Insurance referral programs are a powerful marketing tactic for all types of insurance agencies to scale their growth. Aside from generating new business, these programs are also a great way to encourage and track your agency’s word of mouth. 

Today, you’ll learn why your insurance agency needs a referral program, and best practices for creating a successful insurance referral program. Plus, you’ll discover real examples of how insurance companies use referral marketing strategies. 

What is an insurance referral program?

An insurance referral program encourages your clients to share your insurance agency with their peers, and then rewards them with an incentive for each peer who becomes your client. When done right, an insurance referral program helps you bring in new clients, gives you instant visibility on where your referrals come from, and scales your insurance agency’s growth. 

Benefits of referral programs for insurance

An insurance referral program is a low-cost yet effective way to get promising new leads for your insurance business. 

Developing an effective referral program requires strategic thought, creative referral ideas, and a little bit of work. But the results can be well worth it. 

There are many reasons why you should consider an insurance referral program.

  • Referrals can help reduce your customer acquisition costs. Word of mouth from your existing client base is practically free. That’s an awesome way to save money on marketing!
  • A referral program incentive motivates sharing. Even if clients are satisfied with your agency, they may need an extra push before they refer new business to you. Not every devoted client is going to refer leads on their own otherwise. 
  • Referred leads have a higher chance of becoming clients compared to other leads. They have higher conversion rates because they trust their peers far more than traditional ads. 92% of global consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family most. 
  • Referral programs can be applied to any form of insurance. This includes life insurance, home insurance, auto insurance, business insurance, and real estate insurance, among many other types.
  • Referred customers are more likely to bundle multiple types of insurance policies (if you offer them). Because they trust their friend’s recommendation of your agency, they may be willing to make more of an investment in you.
  • Referred customers are more likely to remain your customers for longer periods, giving them a higher customer retention rate and higher lifetime value. Again, that happens because they trust their friend’s recommendation.
  • Customers who recommend you to their friends also develop a stronger relationship with you, as they become more invested in your success. 
  • Insurance referral programs let you easily track every referral your customers make, and use the data you collect about your program to improve your success. It’s pointless to have a referral program without any means to measure how it’s doing. For example, tracking allows you to find your best sources of lead generation, whether it’s specific individuals or your social media channels. 
  • Referral programs let you accelerate the growth of your agency and effectively scale. Done right, you will get significantly more leads from potential customers over time. 

Referral software for insurance agencies [Free Tools]

These referral tools for insurance agencies are a free and easy way to help you start your referral program.

Free Tools + Services:

Want a fully automated referral program for your insurance business? Run your referral program with us at Referral Rock. Find out how we can build your program with you (and tailor it to your unique needs)

Before you start a program 

There are a couple of things to consider before you start a referral program. Think of your program as a machine with many different moving parts that need to work together in order to run efficiently.

Make sure you have stellar customer service 

Nothing sells quite like customer service, especially in insurance.

Customer service is uniquely important for insurance sales. Most insurance products in the same space (i.e., automobile, home) are relatively similar, making the customer experience the biggest differentiating factor. 

You’ll need to provide a stellar experience to convince a customer to buy and stay with your business. And having a strong base of customers is essential to referral program success. For insurance agents, customer experience is probably the most important reason why customers will want to recommend you.

Know your customers

Knowing your existing customers goes a long way in getting more new referrals. Answer the following questions about your clients:

  • How do they get information about your insurance agency? This gives you an idea of channels that you could explore further, to promote your referral program. 
  • How do they communicate with friends? Find out their preferred channels, and offer the same channels for sharing in your referral program. 
  • What motivated them to purchase insurance from you vs. a competitor? This helps set you apart from the competition, and should be highlighted in messages to referred friends.
  • What rewards would motivate them to share with peers, friends, or family members? This helps you choose referral rewards your current clients would be motivated to earn. 

Know how much it usually costs to acquire a new customer 

How much do you usually earn from your customers, and how much do you spend to gain a customer on average?

Your customer acquisition cost will help you determine how much you want to reward for referrals. 

Referral rewards must never eat so much into your budget that the program is no longer profitable. In other words, your customer acquisition cost shouldn’t be more than the profit you’re generating from your customer.

Determine which customers you should promote your program to first

Look for customers who are likely to be most eager to share with friends.

