In most businesses, this is the time of year that goals and budgets are being established. While typically, those goals are primarily focused on income and expenses, serious consideration should be given to the establishment of the agency’s 2017 E&O goals.
It is always best to focus on a handful of initiatives as trying to develop and implement too many initiatives / changes could cause a fair amount of anxiety in the office. In addition, by selecting a smaller number, this should increase the potential for those initiatives to be more effectively developed and implemented.
Some items to consider include but not limited to:
Staff education. Ensuring that the agency has a technically proficient staff that possesses strong customer service and automation skills is recommended. The goals should be customized for each staff member to identify those areas that need improvement. The specific goals should be included in each employee’s annual performance review.
Customer accountability. This is a goal that every agency should strive for. In the various proposals, there should be statements relating to other coverages that should be considered as well as the availability of higher limits.
Customer signatures. A customer signature on a completed application can be a solid defense if a problem develops. Agency’s should frequently stress the importance of requiring staff (producers, account managers, CSRs, etc.) to secure customers’ signatures on the various insurance applications.
Confirm of rejected coverages. A common expression in the courts is that “if it is not in the file, it didn’t happen.” Thus any initiative that strengthens the agency’s documentation culture and commitment is a good thing. A procedure should be implemented to require all rejected coverages are memorialized in some form of written communication back to the client.
Renewal questionnaires. Your client’s exposures will often change from one year to another. To “keep up” with these changes, many agencies have designed a form that is automatically sent to each personal and commercial lines customer 60-90 days prior to the expiration of coverage. The goal is to secure an update of any changes in exposures so that insurance discussions can take place.
Customer education. Identify the key coverage issues by line of business and then develop a marketing/education campaign using the media that would be most effective. Embrace the position that “your best customer is an educated customer”.
Establish a strong quality control/audit process – or update your current one. The goal of an audit process is to verify that the staff meets the expectations established by the agency. An audit program is a great way to accomplish this.
For many agencies, the development of a strong E&O culture takes time. By establishing (and accomplishing) E&O goals each year, your agency will be closer to achieving the desired level of E&O commitment.