An insurance book of business is the heart of every insurance agent or agency. As a successful insurance agent, building and growing is always a priority. However, what do you do if you seem to have hit a wall with your previously proven methods? While the insurance industry is deeply rooted in tradition, traditional methods may no longer be enough to ensure growth in today’s modern insurance industry. Here we highlight some key ideas for building your insurance book of business so you can thrive and meet your business goals.
What is a book of business?
A book of business is a list or database that includes all your insurance clients. This book keeps track of personal contact information, policy information, coverage obligations, renewal information, and much more. As you can see, this truly is the heart of your business. All this information provides the numbers for you to truly evaluate your business and how to grow.
In its raw form, an agency’s book of business is what is considered raw data. You have the numbers and the information, but how can you use that information to build and grow your business? Traditionally, you would place all this information into spreadsheets and try to make sense of it all. This is time-consuming and often frustrating. However, this is where the addition of an industry-specific customer relationship management (CRM) tool can transform your book of business into information that will work for you. A CRM can help manage your client connections in every aspect, from marketing and sales to specific customer service interactions. The right program can help manage your book of business while also helping to identify new opportunities and manage marketing campaigns all in one location.
How to build a book of business
Building a book of business is vital to thrive in the highly competitive insurance industry, and it starts on day one. However, you must understand that it takes an average insurance agent three to five years to build a book of business that can sustain a comfortable lifestyle. Expect your book to build slowly at first as you create a relationship-driven book that will lead to greater success.
Follow these steps to create and implement a marketing program that will help, over the course of three years, help you build your book of business and get you on the road to success.
- Identify target markets – Here, you want to identify markets where your carriers have a strong product history and competitive rates.
- Identify prospect base – Acquire lists from your agency or carriers of potential prospects and gather as much information about the prospects before making initial contact to help establish better relationship building.
- Knowledge training – Enlist your carriers to provide specific product knowledge training to your production staff.
- Create and nurture relationships – Do not begin a relationship with the idea of making a quote. Make friends and create a relationship-driven sales process designed to build trust and respect over time, helping to make the eventual sale more likely.
- Creatively use carrier marketing – In general, it takes X number of contacts with a prospect over as much as three years to build a relationship and earn trust before the average prospect is trusting and ready to take the next step. If you or your agency can create X number of creative advertising material, then take advantage of that. If not, enlist your carrier or copywriting agencies to ensure you have what you need to be effective.
- Disciplined implementation – Stay consistent in your program, ensuring you are following the process of relationship-building until you reach successful conversion to the client. As new prospects are added to your funnel and existing prospects convert to clients, staying consistent with your plan will allow for a growing success rate.
- Track your metrics – Keep track of everything. Having an industry-specific CRM can help organize your prospects, clients, marketing campaigns, and more, allowing you to see the results of your work each month.
How can you grow your insurance book of business?
As a successful agent, you should always work to promote book growth. Some key principles to consider when it comes to this growth include:
- Client retention – Your book will not grow if you are losing clients. Focusing on client retention is essential and begins with creating a yearly service calendar to ensure regular client contact and relationship nurturing.
- Conversion of prospects to clients is the most critical part of book growth and the area you need to focus on the most.
With these principles in mind, you can use the following key concepts to help grow your book of business and thrive in the modern insurance industry.
Prepare to digitalize
The insurance industry, as well as many other industries, is rapidly evolving and moving into digitalization. Millennials and younger generations that grew up knowing nothing but technology want to purchase their insurance online and manage their policy from their phone at 3 am when a thought strikes their mind. In fact, more than 80 percent of potential insurance clients access a digital channel at least once throughout their shopping journey. So, you need to take advantage of this!
While the idea of going digital may seem overwhelming, there are many different solutions available to help you make the transition, and the benefits will be well worth the effort. For instance, you will be able to outsource all those repetitive insurance processes to a digital solution, leaving more time for you to focus on relationship building with your prospects and clients, thus building your book of business.
Create a modern marketing plan
With so many turning to online insurance searches for everything from learning about different insurance needs to where to find them online, you may find that simple referrals and traditional marketing methods no longer provide the success they used to. This means that your marketing plan may need to change focus.
Modern marketing practices, such as search engine optimization, content marketing, and email marketing now become crucial to your book’s growth. While all this may seem overwhelming at first, there are ways to manage these new marketing strategies, including the use of industry-specific CRM tools.
How can you make your company stand out?
The insurance industry is huge, and it may seem difficult to stand out in a packed industry. So, what makes you different than your competitors? Why should someone choose you and your services over someone else? Once you determine what it is that makes you different, it becomes easier to market yourself. You can clearly communicate your value, and you become much more effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we answer some frequently asked questions when it comes to building and growing your book of business.
1. How long does it take to build an insurance book of business?
On average, it can take an insurance agent 3-5 years to build up their book of business to a level that can sustain them.
2. How much does an insurance book of business cost?
If you are looking to buy another agent’s book of business or sell your existing book of business, value is typically determined by multiplying the annualized gross commission by 1.5-2.5. For example, if your book produces $100,000 commission income each year, the cost of your book would be between $150,000 and $250,000.
3. Is a book of business an asset?
Your book of business is an ever-growing asset. Unlike commercial real estate of equipment that is looked at as traditional business assets, the value of your book lies in the goodwill of your clients.