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Allstate’s recent purchase of Esurance and its revamping of the Encompass model may have been unpleasant news for its distribution force, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. It only indicates that the insurer is finally recognizing the realities of today’s consumers. Insurance buyers want to do their own research online, work with an agent on the details and benefit by their expertise, and then make the purchase where, when and how they want to.

Smart independent agents have been providing this multi-level service for some time now. Informative and interactive websites that allow prospects to compare rates, access valuable information and tap into the expertise of an independent agent a click away have provided the consumers the user experience they have come to expect in today’s social media and highly technology-based environment.

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