It's shocking how many Insurance Principals and Owners don't know about this phenomenon and don't even know their agency could be right in the middle of it, yet don't even realize it.
Once an Insurance Agency reaches a certain level of total premium that is directly relative to the mix of business portfolio (Commercial vs Personal). The ongoing Premium and PIF growth of the agency can be a challenge, especially when it reaches what I call the "Growth Freeze Mode." This phase can be a vicious cycle and a trap for many small to mid-size insurance agencies. But with the right knowledge and understanding, it can be overcome. So, what exactly is the Growth Freeze Mode? And how can you overcome it?
The Growth Freeze Mode is a phase that many small to mid-size insurance agencies go through at some point in their agency growth cycle and lifetime. If not avoided, it can be a long-term trap and can be devastating to a well forecasted financial outcome.
There are a few key indicators that happen during the Growth Freeze Mode:
The agency's growth rate starts to slow down significantly
The agency's premiums and/or policy in force (PIF) starts to plateau
The agency's profitability starts to decline
The agency's staff becomes disgruntled and turnover increases
The agency's sales pipeline dries up
In my years of experience as a business consultant helping Insurance Agents overcome this period, many are unfortunately trapped for years in this vicious cycle. The good news is, there are strategies and tactics that can be put into place to help avoid or get out of the Growth Freeze Mode.
There are a few common root causes of the Growth Freeze Mode:
The agency's leadership team is not aligned on the vision and direction of the agency
The agency has a high volume of servicing existing customers
The agency's staff is not properly trained and/or motivated
The agency's marketing efforts are not effective, stops marketing and/or prospecting
The agency does not have a defined niche or specialty
The agency is over-reliant on one or two key employees
There are few ways on how to overcome the Growth Freeze Mode.
One why is for agencies to engage into new Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity to grow their premium faster. Many insurance agency will reach a certain premium growth level and then hit a wall. To get out of this growth freeze mode, it is important for agencies to focus on new mergers and acquisitions. In the meantime it is important to continue to focus on their organic growth. Many insurance agencies as they are engaged in Mergers & Acquisitions they focus on top-line growth only to find that they are not growing their bottom line. It is important for agencies to focus on both top-line and bottom-line growth.
The other way, is for agencies to embrace New Innovative Technology to continue to grow. Example: Implement Workflow & CRM Automation System to help them become more efficient and focus on their clients and/or on their Revenue Producing Activities (RPA).
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” Bill Gates
The third way is to focus on key verticals and expand their business appetite into new markets . Example: An insurance agency that focuses on the Real Estate industry may want to expand their business into other industries such as Manufacturing or Healthcare niche.
While Mergers & Acquisitions is a short cut to a healthy premium growth, it can be challenging. Business Owners must have a reserve of capital investment in order to engage into an M&A activity. In addition this strategy can be risky, and not too many agencies are able to pursue this growth strategy. "One bad Acquisition can set you back for good"
On the other hand, implementing Sales & Marketing Workflow & CRM Automation System has a lower risk, more achievable and highly profitable with an immediate term delivery. Automation can save a lot of time and make producer's life easy by automating tedious and repetitive tasks. It will not only bring in health growth in premium, but also help generate increase in Policy-In-Force (PIF) ratio and overall efficiency. The agency will have a better work-life balance because the automation system will take care of the mundane tasks and free up time for the agency to focus on producing new business.
The last way to overcome Growth Freeze Mode is to focus on key verticals and expand their business appetite into new markets. This is a great way to grow the agency, but it can be challenging because it requires the agency to have a diversified portfolio of products to offer their clients. It also requires the agency to have a good understanding of the new market they are trying to enter.
When an Agency implement a Workflow & CRM Automation System they can leverage automation to manage their upcoming renewals, referrals, retention, reputation, cross-sell monoline, etc. This is the most efficient way to grow their premium without having to hire new costly employees and spend so much time training them for their competition. in addition, it will help the agency focus on their Revenue Producing Activities (RPA) instead.
Obviously, the best way to overcome Growth Freeze Mode is to have a combination of all three growth strategies. This will ensure a healthy and sustainable growth for the insurance agency. This strategy however, will require heavy resources to be fully implemented.
Technology has always been a great enabler of business growth. In the past, agencies would have to hire more people to do manual tasks such as data entry, customer service, etc. With the advent of new technology, agencies can now leverage automation to take care of these tasks. This will free up time for the agency to focus on producing new business.
The bottom line is that insurance agencies must embrace new technology and use it to their advantage to overcome the Growth Freeze Mode.
Realistically Agency Owners and Principals would at least need to chose to implement one of these strategies that makes sense to them in order to overcome the Growth Freeze Mode.
So, whether it's new mergers and acquisitions, implementing Sales & Marketing Workflow & CRM Automation System, or expanding their business appetite into new markets. All of these growth strategies will help the agency overcome the Growth Freeze Mode and achieve healthy and sustainable growth.
focusing on implementing Workflow & CRM Automation System is the most efficient way and cost effective way to rapidly scale any agency's premium & sales growth. Patrick Zerarka, CEO of EzyTise
The benefits of Automation are:
It will take care of repetitive tasks and free up time for the agency to focus on producing new business.
The agency will have a productive and efficient internal workflow process.
Agency Owners, Principals, and Producers would have a Predictable Sales Pipeline
The agency will be able to leverage intuitive automation to manage their upcoming renewals, retention, reputation, cross-sell monoline, referrals and increase revenue going after low hanging fruits on auto-pilot.
Agencies will have ability to respond to prospects in Real-Time
The return of investment (ROI) will be high and it will help the agency focus on their Revenue Producing Activities (RPA).
It is a great way to scale the agency's growth without having to hire new employees .
The agency will be able to focus on their core competencies and leave the mundane tasks to automation.
The agency will have a competitive edge over other insurance agencies who are not using automation to its fullest potential.
Automation is the future of business growth and insurance agencies must embrace it to stay ahead of the curve.
If you want to increase your Close-Rate and increase Revenue, implementing automation will do exactly that. It will help you maximize your outreach, stay displace, and increase efficiency in your agency. Technology is always changing, and the insurance industry is no different. In order to stay ahead of the curve, it's important to embrace new technology and use it to your advantage. Automation is the future of business growth, and insurance agencies must embrace it to overcome the Growth Freeze Mode and achieve healthy and sustainable growth.
If you're interested in learning more about how to implement automation in your insurance agency, we can help. We specialize in helping insurance agencies increase their close rate and grow their business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you overcome the Growth Freeze Mode and achieve healthy and sustainable growth.
Watch Patrick Zerarka talking about Workflow & CRM Automation for Insurance Agencies
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