Ways to stress test your insurance business for coronavirus impact

Stress testing what you know about your business now can help when navigating a crisis.

By Lloyd Lofton | March 23, 2020 at 02:00 PM

What is a concern during this current crisis (and it is a societal and economic crisis) is the unique scope and complexity of the potential loss of income and uncertainty and the near-term impact our situation. (Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock) What is a concern during this current crisis (and it is a societal and economic crisis) is the unique scope and complexity of the potential loss of income and uncertainty and the near-term impact our situation. (Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)

AM Best and Fitch Ratings are developing stress tests for insurance companies to gauge how COVID-19 might impact their balance sheets, if and how risk adjustments need to be made to their capital levels, investment portfolios, reserve adequacy and other aspects.

Allstate was recently moved from positive to a stable rating in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on insurers.

These rating reviews are partly a consequence of the financial markets and its volatile reaction to the coronavirus that has plummeted interest rates, stocks, bonds and derivatives.

What should you stress test?

Insurance agents and advisors are smart, intuitive and resourceful. We're used to having more month left than the check; we're used to investing in leads that lead to nowhere, and we are resilient to market fluctuation and industry changes.

The nature of our industry requires us to stay educated on our products, informed on evolving marketing methods and experts at messaging.

What is a concern during this current crisis (and it is a societal and economic crisis) is the unique scope and complexity of the potential loss of income and uncertainty and the near-term impact on our situation.

With that in mind, we need to stress test what we know right now about our business.

There are four things we know about our prospects and clients right now:

  1. We know our prospects are at home taking care of their families.
  2. We know how to get in front of them.
  3. Social media.
  4. Web conferencing.
  5. Video email marketing.
  6. We know what they want to hear about, what impacts them, now and in the future.
  7. We know what they are interested in, what they can't get or what they might lose!

I did a training this week with a call center and one of the issues we discussed is how to get past all the "noise" of the prospects daily living when doing outbound calls.

When you call, they are often (or say they are):

  1. Leaving to go out to dinner
  2. Leaving to go to kids' sports practice
  3. Leaving to go to work
  4. Family is over visiting

We discussed ways to craft their message to break through all that noise. Now that the noise has changed and they aren't leaving, they are anxious for:

  1. A cure to their stress
  2. A way to curtail the impact of this stress
  3. A way to contain the damage to their family and lifestyle

Business stress test action plan

Guess what: People are curious about what's happening, they are concerned about what the impact will be for them as a result of what's happening (or not happening) and their family and they are cautious about what's next.

  1. Inform and educate yourself about the unique or most used benefits of your product or service are and how clients have been helped. What problems have they or will they have:
    • Claims
    • Payment options
    • Cash value loans
    • Rider options
    • Ways you or the carrier can mitigate potential issues they may have
  2. This is the time to pull out every old lead, "I want to think about it," "Now's not a good time," "Maybe later in the year" or "I just bought from…" and call them.
  3. Buy a profile list, with phone numbers when available and call, they're home.
  4. Work with your direct mail vendor and create an oversize postcard with three things your product is there to do for them (the benefit, not the feature) and either a phone number, website or email address to contact you — better yet a landing page they can go to — see a 2-minute video of you sharing some valuable, relatable information with a free download they get it by entering their email address.
  5. Schedule an informative screen share about three or four specific problems clients have had and how you helped mitigate or solve those problems with a CTA (call to action) at the end, private consultation, download or e-appointment to do a review.
  6. You are a highly trained professional with tons of experience. Blog and share what you know across multiple platforms. This shows you're an expert and that you are relevant. You can demonstrate "local" knowledge. Your impact goes beyond insurance.
  7. Create your own YouTube channel. Make 1-minute to 2-minute videos that answer questions prospects/clients have asked you in the past or that they should be asking (don't sell, tell). Add these videos to your website and email them out. Don't know how? Watch some YouTube videos and learn. You can 't lose something you don't have, right?
  8. Create a Facebook business page. Post original content of interest to your market, provide links to your blogs, carrier info or your YouTube channel (you're making one now, aren't you?) Create question quizzes and interact with your audience (if you don't have an audience, this will create one).

You can't expect what you don't inspect. Success happens when opportunity and preparedness meet. Your success will come from the next thing you do, so go do it now and do it big!

Lloyd Lofton is the founder of  Power  Behind the Sales and the author of The Saleshero's Guide To Handling Objections.


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