PIANY/NYIA Insurance Leadership Forum: It’s about partnerships and plans
November 16, 2012
During this week’s PIANY/NYIA Insurance Leadership Forum at The Century House in Latham, agent and company panelists all discussed the need for strong partnerships; perpetuation and strategic business plans; effective communication; and technology to develop solid and effective relationships that benefit agencies, companies and ultimately clients.
Two panel discussions, moderated by Sam Friedman, the insurance research leader for Deloitte Research and former editor-in-chief at National Underwriter for 29 years, discussed how agents and carriers develop relationships; what they look for when they need a new business partner; and the reasons the affiliations last.
The first panel included: Jeffrey W. Rice, CPCU, ARe, chair of the New York Insurance Association Inc., and president and CEO, Wayne Cooperative Insurance Co.; Cindy Van Hoesen, director of marketing and underwriting, Mercury Insurance; and Ann Zaprazny, senior vice president, East region officer, Erie Insurance Group.
The second panel included: Michael J. Skeele, CIC, CPIA president of PIANY and president of Skeele Agency Inc.; Richard A. Savino, CIC, CPIA, immediate past president of PIANY and president and CEO of Warwick Resource Group; and Gino A. Orrino, CPIA, president of the New York Young Insurance Professionals and president and founder of Orrino Capital Services LLC.
Pictured from left: Gino Orrino, CPIA, president, New York Young Insurance Professionals and president and founder, Orrino Capital Services LLC; Richard A. Savino, CIC, CPIA, PIANY immediate past president, and president and CEO, Warwick Resource Group; and Michael J. Skeele, CIC, CPIA, PIANY president, and president, Skeele Agency Inc.
‘Partnerships are not one-sided’
Responding to inquires about appointments, the carrier representatives said they are open to signing new agencies under the right circumstances and are committed to the time it takes to build partnerships with their agents. “Seventy percent of our agencies started as a scratch agency,” said Erie’s Zaprazny. “And, we provide support to help them in their journey [to help them become successful].” Erie Insurance Group also asks potential agencies to submit a business plan so the company has an idea of where the agency would like to be in the future.
Each carrier representative stated that they have little turnover when it comes to terminating relationships with agencies. However, Mercury’s Van Hoesen cautioned, “Partnerships are not one-sided” and a company’s “relationship with the agency needs to be beyond the principal–it needs to be with the entire staff.”
On the agent side of the equation, Skeele rejoindered loyalty between an agent and his or her carrier is a two-way street, “where the agency gives good business to the carrier and the carrier provides consistent underwriting. And, when the agency needs it, it knows the carrier has its back.”
Video of the event can be found here.
For a full write up of the event, see the January issue of PIA magazine.