Canadian Underwriter

Customer retention advice for brokers from Wawanesa

January 30, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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Every time a client submits a claim to their carrier, you as the broker  need to follow up with a phone call, suggests Carol Jardine, president of the Canadian property and casualty operations of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.

“I would encourage you, whenever you can, create an outbound group within your brokerage [to contact customers],” Jardine said.

“Outbound calling is where brokers will make a difference [from direct writers],” added Jardine. “What do customers want? They want to hear from a person. They want to have that trusting relationship.”

Jardine directed her comments to a broker audience attending a Jan. 17 luncheon hosted by the Insurance Brokers of Toronto Region (IBTR).

During the conference, Jardine said Wawanesa sent a survey to 45,000 customers, which got an “extremely high response rate.” Some of the respondents bought insurance through brokers but could not say how many times they talked to their brokers.

“That’s scary. We can’t have customers nine years with us who haven’t talked to their broker since the inception of their policy. Shame on us. We’ve got to fix that,” said Jardine.

“How many [brokers], 48 hours after the claim, outbound-call that customer and say, ‘Hey? How’s that claim going? Are you happy? What’s going on?’”

Having an “outbound group” contacting customers does not mean every customer needs to be called by phone. You could contact them by email, for example.

“Talk to your [broker management system] vendors about how they can help you do outbound touch points, and how to integrate their BMS,” Jardine suggested. “If you call a customer and say, ‘Your rates are going up, your renewal’s on its way, do you have any questions, call me,’ those customers, according to our stickiness testing, will stay with you. If you don’t call them, they will shop.”

Brokers in towns of 10,000 or less do not need a big digital strategy, Jardine suggested. “The Internet is the yellow pages of today. Have a nice website. Attract people to call your office.”

On the other hand, if you are a brokerages in a large city like Toronto, you may need more than just a website, because you are competing with direct writers who spend millions of dollars on advertising. “Not everyone can afford $1 million, so you have to decide, what are the right digital tools for you?”

Wawanesa recently stopped writing insurance directly in Quebec and is now writing exclusively through brokers Canada-wide.