Don’t Discount the Value of the On-Site Visit

November 6, 2023 by

Insurance is a business of relationships. Even as our industry has added on new technology designed to support remote work and risk assessment, at the end of the day, nothing is more important in our business than person-to-person interactions and relationship building.

While it may be tempting to rely heavily on these new capabilities to cut travel and costs, particularly as we navigate a hard market, agents and brokers looking to grow and expand their books of business should prioritize a boots-on-the-ground, personal approach to build new client relationships and expand existing ones.

Why Boots on the Ground?

Agents and brokers who prioritize face time with their clients often see better results. Establishing a strong rapport and building a real relationship and trust often equates to retention.

At PAK Programs, we work with agents and brokers to provide coverage and counsel for wineries and breweries. Recently, a client mentioned that one of the main reasons they renewed was they remembered our employee and agent simply stopping by for a drink and chatting with staff in their taproom. Simple visits or phone calls can make a lasting impression on both prospective and existing clients.

A boots-on-the-ground approach provides agents with a front-row seat to observe operations and see scale and volume. This will help provide a feel for business practices, company culture and risk profile. An agent stopping by a taproom, for example, may find staff are not conscious enough of the risks of overserving or even basic safety, such as cleaning up spills to prevent slip and falls. These critical insights can help your team provide more informed, concrete risk mitigation tips which will help establish your business as a trusted partner.

In-person visits also are a tool for learning more about your client’s property. Often, we see clients add new equipment or services who do not realize they need to alert their insurance provider.

For example, we may see a business owner purchase a new stainless-steel tank for a winery and neglect to tell us. These are expensive pieces of equipment that need to be accounted for within the winery’s property limits. If the business owner were to suffer a loss, they would likely be frustrated to see that this expensive loss was not covered. An in-person visit can help agents and brokers keep track of all client activity to ensure their coverage is comprehensive of any updates.

How to Get Involved

There are several ways agents and brokers can get more involved with their clients to maintain and build on the relationship. Start with these three:

Schedule a visit. The most obvious tactic is scheduling and making regular visits. This is critical to ensuring that policyholders have the latest inventory and equipment values recorded, as well as to ensure they are keeping up with core risk mitigation practices.

Be a customer. In the winery space, we tell agents to book a tasting, take a tour or walk through the vineyard. Wineries engage in hospitality, production, manufacturing, farming and crop management, so testing out all these facets of the business can offer comprehensive insights into the strengths of the business, as well as highlight risk exposures. Visit your clients as a customer and test their service skills. Observe their dedication to safety and take notes on what you may want to recommend in your next conversation.

Be in the know. Agents and brokers should also stay up to date on industry and client news. Pay careful attention to leading industry publications, in addition to monitoring clients and prospects social media profiles. Businesses that are active on social media are often quick to tout new upcoming events/products or equipment and additions to their business. Staying current on these developments will provide you with another tool to demonstrate expertise to your target audience.

While new ways of doing business may come and go, the relationship itself will forever hold value in the business of insurance. And when it comes to building and maintaining a good relationship nothing beats an in-person visit where you and your client can discuss business, industry trends and more.