  • Who have been loyal customers the longest? If you’ve been keeping in touch with the customers and have a long-standing relationship to fall back on, they could be potential first picks.
  • Use NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys to see who is most likely to promote you. An NPS survey measures customer satisfaction by asking how likely a customer is to refer clients to your insurance agency. Focus on the customers who love you the most. These are your “promoters,” or those who receive a score of 9 or 10 on the NPS scale.
  • Find out if some customers have already referred friends to your agency, without prompting. They’re already eager to share, so they’ll be even more enthusiastic to share when rewards are involved. 

Know the laws that govern insurance referrals in your area 

Your insurance agency’s referral program can be affected by laws specific to your area.

In the US, the laws that govern insurance referrals can vary from state to state. Searching online can help you get an idea about the basics. But it’s also recommended to get advice from legal experts. 

A basic example of one such legal concept is when you reward your customers with a ‘finder’s fee,’ say in the form of cash, gift cards, or credit towards a policy. Sometimes, you are only allowed to do this as long as you don’t reward other licensed insurance agents for referrals.

Referral software for insurance [Free Tools]

These referral tools for insurance are a free and easy way to help you start your referral program.

Free Tools + Services:

Want a fully automated referral program for your insurance business? Run your referral program with us at Referral Rock. Find out how we can build your program with you (and tailor it to your unique needs)

Best practices for insurance referral programs 

Before you develop your referral rewards programs, factor in these tried-and-tested referral strategies to enhance your offerings and get the best results. 

Offer valuable rewards for referrals 

Your client experience makes clients willing to refer, but it’s the rewards on offer that drive satisfied clients to actually make customer referrals.

It’s always best to reward both the referring customer and the friend they refer, with a “double-sided” reward structure. This both motivates the existing customer to make more referrals, and the referred friend to become your new client. 

We recommend offering cash or gift cards to both current and new customers. These are the best-performing rewards, as the recipient can choose how they want to use the reward. Discounts on premiums are also a great choice, as customers will appreciate saving money on their insurance payment. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that referral rewards like these are legal in your state or region. 

You might also consider giving a small reward to existing customers when one of their referred leads gets qualified (say, they get a quote from you), and then a larger reward when that lead purchases a policy. This is known as a multi-step reward.

Pro tip: Rewards should be available every time a customer makes a successful referral, to create the most effective growth engine.

Even better? Offer tiered rewards, where the incentive increases in value after someone makes a certain number of successful referrals. So, as the number of referrals increases, so does the value of the incentives for your clients.

A tiered rewards structure can be a highly motivating incentive for your customers to sign up for your insurance agency referral program.

Use referral software to track, manage, and automate your program 

Manually tracking referrals isn’t a good idea. As you grow your insurance agency, it can be difficult to keep track of a high volume of referrals (and give rewards) on your own.  Manual tracking can also be inefficient if you offer more than one insurance type.

What to do instead? Build your program with referral software.  The right referral software streamlines your program creation process, tracks the source of every referral, and removes the hassle of manually managing your referral rewards.

Automation features can help you save time –  meaning you’ll have more time to focus on converting leads to customers.

Referral Rock referral software streamlines the program creation process and simplifies referral tracking and management. With Referral Rock, you can:

  • Fully customize rewards: Select any reward type and structure you wish, including tiered and multi-step rewards.
  • Track referral sources: Unique referral links for each client let you track exactly where each referral came from.
  • Automate reward payouts: Send incentives right when they’re earned to keep clients happy.
  • Automate promotions: Strategic, automated promotional emails keep clients engaged, and the passwordless links inside make sharing even easier. 
  • Collect program data: Measure your program’s success at a glance, and make informed adjustments and improvements.

Referral Rock lets you set up your program in days (not months), with expert support at every step. Read more about how our referral program software can benefit your business.

Promote your program in a variety of ways 

After you build your program, it’s time to start promoting it. Brands with the most successful referral programs promote their programs consistently, on multiple channels. It’s all about continued visibility!

Clients need to know the program exists so they can share it and earn rewards. And the more existing clients who share, the more new clients you stand to receive. Think about the channels you already use to communicate with and interact with clients, and integrate referral program promotions into those channels. 

