From the February 2012 issue of American Agent & Broker • Subscribe!

Different is Good

Imagine for a moment that the late Steve Jobs had thought that the best way to succeed in the computer business was to mimic everything that IBM or Microsoft performed, to emulate them. If he had, hundreds of millions of people today would not be using iPhones and iPads.

If Steve Jobs had been in the insurance agency business, the last thing he would have been is a direct writer. The cookie-cutter, assembly-line approach to selling insurance policies would have been anathema to his philosophy of creating cutting-edge products and customer experiences that are "insanely great." In our industry, Steve Jobs would have been an independent insurance agent.

Customers place a high value on something that’s different, especially when it’s better.

One of the best things about conventional wisdom is that it is usually wrong. Puncturing the bubble of accepted orthodoxy is not only a lot of fun, it can lead to greater success. Recently, the carriers of The PIA Partnership released the findings of a new national survey of personal lines insurance customers designed to discover what those customers really value.

Is price all that matters? Actually, no. Our survey results clearly show that customers are looking for more than the lowest price. We found that insurance customers want expert advice and counseling, personalized attention and interaction, comprehensive protection to meet their individual needs and excellent "relationship-based" customer service.

Value matters, but it all comes down to who provides the best customer experience—not in the view of carriers or agents, but in the mind of the customer who, in the final analysis, everything should be about.

Professional insurance agents know their customers, their communities and their markets. They use this knowledge to create individual insurance solutions that are custom to each client, who they know by name. When that client calls with a question, the answer comes from their local agent in their community.

Ask any successful person who they have their insurance with, and most often they will give you the name of their local professional insurance agent. This bond, based on the insanely great customer experience that customers expect and agents provide, is the unique difference that sets agents above and apart.

Independent insurance agents cannot out-compete direct writers by becoming direct writers, because independent agents are different. And—as Steve Jobs and Apple have proven—customers believe that different is a very good thing. Tell that to the gecko.

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Contractors General Liability Coverage 102

What is a prior work exclusion? Which option is right for my client? Why do...

Sign up today to get a 50% matching credit -...

Insurance marketing sometimes seems like it's a game of swings and misses, but we're here...

Guide: 5 Steps to Selling Cyber

Cyber risk and data security is on the agenda of every business owner and executive....

Citation Correlation

Do rigger and signalperson qualifications correlate with the cause of crane and rigging accidents? ...

Complete Guide to Electronic Signatures in Property & Casualty Insurance...

In property and casualty insurance, closing new business quickly is key. Learn how to leverage...

INSTANT ACCESS: Complimentary Sales Closer Questionnaires

Help property owners or managers compare your commercial residential property insurance coverage vs. the competition....

Determining Vacant Property Perils and Valuations

Are your clients fully covered for Vacant Properties? In this economic climate, your insureds may...

Risk Management for Law Firms

This package of 3 concise risk management articles offers straightforward content and practical suggestions law...

Guide: Top 15 E&O Risks-And How To Avoid Them

Accidents happen. But when it's an errors and omissions oversight, that accident can open your...

We'll Show You How to Reach Your Sales Goals

Whether you work alone or have a team of agents working for you, we can...

Agent & Broker Insider eNewsletter

Proven success tips and essential information to help agents and brokers grow their practice – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.