Friday, October 5, 2007

Form letters often in poor form

Most agency or claims management systems have standard form letters that the user can send to clients and insureds. I've viewed more than my share of the letters as a Lloyd's auditor, and frankly, they leave a lot to be desired.

Here's a typical "your premium came in high" letter I found on one agency management system:

Dear First Name:

Your auto insurance has been issued with a premium higher than we quoted. The result is a higher $74 for an additional ticket you failed to disclose. A notice of cancellation will result ... and may result in the loss of your license.

Okay, many of your are saying. We don't even want to write people who lie to us. I don't blame you. However, in a non-cancellation state, you're married to the insured for the foreseeable future. In addition, First Name may have cousins, brothers, a mom or dad, who don't lie. How you treat First Name in every interaction makes a difference.

Consider, instead of that form letter, this quickly customized form letter:

Dear Mr. Last Name:

Unfortunately, an additional speeding citation you received on August 13, 2006, still appears on your motor vehicle record. Therefore, your policy, which we originally quoted at $700 annually for liability only on your 1998 Nissan truck, will now cost $29 additionally annually. The company has billed you for this additional premium. If you did not receive the bill, please call us immediately so that we can make arrangements to assist you.

Thank you for trusting us with one of the most important decisions you can make--your insurance. If we can assist you or someone you know, we would love to help.

Most systems allow you to input your own letters or customize their form letters. Why not take a few moments and customize your letters?

contact you have with your clients is a chance to do one of two things--turn them into a more loyal customer or alienate them. There isn't much middle ground, is there?

Client churn can often be attributed directly to customer service and in today's competitive marketplace, people still value the personal touch. Even those with convenient memories.

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