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New York’s Outstanding CSR of 2024, Nicole Eggert, Discusses Current Client Expectations

By July 1, 2024Blog, Mackoul News

Presented by the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, The Outstanding CSR of the Year award is regarded as the foremost national award of its kind. It recognizes the contributions and commitment of those who serve clients within the insurance industry.

We are proud to announce that Mackoul Commercial Lines Account Manager Nicole Eggert has been awarded 2024’s Outstanding CSR of the Year for the State of New York! 

Read on for the essay that won Nicole this prestigious title, as she discusses best practices to mitigate challenges and foster client relationships while dealing with current economic instability and client expectations as a CSR.

In today’s volatile economy, the roll of being an Insurance Customer Service Representative is not an easy job. The hard market requires us to have to think outside of the box in order to meet the expectations of our clients. I have been in the insurance industry since 2011, and during that time, I have earned my client’s trust, and they rely on me to be at my best no matter the market conditions. They trust me to make sure they are covered properly, to ensure that I am finding them the best product available that is tailored to their unique risks, and to be there for them when they have questions. Sounds easy enough in a normal market, but throw in a 20% or more increase on an account with no losses and no additional coverages, and all of a sudden, years of trust come into question. How you respond to this adversity is what will save an account or lose a client for good. A happy client is a referral that leads to potential new clients, while an angry client is one bad review away from you missing out on that next big opportunity.

Like many aspects in life, preparation and communication are crucial in preventing a client from turning their backs on you. That 20% increase is a little easier to comprehend when you are giving them several months’ notice of the market conditions and the overall insurance industry outlook. I am in constant communication with my clients, whether it is a generic email blast to all of them just discussing what a hard market is and what to expect or, more importantly, picking up the phone and speaking with them directly about their account. If they know it is coming, they are not angry with me because I have prepared them for this for months. Still, that huge increase can be difficult to explain.

In our company, we specialize in insurance for residential buildings such as condominiums, cooperatives, HOAs, and apartment buildings. This means there is usually more than one person that you need to keep in the loop, as there is generally a Property Manager involved as well as the Board of Directors. All of a sudden, the Board needs to increase maintenance fees for all the residents in the building, and now you are speaking to an entire building full of angry residents that don’t want to spend any more money in an economy that is already hitting them with inflation in every other aspect as well. In these situations, we will prepare information that can easily be distributed throughout the building. Again, explaining the hard market and how we got to this point but also acknowledging that this is a difficult time for them and offering solutions versus just presenting them with a problem and leaving it up to them to figure out. Telling them this is happening to everyone doesn’t relate to them. People want to know you care and are doing everything you can to try and help them. I might not always have the answer for them when they first call, but I will respond immediately that I hear and understand their concern and that I will find them an answer. Constant communication and empathy are two of the best attributes of being a successful CSR.

I recently had an account that was non-renewed last year due to their negative claims history (five water damage related claims). Their only option was to split their package and offer separate property and general liability policies, which resulted in a premium increase. This year, I was able to get them back with a package carrier. By doing this, I was able to obtain them better coverage while saving them a significant amount of premium in the process; something that has proven to be difficult in this market. This all goes back to thinking outside of the box and communication. I was able to explain to the underwriter all the steps they have taken to prevent future similar losses. They installed floodgates, backflow preventers, floor drains and had done waterproofing where applicable. Without constant communication with my client, I wouldn’t have known all the work and money they spent to improve their building. Some underwriters still wouldn’t budge but I didn’t take no for an answer, and I was persistent in my pursuit to find them something better. They saw their renewal option as well as the new option I found them and were ecstatic. I was just doing my job, but they saw the value in having us as their insurance broker. They wrote positive reviews and referred their neighboring buildings to us.

This isn’t the last hard market it is just the most recent one. Eventually it will pass and there will be a new challenge that we face. The insurance industry is always changing, and you must be adaptable and ready to learn every day to be a successful CSR.

Congrats again on receiving this honor, Nicole!

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