The relationship between broker and insured is asymmetrical: you will always know more than the insured.
Your customers and prospects don’t have the training, knowledge, or expertise to judge if you’ve done a good job evaluating their risk and providing the right coverage.
And that puts them in a position of vulnerability.
What is the vulnerability gap?
It’s the gap between what brokers know about insurance and what insureds know about insurance.
This is to be expected. We rely on the expertise of dentists, doctors, accountants, lawyers, and electricians (for example). In the process, we relinquish control.
Yet, humans love control. Or at least to feel like we have some control. Knowledge is one tool we use to help us feel like we have some agency over a situation.
And not knowing something makes people feel uneasy.
Which brings us to trust. There’s an inverse relationship between control and trust. The less control we have, the more we HAVE to trust our relationship partner.
And when, as an industry, you have low trust because people think insurance is about collecting big premiums and then getting denied or having to struggle to collect payment when a claim is made, then consumers are biased towards skepticism.
Our vulnerability fuels our skepticism.
How do we close the vulnerability gap?
I’m a big believer in education, training and insights.
Here’s what I mean.
Education, the sharing of knowledge, is a great way to address the vulnerability gap because it’s an act of revealing. It’s arming the participant with information they can apply to a situation.
Every piece of knowledge is a building block. Enough to make them feel special and like they’ve received something valuable.
This technique has been around for a long time. It’s not new. And yet, it’s underused in my opinion.
Now, I’m not talking about offering your prospects and customers a fully licensed CAIB level 1.
No one wants to sit through that.
And no one wants to sit through a webinar that is obviously a sales pitch. Don’t time-share people.
Here’s a place to start: why people mistrust insurance.
Help people understand the market. How it works.
Then move to claims. The process. What’s involved. How it works. What adjusters do. How they do it.
And how about rates? How are they determined? Why do they rise? Why is it insurance companies that rise rates?
At least when you have to go back to your customers at renewal, in the midst of a hard market, they may take the news just a little easier.
Create a series of content that hits concerns, fears, and misconceptions head-on.
As an insured, you know what I’d like?
Training on what to do in the case of an emergency or possible claim.
To brokers, it seems so simple.
“You’re in a car accident, you do A, B & C”.
Or,“Basement flooded. Easy. Just A, B then C”.
But you’ve been through these steps a thousand times.
When accidents happen, insureds have already entered into a ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Their adrenalin is pumping, which means they’re probably not thinking straight. And it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll either forget to do something or do something they shouldn’t.
This is where training comes in.
Step 1. Step 2. Step 3.
How many poor decisions are made because we’re anxious and not sure what to do?
Hold training sessions aimed at the most common anxiety-inducing moments your clients face. Provide clear, easy-to-understand and easily accessible checklists that make navigating an accident manageable.
Even if you don’t sell-out every session, so what? The clients who want this training will appreciate it, and likely spread the word.
Remember, it’s a long game until it isn’t.
I see insights as related to, but different, from education.
Insights feel like having a “peak behind the curtain”. They are engaging and make us feel special and important.
Providing customers, and prospects, with insights can be done through a newsletter or podcast. Perhaps you focus solely on a particular segment of clientele, like VIPs or mid-market commercial.
Whatever insights you share, make them relevant and special. And make sure your audience knows this content isn’t being shared with just anyone: it’s specifically for them.
Everyone likes to feel like they’re part of the inner-circle.
If you’re looking for a marketing edge and believe that better educated clients are simply better clients, give the Education, Training and Insights framework a shot.
There’s lots of opportunity to stand out in a way while putting your customers’ best interest first.