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Specialty Vehicle Sales Are on the Rise—Are You Taking Advantage?

Social distancing is leading to a surge in RV and boat sales. Here are some tips and tools to offer coverage for your clients’ new specialty vehicles.
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As much of the country is still social distancing, many have cancelled their summer vacation plans. However, the desire to get out of the house is palpable. If you Google “COVID camper” you’ll see a flurry of articles about a surge in RV sales. Likewise, boat sales are also rising.

If you’re like most personal lines agents, you spend most of your time prospecting homeowners or auto customers. But here’s a secret: specialty policies, like boats, motorcycles, ATVs, classic cars and RVs, make ideal lead lines of business.

Despite the average specialty vehicle premium being lower than premiums for homes or autos, our data shows that households with specialty vehicles outperform those without. The average written premium per account is almost double what it is for customers with only homes and autos. These accounts also have a three- to five-point—or more— improvement in retention and loss ratio. The economics of marketing to specialty customers makes a lot of sense.

Here are three frequently asked questions about specialty lines:

1) How much opportunity is there? In short: a lot! If your current mix is low, there’s a lot of opportunity in simply cross-selling your book. 

Many agents’ business cards proclaim home, auto, business, life or health expertise. If you aren’t proactively telling your customers you insure specialty vehicles, they may call an 800-number carrier, or use whatever agency the dealership recommends when they buy that camper for their summer vacation plans. And, that agency or carrier will certainly try to quote your insured home and autos.

2) How do I promote specialty? The fastest way to let your customers and prospects know you insure specialty vehicles is to promote it on your social media accounts. Safeco offers ready-made social content you can share on Facebook, for example. You can also find and share interesting articles or pictures from your community.

You can also talk to your existing customers. While everyone is at home, call your customers for an annual review. You can raise limits, round out your accounts, and if there’s a truck or SUV, ask if they have a trailer hitch; if so, they are likely towing a specialty vehicle.

Also check in with your carriers, as many of them offer cross-sell tools to make it simple.

3) What if I want specialty to be a lead line? It could take years to become an expert at all the different specialty vehicles. The good news is you don’t have to do that!

Pick a product, like an RV, or a specific vehicle type, like bass boats or muscle cars, that interests you. You’ll be very appealing to customers who will be excited that you “get” them— they will readily give referrals to friends who participate in their favorite hobby.

You could also find out where customers purchased their specialty vehicle and establish a referral relationship with dealerships, repair facilities and more. 

Want more ideas? Read Safeco’s expert tips on selling specialty coverage for other marketing strategies you can use.

Tired of being a generalist? Learn how specializing can help you boost your new business.

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Sunday, August 2, 2020
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