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The following is from by Cheryl Koch's presentation at IBA West's Blue Ribbon Confernece earlier this month. Cheryl is President and CEO of Agency Management Resource Group and serves as Managing Director of IBA West Education/Insurance Skills Center. This is the sixth in a series featuring the eight key elements.
Element No. 6—Partner with Like Minded Businesses
The comments regarding carrier automation should not be taken as a complete castigation of all insurance companies or their automated solutions for agents. Like all things, you have to evaluate whether the carrier has your best interests or their own at heart. Insurers that provide true value-added solutions for their agents should be rewarded with an increased flow of the agency’s business.
Likewise, carriers who truly share an agency’s commitment to long-term relationships, stable markets, and competitive products—in both soft and hard markets—should get a substantial share of the business they wish to write. The top agencies in the country have reduced the number of companies they represent, favoring an approach that allows them to have better, closer and more profitable relationships with a limited number of carriers that share the agency’s values and business philosophy.
Great agencies also partner with various Centers of Influence, such as banks, attorneys, CPAs, wealth managers, and others to create a constant pipeline of business opportunities and prospects for the agency. They also become allied with firms that can provide certain products to the agency’s existing clients that the agency does not wish to provide itself, like Employee Benefits, Surety, Loss Control and Risk Management services. Being able to offer the client a one-stop approach usually results in higher retention for the agency and improved profitability per account.
(Look for Element 7 in the next edition of the Insider.)