For more than 10 years, Property Casualty 360-National Underwriter and American Agent & Broker have named top agencies to its Commercial Agency Awards for Excellence program.
This year, the CAAFE awards include the category of Best Agency Websites. An independent panel of judges reviewed each submission and graded websites on factors including appearance, mobility, brand awareness and multimedia. Count down our finalists each week (read the profiles of finalists Kaplansky Insurance and Bryan Insurance Agency) until the winner is revealed June 3. Click here to find out the winner!
Alliance Insurance Group
“If you asked us 9 months ago, I could tell you we got almost no traffic from the Web,” said Martin Gibeau, vice president of business development for Alliance Insurance Group.
What a difference 9 months makes. In that time, the Golden, Colo.-based agency, with website builder Insurance Technologies Corp., developed its current platform, a $70,000 investment that attracts its customers and prospects in commercial, personal and health lines.
“And now it’s new business opportunities,” Gibeau said. “Our brand awareness is at an all-time high.” The website receives 2100 to 2400 unique visitors each month and averages 2.1 leads a day.
And the new website is paying off—literally. The agency writes just under half of those leads and one in February turned into $35,000 worth of business, paying for half of the cost of the website development.
Also possibly paying the cost of development? The agency’s carriers. “We are in talks with a few of our carriers who are interested in a co-op marketing agreement,” Gibeau said. “We want to push new and more business to our favorite carriers and give them first shot to our business that is coming through digital means.”
Judges in the Best Agency Websites program liked that Alliance displayed its featured carriers. Additional points were awarded for the myriad channels in which Alliance interacted with its visitors, all displayed in a clean and uncluttered look.
Alliance identifies the website’s overall goal as organic growth, with additional emphasis on organic lead generation and client and prospect services.
The agency writes $23 in premium annually, with 90 percent of its business in commercial lines. Its core specialties include crop, oil/gas, workers’ comp and restaurant markets, and Alliance saw a need to develop individual commerce sites that highlight Alliance’s specialty lines.
Each commerce page, which include including Workers’ Comp, Commercial Real Estate, Contractors, Restaurants/Bar & Tavern and Commercial Trucking, contains an auto-playing video targeted to that particular line. “As visitors listen to the video, their eyes go to the left and see the words we are trying to highlight,” Gibeau said. For example, the Oil & Gas commerce site lists “lease operators”, “roustabout services”, “contract pumpers”, “pollution coverage” and “blowout/cratering”, among other key terms.
No scrolling is required on commerce pages, but if a visitor does scroll, the page further details coverage specifics.
“We built each [commerce] page with precision and language for that buyer,” Gibeau said. “We don’t generalize anything.”
Judges appreciated that the website frequently asked visitors to interact. “I especially like the product: action represented by the large phone number to call and a form where visitors can submit their questions and requests for additional information,” one of the judges, a 35-year industry veteran and insurance technology consultant, said.
The agency makes 34 quote forms available online, which are available through the main navigation and also at the bottom of each webpage.
Auto-playing videos on the home page, the three main navigation pages (business, home/auto/life and health & benefits) and the commerce sites ask visitors to call or fill out quote forms and guides prospects through a step-by-step process on how to obtain coverage. Each video is about a minute and a half long and audibly tells the visitors why they need, for example, workers’ compensation insurance:
“You have put your heart and soul into growing your business. Now you should consider placing as much importance on keeping your assets protected from unforeseen loss. Let’s face it, understanding and negotiating workers comp insurance can be a challenge. Don’t allow one mistake or lawsuit to wipe out all that you have built. Proper protection is critical. “
Videos also give visitors a step by step process for obtaining insurance and repeatedly ask visitors to call or fill out quote forms. From the workers’ compensation video:
Step 1: Call us today at the number above, or fill out the free quote form below.
Step 2: This is where our experience will save you time and money. After a brief risk analysis our workers comp specialists will contact you with the right policy to fit your unique requirements.
Step 3: You start saving and sleeping a little better knowing that alliance is continually in search for new ways to bring more value to your bottom line.
Alliance is local and easy to work with. If it’s a claim or a certificate that requires the extra mile, service is our strength. Fill out the free quote form below and we will get back to you promptly. Or you can call us and we can immediately answer your questions. Remember at alliance, we got you covered.
The website is optimized for the mobile user. “We build everything on the visitor’s terms,” Gibeau said. “If you have a tablet or are on a smartphone.”
Two weeks ago, Alliance closed its first transaction via a smartphone from start to finish. A contractor was in talks to paint municipal buildings. However, he needed workers’ compensation insurance ASAP in order to secure his contract. Through his phone, he found Alliance and requested a quote. Coverage was written for the contractor that day and he won the contract.
The mobile site includes nine quick links: “Call us”, “Email us”, “Visit us”, Report a claim”, “Get a quote”, “Manage my policy”, “About us”, “Products & services” and “Contact us”.
Gibeau is most excited about the “partners program” link that is featured on the bottom center of the homepage. “We want our customers to do business with our other customers,” he said. “This is an additional source of opportunity for our clients.”
The page features partners in nine categories (to date) and a featured partner of the month.
The Partners Program mixes sales with digital technology. Gibeau coaches his sales team to offer the Partners Program as a value add to prospects. “This is where we bring a new level of first impressions to the table,” he said.