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The Truth About Selling Small Business Insurance

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Coming at you from Atlanta, Georgia.

Actually, I am sitting right next to, literally right next to the Atlanta Airport, so you’re going to hear airplanes in the back.

One interesting note about the travel life. So, I normally travel with a little bit of zit cream and a little bit of coverup, like ladies coverup that I will put on the occasional zit that I get, being that I’m on stage all the time.

Maybe that sounds vain but that’s just what I do. It doesn’t matter.

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So, this trip, I didn’t bring it. I don’t know why. I just, like socks in there, and I was like, “Ah, I don’t need that.”

And of course, wake up this morning with a big, huge zit over here, that you probably can’t even see, and isn’t really a big deal.

Not that I really care about it, just like, it’s just these things make me laugh.

Only because I made the conscious decision not to bring it, did I actually get the first zit I’ve had in a year.

I don’t know, I find that stuff interesting. Let’s get onto the show.

I’m here for Central Mutual’s Vibrant Personal Lines Group.

It’s a tight knit group of agencies that have come in to learn about how to reenergize, grow, make profitable the personal line side of their business, and for the most part these are mid to larger size agencies.

It’s a really dynamic group.

A lot of them have been primarily commercial lines that are now looking to grow their personal lines book, or they have a nice personal lines book, but they want to take it to the next level.

Tons of different experience, it’s just really, really tremendous.

We did the first half of the program yesterday, and then today I have about two and a half hours of workshop I’m going to be doing, in addition to Tom Doran from Reagan Consulting.

Now, Reagan Consulting produces … Sorry, there goes another jet.

My hotel room is terrible, otherwise I would do it from in there.

But it’s also super nice out, it’s like 60 degrees, and it’s 30 up north, so I just want to be outside.

So, Reagan Consulting helps produce one of the most important studies in our entire industry, the Big I Best Practices Study.

If you are not purchasing, and diving into, and digesting, and implementing the Big I Best Practices Study, then you are literally missing the boat.

And, there is a decent chance that you are not growing as fast, or not as profitable as you could be because you are not taking in this information.

It’s phenomenal, phenomenal.

It is the second most valuable thing that the Big I does after their lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. Those are really the two most valuable things that they do.

But, so many people don’t even know the Best Practices Study exists, and it’s right there whether you’re an Insurtech, you’re a carrier, certainly, if you’re an independent agent you should be purchasing the Big I Best Practices Study.

It’s tremendous.

What I want to touch on with you this morning is actually something that came out of … I’ll show you this one graphic.

I can’t show the whole report obviously.

So, Tom touched on, towards the end of his presentation yesterday, the part of our industry that he felt was the most vulnerable to disruption.

And that was small, and micro commercial, and price based commoditized personal lines.

He said,

“These are the areas of our business that potentially, we don’t want to spend as much time in, because they could be easily taken away, because the value proposition isn’t there.”

While I wholeheartedly agree with where Tom is coming from with that perspective.

I had to very respectfully disagree with him, and say that though I do believe it is the most vulnerable aspect of our business, I think we should be focusing as much of our time there as any other aspect.

Any large, or midsize, or specialized account.

Because, these commoditized pieces of our business, these are people who are … Sorry, there goes another jet.

I have like these small three minute windows to say what I need to say and then a jet takes off.

So, all these commoditized segments of our business feel like areas that we have vulnerabilities that we may not be able to fight against.

I think we absolutely have to spend time there, because these are the people who do believe insurance is commodity, and when they’re given a customer experience that blows their mind they’re going to have the lowest bar, the lowest expectations.

If we can deliver above those expectations we can set ourself apart, and potentially capture a client for life.

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My perspective, my advice, my guidance, what I would tell you to do is to look out into the InsureTech world, the technology world, and find the tools that can help you do this.

They’re all out there, the only reason that small commercial and personal lines is vulnerable today is ’cause we’ve allowed it to be so.

If we were continuing to focus on technology, and process, and systems, and people, these segments of our business would not be vulnerable, I believe that.

Alright, I’m going to get out of here ’cause I’m sure this is annoying as hell. I’ll catch you guys on the flip.

So the truth is, the technology is out there. We just have to reach out and grab it.

This is a cultural thing.

This is not a technology thing, it’s not a legacy agency thing, it’s not an independent thing, it’s not a mutual carrier thing. This is cultural. This is a leadership issue.

All the technology exists in our space to do this work. We either choose to move forward and adopt the technology that allows personal lines and small commercial to be profitable, or we don’t, ’cause it’s all there.

This is what the Bold Penguin is solving, this is what Gregory Bailey and Denim is solving from a Facebook Advertising perspective.

This is what Joseph D’souza is solving with his chatbot. All the tech is there. Reid Holzworth, and what he’s doing at TechCanary.

This is why these solutions exist.

Choosing not to put them in place isn’t because it’s too tough, or that you don’t have the ability, or you don’t have the understanding.

It’s a conscious decision to abstain from moving forward, and what I call, is bullshit on that mentality.

Guys, we’re better than that.

We need to perpetuate the legacy experience, the depth and richness of insurance experience that we have in this independent channel.

But it’s not going to happen if we’re unwilling to put the tools in place to make small commercial and personal lines profitable. In addition to, high net worth and some of the high end, high touch commercial lines that everyone seeks, everyone goes after those markets, and everyone’s moving away from standard personal lines and small commercial.

What I’m telling you is, those areas can be profitable, and highly profitable if we implement a few pieces of technology, a few process chains inside our agency, and we go to work.

I challenge you to do that.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley

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