Specialty Vehicle Sales on the Rise – Are you Taking Advantage?

July 20, 2020

Safeco Insurance

Social distancing is leading to a continued surge in RV sales. Here are some tips and tools to take advantage.

RV driving on highwayWhile much of the country is still social distancing, many cancelled their summer and fall vacation plans. However, the desire to get out of the house is almost palpable. If you Google “COVID camper” you’ll see a flurry of articles about a surge in RV sales. Likewise, boat sales are also rising. 

The Economics of Specialty 

If you’re like most personal lines agents, you spend most of your time prospecting homeowners or auto customers. But here’s a secret: specialty policies, like boats, motorcycles, ATVs, classic cars and RVs, make ideal lead lines of business. 

Despite the average specialty vehicle premium being lower than premiums for homes or autos, our data shows that households with specialty vehicles outperform those that don’t. The average written premium per account is almost double what it is for customers with only homes and autos. These accounts also have a three- to five-point (or more!) improvement in retention and loss ratio. The economics of marketing to specialty customers makes a lot of sense!

How Much Opportunity is There? 

In short: a lot! Per Statista.com and vehicle registrations, your personal lines book should have at least 30 specialty vehicle policies for every 100 auto policies. If your current mix is low, there’s a lot of opportunity in simply cross selling your book. 

One other thought: many agents’ business cards proclaim home, auto, business, life or health expertise. If you aren’t proactively telling your customers you insure specialty vehicles, they may call an 800-number carrier, or use whomever the dealership recommends when they buy that COVID camper. And, that agency (or carrier) will certainly try to quote your insured home and autos. 

How Do I Promote Specialty? 

The fastest way to let your customers and prospects know you insure specialty vehicles is to promote it on your social media accounts. Safeco offers ready-made social content you can share on Facebook, for example. You can also find/share interesting articles or pictures from your community. 

You can also talk to your existing customers. With everyone at home more, now is a good time to call your customers for an annual review. You can raise limits, round out your accounts, and if there’s a truck or SUV, ask if she has a trailer hitch; if so, she’s likely towing a specialty vehicle. Also check in with your carriers. Many of them offer cross-sell tools to make it simple. 

What if I Want Specialty to be a Lead Line? 

It could take years to become an expert at all the different specialty vehicles. The good news is you don’t have to do that! Pick a product, like RV, or a specific vehicle type, like bass boats or muscle cars, that interests you. You’ll be very appealing to customers who will be excited that you “get” them; they will readily give referrals to friends who participate in their favorite hobby. You could also find out where customers purchased their specialty vehicle and establish a referral relationship with dealerships, repair facilities and more. 

Cover of 2020 Issue 4 Smart Choice Magazine titled "Agent Education: Adapting to Changing Needs in a Changing World"Agent Education: Adapting to Changing Needs in a Changing World

Being in the insurance industry, we've grown accustomed to navigating circumstances completely out of our control (such as weather and other natural disasters) — but the pandemic has really tested our resilience. For more on how agents can adapt to changing needs in a changing world while still providing exceptional service and products, check out the 2020 Issue 4 of Smart Choice Magazine.

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