I was in an agent’s office recently, as an invitation to talk with his staff about Indium and all that we have to offer.
The agency principal, in the course of introducing me, started to explain how he expected his team to better utilize our partnership to write more business. He began by naming all their carries with whom they have direct appointments. “So, when you have a prospect you’re working on, first go to our in-house carriers to see if they’ll write it for you. And if they can’t, then think… INDIUM!”
“Nnnoooooooo!!”, I screamed out loud (in my head. I’m not that crazy!)
“That’s great, thanks so much for that introduction. Can I correct one thing you mentioned?”, I nervously asked. After all, I don’t ever want to overstep or make a leader look bad in front of their own troops.
“Of course,” the agency principal offered.
Why we’re your best direct appointment
“We know you need to feed your direct carriers first. That makes sense. You have direct appointments and you don’t want to lose those. And we’re not here to displace your direct appointments. Instead, we’re here to complement them. So, with that, instead of thinking of us after you try your in-house carriers, think of us as one of your in-house carriers.”
Based on the uncomfortable exchange of blank stares, I went on to explain.
“You see, our most successful partners think of us as their best direct appointment. So, while they have 4 or 5 direct carrier appointments, they think of us as that 5th or 6th direct appointment, but with 20+ carriers behind it. This sets up for success from a service standpoint.
Why is that?” (I love to ask questions of my audience because it not only gives me time to breathe, it allows me to make sure I’m not being too preachy, because I can often get preachy).
With no answers from the audience, I went on to explain.
“If you wait to come to us last, a lot of precious time has been lost waiting to find out your in-house carriers won’t write it. So now you need a quote ASAP, and you’ll need us to deliver it for you. The issue is, depending on the risk and the carrier, we also need to work within our carrier’s turnaround times. So, when you add up your expected turn-around time, plus our needed lead times, plus our carrier’s needed lead times, that’s a lot of time needed to process your quote. And if you wait to the last minute to get it to us, it’s going to be a ‘rush’ request and we’re all going to be working behind the eight-ball.”
Now I can see the proverbial light bulbs going off in their heads. Bingo, I’ve made a connection. And now I can’t help myself…I’m on a roll.
“We’re here to provide you access to the markets you need, in as fast and seamless an experience as possible. Yes, we’re an extra step in the process, but our goal is to be an accelerator not a decelerator. So, next time you get a chance to quote a prospect, consider us your best in-house direct appointment.
While you’re submitting quotes to your in-house carriers, send your ACORD forms to us at the same time, knowing we’ll be able to get you quotes from multiple carriers while you pursue quotes from your in-house carriers at the same time. That sets us all up for success, and chances are we’ll be able to provide a much better experience for you and your clients.”
It’s how we win together!
It’s a subtle point, but a very important one. We all want to succeed. And we want to provide an advantage for our agents. While we’re not here to displace agent’s direct carriers, we are here to compliment them. So when our agents think of us as another direct appointment (their best direct appointment) in their agency, that is when we have the greatest success together.