Wal-Mart and Insurance: How Can The Local Agency Compete?
By Jake Bissaro
Owning an independent insurance agency isn’t what it used to be; you already have to compete with major carriers like Allstate and Progressive, but some recent news indicates that the competition is going to heat up even more.
Walmart, already the world’s biggest retailer by a huge margin, has plans to get into the auto insurance business, through an alliance with autoinsurance.com. 200 stores already have a partnership with Metlife selling term life policies, and they want to expand their insurance interests. But this could only be the beginning as new research shows that this may soon become a trend for big business. According to a study published earlier this year by Accenture, 67 percent of insurance customers are open to buying insurance from places other than insurers, and 23 percent say they would seriously consider buying from a non-traditional source like Google or Amazon.
With these new developments, it’s become more important than ever to highlight the advantages of your independent agency. Here are some tips to retain current clients and garner new business.
- Highlight the personal touch- This seems like an obvious thing, but it’s one of the things that sets you apart! It’s simple, but remember to always answer the phone or respond to email requests promptly. An independent agency is the only place you can talk to a real person about insurance that’s not in a call center.
- Explain the difference an independent provider can make – chances are corporate giants like Walmart and Amazon don’t have the choice of providers that your agency does. You can find different combinations of coverage and price and save customers money, so let them know!
- Review your customer’s coverage from time to time. When a few years have gone by, many of your customers may need an update, so periodically go through and make sure everyone is up –to-date. This will show your customers that you’re constantly looking out for their best interests.
- Make the most of every interaction. Think of everyone you talk to as a potential new client and share your experience with them. Everyone who walks in should be able to experience the difference made by an independent agency.
With huge corporations controlling more and more of the business landscape, it’s going to be increasingly more difficult for companies without billions of dollars behind them. As an independent agency, you’ve got to recognize the added competition and prepare for it. There are still lots of consumers out there who want the personalized service and local feel that you have to offer, so it’s time to show them what you can do!
About The Author
Jake Bissaro is the newest Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish, and strives to translate the personality of clients into first-rate web pages. He graduated from UMass Amherst last year, and previously worked as a technical writer before joining the team at Astonish. In addition to web writing, he works as a journalist, writing about local arts in Rhode Island.