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Are You Prepared for a Hard Market?

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I was watching CNBC one morning recently while I had breakfast in my virtual office. They ran a quick headline about Travelers, explaining that the company had missed earnings. But, said the anchor, no need to worry because the company has successfully increased rates across all divisions of their business. Another sign (possibly a flashing red one) that we are moving toward a hard market.

So how do you keep clients happy and impress new prospects when they are facing significant increases?

  1. Refine your value proposition. “We have successfully served our clients for more than 100 years” is a nice message, but how you can refine it to make your clients comfortable when their rates jump 15 percent? What value do you bring that makes you worth the increase?
  2. Evaluate your top differentiators. Everybody preaches competitive markets and superior service, but what do you do and what will you do that is truly unique or different from the competition? What are the three bullet points in your proposal that your clients and prospects will not see anywhere else?
  3. Deliver your message. Once your value proposition has been refreshed and your differentiators are spit-shined, take them to the marketplace. Spread the word through email marketing and social media so that anyone who has become disgruntled by growing premiums is reminded why they should do business with you.

A true hard-market cycle will arrive eventually and there is no reason you shouldn’t spend some time working on the above items so you are prepared. They will begin paying dividends almost immediately.

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John Scranton is an insurance agency marketing expert and vice president of StartUpSelling, Inc. which helps small businesses with lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information and tips from John, visit, or go to his blog at