Personal touch sets independents apart

Agents can use technology to make up for small size, says EZLynx executive



Small independent agents and brokers struggle every day to keep up with the big players, yet they also have advantages over the big players, chief among them that they are not corporate, but instead have the chance to cultivate and promote a “main street” vibe.

Whether literally occupying a street front office in a small town or not, independent agents have the opportunity to understand local markets and make a name for themselves that cannot be matched by someone working for a national brand.

“They (national brands) cannot provide the personalized, hands-on service that a local independent insurance agent can provide,” writes Riley Simmons in a blog post at EZLynx provides insurance businesses with marketing and technology products and services.

“The key value proposition IA’s bring to the distribution channel is to provide customers both choice of providers and advocacy within them,” said Brady Polansky, VP of agency relations for EZLynx. “This is where technology innovators like EZLynx really benefit IA’s by providing a single platform to integrate quotes and policies from hundreds of carriers, while providing a dashboard for how each carrier is performing in the marketplace.

“Rather than building a system to record what has already transpired, EZLynx’s patented innovations tell the IA’s what to do next,” said Polansky. “With respect to policy retention, for example, IA’s who follow our renewal process see an average of an 8 point improvement in PIF retention.  The best part of retention improvement like this is the money falls directly to the bottom line while also increasing the IA’s EBITDA valuation.  In other words, they get paid more now, and they get paid more later.”

The blog emphasizes that while small independent agencies probably cannot compete nationally for SEO with terms like “auto insurance” they may be able to do very well with terms such as “auto insurance agents near Dallas, TX,” and that optimizing their websites to attract local traffic can make a huge difference.

Simmons also advises the obvious but often overlooked marketing strategies of on the ground networking, meeting other local professionals in complementary businesses such as law and accounting, and attending networking events.

He writes that agents also need to communicate continually with clients, checking in to make sure they are happy with their coverage on a regular basis, not just at renewal time. “The more yearly touches, the better chance you’ll keep a customer for life,” he writes. “We all know it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new customer, but we rarely take the steps necessary to achieve a high retention rate.”

Sometimes success really is as simple as just doing all the things you already know you should do.

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