School Districts and Insurance

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
School Districts and Insurance

One of our great customers, a user of our agency management system, shared his success story with me. He concentrates on selling insurance to school districts in northern California. I did some research on the subject and with his permission decided to share my findings as well as his experiences in a blog post.

Schools are substantially increasing their spending on insurance. Teachers' salaries are low, and health insurance is one benefit most school districts tend to offer as a token of appreciation and a tool for employee retention. The increasing number of school shootings, people taking inappropriate pictures of children and the overall culture of filing bogus claims by parents and students alike is creating a very high demand for school districts liability insurance policies. With high demand, a high premium for those policies is also to be expected.

School districts are spending millions on yearly insurance premiums. Here is an example of a small school district in OH spending over six million a year on insurance premiums (resource for the graph and data below comes from http://www.fcs.org/financial/1stQuarterReports.pdf).

Findlay City School District Insurance cost 2012 2013 2014
Administrative Costs Dental / Vision $22 316,00 $22 311,00 $22 004,00
Medical $360 265,00 $367 915,00 $372 614,00
Board H S A Contribution $468 952,00 $202 341,00 $188 440,00
Dental / Vision Claims $476 441,00 $475 991,00 $438 297,00
Medical Claims $5 597 024,00 $4 880 298,00 $5 086 664,00
Life Insurance $27 278,00 $23 148,00 $16 402,00
Total Insurance Costs $7 414 635,00 $6 531 388,00 $6 786 269,00
School Insurance

Overall not a bad business climate condition for an agent that concentrates on selling insurance policies to school districts. But how can one enter such a difficult market? Where does an agent begin to play his cards to have even a shot at offering a quote to a school district's superintendent? Well, it's not as scary and unattainable as it seems.

You need not feel blind to the school market. Study the environment and understand where, when, and how you can best make your first call. Timing is everything in the school market and miscalculating your efforts will yield poor results that are often misinterpreted. Many insurance agents have tried entering the game with unrealistic expectations and with inadequate resources to stick with the program and reap the rewards that will eventually come if you play the game by the rules. Pinpoint the school districts you are planning on approaching. Do your homework to find out how much money they are spending on insurance every year.

This information is available to the public and often summarized in yearly or even quarterly spending reports. You can try by visiting the school district's website, or you may have to make a few calls to their accounting department, but you should definitely know the premium they are spending on insurance before proceeding to the next step. Besides the money they are spending, you must know the types of policies and coverages they are buying. You should be well aware of the limits they need and any inclusions, exclusions or special conditions that must be met.

Many conferences and symposiums are designed to cater specifically to educators. As an agent wanting to sell insurance to school districts, attending these conferences may be a great opportunity to meet the decision makers in person. No matter how reliant we become on technology and how persuasive we are at writing emails and speaking on the phone, there is no substitute for the personal impact one can make by having a face-to-face meeting with a potential client.

Another way to learn more about your audience is to read what they read. Become interested in the issues your clients care about. Subscribing to publications such as: districtadministration.com or edweek.org/ew/ and eschoolnews.com can bring you up to date on the issues school administrators are concerned with at the moment. Getting involved in these affairs will prepare you to strike a meaningful and engaging conversation with your potential clients. They will appreciate the fact that you have an opinion on the subjects that matter most to them.

Connecting with the organizations and associations representing school districts is another way to tune in and become closer to your audience. You can sponsor or volunteer your time at events organized by these organizations. Once you gain one customer who is part of such a group, then you can ask that customer to recommend, or at least introduce you to other members of the group.

I know you are passionate about selling insurance. I know that finding the right type of client, the one that fits your personality and at the same time answers to your goals in life may be easier said than done. When it comes to choosing our audience, we have the tendency to choose the path of least resistance. I want to encourage you to keep your passion about selling insurance in general but also to get the help you need to be successful with sales directed to the type of clients which will ultimately bring you the right balance of time spent at work and at home. The type of clients which will satisfy your personal financial goals as well as the goals you have set for your family, friends and hobbies. Nothing worth working for comes easy. Selling insurance policies to schools is no exception! However, with the type of money school districts are spending on insurance, your time spent on researching the possibilities may just be the key to accomplishing some of those ambitious pecuniary goals.

Comments
Anonymous 21 January 2017, 8:48 AM

I love this article, thanks a lot.

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