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How to Recession-Proof Your Book of Business

Use these tips to avoid client churn and keep growing your book, even in an economic downturn.
How to Recession-Proof Your Book of Business

During economic uncertainty, business as usual isn't always the right move. As an agent, you need to think about the economic concerns of your clients (and prospects) to tweak your approach. This blog will share tips for recession-proofing your book of business in two critical areas:

    • Protecting your top accounts to avoid losing business as more and more organizations look for ways to cut costs
    • Using new strategies to attract cost-conscious employers and continue to grow your book

Give clients a reason to stay

When the economy struggles, every business is impacted, and they all begin looking for opportunities to cut costs. For many, insurance is one area to re-evaluate costs, especially if premiums are rising.

The key to keeping your clients is to give them a reason to stay. Provide so much value that they won’t be tempted to shop around elsewhere. Even the strongest client relationships can falter if they think there is an opportunity to save money with a different agent.


1. Have a conversation

When an employer hasn’t heard from their agent for a while, it’s much easier for them to justify shopping around. Make a point to regularly meet with your clients and use those conversations as an opportunity to position yourself as a business partner, rather than another vendor.

An easy conversation starter is the economy. Ask them about their concerns, where they’re considering cutting costs, and where they need some assistance. This dialogue gives you a chance to provide value in other areas that make you a trusted advisor they won’t want to lose. Here are a few examples:

    • If they’re concerned about high work comp costs, there are multiple ways you can assist. Offer to review their OSHA logs and provide guidance if you see red flags like a lot of lost time. You can also work with them to create a more robust safety program without extra effort on their part with an app like AutomateSafety.
    • If they fear HR is becoming overburdened, turn the conversation toward ways you can help them with key compliance topics, so HR can focus on other key job duties. Introduce a solution like ComplianceCheck to significantly streamline compliance.

2. Highlight the costly risks they aren’t thinking about

Once you address their concerns, steer the conversation to risks they aren’t considering. The examples provided above are all great ones to introduce if they didn’t bring them up themselves. You may also want to introduce the concept of “flipping the pyramid” to focus foremost on prevention, rather than relying on insurance to do the heavy lifting.

You might also bring up risk areas like OSHA compliance, which is not always top-of-mind for companies, especially when they are most cost-sensitive. Share the risks of having an OSHA audit and provide key resources and education to vastly simplify the OSHA recordkeeping process while taking work off their plate.


Take advantage of snoozing agents

The other side to staying strong in an economic downturn is continuing to grow. This is where you can take advantage of the agents who aren’t doing everything in their power to keep their clients happy.

At a time when employers are particularly cost-sensitive, opening their eyes to the costly risks they aren’t aware of is the perfect way to prompt a decision to switch agents.

Obligatory disclaimer: Even though companies are more cost-sensitive than usual, we still don’t recommend the bid-and-quote method to win new clients. You may get new clients in the short-term if you can provide a better rate, but these aren’t clients that will stick around long-term and would likely shop around next year.

Your conversation to attract prospects can still focus on saving them money, but your pitch should not be around simply shopping to find better rates. Instead, there are proven ways to help them save money on premiums (and regulatory fines) that will grab their attention.


1. Audit their OSHA logs

One incredibly effective way to do this is to remind them about the March 2 OSHA recordkeeping deadline and offer to audit their OSHA logs to identify mistakes. OSHA recordkeeping is typically a low priority on employers’ radars, which means they may not understand the costly implications if they get it wrong.

This is also a great time to offer an incredibly easy OSHA recordkeeping tool like OSHAlogs, to make it simple for them to record incidents, accurately fill out their OSHA forms without duplicate data entry, and submit to OSHA each year as required.


2. Reduce premiums with a prevention-first mindset

Just because you aren’t leading with finding a lower rate doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the premiums they are paying.

As you may know, work comp underwriters set rates by averaging out all the companies they provide insurance for. This often results in unfair rates for safety-focused and prevention-first companies. As an agent, there is a way to influence this process to secure lower rates for your clients.


A recession or even economic uncertainty doesn’t need to mean trouble for your business. In fact, it offers an incredible way to make your client relationships stronger and grow your business even faster, if you use the right strategies.

Want to talk to an industry veteran (me!) about the ways my agency has thrived during tough economic times? I’d love to set up a quick strategy session - book some time with me here.


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