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Tag Archive for 'agent'

Property Claims Report: Severity and Frequency of Property Damage Increases, Yet Overall Customer Satisfaction Remains High

J.D. Power and Associates recently published their 2013 Property Claims Satisfaction Study, which measures the satisfaction level of 5,500 customers who have reported claims for property damage under their homeowner’s policy between May 2011 and January 2013.

Of the approximate 8% of homeowners that reported a property claim in the U.S. during that time period, the average settlement amount increased to $8,517 as compared to the prior year where the average claim averaged in at $7,937. Contents settlements have increased approximately $250 from year to year while the average repair settlement in 2013 came in at $7,844 compared to $7,151 in 2012.

Out-of-pocket expenses for homeowners nearly doubled, as the average amount in $1,945 increased to an average of $3,888 in 2013.

The survey covers five factors of their experience filing the claim: settlement, first notice of loss, estimation process, service interaction and repair process.

While customer satisfaction with the overall claims process remained high (despite 2011 and 2012 marking a historic number of claims due to catastrophic events) one aspect of the claims process represented a 9 point decrease in customer satisfaction as compared to previous years: the service interaction process.

This drop is being explained as being caused by the homeowner reporting claims through call centers (direct channels) versus directly through their agents. 68% of customers used direct channels in 2013 to report claims, up 11% from 2012.

For those that reported claims directly through their agents, satisfaction ratings were 50 points higher than those that reported claims through call centers. The decrease in or lack of personal interaction, attention and service helped contribute to the dissatisfaction amongst those that reported claims directly to the call center versus reporting the claim through their agent. (It should be noted that the study did find a few direct carriers that did have scores that were complimentary to those who made claims directly to their company).

Although the industry is showing a shift towards direct channels, can insurance companies bring the same personalized attention to the policyholder that will not only create overall satisfaction during the property claim process, but also enough to to retain those policyholders?

And, as the restoration contractor performing the work to bring the customer’s property back to pre-loss condition, you also play an important part in the claims process. Doing good work and being nice to the customers is important for any restoration contracting business. But, it’s not enough for people to decide to choose you as their restoration contractor, whether it’s the agent referring you or the policyholder deciding to choose you over the other two contractors that have given estimates.

If you are a restorer looking to find out more about how to position yourself more uniquely, check out this BDA blog entry that we posted at the beginning of the year.

If you’ve got goals that you have set (or still looking to set) for 2013 that are not on pace to reaching fulfillment, or, you’re still waiting on weather, good luck or program works to be the driving (and unpredictable) factor for growing your business, it’s never to late to redefine your company and gain a unique competitive advantage in your marketplace. (And for goodness sake, don’t wait until 2014 to do something about it!).

For those restorers who are looking to gain that unique advantage and are ready to predictably grow their business, you might be the right fit for the “The BDA Way.” To learn more about how BDA is helping other restorers secure millions in new business, visit us here to find out more information.

Free Webinar: Generating New Business

Register today for this free event, happening on February 27th at 3PM EST!

Brought to you by Cleanfax Magazine, this webinar will provide multiple guidelines and best practices for marketing your business in 2013 so you can position your company for growth this year.

Included on the panel of thought leaders will be Tim Miller, President of Business Development Associates, Inc. Other presenters include Chuck Violand, Steve Marsh and Jeff Cross.

See you at the webinar! Click here to register now!

Wall Street, Restorers and How Social Media Impacts Buying Decisions

A recent survey by the Brunswick Group stated that 57% of the roughly 500 investors and sell-side analysts surveyed said they were most influenced in their investment decisions by the information they obtain directly from the company. 85% said that information directly from the company was amongst their top three most influential sources in their final buying decision.

Now, social media in regards to influencing their decisions is not totally off the table. About 14% of those surveyed said that digital and social media ranked among their top three influencers in decision making. That’s pretty powerful, but, it still points to the fact that social media has a long way to go in being the end all be all of decision making. But, it’s certainly something that should not be ignored.

The same is true with those deciding to do business with a restorer. We find that when talking to current and prospective clients, the question of social media will come up as well as other tactics and whether they are the right marketing method.

In the restoration industry, there are typically various targets that a restorer will go after: consumers, insurance professionals, plumbers and a slew of other folks that can refer business. And with anyone you are marketing to, especially those that are unfamiliar with your company in the first place, you’ll need a certain number of exposures in order for your message to break through the incredible amount of messages being received everyday by your prospect.

What was the traditional rule of “7” in marketing exposures varies now due to the rise of social media in our everyday professional and personal lives, and of course, the increased amount of messages the average prospects comes across daily. So, there’s no magic answer. Some still say 7, but others will also say 10 or even more.

The good news here is that social media can be one of the many ways you reach out to your customers in an attempt to gain brand awareness recognition. But, it’s important to take note of the Brunswick survey, as the principle of having key ways to provide your company’s message through direct means is crucial. This includes having a dynamic sales force in place to deliver your message correctly.

And, if you translate your message so effectively, consistently and frequently you can then reach what some might call the “holy grail” in marketing: immediate, unaided brand recall. For a restorer, that means that when your customer needs restoration services, they immediately think of your company and because you have done such a phenomenal job selling and marketing to them, you “own” that position in their mind of the “go-to” restorer.

So, does social media and putting all your eggs in that basket as a communications platform equal the end-all be all of reaching the holy grail? For now, no, but it’s definitely another platform that is rising in terms of influencing buying decisions, whether it’s a an IT firm trying to influence a Wall Street investor or an insurance agent or adjuster deciding whether a restorer’s services are right for them.

6 Concerns For Independent Agents in 2013

According to Future One’s Agency Universe Study, the independent insurance agency market has increased to 38,500. While the positive upswing is encouraging, and there is a vast market of consumers to service, independent agents must still assure survival of their individual company. Here are 6 things that these types of agencies should be aware of in 2013 in order to survive and thrive including:

Digital Marketers
While the internet expands every day (and every minute for that fact), it brings a new level of competition to the independent agent. Much like a restoration contractor’s overall strategy, the internet should be calculated into the marketing mix, but, it’s not the end-all be-all of tactics to gain and grow your business. With a multi-generational audience with different technology and communication preferences, plus the need for anyone marketing to reach out to their audience in various ways, the internet is really just one spoke in the communication hub. Utilizing other methods such as traditional direct mail in addition to online and social media marketing can help a company break through the clutter and barrage of messages the average consumer gets a day. And, of course, making sure your message is different so you are not regulated to the realm of “every other agent” or “every other restorer” is critical.

Baby Boomers
In 2017, boomers will make up half the U.S. population (78 million strong currently). For the independent agent, those agencies that are owned by baby boomers could become more aggressive in building up their book of business in order to sell their company and finance their soon-coming retirement if they do not have a legacy plan in place. Boomers, by general nature of their generation, are more affluent than the more cost-conscious and frugal generations before them. Boomers will also eventually control 70% of the nation’s disposable income and stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years. For the boomer independent agency owner (as well as other agencies), this could mean a greater marketing push at the boomer generation through directed marketing strategies in order to gain that business from a generation who has a greater possibility than other generations of affording multiple polices and having a greater spending power. With greater spending power, comes the ability to buy more goods that need to be insured, such as second homes, boats and extra vehicles, in addition to life policies.

Any business will have threats from outside sources that can either hurt the business, or be a make or break in regards to just surviving. For independent agents, watching some of the pre-cautionary warnings might help them stay ahead of the marketplace as 2013 gets underway.

To read the full article, please click here.



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