In the “Game of Thrones” series, the Stark family motto is “Winter is coming” – a saying that conveys constant vigilance and diligence. Well, winter is coming – it’s nearly here – and there are certain things your customers should be doing to get ready, such as taking the car in for a winter overhaul, making sure pipes are protected from the elements and double checking that their insurance coverage is up to date.
This winter, you can be a consumer champion for your customers and help keep your business at the top of their mind. Your insurance marketing should include reaching out to your clients to let them know what special policy coverage they need for homes and property during the winter months, building relationships with reputable contractors, and being a resource for your clients by offering a winter checklist of local service suppliers.
Home Insurance Coverage for Winter Months
Many people don’t realize that if they don’t prepare their properties for winter, the result may be damage to their homes that requires costly repairs. Be proactive and contact your clients a couple of months before winter weather is supposed to hit and tell them what types of coverage they should have for the upcoming winter months. Base your recommendations on past winter weather patterns and the damages that occurred before. Give them a call to go over a checklist of different winter-related damages that could occur to their homes as well as the policies you can provide to help them with those things. Bring these issues up with your client to start a discussion of their coverage:
- Do any of your policies cover damages from flooding or hail storms?
- What if their tree’s branches fall through their roof?
- If an ice storm brings down a power line, and it lands on their car, is that something that their auto policy would cover?
- What if their roof collapses because of heavy snow?
After the initial phone call, go the extra mile and send a follow-up email to remind them of the policies you discussed and ways for them to check the safety of their home for the upcoming winter months. Remind them to trim trees before the ice and snow arrives, get a roof inspection to make sure it’s structurally sound to withstand snow and ice, check that gutters are clear and in good shape and make sure their pipes are properly insulated. This shows you’re knowledgeable about damages that could occur during the winter season and that you don’t mind going the extra mile for your customers’ safety.
Building Good Relationships
Before calling your client, do some research on reputable companies in your area that provide emergency services during inclement winter weather. Check out snow removal companies, gutter cleaners, roofing companies, electricians, sewer and gas companies, home inspectors and even tree removal companies. Look up online reviews of each company and check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure they will be a responsible and affordable fit for your clients.
After you’ve done your research, meet with the owners of these companies and learn a little bit about how they conduct their businesses (after all, you don’t want to refer a lousy company to your client) and see if you can work out a deal with them to offer a referral discount. If you can offer your clients a discount with these companies, it will show you’ve done your research and are looking out for their best interests. It may also work out positively for your company if you can work out a referral bonus with the local service providers.
Be a Client Resource
Be one step ahead of your fellow insurance agents by becoming a useful resource to your clients. You should not only help your clients with their insurance policies, but also provide a comprehensive list of local service suppliers in case there are damages that occur because of the weather.
The list should include phone numbers and addresses for the local gas company in case they have issues with a furnace pilot light or gas leak; the local power companies to ensure the homeowners have the number handy if their power goes out; or even a plumber or the water company to shut off the water in case their pipes freeze.
This list should be curated from the relationships you already built (see above). That way you and your customers can take advantage of the referral bonuses, and the consumer has a list of people they can trust. A creative way to make sure your clients don’t lose these phone numbers is to put it on a magnet. This will show how you took an extra step for their safety.
Another way to be a resource is to put together an inexpensive emergency kit for your clients. It could include matches, a candle, an LED flashlight, first aid supplies, batteries, or anything else you can think of that might be helpful in an emergency situation.