Strategic planning for insurance agencies

To achieve consistent, predictable growth, insurance agencies need to create a strategic plan and an action plan for both operational and financial goals and activities.

All insurance agencies and advisor firms should create annual strategic plans to guide their decisions about sales, marketing, clients, vendors, and hiring. A quality written plan includes a description of what your agency looks like today and where you want to take it tomorrow or three years from now. There are three core elements of an insurance agency strategic plan, each outlined below.

ONE: Where are you today?

Analyze your book of business to look for both the healthy and unhealthy trends. LINK TO BOOK OF BUSINESS IN MEMBER SITE.

TWO: Where do you want to go?

Write a description of what you want to see for your agency three years from now (or other timeframe). Describe needed changes to existing systems as well as potentially new items. LINK TO MEMBER SITE FOR VISION EXERCISE.

For example,

  • “Double our book of business while reducing the number of accounts by 25%.”
  • “Increase average account size to $10,000 by handing off smaller accounts and targeting larger accounts for new business.”

Specific items to consider:

  • What services/products/solutions do we deliver to clients?
  • What do our revenue numbers look like?
  • How are we getting paid (fees/commissions)?
  • What is our profit margin?
  • What does total staffing look like?
  • What resources/skills have we developed internally?
  • What is our core marketing message and how/where is it being shared?

Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which are operational metrics you track throughout the year that are critical for diving the results you want to achieve.

Establish your current baseline for each metric, and then project what you intend to achieve for the next three years. Set realistic, but stretch goals. Download KPI worksheet.

Identify both financial and operational goals you intend to achieve year-by-year.

THREE: How are you going to get there?

Think about each operational area of the business and develop plans for how to achieve the goals you have laid out.

Agency processes | It is critical to develop consistent processes for all key operational areas of the agency. What 2 – 3 areas would the agency benefit from most by being more systematic and managing in a process-driven fashion? (ex. Sales process, renewal process, onboarding process, etc.)

Client experience | In the end, the only thing that really matters is the experience your clients have with your team. This cannot be left to chance. Everything about their interaction with you needs to be planned for, from traditional service issues, to the expanding and complex problems you can help them with, to the advice you give, the results you deliver, and even the feel of working with you.

Net growth goal | Of course, it’s not enough to simply write new business. But it’s also dangerous to focus too much on just keeping what you have. It’s critical to plan for net growth and to do so at a level that generates team energy and gives you confidence to make the additional investments critical to your success. Use the aggregate growth goal from above.

Prospecting | You likely mentioned prospecting as part of your net growth goal above, and it is important enough that you need to be specific of what prospecting looks like in your agency. Prospecting activities are focused on putting the right opportunities into the pipeline on a short-term basis.

Marketing | You may have mentioned marketing earlier in this exercise, and it is an area that MUST be given specific focus. The world of marketing has changed as much as any other aspect of business. Despite the approach taken by many agencies, it is NOT an optional activity; it is a critical daily function of running a successful agency.

Sales conversation | Everything ties back to the types of conversations you have with your prospects, EVERYTHING! Showing up at renewal, spreadsheeting, and showing off a capabilities binder is an approach whose time has passed. Your conversation must focus on the story of the buyer, determining what that story looks like now, what they want it to look like in the future, and a formal plan of how you will help them drive the improvement.

Summary

When you take the time to plan what you want to achieve, and you review it, use it as a guide throughout the year, and hold your team accountable to the plans you’ve laid out, you will find your agency meeting and exceeding financial and operational goals you may have only imagined in previous years.

Download Q4i Agency Annual Planning Guide :

Agency Annual Plan CTA