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Want More Insurance Clients? Think Like a Dentist.

Keith Lewis /
dental tools on blue background

There are two kinds of commercial insurance brokers: those who act like doctors and those who act like dentists.

Doctors hope to see their patients as few times as possible. Generally speaking, a physician works reactively—their job is to identify and treat problems as they arise. 

Say you have a sore throat. You don’t know the cause or what treatment you need, so you schedule an appointment. The doctor runs a few tests, diagnoses you with strep, prescribes you an antibiotic, and sends you on your way. There may or may not be a follow-up. Assuming you feel better, are otherwise a healthy person, and don’t require any kind of ongoing medical care, it could be a year or two until you see your primary care provider again. In any case, the decision to schedule your next visit is yours to make.

Dentists, on the other hand, aim to see their patients on a regular and frequent basis. They work proactively, attending to emerging problems before they become bigger concerns. 

When you visit a dentist, you know exactly why you’re going. Say you’re getting your teeth cleaned. The dentist performs the cleaning and informs you of any cavities or other dental issues. When you leave, you schedule a follow-up appointment for a filling, the next cleaning, or another clearly defined reason. Regardless, you have an upcoming visit on the calendar—and it’s just six months away, if not sooner.

These two scenarios present divergent ideas of healthcare. For most medical issues, people gauge their well-being on avoiding the doctor—the fewer office visits, the better. For teeth and gums, it’s the opposite: a person’s measure of dental health is how often they see their dentist. Insurance brokers tend to view themselves like doctors. To survive in today’s hyper-competitive market and uncertain regulatory atmosphere, they need to start thinking like dentists.

Countless brokers focus on client retention to hit their topline numbers. They don’t sell aggressively or offer incentives (other than price) for new and existing buyers. With rates of profitability declining and customer dissatisfaction and churn escalating, this approach no longer makes business sense. Brokers who want to grow—let alone stay afloat—must prioritize their relationships and embed value throughout their interactions with clients and prospects.

Imagine how you could change your business by thinking like a dentist. You could help clients proactively recognize and manage areas of risk while earning the credit for saving them money. Say you have 100 clients and 10 are currently at risk. If you do nothing, figuring that they’ll discover their issues on their own, you’ll likely lose them, dropping your retention rate to 90%. But if you can call up those ten clients and guide them through controlling and preventing their losses, you could maintain 100% retention—and win significant goodwill.

KPA’s Risk Management Center makes this easy. Our suite of applications empowers brokers to stand out from the competition and become trusted business partners for the employers they serve. With the RMC, you can directly track your clients’ training and compliance status, distribute safety resources and documents, and maximize worker engagement. 

These same tools can also take your conversations with potential clients to the next level. And here’s where the doctor-versus-dentist metaphor is particularly resonant. Many physicians can rely on insurance networks to drive patients to their practices. Dentists depend on word of mouth—figuratively and literally speaking. As employers’ expectations increase, it’s more important than ever for your brokerage to demonstrate a positive impact for clients.

Ultimately, by thinking like a dentist, you’ll not only maximize client satisfaction but proactively take your future into your own hands. Move to a new location, refurnish your office, recruit more people, upgrade your technology—anything can be possible when you shift your mindset from retention to growth. Now that’s something to smile about.

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