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 »

Complimentary Case Study: Helping achieve your financial goals By:...

Find out how a Special Investigation Union used TLOxp to save the company money and...

Do Your Clients Hold The Right CDL License?

Learn about the various classes of CDL Licenses and the industries that are impacted by...

Integrated Content & Communications: A Key Business Issue For Insurers

Insurers are renewing their focus on top line growth, and many are learning that growth...

High Risk Insurance Coverage in the E&S Market

Experts discuss market conditions, trends and projected growth in a rapidly changing niche.

Top E-Signature Security Requirements

This white paper covers the most important security features to look for when evaluating e-signatures...

EPLI Programs Crafted Just For Your Clients

Bring us your restaurant clients, associations and other groups and we’ll help you win more...

Is It Time To Step Up And Own An Agency?

Download this eBook for insight on how to determine if owning an agency is right...

Claims - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Fraudulent claims cost the industry and the public thousands of dollars in losses. This article...

Leveraging BI for Improved Claims Performance and Results

If claims organizations do not avail themselves of the latest business intelligence (BI) tools, they...

Top 10 Legal Requirements for E-Signatures in Insurance

Want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases when adopting e-signatures? Learn how to...

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.