Tighter margins, competition from "mega" agencies, technology and specialization are among the top challenges facing independent insurance agents, according to
The panel discussion, "Surviving the Changing Climate Facing the Independent Agency System," covered the explosive growth of new business models such as aggregators, clusters and networks and how they have changed the independent agent distribution channel to compete more effectively. The panel of representatives from
"Agents that want to remain independent, grow their agency and build their business have found that joining a group helps them accomplish their goals," said Tiene. "This isn't a fad! The challenges that agents face aren't going to magically disappear. By joining a network, agents will benefit from the scale and the various services offered, while maintaining their independence as business owners in their communities."
Among the topics discussed by the panel:
• Key elements for an agency to look for when considering whether to join or form an aggregator/cluster/alliance/group.
• What the independent agent distribution channel will look like in the next 5-10 years.
• The difference between an aggregator, cluster, alliance and group.
• How these types of businesses impact agency/company relationships.
• The pros and cons of belonging.
• If this is a passing trend or the face of the future.
"Agents should look at agency networks that help them navigate through the rapidly changing environment by providing access to additional and broader markets, sales training, and other services that the agent can only access through a larger group," said Tiene.
A concern voiced by some agents is that agency groups are not supported by insurance companies. Tiene explained that groups focused on agency development, best practices and efficient sales operations are strongly supported by insurance carriers. "There must be mutual benefit… ultimately partnership," he said. "Both the agent and carrier want to build larger, profitable books of business. To the degree that agency networks foster that growth, then the agent and the carrier are aligned."
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12228040.htm
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