It’s a good time for independent commercial agents—a good time, that is, for those who love navigating around some daunting obstacles: a seemingly endless soft market; the continual problems associated with attracting and retaining talent; clients with increasingly global insurance needs. The list of business challenges is both long and constantly growing.

To hear how some of the country’s top-performing independent commercial agencies are dealing with today’s tough competitive environment, we invited the three winners of the National Underwriter/American Agent & Broker Commercial Agency of the Year Awards to a roundtable in New York where they could share their insights—and some of the secrets of their continued success.

The three participants—Richard Bartlett, principal in charge of the Philadelphia office of Bartlett & Co.; Robert Dietzel, managing partner and co-founder of KMRD Partners in Warrington, Pa.; and Greg Collins, president and CEO of our Grand Champion, Bellevue, Wash.-based Parker, Smith & Feek—fielded questions about existential threats, the current state of the market, competing against publicly traded brokers, growth strategies, tactics for attracting new business (and keeping existing clients) and much more.

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