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Market specialization provides clues to agent priorities

Insurance Forums Staff

Specialization among insurance advisors is a significant factor in the way those advisors look at their business, according to findings in a new study released recently from Agent Link, a marketing consulting firm based in Clearwater, Fla.

It also provides clues as to how receptive producers are to messages from carriers and wholesalers who want to do business with them.

The study, On Influencing Independent Producers for Insurance Distribution Growth, was undertaken via two channels. It included online surveys, gathering responses from more than 1,200 licensed insurance agents. In addition, more than 300 surveys were conducted in telephone interviews with licensed producers. The nationwide nature of the survey, Agent Link says, captures an adequate sample both in terms of quantity and quality.

According to Agent Link director of market research Stu Gramajo, “In analyzing our survey responses from insurance producers, we have conclusively determined that there are identifiable areas where insurance carriers, insurance marketing organizations, brokerage general agencies, and other insurance wholesalers can improve their services to the independent agents, or advisors under BD or RIA channels, who sell their products.

There is now a baseline of statistical opinion available to the providers of products and those interested in strengthening their relationships with independent agents, which can assist them in affecting positive change with as many producers as possible.”

Among the study’s key findings are the following:

  • 83% of Fixed Indexed Annuity specialists − not just any agent writing FIAs but producers who focus on FIAs − report that prospecting is their No. 1 challenge, while only 61% of FIA producers who sell FIAs but don’t specialize in them hold that prospecting for their practice is the biggest challenge.
  • Across the many markets surveyed, the report shows that the very large majority of producers hold either two or three active BGA relationships.
  • The Medicare Supplement specialist would be most likely to cross-sell ancillary products like dental, as well as life insurance products. The Medicare Advantage specialist, on the other hand, would be more likely to first consider cross-selling Medigap or Final Expense.

In summarizing where he sees the value of this survey, Gramajo said, “The feedback these independent producers are providing is invaluable to those who are looking to do business with them. Empowered by the insights from these professionals who aren’t just selling the different insurance products but also are focusing on and specializing in their respective markets, strategists and executives at both the manufacturing level and at the wholesale level can now more effectively align their planning with their market’s expectations and elevate efficiencies when growing distribution.”

New e-book helps BGAs, others improve list results

Gramajo also recently released a new e-book that provides authoritative, “real world” suggestions on how insurance wholesalers can improve the effectiveness of communicating with a list of potential advisors.

The book, 7 Reasons Your Producer List is Failing to Turn into Active Producers, was written to address common concerns among those looking to communicate effectively with potential producers. Gramajo said the aforementioned study that Agent Link conducted with hundreds of brokerage general agencies, insurance carriers, and broker-dealers revealed that, while the majority don’t find it difficult to get in front of agents, as many as half of those groups do find it challenging to contract new producers at a desirable rate.

“More importantly, the majority are increasingly experiencing difficulties getting producers onboarded and actively writing business,” Gramajo said.

The book shares his extensive experience in list development and management. From advice on how to ensure that you’re using a top-quality list, how to develop a message that resonates with your target audience, and how to focus more on strategy rather than tactics, Gramajo shows the reader how to take the right steps to ensure that a mail campaign – either an email campaign or a more traditional direct-mail campaign – generates the kind of results you’re expecting.

The short but insightful e-book is intended to help any insurance marketer – BGA, IMO, wholesaler, or home office marketer – who uses lists to communicate with potential new producers.

About Agent Link: Agent Link is a full-service insurance marketing, public relations and branding company that exclusively services insurance companies, insurance wholesalers, and insurance agents in the U.S. The firm offers marketing and PR consultation and strategy planning as well as marketing execution for its clients. For more information, contact Stu Gramajo, CEO and director of market research, at [email protected].



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