I recently attended a forum that predicts by the year
2040, 75% of automobiles in the U.S. Will be driverless. I watched a video that
was very impressive and don't doubt the technology is that far away. I recently
saw a pilotless Navy jet land on an aircraft carrier. I would like your
feedback as to what you see will be the greatest industry changes and
challenges if this prediction becomes reality.
Click here to watch our new video. I am very excited about this recent video we have launched that will hopefully better explain the IIAO value proposition and how we are re-branding and re-making our communications efforts to help better inform you of the benefits you receive as an IIAO member agency. I have found that many of our members only think we do one thing - some think we are an agency that provides E & O; some think we are the place they receive education; and others think we are only interested in politics and government affairs. The fact is we do all of the above and much, much more! We bring income opportunities to your fingertips through the products available through IIAO and Big I Markets. We believe our networking opportunities events and activities have always been one of the strongest benefits as our members openly share success stories and ideas with one another. Our Young Agents Committee is one of the tops in the country through its FILO program, Lunch Bunch meetings, and community service projects. When you step back and look at IIAO, I think you will find that we are far more than an association - indeed we are a "Community of Agents". Join the conversation on Twitter, @IIAO, #communityofagents.
During the 2013 Legislative Session HB2201 was passed which changes CompSource Oklahoma (CSO) to a mutual insuance company beginning January 1, 2015. The law was challenged by Tulsa Stockyards Inc. which alleged that CSO is a state agency and its money and other assets are of the people of Oklahoma and conversion to a mutual company would be illegal. The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously upheld the legislation, thus the change will become effective. I was a member of the interim study group that looked at this issue several years ago and believed, along with a majority of the members of the study, that the assets did not belong to the state of Oklahoma, as the Court has ruled. CSO has many challenges ahead of it as it prepares for this new chapter in its history of providing workers compensation insurance to Oklahoma businesses. IIAO will remain closely engaged in communicating with CSO leadership as they move forward with their conversion plans.
The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma have named
Denise Johnson to become the IIAO President/CEO beginning 9/1/14. Denise will succeed me – as I will be
retiring on that date. She will join IIAO on 6/1 and will begin a period of transition
into her new position. She has served
IIAO in many capacities over the past few years as a volunteer and will be able
to capitalize on that experience as she prepares to lead the organization. The IIAO Succession Committee reviewed many
excellent candidates over the past year before making this selection. I offer Denise my congratulations and wish
her the very best and look forward to working with her to make the transition
go smoothly. I know she will do an
outstanding job of leading IIAO during these changing times for the industry.
Okay, so it's not Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and Martin Short, but Chris Paine of Cole, Paine, and Carlin; Dan Ramsey, IIAO President/CEO; and Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak discuss earthquake insurance with KFOR. Click link to see video.
Susie Current and I are heading to Big D on Thursday and Friday to meet with our counterparts from around the country to discuss ways to deliver education programs of interest and value to you through ABEN (video webinars) - that means the Agents and Brokers Education Network. Thirty-one states have partnered together to produce classes and share the cost of technology so that we can bring high quality education programs to your desktop. Most of the programs count toward your CE requirement. ABEN launched in 2010 and only 52 IIAO members took classes that first year, but the numbers have grown each year - in 2013 there were 172 IIAO members who registered for ABEN classes - and they have been extremely pleased with the content and high quality of instruction being provided. ABEN offers traditional topics, but some specialized topics such as Data Privacy Insurance, Business Income Beyond the Basics, Workers Compensation Beyond the Basics, and COPE- Propery Underwriting and Effective Loss Control. We will be learning about new classes and new ways to continue to bring great value to you!
