How to get on an insurance panel is changing and panel counsel law firms need to either keep up the pace or risk falling behind competitors. This article identifies three leading factors that managing partners at insurance defense law firms need to master to attract new insurance carriers and self-insured clients.
#1. The Future is Digital
Digital marketing is the “new normal.” AdWeek writes that “the global crisis pushed digital marketing forward anywhere from five to 10 years … throwing the industry into warp speed—and it’s unlikely to slow down.”
In the past, insurance defense law firm marketing focused on the presence of a website. The law firm’s website remains the foundation for all business development activity but is now supplemented with an array of digital communications options. Some of the leading digital marketing tools are listed briefly below.
LinkedIn is the social media platform of choice for law firms, as well as the business side of insurance carriers and corporations. There is no excuse for a lawyer not to have an up-to-date LinkedIn personal profile with at least 100 or more connections. An insurance defense law firm should also create and maintain a “company page” that links all employees together and helps to promote the firm.
A monthly e-newsletter is also easy to write and distribute to clients and friends of the firm using a popular software platform like ConstantContact.com. (Disclosure: We are a Constant Contact partner; click on the link to set up your own account or let us help you.)
Blog posts either weekly or monthly serve as a basis for your content marketing campaign. Post new material to your firm’s website, LinkedIn social media posts, and newsletter articles. Newsworthy ideas include favorable case outcomes, attorney promotions, and support for charitable events.
Sometimes it is law firm with the better marketing that gets the client, not the law firm with the best legal services. Keep your insurance defense firm visible with fresh content that reinforces your strength as a panel counsel candidate.
#2. Insurance Company Mergers = Panel Counsel Consolidation
As insurance companies merge, so does the panel counsel program. There is often a time lag in this process, but the “synergies” that prompt large carriers to join forces ultimately favor combining overlapping rosters of insurance defense law firms.
Below are just a few recent examples of insurance company acquisitions.
- Liberty Mutual buys State Auto
- Allstate buys National General, Safe Auto
- Farmers buys MetLife Auto & Home Business
Some managing partners will recall the roll-up of the Nationwide brand, which previously maintained separate panels for their Scottsdale and Harleysville subsidiaries. Over time these panel opportunities went away, leaving some law firms with excess capacity. Allstate seems to be taking similar actions by merging the Esurance into the parent company.
Proactive panel counsel law firms are smart to always maintain an operational business development initiative, often in the form of a core marketing committee.
#3. Challenges of the Remote Work Environment
Where is your client working? COVID drastically changed the work model from offices to remote work. The challenge here is that you often don’t know where your client is physically located. Some insurance companies, like Allstate, have decided to permanently cut back on their office facilities.
Complicating the work environment is that it is hard to get people to answer the phone these days. Voice mail is the bane of rainmakers seeking to either build new relationships or reinforce connections with long term clients. Insurance defense lawyers pursuing new business then must decide if they will leave a voice mail and hope for the best in terms of a response call, or not leave a voice mail and just try again.
Industry conferences – often the first choice pre-COVID for making new contacts – are starting to reopen but often with a diminished number of attendees.
The bottom line on remote work is that it is hard if not impossible to stop by an office and say hello, or send a holiday gift basked for the office team to share. Hence, go back to Step #1, where the future for now is digital marketing.
How to Get on an Insurance Panel in 2022
Insurance defense law firms that want to get more panel counsel appointments need to have a plan and work the plan!
If you are looking for ways to get on an insurance panel in 2022, contact Margaret Grisdela to talk about a business development campaign for your law firm. She welcomes your call or email and is happy to offer a free consultation.
Insurance Defense Marketing Consultant for Law Firms
If your insurance defense law firm is asking how you can improve your marketing communications and business development efforts, give us a call. We have helped more than 220 insurance defense law firms in 40 states pursue new client opportunities.
Legal Expert Connections, Inc. offers three key benefits to insurance defense law firms nationwide:
- We are the leading U.S. legal marketing agency specializing in the insurance defense market.We make it our business to identify who you need to contact at an insurance company, corporation or municipality to be considered as a panel counsel member. We accelerate your business development process by helping you focus on introducing your law firm to new prospective clients.
- You get a structured business development process. We guide your law firm through a proven three-step campaign that brings discipline, focus, and productivity to your marketing efforts.
- Increase revenue with professional, Bar-compliant legal marketing campaigns. We do the research to identify insurance panel managers, so you can focus your time on the business development process.
This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be interpreted as legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Every situation is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.