Weekly Rant - Life or Death: Independent Agencies, Week 1

Weekly Rant - Independent Agency System, Part 1

Created by Chet Gladkowski at 23 Mar 2013 @ 18:58

Independent Agents: Life or Death, Week 1

For years, many pundits and analysts have been predicting the death of the independent agency distribution channel. Watch this rant (part 1) that opens the discussion for your participation. Next week will be the concluding rant about independent agencies.

What do you think? Join in the conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ChetGladkowski - Be sure to "subscribe" to the Weekly Rant channel

Have a great weekend - Chet

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Ralph - I agree that a younger demographic will gravitate towards self sales and service options. But I really think this is more focused towards personal lines. Young entrepreneurs can and will buy lots of things on-line along with self-service but nothing as important or complex as commercial lines insurance. In talking with agents I'm hearing about how they are "taking it to the streets" through sales and service. One agent friend told me about their work with an insured. The insured is so busy they cannot take care of the things he can do for them. He just revived a recently denied claim and convinced the carrier they had a burden to provide defense for the client. It probably saved them $100k. Thanks again for taking time to write and participate.
Allen - yes, technology based collaboration tools can and will enhance collaboration. For example, I employ Zoom.us a cloud based high-def video conferencing capability that It is free provided that you abide by certain limitations but I pay under $100/yr for unlimited use. It's better technology than Skype, GoToMeeting, etc and is a breeze to use. But the bigger problem might be some underlying "old feelings" between agents and companies. These need to be swept away for real collaboration to take place.
Agents can leverage their "community involvement" approach on a virtual basis, just like these always have on a brick and mortar basis
One other factor is that the younger demographic is less likely to work through an independent agent, and more likley to buy direct online. That is what is most frightening for agents, because even the stability in the market Chet points to belies that ultimately most of the direct writer growth through online sales (business and personal insurance) is by younder couples and entrepreneurs. So ultimately the agents lose the war of attrition unless they can, as Chet suggests, use collaboration and innovation. I think Allen's right - they need to quickly embrace online communities, which will attract many more young people. They also need to figure out how to consume more saas and cloud software that allows them to eliminate paper/mail. Just my two cents.
Collaboration is coming, I believe, through communities like this one and other cloud-based services that the agents can easily consume without needing much for a tech staff or a tech budget.
Hard to say, but ultimately to survive agents will have no choice.
How can we encourage/foster innovation and collaboration within the independent agency channel?
Title Weekly Rant - Life or Death: Independent Agencies, Week 1
Creator Chet Gladkowski
ML ID 10306
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Created 23 Mar 2013
Updated 01 Sep 2014