The insurance landscape is continuously changing. My dad started his agency with Farmers Insurance back in the early 1980's. Through the 80's and 90's, captive agents really made a killing in personal lines, and commercial lines was dominated by the independent channel. Commissions were high, products were more company specific, and the brand of an insurance company truly mattered.
Over time, I’ve seen that the brand matters, but really only on two fronts: claims service, and price. If a company has those two items going for them, they are likely to succeed. There is a lot of administrative and “behind-the-scenes” action from the carrier to make that happen (ie: customer-friendly policy language and appointing good agents ensures smooth claims. Profitable books help maintain solid prices), though if a company can make those two things happen, a consumer will likely give them a serious look.
Innovation in one sphere will often influence another unintentionally. For example, when Edison created the light bulb, electricity quickly became standard in many homes, which then decreased the need for kerosene.
Did Edison mean to disrupt the kerosene industry? I doubt it, though I could be wrong. My guess would be that he wanted to create a product, and was thrilled that he had invented something that would change the lives of people all over the globe. Still, it had a major impact on a completely different industry.
We can apply that to Tesla and the self-driving car. Tesla has not only created some pretty slick cars, but is soon going to be offering self-driving cars to consumers. As an insurance agent, there are lots of questions, like who will cover the liability, and how?
These are good questions. I’ll give my opinion on these points, which can change based on more information. Don’t judge me if it’s 2030 and I was way off. With that nice little disclaimer, let’s dive in:
Microsoft OneNote has become my favorite, go-to program for staying organized. It's free and it works across all of your devices, so you can use it almost anywhere.
I don't know how I - or my company - stayed organized before we used OneNote. You and can run a better insurance agency, or business of any kind, with this tool.
In this article, I'll show you the basics of how it works and give you a few tips that my team and I use every day.
Sometimes people walk into our offices and ask, "Why do you have so many computer screens?" Some studies show that multiple monitors increase productivity by 20-30%. Others disagree and say that they increase distractions and may actually reduce productivity.
Our own experience is that multiple monitors help immensely. They save us time and make us more productive. This article will show you how you can do it too.
Every employee has at least two monitors. Most of us have three, and four have four monitors. (!!)
I just read an article on a new insurance company called hippo. They are another company heavily invested in by tech-savvy venture capitalists who are going to change the way insurance is done. In Hippo’s case, they are focusing on home insurance. The article is a short read, and worthwhile so you can be aware of what’s coming down the pipeline (because there will be others).
In short, Hippo will focus on customer experience by revolutionizing home insurance: they will get rid of “expensive commissioned agents” to lower prices, provide more transparency, and update forms to be more clear.
Direct sales make agents leery. Direct sales combined with relevant technology can make agents nervous. Should they be?
I'm not sure where I heard about the book Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. (He also wrote Death by Meeting, which we reviewed here.) But I'm so glad I found it! I've read it twice. Then I bought the audio book, so I could listen to it while exercising at the YMCA or while driving. Each time I've gone through it, I've learned more.
Applying its principles has changed the way we approach teamwork at IHT.
Why does Teamwork matter? I think the author explains it best in this short video:
IHT is a multi-state insurance agency with dozens of branches across the eastern and central United States.