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When I started covering the independent agency beat for NU back in 1981, there was a lot of talk about agents going the way of the milkman or the buggy-whip maker. I didn’t believe that back then—and I still don’t anticipate seeing agents disappear anytime soon.

But that isn’t to say agents don’t have to work a lot harder these days to secure their role in the distribution chain, in terms of convincing both their carriers and customers about the added value they bring to the table.

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