5 Insurance Agent Skills to Develop in the New Year

Mike Miller | December 12, 2022

Illustration of an independent insurance agency owner checking off circles with a giant pencil as he learns new skills for 2023.

Great insurance agents are made, not born. The insurance agent skills that are crucial to your long-term success don’t just happen by accident. The most successful agents in the industry excel in critical thinking to bring best-in-class operations to their agencies.

What Are Insurance Agent Skills Essential to Success?

Agents need to be well-versed in a variety of skills — from sales to client and agency management to communication. Here are the five insurance agent skills you need to be successful in today's competitive insurance industry.

1. New Business Development

As an insurance agent, you must become skilled at developing at least one external marketing process to attract new prospects and turn them into clients. You will also need to be skilled at developing at least one internal sales process to keep your current clients. Operating an organized method of tracking and following up on prospect and customer X dates should be part of your new business development skillset.

If you’re following a formal prospecting plan, you will need a process in place to meet your insureds’ premium expectations as well as agency tools to enhance your sales process. These tools include:

  • Phone scripts
  • A client profile sheet for new clients
  • Complete family reviews to identify candidates for cross-selling life and other policies

The best agencies have invested in brochures to explain the risks that they write. They also have processes in place to promote consistent treatment of all potential customers.

2. Comfort with Underwriting and Risk Management

The second insurance agent skill you need to develop in 2023 is your comfort with underwriting and risk management. When you’ve mastered this skill, you will be more comfortable speaking with your carriers’ underwriters about new and renewal business and avoid having your appointment terminated by a carrier. Risk management skills include:

  • Proper risk analysis
  • Understanding of and compliance with carrier underwriting and administrative guidelines
  • Building strong working relationships with underwriters to make policy changes that reduce adverse risk and increase profitable growth

3. Processes for Relationship Management and Benefit Delivery

The most successful agencies build and put processes in place to handle policy changes in a timely and accurate manner. They also put processes in place to follow up with customers after claims to assess customer satisfaction. You can develop this skill in 2023 by implementing a process to increase retention of your current book of business. This process might include annual reviews to identify customer needs and review coverages.

4. Keep in Touch with Your Customers

Annual reviews are not enough to retain and build your customer base. To support these efforts, you need to build and maintain a customer contact program that includes a lead generation process, digital and print marketing strategies, and a nurture campaign for current clients to encourage them to schedule their annual reviews. Your customer contact program should also include a process for tracking and following up on customer complaints as well as a process for informing your clients about industry-related updates.

5. Agency Management Skills

Agency management is a skill that many agents need help with. Agency management encompasses everything you need to know and implement to grow your agency, from business plans to posting and adhering to regular office hours. It includes building and following a written business plan that you review on a regular basis. Agency management skills also include hiring, training, and installing licensed sales support and customer service staff. Skilled agents put measurement systems in place to determine whether business priorities are being met on a regular basis.

Are Your Insurance Agent Skills Up to Par?

These are just a few of the essential skills agents need to develop in 2023 to operate and run a successful agency. Smart Choice is an insurance agency network working with thousands of independent agents across the country. We provide independent agents with the training, resources, and professional guidance they need to grow. Whether that's access to top-rated carriers, membership to programs at no cost, or advice from dedicated and local support, Smart Choice can help position your agency achieve success in 2023. Ready to become a Smart Choice partner?

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