Work Smarter: How to Find a Personal Lines Niche

If you’re like most personal lines agents, you spend most of your effort acquiring homeowners or auto customers. But here’s a secret: specialty policies, like boats, motorcycles, golf carts, classic cars and RVs make great lead lines of business.

Households with specialty policies outperform those that don’t have any: Safeco sees a three- to five-point (or more!) improvement in retention and base loss ratio, and nearly double the average account written premium. The economics of focusing on specialty policies make a lot of sense.

When you look at your personal lines book of business, what percentage of your policy count is other than home and auto? If you aren’t proactively marketing specialty vehicles, your customers may not know they could insure them with you—which means there may be a lot of opportunity.

Here are three ways to start developing a specialty niche:

1) Talk to clients. People love talking about their hobbies, so the first step is to ask them which activities they enjoy, or what toys they have in the garage or driveway. You may find you don’t insure all your customers’ specialty vehicles. This is a great time to offer a quote and ensure they are adequately protected.

It’s also a great time to ask for referrals to their friends who participate in their favorite hobbies. You could also find out where they purchased their toy and establish a referral relationship with a dealership. 

2) Set your agency apart with niche expertise. You may be a little hesitant to go after specialty vehicles if you don’t feel like an expert, but have no fear! You don’t have to be an expert in every type of vehicle. If you boost your knowledge in just one area, like bass boats or muscle cars, you open yourself up to a ton of clients who will be excited that you understand them and their favorite hobby.

Developing niche expertise is part of a successful long-term sales strategy. Broadening your knowledge of product lines beyond home and auto increases opportunities to cross-sell and earn new customers. This knowledge sets you and your agency apart while also opening new avenues for growth.

3) Boost specialty sales. Try these simple tips to sell more specialty.

  • Discuss specialty policies each time you do a risk assessment—especially at renewal time.
  • Every time you insure a truck or SUV, ask if it has a trailer hitch. If it does, your client is likely hauling something that needs protecting, giving you another chance to cross-sell.
  • Send seasonal cards to specialty policyholders with a note such as “Have a fun—and safe—summer on your boat!” This shows you understand you’re helping protect not only the toy, but the enjoyment it brings—along with the peace of mind of knowing it’s properly covered.

Want more ideas?