Key characteristics to look for that will help you narrow the search for the right premium financing partner.
Premium financing: it’s all about getting the best rates, right? Well, not necessarily. Yes, competitive rates are important because they help you create policies customers can afford – but if a nice rate is all you’re getting from your premium financing partner, it may be time to trade up. And because premium financing can be complicated, whomever you choose will need to truly understand the industry to help guide your business in a competitive market.
What to look for in a partner
So, how do you find the right premium financing partner? There are a few key characteristics to look for that will help you narrow the search, and ensure your customers are getting the best service possible. At the top of the list: quality customer service, higher profit sharing, and automated customer processes. Let’s take a closer look at each of these valuable attributes, and what makes them so important.
- Quality customer service
Because financing is such a complicated topic, it tends to produce a high volume of customer questions about competitive quotes, interest rates, reporting, payment options, and so on. But regardless of the situation, having a real-live person on the other end of the line is always your best bet—both to get the correct answer to the question quickly, and to gain customer loyalty as a result of speedy service.
Your turnaround time on these questions and other customer issues is critical. Avoid leaving customers hanging on common inquiries, and save yourself the headache created by a buildup of time-consuming voicemails and emails. Partner with a premium financing provider that delivers on-the-spot customer service and resolves issues for things like new transactions, missed payments, and commission disbursement—as they come in. Not only does this type of live interaction keep your customers happy and assured their immediate satisfaction is a priority, but it can also help you maintain a steady track for your business transactions.
- Higher profit sharing
Sure, great customer rates are important, but what about your rates? Are you getting your piece of the pie? Does it arrive on time and is it a big enough slice? Is your premium financing provider doing everything they can to make sure you’re getting maximum revenue in a timely fashion? A partner that can deliver commission via ACH impacts your bottom line faster. ACH transfers take less time to process than a credit card payment, they’re more reliable, and they’re less costly for all parties involved.
If you’re not sure, take the time to ask your provider exactly how they’re getting you max revenue and how they plan to maintain that revenue for the duration of your partnership—regardless of changes in the industry. If they’ve got your best interests in mind, they’ll want to ensure you’re not only benefiting from the relationship just as much as your customers are, but also that you understand precisely how it all comes together—and how you’ll continue to make it happen. That’s the kind of partner who takes pride in not only delivering on their promises, but also in being an expert on how the premium financing industry works.
- Automated customer processes
There’s no arguing that faster timelines, less work, and a reduced chance of manual error are all good things. Can your premium financing provider deliver these benefits via updated, automated client-facing processes, say, by integrating their financing with your quotes or providing automated online payment options? Better yet, will they allow you to finance multiple polices, from several sources, in one agreement? A good provider should, and streamlining these processes can help you achieve mutual goals faster.
Before entering into partnership with a premium financing provider—or if you’re looking to move on to a different one—investigate the technology and processes they have in place to streamline your workload and ultimately simplify the entire premium financing process. While live customer service is important to driving a business forward, partnering with a provider that automates certain customer deliverables will benefit all parties involved. Just make sure, whomever you end up choosing, that they understand which processes and service elements should be automated, and which shouldn’t. Not understanding the difference could have you unintentionally sacrificing customers on the altar of convenience.
The effort is worth it
Finding the right premium financing partner is no small task, but when it’s done right the ends definitely justify the means. Not all providers are created equal; even if it takes some time, you’ll thank yourself later when you’re enjoying the benefits of quality customer service, higher profit sharing, and automated customer processes. Stay on the lookout for the these three qualities, do your homework and ask plenty of questions during the selection process, and you’ll be well on your way to simplified processes and increased customer happiness thanks to a terrific premium financing partnership.
Sean Jagroop is Director of Premium Financing for Fortegra Financial Corporation.•