By Brent Kelly
Both parties are vital to each other’s success, yet often times, the agent/underwriter relationship is strained. Why?
There could be countless reasons, but ultimately many agents feel that their underwriters make their lives more difficult by asking for additional information, not providing a competitive price, or just plain make it a challenge to make sales.
Although it may seem that some underwriters don’t want to write business or overanalyze basic risks, they have a tough job to do. They want to write business, but equally important, they want to write profitable business.
No, underwriters are not all the same and some are better than others, but if you want to be a successful agent, establishing a positive relationship with your underwriter is critical.
I asked one of my company marketing representatives to ask her team of underwriters a basic question, “What can agents do to help their underwriters write more business?”
It is straightforward question, but four basic themes developed that I think can help all agents improve the relationship with their underwriters.
Insurance agents typically are terrific communicators with their prospects and customers. However, agents often overlook the importance of maintaining a clear channel of dialogue with their underwriters.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your communication with underwriters.
If you receive a memo or email from an underwriter that you don’t understand, pick up the phone and call that underwriter.
Also, emails do not pick up the tone of your voice and can be taken the wrong way. I love sarcasm, but if my email recipient does not understand my humor, funny can turn into angry.
Agents want to get things done now if not sooner. That is a trait that can you succeed, but can also cause strain with your underwriter.
There are times when underwriters will respond slower than necessary, but that is the exception, not the rule.
Having clear communication up front will help set expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page.
3) Be a Frontline Underwriter
As an agent, your job is not only to write new business, but also be the first line in underwriting.
If you are unsure of how to best rate or complete the application while quoting, call underwriting don’t just guess. Collect as much information as possible before submitting the account. Nothing is worse than selling an account and having the company issue/cancel or increase in price because the information wasn’t 100% accurate.
Those are fantastic traits, but insurance is a team sport. Not only do you need a great service and support team, but you need a great underwriting team.
Make sure you share this approach with your underwriter. When you win, they win. Make sure you acknowledge and show appreciation for your underwater when they help you land that new account.
Just like your prospects and clients, underwriters want to do business with those agents they know, like, and trust.
The Bottom Line
Building and maintaining a strong relationship with your underwriters is vital for success. You need to nurture these relationships just as you do with your prospects and customers.
It takes an effort to do the things necessary to establish credibility and respect with your underwriters. However, that effort will result in writing better and bigger business for your agency.
Question: What do you do to improve the relationship with your underwriter?
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