I have heard so many agenies tell me they really don't write much personal lines business, so they really don't think an active website it all that important for their agency. Really? I just read an article that quotes this statistic from the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, "35% of small businsses are open to buying small commercial lines insurance on line from a direct carrier." As one respondent put it, "If you can easily compare coverage and price online, why not?" Another said, "the compensation for an independent agent on a BOP is so minimal, they're not going to provide much in the way of value-added service, so buying direct is a thought worth consideration." Now those are some pretty scary thoughts from YOUR MAIN customers! You have big decisions to make - the first one is to decide whether or not your agency is going to prepare itself for the online war to keep this business in your shop - or are you willing to let it go to a faceless, Internet competitor? If so, how? (by the way you have the tools available to help develop an Internet presence for your agency at www.projectcapmarketing.com); the next decision is what do you do to convince your client that you still bring value - that it's not just about price? I think every IIAO member should read the article,Turf War, in the February, 2014, edition of IA Magazine. It just might get your attention!
This is sort of like a Jeopardy challenge. Is it? (a) the speed in miles per hour an astroid passes planet earth (b) the number of people receiving unemployment benefits who the U. S. Department of Labor have been provided the social security numbers and other information for another person (c) the number of customers who had their data stolen from a recent security breach at Barclay's bank in the U. K. (d) the number of independent insurance agencies that belong to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. The answer, of course, is all of the above! It makes the point, however, that YOUR AGENCY is a part of a very large community of insurance agencies in the United States. There are more independent agency locations in the U. S. and in Oklahoma than there are State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, or any others. We often short change ourselves and look at ourselves as just one, but when we consider the larger membership, it is a very large, powerful, and influential organization. Too often we hear numbers that compare us to individual companies and do not take into account the whole that independent agents represent. Independent agents now have the tools readily available through www.trustedchoice.com to help them capitalize on this huge market presence. The numbers of consumers going to this website for information about where to find an agent is growing steadily every month - from December to January it grew by 98!!! Now that the online rating tools are in place, these numbers are expected to skyrocket. Don't miss out on the ride!!!
A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the 2014 Trusted Choice Freedom Campaign. Today, I am pleased to report that IIAO's leadership voted to invest in an exciting, statewide campaign designed to help drive business to your agency and help you write more business. It has been a long journey for the Trusted Choice brand. There have been many stumbles along the way, but the great news is that the Trusted Choice branding campaign, online rating for the consumer, and Internet marketing tools for your agency have now come together. Beginning April 1st and running through June - and again this fall - the new Trusted Choice Freedom banner ads will begin popping up on websites - ones that your clients are searching when they have a "life trigger" event such as buying a home, a car, getting married, having a baby, making preparations for severe weather, making investment decisions, or changing jobs. The new ads will appear 11.7 million times on these websites for Oklahoma consumers throughout the year. It is estimated that this campaign will drive almost 6,000 Internet shoppers to IIAO member websites through trustedchoice.com for advice. To see a sample of the ads, go to www.trustedchoice.com/agents. In order for your agency to take full advantage of this campaign, you must be an Advantage Subscriber of Project CAP. If you haven't registered, go to www.projectcap.com and sign up today! A special thanks to the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma City for helping to make this possible. This investment of your dues dollars will pay big dividends to IIAO members.
Beginning Friday, January 31, consumers will have two ways to search online for an Oklahoma independent agent - by requesting a quote or by a simple ZIP code search. The agent search and online rating for auto and homeowners insurance will put those agencies that have registered for the Advantage Subscription plan, an easy click away from someone shopping for insurance. After the initial launch more companies will be added to the rating portal - this is just the beginning! You do not want to miss out on this new way to grow your agency and help bring back some of that personal lines business! In December alone over 56,000 hits were made on the Trusted Choice consumer site. If you haven't built your profile, it is not too late! - just go to www.projectcapmarketing.com. For those agencies that have built their profiles, and wish to go one step further to take full advantage of this exciting new member benefit, simply notify Project CAP by going to www.projectcapmarketing.com and click "subscribe now". We are very excited about being a part of this "new day" for Oklahoma independent insurance agents - it's up to you to take it from here!!!