Here are a few ways you can promote your referral program:

  • Highlight information about your program on your website. Add a hero image or a banner on your homepage, and place CTA buttons in your top and bottom menus that lead to your program page
  • Send dedicated referral program emails with a regular cadence (monthly to quarterly).
  • Add referral program info in invoice emails. Clients will appreciate a way to save money on their payment.
  • Add a promotional section for your referral program in a clearly visible section of your email newsletters. 
  • Add a promotional link at the bottom of your email signatures. It’s a more discrete method of marketing, but it can still help you cover all the bases. 
  • Share information about your referral program across all your social media accounts. 
  • If you have a customer portal, add links or highlighted sections that talk about your referral program on the portal
  • Ask for referrals in direct conversations with customers. You’ve built rapport, so don’t be afraid to ask when you know they are satisfied.

Ask for referrals at the right times

One of the best ways of getting insurance referrals is asking outright, since you’ve built strong relationships with your clients.

Timing is crucial when asking for referrals, though. Take advantage of moments when clients are happiest, and you are top of their minds. For example, you might ask when they:

  • Post a positive review or social media comment
  • Give you positive comments on a survey
  • Provide excellent in-person feedback 
  • Renew a policy
  • Recommend you to friends outside of the referral program
Pro tip: Be consistent. Directly ask for referrals from long-standing clients on a recurring basis.

For example, after someone has been a customer for a year, you might personally remind them of your referral program every six months.

Keep track of how often you use these direct reminders, though, so you don’t annoy a customer.

Make your program easy to use and understand 

Clients often have short attention spans when browsing online. Once you have their attention, you want them to complete the action of referring someone. Make your referral process simple, or else your customers won’t complete the share.

prosper insurance referral program


  • Clients should be able to refer in the least number of clicks or taps possible. Don’t make clients search for the program, scroll too much, or fill out long forms.
  • Use Referral Rock’s One Click Access links so customers can share with friends instantly (no password needed, and no extra form fields). Add these everywhere clients could access the program, including emails and your customer portal.
  • Give your customers flexibility in how they make referrals. Offer multiple options for sharing, including social media, email, and a unique referral link that can be shared almost anywhere. 
  • Customers should know exactly what you want them to do when they skim your referral landing page. Do they know how to submit the referrals, and how they earn rewards? Laying things out in three easy steps, like the example above, works well.
  • State the benefits clearly, so customers know exactly what’s in it for them. Insurance companies, in particular, should promote the intrinsic benefit of helping a friend get access to great insurance.
  • Pre-draft a message for the client to send to their friend, so they don’t have to think about what to say. Make sure the message sounds conversational and like the client wrote it.
  • Use an easy-to-find referral CTA button to get customers to share. 

Pro tip: Create a referral FAQ page that outlines program terms and common concerns, to eliminate other obstacles that may keep people from referring friends. 

  • The best FAQs address all the possible questions that your customer may have about joining the program.
  • Stick to simple and easy-to-read and understand responses. 
  • Avoid making the FAQs too wordy or too detailed.

Write notes of appreciation for successful referrals 

Referrals deserve thanks, and letting clients know how much you appreciate their referrals encourages them to keep sharing you. This also helps strengthen your client relationships.

It’s best to send personal thank-you notes to existing clients whenever one of their friends becomes your new client.

You might publicly thank customers who referred their friends as well. Give them recognition in your email newsletters, and social media posts, when their friends sign on to become customers.

Pro tip: If you offer insurance to businesses and someone’s referral resulted in a new business client, consider sending a shareable gift to the referring client along with the thank you note (such as a chocolate box or charcuterie board).

This gift might encourage others at the business to make referrals as well. It shows quite simply how much you appreciate your clients’ support.

Insurance referral program examples 

Now that we’ve covered the most important aspects of developing your own insurance referral program, let’s look at some real-life examples from top insurance providers. We’ve hunted down 6 clear examples from the insurance industry that show you how to practically apply the strategies that we’ve just explained. 

1. CNR Insurance 

CNR Insurance has a simple, elegant, but effective landing page for promoting their referral program. To pull you into the referral program page, they’ve used a bright blue button on the right side of every page where it’s easily seen. The button itself is titled simply ‘Refer a friend.’

CNR Insurance referral program button

CNR Insurance 1


The company showcases commitment to their customers and cleverly alludes to the loyalty they’ve received as a result of it – a nod to what appears to be stellar customer service. The program itself is laid out without much fluff, emphasizing how simple and easy it is. 

