We’ve developed quite a few websites for insurance agencies including retail P&C, life and health, specialty agencies and wholesalers/intermediaries, and we thought we’d share some ideas about what makes a site successful.
The first requirement in developing a great site is to understand your audience and their needs. Since agencies are so diverse, we address each major category of firm separately, but the guiding principles are remarkably similar.
There are three areas of core content that a site should offer:
Your first priority, regardless of the type of firm, is to clearly describe the products/coverages you offer. Beyond that, the emphasis between these areas will vary considerably for different types of firms. After all, a personal lines P&C customer looks at insurance differently than the insurance professional who is a client of a wholesaler.
The most significant divisions in the P&C business are personal lines, small commercial and enterprise accounts.
It is rare for a consumer to delve too deeply into the particulars of the coverages they buy, since they consider it the job of the insurance professional to recommend the appropriate products to them. As a result, you may want to back off from unnecessary facts, and share with them two ideas: (1) provide examples of areas of risk they should be concerned about, such as home offices and jewelry/artwork/valuables, and (2) you will advise them properly, based on their individual situation. To the consumer, human interest content such as testimonials, the role of the agency in the community and the employee of the month will help bring the agency to life.
Small commercial accounts are similar to consumer accounts, except that you should include a focus on any markets where you have a large presence, such as hairdressers or law firms. Where appropriate, include testimonials and client stories.
Large commercial accounts are often quite different. You may be dealing with a professional risk manager, and publishing facts about coverages and articles concerning trends in the industry may prove valuable to your clients.
At the moment, health insurance is wrapped up in the Affordable Care Act, and both companies and insureds are still searching for answers. Similarly, retirees need help in wading through the complexities of Medicare. By offering easy to grasp information to potential clients, you can start a conversation that may lead you to be a trusted advisor.
Prospects for life insurance and financial planning often have specific questions about equity, fixed income and alternative investments, investment strategies to ensure a successful retirement, and issues relating to social security benefits. In addition to discussing your own products and services, you should offer a rich repository of information that both current and potential clients can draw upon.
On the wholesale side of the business, firms usually fall into one of two categories: specialized and full line general agents. Most of the latter, and even some of the former, offer a broad range of coverages. The professional insurance agents that they serve usually need detailed information about these products including qualifications, description of coverages and application forms.
For firms with a narrow, highly specialized focus, the website should offer information to help educate the retail agent, who may be talking to a customer who is more informed about the issues that he or she is. For those offering a considerable number of products, a database driven website often makes sense, as it will simplify site maintenance and create a more professional, uniform presentation.