July 27, 2011
The first place to look for insurance markets to target is among businesses or clients you are already serving. Do you write a lot of printers, restaurants or artisan contractors? Have you had a lot of success providing life insurance for young families? Is long-term disability a market you know well? Maybe you have only one or two clients of a certain type of business, but others in your firm also a write a few of these clients. Leverage your firm’s reputation as a specialist in this target market.
Look at emerging industries, ones that haven’t been around long enough to have many special programs developed just for them yet. Tattoo parlors would be a recent example of this.
Did you work in a different industry before you started working as an insurance producer? Do you have contacts you made while working in the restaurant business, construction or pharmaceutical sales that could be leveraged into insurance sales? Your knowledge of another industry could be the key for you.
Are you interested in a particular product? Or maybe you have a personal story that makes you passionate about selling a certain kind of policy. One producer tells the story of how his mother would not have lost her business if she had purchased disability insurance to give her the extra income she needed while she couldn’t work for several months. If this was your story, you might become a kind of evangelist for making sure this doesn’t happen to other small business owners.
Observe the demographics in your area. Life insurance opportunities exist with new families. What about long-term care for aging boomers? One producer looks for seniors who own CDs. He shows them the probate advantages of purchasing a life insurance policy for their beneficiaries, if they have any; or, if they don’t, the advantages of an annuity.
What do demographic or political trends tell you? The challenges of implementing health care reform and rising group health insurance costs suggest there are opportunities for selling voluntary benefits. Research also indicates employee satisfaction increases when they can buy voluntary benefits at work (82%, according to a recent Unum study).
You don’t have to restrict yourself to one target market, of course. You might end up having specializations in several. You might want to work in several related target markets, which is typically the approach that many personal lines agencies take, providing a range of products to families and individuals throughout the life cycle. An agent could start by providing a young man with auto insurance, then go on to provide homeowners, life insurance, long-term disability, long-term care and annuities throughout that individual’s lifetime.
Even if you’re a seasoned producer with a well-developed book of business, you might want to think about targeting your future efforts if you have never done so before. You’ll work smarter not harder.
Finally, have you had success with any target markets? Our readers and I would love to hear from you in the comments section.