Homeowner Retention: Why Good Service Is Not Enough

As the insurance industry continues to go through dramatic changes, it is absolutely crucial in today’s market that adjusters and agencies provide more than just “good” service – especially during the settlement of a claim.  The industry has become hyper-competetive.  Insurers have a tough battle winning over homeowners against multiple competitive bids and also find themselves struggling with the retention and loyalty of their insured.

There is hope however.  According to JD Powers & Associates(1), the leader in independant customer satisfaction research across several industries, homeowners weigh their claims experience as the most significant factor that shapes their opinion of their insurance carrier.  The good news – a positive claims experience can foster loyalty and stability.  The bad news however is that a bad claims experience will cause a homeowner to be more likely to shop around, change insurers, and speak poorly of the carrier to their peers.

Excellent customer service at the time of the claim is the absolute most critical factor in retaining homeowners.  Call centers are the trend in the industry and a select few carriers meet their insureds expectations of service.  The majority however do not and this is affecting the homeowner’s loyalty.  JD Powers found that the majority of call centers still cannot replace the satisfaction of working with their agent in their time of need.

As one homeowner recently told us, “If my agent is just going to pass me off, then what do I need an agent for?”

Holding the homeowner’s hand, expressing empathy, meeting their needs, referring them to the right people, and being involved as part of the solution during their time of crisis will foster loyalty and maintain retention.  The claim is the insurance company’s chance to shine after all.

Working hard to earn a customer only to lose them through a lack of action when it counts doesn’t make too much business sense.  We are all in the business of helping people out during their time of need after all.

 (1) JD Powers & Associates, 2013 Property Claims Satisfaction Study, 1 April 2013