Change can be a vengeful antagonist. Even subtle forms of change can be uncomfortable, and abrupt change can be downright scary. As a business owner, an insurance agency owner, change is something you try to avoid … it always seems to be costly and disruptive.
Insurance professionals are tasked with managing risk, so we’re inherently inclined to avoid change. So it was a big deal when we elected to make some sweeping changes with respect to the insurance carriers partners we choose to represent, and to change our up our business model.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw
For the longest time, we have represented a small number of insurance carriers, and keeping our carrier list small felt safe. I gave us the impression we were managing our expertise and focus. But in reality we were simply becoming too cozy with a few insurance carrier partners, and that really wasn’t why we become an independent insurance agency.
The benefit of our independence is that we aren’t tied to just one, or a few insurance carriers. It seemed as if the passage of time stole our perspective, and we lost site of our value proposition.
We Needed to Mix Things Up
We’ll be the first to admit, for some time, one of our insurance carrier partners had a very competitive personal auto insurance rate, this is one of the reasons why we initially contracted with them. In the 90’s, all California insurance agency owners wanted their appointment.
It was this competitive auto insurance product that led to our conundrum. We were placing too much emphasis in one insurance company, and becoming too focused on personal auto insurance.
Having a large mix of our business in one carrier may not be a terrible problem in-and-of-itself, but it began to put pressure on other insurance carrier relationships. That wasn’t good, we’re independent – not captive. It also led us to think about the values from which we built this insurance agency, and we asked ourselves a simple question, “is our current setup consistent with these values?”
The honest answer was becoming apparent … no.
The Difference Maker
While a change in our carrier partners was always a source of discussion, we needed an extra straw to break this camel’s back. That change came during a business trip in Utah back in 2014. That’s when I met the team at Agent’s United, a master agency with SIAA.
I was instantly impressed with Agents United. They had developed a membership of insurance agency partners producing nearly $60 million in written premiums in a relatively short time … and in a relatively small market in Salt Lake City.
Agents United had discovered an agency partnering system that actually works. One where the benefits go well beyond providing insurance carrier appointments, they actually provide real value in the form or training, professional development, marketing consulting, and much more. But the real difference maker was the platform SIAA provides Agents United, a platform for proven success and partnership.
Over the course of the last 2-years we discussed different opportunities with Agents United, but ultimately it was their passion to enter the California market that ultimately led a real opportunity. IronPoint would partner with Agents United to develop a segment of the California insurance agency market.
Learn About Membership
Getting Back to Our Roots
When I began IronPoint Insurance Services, it was my ambition to create a new form of agency partnering or aggregation for local insurance agency owners. I wanted to provide access to carriers, support, training, development … yatta, yatta, yatta. I found this to be truly challenging. To build a successful insurance agency partnering system, it requires a very specific infrastructure so that your insurance agency partners get the greatest value from your affiliation.
When I realized it would take much more investment capital than I had available, I transitioned to a conventional insurance agency. This is when I reduced the number of insurance carrier partners we contracted with, and the over-dependence on a single carrier began.
With our new partnership with Agents United, we are back to our roots, back to providing a platform that provides true value, a superior infrastructure, to insurance agency owners. It also gets us back to having all the insurance carrier partners we had as we began. We will once again be offering greater product depth and breath to our prospects and current policyholders.
We are excited to be providing greater value to our insureds and prospects, to have new partners in Agents United and SIAA. We are also extremely excited and to be offering the opportunity to join us, SIAA and Agents United right here in the great State of California. If you’re interested in leaning more about the opportunity we’re offering, sign-up for more information.