jams? Was there a certain step in the renewal process that held you up?
- Were there any clients that took up a disproportionate amount of your time? Are there ways to make this year’s renewal run smoother?
2. Improve renewal processes
You likely already have renewal processes and procedures in place, but there may be opportunity to improve. After examining last year’s renewal season, are there areas that you can improve to benefit all your clients (and you)? Consider these examples:
- Maybe several of your clients needed clarification on your initial proposal, leading to extra phone calls or even more meetings. Can you streamline that proposal or preemptively answer questions?
- Or, perhaps you’ve been getting a lot of calls from clients worried about the future of the healthcare market—that’s likely to come up in many of your renewal conversations. Consider creating some content you can provide to each client, to address questions and concerns.
- Did you identify an inefficient part of last year’s renewal process? How can you better allocate resources ahead of time to avoid the same problems?
3. Ditch the paper
If you’re still presenting renewal options using spreadsheets, this is an area you may want to focus on as you prepare for this year’s renewals. Think about how inefficient paper-based renewals are:
- You create spreadsheets and proposals outlining renewal options
- You meet with client to review, where they ask questions and request changes
- You go back to the office and update your spreadsheet, then have another meeting with the client
- Repeat until client chooses their plan
In the background, there’s even more paper floating around: printed out proposals, notes from each meeting, forms for the account manager, and more. That’s a lot of information to file and keep track of. What if your account manager is out sick and you don’t know where she is in processing a particular renewal? Or what if someone loses an important form? Paper creates a lot of inefficiencies and challenges throughout the agency.
The solution? Embrace technology. To streamline your renewal process, consider plan modeling software that allows you to update plan options in real-time, avoiding extra meetings and shortening the process. For your back-office operations, it may be a good time to start digitizing some of those paper processes.
How to implement these insurance renewal strategies
With renewal season coming up fast, of course you don’t have time to implement all these suggestions. Instead, reflect on last year and identify a couple problem areas that would make a big difference if addressed. Maybe there’s not time to implement an entire agency management system, but you could incorporate a visual presentation tool to streamline renewal meetings.
Want even more ways to maximize efficiency during your renewal season (and all year-round)? Check out this free ebook now.