Agents and Carriers: It's Not a Competition
Insurance Experts' Forum, May 5, 2014
In an age of fast-paced life where families barely have time to eat dinner together because of their hectic schedules, it’s nice to know that insurance agents are ready, willing and able to come to their rescue.
In both the business world and in your personal life, the ability to delegate and work with a knowledgeable professional is a breath of fresh air. And smart carriers know the true value of their agents. Agents are very sophisticated and remain on the front lines to educate and advocate for their clients and help them place coverage with the best carriers. The agent-carrier partnership is a critical path item for today’s consumers. So many changes in risks and products available to protect consumers are available. Carriers are able to devote their time to product development and pricing, and agents will devise ways to roll out the products to consumers.
Agents are enhancing their presence locally and in cyberspace. Locally, agents are part of the very fiber of the community — the schools, the civic and non-profit organizations, places where consumers live and relax. Yesterday, as I walked through Wal-Mart, I was stopped by clients on three separate occasions and was able to address their questions.
The technology made available by insurance carriers and vendors is helpful for agents who now live in this 24/7 world. Agents are visible, personable and active in the Internet space. This extends an agent’s reach tremendously from the old paper-media advertising days. We are seen as experts in our areas on insurance and risk issues. We participate in local activities and support the community. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
As an agent, I love helping people and ensuring that they understand their risk exposures and have choices available for their protection. They certainly can’t achieve this using an 800-number, but with local agents in the community, with the opportunity to be part of the lives of consumers, the agent is positioned in an excellent venue for profitable insurance sales and service.
Our wonderful carrier partners work effectively with us to provide products and resources to be visible in the community. We receive co-op dollars from some, we receive content for our Internet marketing from others and we are trained by others. In return, we write profitable business for them. The more our carriers assist us with our success, the more we can do for them.
As agents, we don’t want to compete against our carriers for sales. Agents are customers for the carriers, and we work in partnership for our mutual clients. A true win-win relationship!
Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, CPA, is president of Southgroup Insurance Gulf Coast and the chair of ASCnet's Industry Solutions Industry Initiatives Committee and the past-chair of the IIABA Agents Council for Technology.
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