How Independent Agencies Compete with the “Lemonades” of the Industry

By David Watson

“The greatest industry God created.” - Jason Cass

He’s right.

We work in the greatest industry God created - specifically, the independent insurance industry. 

But have we lost sight of this?

Have we lost sight of the vision and mission we’re on to serve and truly protect our clients?

Have we lost sight of the opportunity we have as independent advisors to build deep and trustworthy relationships with our clients? 

Because when we lose sight of these two things - we lose our competitive edge.

We lose what sets us apart in a commoditized space.

And suddenly, we become one of many solely competing on price.

Fast and cheap insurance

As independent advisors, we did not enter this industry to deliver fast (often inaccurate) and cheap (poor coverage) insurance.

We entered this space to uncover our clients’ greatest risks.

We entered this space to advise, help mitigate risk, and protect our clients.

And, of course, to earn a living while doing so.

But today, we’re challenged with achieving this in a way that aligns with how our consumers want to buy.

Technology has streamlined the overall online buying experience, and many within the insurance space are catching up.

While many captives and direct-to-consumer carriers offer fast and cheap insurance, other growing insurtech firms take the insurance buying process next level.

Let’s take a look at Lemonade, for example.

Lemonade is a quickly growing insurtech company that offers an Amazon-like insurance experience to consumers nationwide.

Lemonade Enters the Auto Market

What initially focused on renters, homeowners, pets, and life insurance has officially entered the auto market (as of November 2021).

Lemonade is not an insurance carrier. Lemonade is a data aggregator. 

While collecting premiums, they’re gathering an immense amount of data.

And they’re using that data to determine their consumers’ insurance needs.

AI-powered, it’s proven to be a quick and convenient way to deliver data-backed, accurate insurance to their clients.

With personal auto insurance representing nearly 40% of the insurance market, we can expect Lemonade’s presence in auto insurance to be quite disruptive.

This is just one of many examples of insurance companies cutting through the archaicness of the overall industry, setting themselves apart from the rest.

How do we compete?

As independent insurance agencies, we cannot continue to operate the same way and expect to grow.

We must be focused on gathering customer insights and adapting our business model to meet the ever-changing needs of our ideal customer.

If growth has stalled - it’s a sign that a shift in strategy needs to take place.

While individually, we’re in no way able to compete on AI and data at the level that Lemonade can - we can care for our client and their protection like no other insurtech, direct-to-consumer carrier, or captive agency can.

With all the technology we have access to, we can do so in a way that still offers the convenience our consumers seek and want in today’s tech-driven world.

Where to start?

Start by adopting a new process, system, platform, or tool designed to deepen the relationship and value you can offer to your clients.

The options are endless.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Virtual Assistants. Adding VAs to your business model helps agencies eliminate the backend tedious, time-consuming processes and systems and frees you to focus on proactive, client-facing activities that enhance the client experience. Check out our strategic partner, Marble Box for more info. We also love what Virtual Intelligence is doing.

  • AMS. Selecting a modern agency management system to organize your client database and manage your book of business is key to effectively running your business operations. Check out Better Agency for more info.

  • Comparative Rater. Including a comparative rater in the tech stack acts as a liaison between your agency and the carriers, offering real-time quoting to enhance the “speed-to-quote” process while still ensuring you have the right protection program in place for your clients. Check out EZLynx for more info.

  • Client Center. Offering an online client center or client-facing app where clients can view their policies, pay bills, start a claim, make policy changes, and communicate with the agency is key to offering that “white glove” experience your clients deserve. Check out Glove Box for more info.

  • CRM. Selecting a powerful CRM with automation and integration capabilities helps agencies gather and organize client data and communicate efficiently and proactively. See Agency Zoom for more info.

  • Trusted Advisor. Guiding your clients through a consultative discussion before quoting is key to uncovering and mitigating risk and gathering accurate information for underwriters. Streamline the process with smart forms that help advisors ask the appropriate underwriting questions and send the information to raters, VAs, in-house assistants, brokers, and carriers for quotes. For personal lines agencies, book a demo on our product, RiskAdvisor.

The technology platforms listed above are just a few of many in the marketplace.

All of the above have been built to equip independent agents with the tools they need to set themselves apart from the competition by putting the client’s protection and experience at the forefront of the insurance buying process.

Put the client experience at the center, and win.

As I mentioned earlier, our greatest competitive advantage is our human-centered approach to serving and protecting our clients and our ability to develop deep and trustworthy relationships. 

No machine or AI-powered tool can achieve this in the way we can as independent advisors.

The technology and tools listed in this article were selected because they enable and empower us to double down on client-facing activities while simultaneously offering ease, value, and convenience to the overall client experience.

When we put the client experience at the center, we win.

RiskAdvisor: Advise. Quote. Retain.

As an independent agent myself, I built RiskAdvisor out of the need to deliver a consultative experience for my clients and streamline the quoting process.

As a result, it’s helped me win new business, quote more efficiently, and retain clients through a proactive renewal process.

If you’d like to learn more about how RiskAdvisor can help your independent agency’s personal lines department, book a demo here.

Save $ with RiskAdvisor

If your agency quotes lines of business each year,RiskAdvisor could save you $ every year.

We estimate that RiskAdvisor saves you 15 minutes of work for every line of business you quote.

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