The rules for the referral rewards program are brief and easy to understand straight away. cnr insurance

CNR Insurance has chosen to use a form where visitors can quickly input all the necessary information required. Visitors are then directed to call a phone number or use another contact form (if preferred) to follow up. 

CNR Insurance’s referral program is a great example of how to woo customers on your website without any fancy tools. Placement and simplicity can work just as effectively.

2. Hiscox 

Hiscox is an example of how to grab a customer’s attention straight off the bat with a benefits statement placed front. ‘Refer a friend to Hiscox and you could win one of ten $50 gift cards.’ is hard to resist or miss!

The benefits statement is followed up with a brief explanation of how the program works. 

While Hiscox doesn’t give a guaranteed reward for each referral, it offers the possibility of winning in a very convincing way. The brand has also used a contact form for the visitor to easily send referral information – including a space for the customer to personalize a message to their peer. 

Needless to say, the brand doesn’t have to spend anything for the mentions on social media – which is a great way to also get more exposure for their program.

hiscox insurance referral program header hiscox referral program steps hiscox referral program share fields

3. Noblr 

Noblr has relied on a prominent placement and centralized design structure to capture interest in the referral program. 

Placing your content on the center of the page makes it easy for the visitor to read and scroll through content. Their eyes are not forced to go back and forth in different directions, which can be a distraction. 

Noblr has adopted possibly the most customer-friendly approach to getting referrals by adopting the link method. All the customer has to do is type out their email address and click the ‘generate link’ button to get a shareable link which can be copied and pasted anywhere. You can also use their Facebook button to share the same link directly to Facebook. 

Noblr has also listed the benefits of the program on the main page and added an FAQ section to address commonly asked questions. 

You’ll also see a clickable call-to-action on the bar right at the top of the website page which says, “Refer-a-Friend and earn $25 for each friend who gets a quote!” 

Noblr has effectively made use of the available space on the page for promoting the program without inundating the visitor with over-promotion.

Noblr referral program 1


Noblr referral program 2


noblr referral program 3

4. Spivey Insurance Group 

Spivey’s landing page is similar in structure to that of CNR Insurance, but with an additional incentive of possibly winning $1,000 in a draw slated for end-of-the-year. This is on top of the guaranteed $10 per referral scheme. 

Spivey has also emphasized customer goodwill, together with a sense of community, to link positive feelings with the brand. 

Spivey referral program


5. Ethos 

Ethos has adopted a clean design choosing to emphasize how simple it is to make referrals on their program. The 1-2-3 step process of making referrals displayed on the site reflects that it only takes three easy steps to make a referral. That’s a great way to capture the interest of time-starved visitors who don’t want a run-around. 

ethos insurance referral program 3 steps ethos insurance referral program who to refer


Ethos also breaks up content section-wise, varying background colors to sustain interest. You only need to type an email address and click the continue to get started. 

Also available on the same page are details of who you can refer, FAQs, plus a section devoted to the fine print visitors need to be aware of. 

6. Bagnall Shaw

Bagnall Shaw, an independent insurance agency in Pennsylvania, leads with thanks in their referral program: “There is no greater compliment you could give us than referring a friend or family member to our agency.”

The reward is front and center, including in the headline: customers earn a $20 Amazon gift card for every successful referral. The terms are clear as well, so clients know exactly what their friend must do (activate a new policy for at least a month) for them to earn the reward. And there’s no limit to the gift cards an existing client can earn! 

Referrals have been integral to Bagnall Shaw’s success, a fact they also mention on their referral program page: “Our business has grown to over 8000 customers… only through our client referrals and positive recommendations.” Bagnall Shaw stands as proof that a satisfied customer base and a way to mobilize sharing can pay dividends.

bagnall shaw

Start a referral program for your insurance company

Insurance referral programs can be a game-changer if you want to take your business to the next level. 

Find out the types of rewards your customers will appreciate the most, and factor these into your program. Promote your program across all your customer touchpoints. And of course, make sure you’ve chosen the right referral software to maintain your program!

Aside from having a program that follows best practices, the success of your program can rest heavily on how great your customer service and relationship skills are. Appreciate your clients and focus on the relationship so your customers are just as vested in helping you grow your business.