The recently released 2015 Special Report U.S. Surplus Lines – Segment Review, sponsored by the Derek Hughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation and produced by A.M. Best, suggests that the surplus lines market is healthy, with growth anticipated for the coming year. That positive outlook for the industry points to continued stability of the market and illustrates the strength and value of the wholesale distribution system within the broader insurance industry.
According to Hank Haldeman, NAPSLO President and Sullivan Group Executive Vice President, with this good news comes the continued challenge of effectively telling the story of the surplus lines market and illustrating the value that wholesale distribution adds for the insurance consumer.
Haldeman said that during the last two years, NAPSLO has enhanced its commitment to communicating that value through all of its marketing initiatives. “After an update to the NAPSLO brand in late 2013, the Association really refocused on messaging the importance of the wholesale distribution system,” he said. “The key message for retail agents is that NAPSLO members are innovators who deliver customized solutions and that we bring value to a transaction that ultimately strengthens their client relationships.”
Marshall Turner, NAPSLO Communications & Technology Committee Co-Chair and President/CEO of Maxum Indemnity Company, said that as part of its Wholesale Value message initiative, NAPSLO has launched an integrated print and online marketing campaign targeting the retail industry. He said the Association has also had success proactively working with trade publications to place earned editorial stories about the value of the wholesale distribution system.
“The approach has been strategic and consistent so that the message in placed advertising mirrors the message that’s leveraged in editorial opportunities,” said Turner. “We know that NAPSLO member wholesale brokers conduct every transaction with the highest level of integrity and a commitment to finding the best solution for complex risks. This Wholesale Value campaign serves as a reminder to the retail industry that NAPSLO members should be looked to as trusted experts.”
According to Brady Kelley, NAPSLO’s Executive Director, placed advertising has been an important tool in the Wholesale Value Campaign because the message can be tailored and customized. “We have launched updated print and online creative that position NAPSLO and its members visually for readers of trade print publications and websites,” Kelley said. “The advertising has received favorable reader feedback and is designed to make it easy for readers to find a NAPSLO member wholesale broker by linking directly to NAPSLO’s online member locator. That same member locator tool is featured in print and on our NAPSLO website, making it easier than ever to connect with a NAPSLO member wholesale broker and understand more about the surplus lines market.”
According to Davis Moore, CEO of Worldwide Facilities, Inc. and NAPSLO Communications & Technology Committee Co-Chair, the Association’s advertising is just a first step in reminding the industry that NAPSLO members can help retail agents solve problems for their clients. “The next step in that process is contributing editorial content about the value we offer,” said Moore. “Earned editorial placement is a very cost-effective way to spread our message about the value of the wholesale distribution system.”
Gil Hine, NAPSLO Vice President and President, McClelland & Hine, said that he believes many agents do know of the value the wholesaler brings to an insurance transaction, but many can benefit from reminders. “NAPSLO members demonstrate this value daily. We just need to continue to tell our story, and I think that NAPSLO’s consistent messaging on our behalf is a key benefit of membership.”
Turner said he believes that as the wholesale value initiative moves forward, it continues to be a good idea for members to promote their NAPSLO affiliation in their own marketing materials: “I believe that that NAPSLO brand represents integrity and innovation in the marketplace and we should all want to promote our NAPSLO membership to our customers. NAPSLO is undertaking this messaging effectively and we as members can leverage that in our own organizations.”
Member logo seals and usage guidelines for the logo are available on the NAPSLO website, www.napslo.org. More said that the NAPSLO team can assist members in using the logo and help determine where they might most effectively incorporate it in messaging if they desire assistance.
“NAPSLO and its members really are where complex risks meet innovative solutions,” Hine added. “NAPSLO members add value to the insurance industry, and it’s important for us to continue to tell that story.”