Spread the Word
Badger Mutual’s Dan Wolfgram discusses the importance of building relationships and “overcommunicating” during challenging times like a global pandemic.
- Lori Chordas
- September 2020
Communication is crucial during unprecedented times like a worldwide health pandemic. In fact, there is no such thing as “overcommunicating” to employees, agents, policyholders and other stakeholders about how an organization supporting them during both good and challenging times, said Dan Wolfgram, chief operating officer of Badger Mutual Insurance Co., a property/casualty writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Wolfgram took part in a July 13 webinar sponsored by AM Best and the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association.
Following is an edited transcript of the interview.
How are you communicating with your customers and agents during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The first thing that we did after making sure our employees were safe was to look at how to communicate to our agents and customers. We decided that we were going to have a mantra that you can't overcommunicate to any of them. If they don't want to read the email, if they don't want to take the phone call, that's fine. If they don't want to have their picture showing during a Zoom meeting, we were fine with that. There was going to be communication, and it wasn't just going to be communication about policy changes, or coverages, or things that we were going to do.
It was to reinforce that if they had a sick parent or small children that they had to attend to [they could]. The primary goal was staying healthy and taking care of business, in that order.
How are customer expectations changing the way we look at insurance and how is marketing to consumers evolving to meet those expectations?
We as an industry generally do an OK job at expectations with consumers but I still think we commoditize what we and our agents do. We don't call insureds when they get their renewal. We visit with them before their renewal, after the renewal, check in another time during a claim process. We're going to have that extra touch.
I think insurance professionals, whether they are working at an agency or an insurance company, better be able to come up with a better value proposition than price or good coverage. Consumers want to feel valued, empowered and connected. They want to know that they will be taken care of when something goes wrong with their home, auto or business.
There's much noise in the advertising world from the big captive carriers and direct writers. How do smaller companies compete?
You've got to know what you're good at. I'm not trying to compete against anybody else but I'm trying to be a better version of myself. I think that's how Badger feels. Not that we're unwilling or unable to compete, but you've got to know your strengths. With COVID, we knew what was important. We kept it focused. We knew it was the safety of our employees, agents and policyholders and that they needed a message and to hear from us.