Read the article in Spanish / en español here: https://learn.everquote.com/5-tips-spanish-insurance-customers-en-espanol
If you’re an insurance agent working today, you’ve probably had this experience at some point or another: you answer the phone and there is someone on the other line saying “Spanish, please?” As an insurance agent (or sales producer aspiring to own your own agency) working in the United States, being able to serve Spanish-speaking customers can be a key to unlocking exponential growth. In fact taken on its own, the Spanish-speaking population of the United States would represent the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, with more than $1.5 trillion in purchasing power. And in terms of the insurance market, according to Conning Research there will be more than 30 million new Hispanic drivers hitting the roads through 2050, and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals predicts that Hispanic Americans will be the largest group of homebuyers in the country by 2030. On top of that, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, Hispanics are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States.
Being equipped to better serve Spanish-speaking customers can help your agency grow today and set you up for success in the future. To help get you started, here are 5 tips that will help you better accommodate and connect with customers that speak Spanish and help set-up your agency for massive growth potential.
1. Know who your customer is! Hire a bilingual agent to better serve their needs.
One of the most essential aspects of being able to serve Spanish speaking communities is to have a Spanish-speaking agent on staff to work with Spanish speakers. A translation service over the phone is not a suitable substitute for an actual Spanish speaking agent and will often not be helpful (and may actually add to the confusion when attempting to communicate). Customers want a Licensed agent that they can trust and come back to (and potentially refer friends and family members to).
It’s important to note that there are cultural diversities and various ethnicities that make up Spanish-speaking communities, so it’s crucial to be understanding and inclusive. For example, if you are in an area with a significant Venezuelan population, potential customers from this community may have an easier rapport with a Venezuelan agent, as opposed to hiring someone from Spain (for example). It’s also important to cater your marketing and advertising to your audience. Are they older and primarily Spanish speaking? Are they second generation and bilingual? Reach out to them as often as you would anybody else, but customize your approach based on their situation.
Another key is to have processes in place for situations that are common to the customers you serve. For example, does the customer have a Foreign Drivers License (FDL), are they recently licensed, or did they just receive their driving permit? Get to know them better without being too intrusive, see if they recently relocated to the U.S., and cater to their specific needs.
Use this blueprint to lay the foundation for your insurance agency:
5 Smart Ways To Set Up Your Insurance Agency For Success
2. Have resources available in Spanish. Often times Spanish-speaking customers are seeking professional advice to address their needs. However a language barrier can make it difficult for them to relate what you are advising to their personal situation.
A good tip is to have a list of key words and definitions so there are no misunderstandings or misrepresentation that can lead to potential errors and omissions. Have information readily available in Spanish in case the customer needs to file a claim, make a change to their policy or submit payment after hours. It’s also important to explain to them the claims process and the potential effects of filing a claim.
3. Don’t be afraid to suggest higher coverages! It’s important to look at the bigger picture and not be afraid to recommend other lines outside of auto, such as life insurance, renters, or homeowners.
Often times customers will say they only want the basic, the minimum, or “whatever I need to register my car and not get a ticket.” In many Spanish-speaking communities, insurance is not of high priority, and auto insurance is seen as just something you’re required to have. A good way to illustrate the importance of insurance is to tie the value of what you are offering to a story: “If you were to get into an accident with an uninsured driver and your child is in the vehicle, can you afford to not have Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage?”
When you propose higher liability coverages, it’s important to show them how inexpensive it can be – “$2 more for the policy period for double the coverage?” And cross-sell as often as you can – it’s important to recommend life insurance. According to the 2022 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, life insurance ownership among Hispanics is at 41% – lower than any other race or ethnicity in the United States. In my experience I’ve noticed a sort of stigma associated with life insurance. For example, I’ve seen often times telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) will portray a woman marrying a wealthy man for their money and plotting their death for the life insurance money, the estate, etc. Share with them the different options and benefits: “even though you’re not living a telenovela life, here is why this is important.”
4. Providing Great Service to Spanish-Speaking Customers Can Yield High Rates of Customer Retention
While it’s clear that Hispanic communities are typically underserved in the United States, the flipside of that is when insurance agents are able to provide a high level of service, the customer is often extremely appreciative and less likely to rate shop when their renewal comes up. Are you an independent agent? Let the customer know that you can assist them should they ever be unhappy with their current carrier. Explain to them why it is important to maintain an active insurance policy and the negative effects of canceling a policy without other insurance in place.
5. Referrals – ask for the referral! The Hispanic community is known for being close knit and often have large extended families.
This ties in with Tip #4. Because Spanish-speaking communities are often underserved, if you provide a high level of service, many customers are extremely appreciative of what you’ve done for them. So if you are able to win a Spanish-speaking customer over, you are more likely to have more new customers coming your way by way of referrals. A great way to network with Hispanic customers is to host free events centered around their culture (for example Dia de las Madres (Mother’s Day), Día de Reyes (Epiphany/Three Kings Day), Semana Santa (Holy Week), Hispanic Heritage month, etc.), and have them invite a friend or two.
Spanish-speaking customers make up a significant part of our communities and when it comes to insurance they represent a massive area for growth, especially as they have been underserved for many years. By offering a high level of service in their language of choice, as well as making resources available in Spanish and recommending the best insurance products and policies to fit their needs, you are better positioned to not only succeed but also to gain many loyal customers along the way. For any savvy insurance agent looking for opportunities to grow their business, setting your agency up to better serve Spanish speaking customers is a win-win. You’ll not only help provide access to insurance for historically underserved customers, but will position your agency for sustainable growth now and into the future.