Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

R&O Independent Agents & Brokers: Strengthening the Core

With economic growth still fragile, independent agents and brokers focus on core competencies like specialization, building customer trust and recruiting top talent.

What services or lines of business are you focusing on for growth in 2013? 

Spencer M. Houldin: We have particular focus on personal insurance for the high-net-worth consumer. These clients seek an insurance advisor with markets and product knowledge. We offer services, such as background checks for domestic employees and personal property inventory services, which are sought in this space. Given the competition for the commodity-based consumer, we are committed to growing our advisory-based customer numbers. An additional 2013 goal is to grow our group personal excess liability business with a particular focus on law firms.

Where do you turn for young talent? How do you mentor young agents? 

Devine: We are fortunate to have a good relationship with college insurance programs here in the Midwest, and over time, these young insurance majors contribute to our success. A key part of this success is the enthusiasm and energy these talented grads bring to the team. Insureon’s culture is a dynamic and more entrepreneurial environment compared with other insurers. We give young agents a lot of responsibility and opportunity from the get-go, and they seem to thrive on it.

What legislative issues interest you? 

Devine: We would like to see a single national producer’s license.

How do you build a trusting relationship with clients? 

Houldin: You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. It takes time. A quick perusal of agency websites will show that everyone purports to provide great service. And many do. Actions are stronger than words, though, and we realize we need to outperform every day to earn client trust. We are grateful to have a very strong network of referral sources who sing our praises. Our biggest opportunity to gain trust is in the time of a loss when we show why their decision to favor us with their business was a good one.

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