4 Tips For Handling Uncomfortable Conversations by pexels-karolina-grabowska-7876306

For many insurance sales agents, speaking to customers is a breeze. Most sales agents get into a sales career because they love meeting new people and helping them solve their problems.

But there comes a time when insurance agents must have uncomfortable or downright awkward conversations with their customers. The conversation may happen because of a slip in service or because a policy increase is coming up.

The success of these conversations will determine whether a customer stays with your agency. It may sound dramatic, but one poorly handled conversation can turn a customer against a business for life.

For this reason, it is crucial to teach all the sales employees in your insurance agency how to approach a difficult conversation to ensure the best outcome.

The following tips will help you get the conversation going.

1. Don’t Rely On Letters or Emails

It’s common practice for insurance agencies to send letters to clients notifying them of rate increases. These increases happen every year, so for most agencies, it is acceptable to send a routine letter and be done with it.

However, sending letters represents a missed opportunity. Most clients have questions about rate increases, and many don’t read the entire letter. The best process here is to follow up the letters with a phone call.

Teach your agents not to be apologetic about price increases but to justify them with value. If the price increase is beyond your control, for instance, if it’s the domino effect of carrier insurance rate increases, you should inform your customers.

You can even write a script for your agents to draw from when they speak to customers. You can store such documents in insurance management systems so agents can always access them.

2. Don’t Ignore Irate Customers

Whether a customer is upset about a rate increase or disgruntled about a drop in service levels, ignoring them won’t make the issue disappear. There is a worrying trend in several business sectors where customer complaints go unheard and unsolved.

For your insurance agency to thrive, your agents must resolve complaints quickly and efficiently. You will likely be roped into the conversation at some point because complaints often get escalated to management and owners.

The best way to diffuse a tense situation between an agent and a customer is to speak calmly and listen to what the customer has to say. Listening is essential because it allows the customer to speak their mind.

The sales agent involved in the complaint should wait for the customer to finish speaking before apologizing for the problem. There should be an apology regardless of whether or not the agent is in the wrong because it creates the impression that you want to correct the issue.

Furthermore, you and the agent should collectively decide how to resolve the problem and retain the customer. One of the best ways to do this is to ask the customer what they would like the resolution to look like and take things from there.

Lastly, every detail of such resolutions should be recorded in a document that agents can refer to in case similar issues pop up in the future.

3. Explain Non-Payment of Claims

You have most likely had several instances in your agency where you had to tell a client their policy will not pay out. Chances are you have had invalid claims, non-disclosures, or even attempts at fraud. If you are dealing with suspected fraud, you must speak to the client to explain the reason for their rejected claim.

For example, if a client lied about injuries sustained during a car accident and the lie is discovered, you would need to explain why they cannot claim from their policy. You would also need to inform them that the incident might lead to your agency canceling their insurance plan,

You and your sales agents must prepare for some pushback before contacting the client. It is also essential to double-check all your work and investigations to ensure you have all the facts straight before speaking to the customer.

The conversation might decline rapidly, especially if you politely insist that a claim is invalid. If the customer becomes abusive, it’s best to end the call.

4. Stick To The Facts

Do not veer off-topic when speaking to an angry customer. Instead, stay focused on the facts relating to the customer’s case. If they are upset about non-service delivery, apologize, and find a solution. If they are yelling about a claim, state the facts, apologize if necessary, and try your best to provide a solution.


Being in the insurance industry means you will always have difficult conversations ahead of you. Preparing yourself before tackling a phone call or face-to-face discussion will alleviate the pressure of the situation. Allow your sales agents to use you as a resource when they don’t make headway during a conversation with a customer.

An angry customer may not want to listen to your agent but may take heed when the business owner steps in to assist. It may also be helpful to let the customer know that their complaint is a priority and that you will resolve it as quickly as possible.

Safeguard your agency from unnecessary customer losses by following these tried-and-trusted steps, and you will build a good reputation in the industry.