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Development of a new agent training plan

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This publication is part of a series sponsored by ITC (Insurance Technologies Corporation).

When you open a new insurance agency, one of the last things you will need to consider is staff training. Even if you are not going to have any employees at first, you should still consider your own development.

Start by determining the level of experience of your new hire. This will help you figure out what they need to know to be effective. Next, identify training materials that will help the new employee work in your agency. Set expectations for future development and follow an annual training plan to track each employee’s training goals.

How experienced is your new rental?

Beginners
It is possible that the new employer does not yet have a license and will need training in the basic principles of insurance. This means basic training in state insurance regulation. Most states require an agent to attend and take a certified insurance course for each license they want.

In some cases, a new employee may need several classes for certification in different areas of insurance. Provide new employees with the standard procedures outlined in your employee handbook. Prepare documented processes on the start date so that they can take effect.

Experienced staff
Licensed personnel can have a good understanding of the basic field of insurance. Prepare processes to help them keep abreast of changing policies and changing norms.

Most states require continuing training courses to renew a state insurance license. Show them the process of doing this every year.

Current development
Everyone in your agency will need constant development. This will include training in the agency’s standard procedures, such as workflows. There is also technology used in your agency and customer service. And if someone wants to expand their knowledge in a new field, such as marketing, this will also need to be considered in the plan.

What do you focus on in training?

In addition to the obvious insurance training, there are several other topics in your training plan.

Technology
Even your experienced new employer may need to learn the insurance agency technology you are using. They may have used a different benchmark or agency management system in the past. You will need them to find out how your agency uses technology to meet your expectations.

Workflows
Training new employees in the specific workflows of your agency is an important part of providing quality customer service, as well as ensuring a consistent process that you can measure. This will help the new employee to know what is expected of him and how to evaluate their effectiveness.

What are the teaching methods?

Mentoring
One of the most successful approaches to learning is a mentoring program. Ask one of your more successful agents to mentor new agents. Mentoring programs help new employees learn about the features of your agency from their peers. This will give your new employees some resources for questions and help them learn best practices. This is a good strategy to include new producers and CSR.

View recorded calls
Confidence can be a challenge when training new CSRs or agents with little experience. A way to build confidence is to get them to listen to themselves during recorded calls.

Checking recorded calls can help new agents approach the client. They can identify areas of weakness and learn to change their position. This will help you determine if they need additional training on insurance terms and policies.

When viewing calls with staff, listen to the call first. Then review this with the employee. Give them tips on how to improve customer engagement. Help them with insurance processes that they may not yet fully understand.

Continuing education courses
Most state insurance departments require agents to take additional classes each year to maintain a license. Some states may assign classes such as ethics, flood, error, and omission. You may be able to choose other courses from the approved list of educational institutions.

Video
Video is one of the best resources for staff training. Many carriers, suppliers and industry consultants have video channels to help educate agents. This is an effective way to review the necessary procedures and daily tasks.

Training of carriers
Some carriers have set up classes to help prepare CSR and manufacturers. Consult your local sales representative before sending your employees. They will be able to let you know if they think the class will benefit your staff. Also check if there are cooperative funds that will help cover the costs.

Marking
There are many insurance symbols in our industry. Investigate the labels that you think will benefit your staff. Set expectations from your employees and define them as learning objectives. Labels can give your team more confidence and help reduce errors. In addition, these labels can help you gain customer trust in the agent and your agency.

Technology training
If you have a quality benchmark or agency management system, they are trained on their platform. It is more likely that these training materials are available on their website. If not, contact your representative and he will provide you with what you need to train your new employees. Save these documents for future employment.

Webinars
There are many training webinars as free resources for studying the insurance industry. Try searching the web for webinars on topics you want to add to your curriculum. You can also ask carriers, suppliers, and other agents to check if they have webinars that they will recommend.

Conferences
At present, attending a conference may seem impossible with a pandemic. But some conferences are held virtually. Contact your local or state association to find out what their conference plans are and whether they are currently offering alternative learning options.

Your agency’s training plan

You have many learning opportunities. Develop a training plan for new and existing agents. Each insurance agency training plan should include information about the technology you use and your processes and procedures. Here is a list to start with.

Your training plan will help you determine what education your staff needs. As a result, your team will know what education they need to complete.

Review your workout plan at least once a year. You will want to see how you are coping with your goals and if you need to make any adjustments.

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