Insurance Agents: Death by FOMO(P)
If you’re an insurance agent I have bad news: you are afflicted by FOMO. No, this is not a computer virus, nor do you need medical attention – it is the Fear Of Missing Out.
FOMO is real for the insurance agent, and it is paralyzing. Most agents’ FOMO could more accurately be rebranded as FOMOP, or Fear Of Missing Out on Premium. As agents, we go to great lengths to write every cent of premium we can, regardless of whether or not we should. We fight tooth and nail to get access to every market imaginable because some day, somewhere, we might need that market. We are generalists, writing every type of risk under the sun without any direction or specialization. We lavish an inordinate amount of time on tiny accounts that cost us more to service than we will ever earn in premium. We bend over backwards to service single-policy customers because we fear they will otherwise leave our agency.
FOMOP is literally crippling our agencies and preventing us from growing to our full potential. The reality is we should walk away from some amount of potential premium every day for our own self-preservation. Consider the following steps to releasing your agency from the grip of FOMOP in an intentional, meaningful way:
- Don’t chase every new, shiny market. Focus on those that serve 90% of your agency’s needs and don’t be afraid to write the other 10% through a broker. It’s more economical in the long run to develop strong relationships with only the carriers you truly need than to try to manage carrier relationships (and premium expectations) with carriers with whom you don’t have a great chance of writing a lot of business.
- Many have said it over the years because it’s true – “there are riches in the niches.” Take a look at your book of business to determine if you already have an unintentional niche to build upon going forward. Don’t have one? Create one. Write more of a class of business you either enjoy writing or for which your expertise will address a consumer need. Learn what you need to learn, market to your target audience, and watch your agency grow.
- Don’t waste your time with a tiny policy unless the whole account is a significant piece of premium for your agency. This is a perfect place to use carrier service centers. Give up a few points of commission on the front end to not have to waste time and money servicing those accounts throughout the policy year. Trust me, it’s worth it.
- Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into allowing single-policy customers to remain as single-policy customers forever. Unless there’s a compelling reason to the contrary, ask for the ability to quote the customer’s accounts. If after several attempts over a couple of years the customer still won’t give you the whole account, it might be time to think about firing them. Yes, fire your customer! They are sucking up resources and not providing you with any additional revenue. Your business will be better for it.
The first step to overcoming FOMOP is to acknowledge it. Acknowledge that it’s going to be hard to walk away from premium. We all love instant gratification, and without premium we don’t have agencies. However, your agency will be stronger, grow more quickly, and you will be happier as a business owner when you stop chasing the premium and start building your agency with strategic intent.
Author Heather Cochrane Russo is the VP of Public Relations and Development at Renaissance Alliance. Renaissance Alliance is uniquely positioned to assist agencies as they navigate their way through succession and organizational change. We create operational efficiencies and provide an environment of growth that allows agencies to fortify their current financial position and provide the extra capital needed during these times of transition. For more information, contact Heather Cochrane Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org