Marketing to the Insurance Customer

Jenni Chase
June 23, 2014
THE TALK...

My first introduction to the glass industry was on the automotive side, where I quickly learned about the challenges associated with insurance claims. Retail auto glass shops struggled on a daily basis--and I imagine still do--to educate consumers that their choice of service provider was not limited to the auto glass company their insurance company recommended. It was a tough job. After all, when insured property is damaged, most people call the insurance company first.

Does this same issue exist for window and door dealers? I ask because my neighborhood was recently hit by a severe hail storm and I am looking at potentially replacing skylights. I have been inundated with roofing companies going door to door, asking that I use their services when I file my insurance claim. Yet I haven't had a single call or visit from a window or skylight company.

Does insurance work represent such a small portion of the business that it doesn't make sense to dedicate resources to pursuing? Or, do you establish relationships with local agents rather than relying on door-to-door sales to get your name in front of potential insurance customers? Or is my experience an anomaly?

While I've worked in the window and door industry for some time, I'm still learning the nuances, and I ask this question as both an editor and consumer. What marketing approaches, if any, do you employ for the insurance customer?

Survey Results for 06/25/2014 :

What marketing approaches do you employ for the insurance customer?

None. This type of business is limited

  

 

60.87%

 

Door-to-door sales

  

 

26.09%

 

Establishing relationships with local insurance agents

  

 

10.87%

 

Phone campaigns

  

 

2.17%

 
Chase is editorial director of Window & Door, and its sister publication, Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Comments

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First, I've been doing roofing, windows and siding for insurance claims for over 20 years. Unless you are set up and understand all the processes in sevicing an insurance claim, I would not touch it.

The process can clearly waste your time and resources. The homeowner needs a thorough education and if your not skilled already, your wasting your time. First,carrier's typically do not want to pay fair value and their adjustors typically do not know the nuances of our industry. Next, you can end up in a lengthy dance of providing information to justify your price. Also, roofing companys often want to take the gravey money of the roof dollars and leave you the crumbs and back end headaches.

Hail storms can be a nice business if you are a "hail storm chaser." To me hail storms screw up a regular market. Homeowners typically were not planning for the work and many of them have mortgages that are "under water." Good luck in trusting the homeowner who wants to make money on the insurance claim...it's called fraud. Dont get involved.

Most important understand your state and local laws. Oh, did I mention your cash flow may be delayed for weeks because of the inspection and signoff process between the customer, the mortgage company (the other owner) and the insurnace company. AND, never work as a sub-contractor for another company.

When all is said and done, did you ignore your regular business because it may not be there when you give your attention back to it?

This is a stone left unturned Jenni. Similar to your former career, I used to be in the automotive collision industry (managed a body shop). I knocked on many insurance agents doors and established relationships with them.

The downside to insurance claims is they are unpredictable for the agent's individual clients. The upside is there is a fairly steady average flow that the agent sees day-to-day whether it be storm damage, break-ins etc.

Today I have a great rapport with my personal agent simply having used him for many years - so that connection is a bit different because I'm his client too. However I get calls from him on occasion on behalf of his clients needing fenestration services that I provide. Ultimately I replaced all the windows in his personal home as well!

Aside from an insurance agent being exposed to "disaster," more importantly an insurance agent knows a million people and his/her opinion is usually well-respected. So his/her recommendation can go beyond disaster situations. He can connect you with clients needing an entire window package (new home or replacement).

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