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Where Every Client Knows Your Name


I dealt with this situation right before the holiday last week – a failed request for a certificate of insurance.

I arrived at the office and proceeded to fulfill my morning ritual – turn on computer, fix a cup of tea, and deliver the faxes that came in overnight. In the fax machine was a request from a title agency directed to the Number One Agency. The fax requested that a Certificate of Insurance for a flood policy be supplied to an out of state mortgage company for a refinance taking place in January.

There was a problem with this request. While we provide access to a Write Your Own Flood Program for MAIA members, we do not write policies ourselves. I faxed back a note stating that this policy was not handled directly by our office and suggested they contact the Hartford Flood services department. I hoped that the Hartford customer service department could provide a cert.

About 30 minutes later I received a call from a Rhode Island title agent. She had recieved my note and called the Hartford, however they they did not have this person insured with their flood program. Hmmmm. I advised her who I represented and suggested she contact the homeowner’s independent agent. I figured this would get the COI request on the right track.

Another 30 minutes goes by and the title agent calls again – frustration mounting in her voice. At this point she realized that she wasn’t in need of a Flood certificate, but was actually looking for proof of Homeowners coverage. Also the homeowner didn’t know who their agent was and insisted that Number One Agency must write their underlying homeowners policy. I explained that this is impossible, since we don’t write this type of coverage at all – for anyone. I again explained what we do and advised her to call the homeowner back again.

The title agent basically had to start from scratch. It had been hours since the original request was faxed, she had made at least four phone calls, and she was no closer to getting a Certificate of Insurance.

Why relay this silly story? Well, there is an insured, a title agent, and a mortgage company waiting for a very simple piece of paper to cross the fax lines in order to get a refinance done – they can’t finish their process because no know seems to know who the agent  of record is. While this instance may be a case of an absent minded/stressed insured or a less than stellar title agent, the moral is the same…clients need to know who you are.

Making sure that clients are aware of who the agency is and who they can speak with should a question come up mid-term is essential. Staying in front of your whole customer base isn’t easy, but this is a great example as to why even those small personal lines clients could use a friendly reminder about your services mid-term.

What does your agency do to combat this type of insured amnesia? What’s worked in the past? What hasn’t worked at all?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/04/2010 3:24 pm

    This is so true, Melissa. If a person doesn’t know who their agent is, of what value is their agent should a claim arise?

  2. 01/06/2010 9:40 am

    This is exactly it – and also where I think agencies can benefit from using some social media tools.

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