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!!!
I know independent agents are P & C guys and gals and don't sell life insurance - right? Wrong! Your clients looks to you to be their Trusted Choice for all of their insurance needs. The IIAO Eagle Agency has come up with an online solution, EZ Life, that is simple to use and is guaranteed to write life insurance for your agency and bring in some extra commission dollars! All you need to do is put the link on your website and allow your clients and prospects visiting your website to click on - you don't have to be a life insurance expert, the link does most of the work for you. Your client or prospect will be taken to a menu of companies where, in many cases, they can pick the company, the amount of insurance they want, complete an application and schedule the interview for a physical exam, if needed, directly online. It works - in 2011 (our first year) IIAO members placed 56 accounts through EZ Life. In 2013 they placed 112! Now that is significant growth - and everyone who has tried it has been extremely pleased with the results. Adding life insurance means better client retention and extra income for your agency. Give it a try - let EZ Life put more money in your pocket in 2014! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com today to learn how to add this link to your website.
I must admit that I don't listen to Thin Lizzy often, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I must have heard this song blaring from my daughter's or son's music box in the 80s or 90s - but at least the lyric stuck! This reference is to the boys (and girls) of the legislature coming back to the State Capitol. The 2014 legislative session is just around the corner. This is a HUGE election year! Term limits will take 4 members from the Senate - two others have announced they are not running; in the House 7 will be term-limited and several others are not expected to run. In addition we have statewide races for Insurance Commissioner and Governor. OKPAC needs your help!!!We need it now!!! Normally we wait until Hypopanty, but it is not until June this year. Filing and Primary Election dates have been moved up. We need your financial help for us to support candidates who will vote for issues that will help us have continued success! We have very few funds available - about $15,000 - and need an additional $35,000 by 3/15 in order for us to have the money needed to adequate financial support. You may pay by check or credit card - every person in every agency needs to help us - everyone is affected by the work we do - no contribution is too small - we just need your help as soon as possible! Thank you!
Mel Gibson's shout of FREEDOM from the movie Braveheart has resonated with me ever since I first saw that incredible movie. This is to announce that in 2014 Trusted Choice is beginning a new branding campaing - it's called the Freedom Campaign - AND IT IS GREAT!!! By far the best thing I have seen in years! It is designed to provide a clear description of the difference between independent agents and direct writer/captive agents - it's sole focus is to let the consumer know that they are "free to do what's right for you" - and that is what independent agents bring. The market testing is off the charts! 86% of consumers like the ads; 84% agree independent agents offer the best choice; 78% said they would look for an independent agent; 76% said the ads got their attention; and 80% said the ads are easy to understand - they finally understand there is a difference - and that difference is BIG! I was surprised to learn that there are 27,000 independent agencies in the U. S. as compared to only 17,000 State Farm agents. Imagine that big a number difference and yet 67% of consumers do not buy personal lines insurance from an independent agent. The new material will be available soon at www.trustedchoice.com. Don't forget - grant money is available to help fund your advertising expenses of the Trusted Choice brand.