Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Carve out your niche: Insurance customers want to do business with an expert

A niche sets you apart from your insurance agency competitors. But, most importantly, it gives you something special to market that resonates with prospects. (Photo: Shutterstock)
A niche sets you apart from your insurance agency competitors. But, most importantly, it gives you something special to market that resonates with prospects. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Even though they keep us healthy, primary care physicians get paid less than specialists who sit atop the medical totem pole.

It’s the same story with attorneys, accountants, and others.

In other words, generalists don’t seem to do so well. If we have problem, we want the best. We want an expert, a specialist.

Related 10 strategies for acquiring small-business clients

It’s the same with P&C insurance agencies and producers. Clients like to think they’re working with someone who gives them an edge, who knows more, and will do a better job.

Yet, most insurance people don’t seem to get it. They do everything they can to promote their name and how much they give back to the community, but never get around to telling us why it’s in our best interest to do business with them.

It’s been this way since the dawn of the agency system, when all it took to succeed was a telephone, a filing cabinet, a business card, and seen by everyone in town. Name recognition was reason enough to buy insurance from them. Since it isn’t that way today, they dash around like the squirrels of summer, grabbing every possible acorn and even stealing more from each other.

Be smart

If customers want to do business with an expert, why wouldn’t it be smart to get off the old track and follow a different path? Instead of being known for your name become known for what you know, your expertise. In other words, become a niche agency or a niche producer. Here is a short-list of possibilities:

  • Workers’ Comp specialist.
  • Cyber Security specialist.
  • Small Business expert.
  • High-Value Home specialist.
  • Condo specialist.
  • Community Business specialist.
  • Non-Profit specialist.
  • Municipality expert.
  • Professional Office specialist.
  • Construction specialist.
  • A [fill in the blank] expert.

All this came to mind when reading about a recent J.D. Power small commercial business study. It highlighted an 18-point decrease in customer service satisfaction in the fewer than five to 10 employee group, but a 13-point increase in those businesses with 11 to 50 employees.

Related: How insurance agents can reach more business customers

It’s doubtful that anyone in the insurance business will question these findings, since small businessowners' policies (BOPs) don’t get much attention. Producers are more interested in spending time chasing after bigger acorns.

Yes, there are those who will argue that online sales take business away from them. More likely, small, community-based businesses feel abandoned and don’t see value in working with a local agent, all because agents don’t pay much attention to them. If the acorn falls at their feet, they’ll do it. The small BOP is just one example. The issues are the same for just about every line.

Niche market changes the dynamics

Yet, having a niche market changes the dynamics for an agency or a producer. Instead of chasing business or trying to get in the door for an appointment, a specialty gives prospects a reason for doing business with you and here is why:

  • It separates you from the competition.
  • It gives prospects a reason to listen to you; you know something and are not just selling something.
  • It gives you the opportunity to review coverages, point out gaps, and offer recommendations.

Simply put, a niche gives you what you need to be successful; it creates client confidence and trust, what every agent wants.

On top of that, niches are a magnet. Start by writing a BOP and get business auto, homeowners, personal auto, umbrella, and second home, not to mention referral business.

In other words, a niche sets you apart from your competitors. But, most importantly, it gives you something special to market that resonates with prospects. It also gives you the opportunity to get your arms around the pot of gold.

Related: 11 do's and don'ts on how to handle your insurance competition

John Graham is the co-owner of GrahamComm, a marketing services and sales consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry. Contact him at


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