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What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

May 23, 2018

Matt Harris – Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures

Here's the man funding the future of the insurance industry

Why would you want to listen to a conversation with a venture capitalist? In this case, because this man is helping to shape the future of the industry you work in. Matt Harris is the Managing Director of Bain Capital Ventures – perhaps the leading investor in game-changing insurance technologies (including previous podcast guests). In this no-holds-barred conversation, Matt shares:

  • Insight on the future of insurtech – and how radically it may change the life of our consumers, and of course, insurance agents and brokers.
  • Poignant comments on how agents must change their behavior to succeed in the coming years.
  • How the industry will change as millennials take over more and more of the economy – and what we have to do to satisfy them.

Note from Michael: As the saying goes, ‘follow the money.’ And, when I did, I found Matt Harris. When investments are very, very big, you have to pay very, very close attention. You have to pay attention to the future. To what’s working. To what’s not. And, Matt does pay attention. I’m sure you’ll find him, just as I did: intelligent, engaging, forthright – and visionary. If you plan to be in the industry for more than a year or two, please listen. This is an important conversation.

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

 

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May 16, 2018

Doug Mohr – Vice President of Solution Consulting at Vertafore

Five kinds of agencies. Which one is yours?

More than 25,000 customers in the insurance industry. 40% of all personal lines policies in the United States are stored on their servers. Plus, more than half of the insurance businesses in the US. Vertafore is widely recognized as a world class company – by observers from both inside and outside the industry.

When they share their insights, we listen. Carefully. In this podcast episode, Doug Mohr, VP of Solution Consulting shares important insights on what some agencies are doing right (and he ‘names names’) – and what agencies should do to embrace the current wave of change.

Specifically, Doug shares five agency prototypes – and reveals how each type of agency is responding to technology, the changing marketplace, new trends – and how they’re addressing issues of growth.

Note from Michael. One of my weekly challenges is to figure out precisely what audience would find each podcast most useful. (I realize that some of my guests address ‘niche-y’ topics, and I want my listeners to know what they’re getting into.) As I reviewed this conversation with Doug, my answer quickly became: EVERYONE. Everyone in the insurance industry would get terrific value from Doug’s insight on the state of the agency community today. Personal lines. Commercial lines. Benefits. And, in this case, this is a ‘gotta-listen’ for our growing subscribers of carriers execs, vendors, advisors and so forth. I can give everyone my word: this conversation has ‘more meat than a Texas steakhouse.’ Plus, it was a treat to spend an hour or so with Doug. As you’re about to find out: he’s a delight – and, cares deeply about insurance agents.

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May 9, 2018

Bob Rusbuldt – President & CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America

Special podcast guest: Bob Rusbuldt, President & CEO of the Big 'I' National

Who could possibly have a better ‘bird’s eye’ view on the insurance industry than Bob Rusbuldt, President & CEO of the IIABA – the world’s largest agent trade association? Please do not miss this important conversation with one of the industry’s most influential and informed leaders:

  • The future of insurance: what really is the impact of private equity, insurtech, the huge millennial generation and more on the daily life of the everyday insurance agent?
  • Bob shares his simple but powerful ‘4 steps to success’ for today’s agency owner.
  • Don’t be uninformed! Bob discusses mission-critical legislation that could have wide-spread impact on business.

Note from Michael: As I say at the beginning of every podcast, it’s my job to find the ‘innovators, geniuses, movers and shakers’ in the insurance industry. This time – I humbly submit – we did just that. I often ask myself, ‘if my listeners could track down one person in the industry to share a beer or a cup of coffee with, who would that be?’ Then, I track ‘em down. I can imagine that if every agent had a short-list of who they’d want to talk to, Bob would be on as many of those lists as anyone else. I’m sure you’ll find him just as I did: engaging, intelligent, informed – and an important voice for the independent agent. Please enjoy this conversation…I did!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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May 2, 2018

Tom Doran – Partner at Reagan Consulting

Industry leading valuation specialist: 'Here's what to do if you want to remain independent...'

Leading agencies rush to get the Best Practices Study from Reagan Consulting every year. They want key metrics on agency performance – and they want to see how they can do better. Reagan principal and SVP, Tom Reagan delivers one of the most important conversations of the year in this jam-packed episode:

  • The dramatic shift in agency valuation, agency sales – and the 3 forces that are pushing these trends higher than ever in the history of the industry.
  • Two surprising metrics every agency must pay attention to (WAPA & WASA) – and what to do if your number is too high!
  • Tom's 3-part action plan for the coming age of insurtech, that agency principals absolutely must attend to immediately

Note from Michael: I’ve been chasing Tom for 8 months to deliver this podcast. I saw his presentation at the AppliedNet Executive Leadership Conference and simply knew that he’d deliver hard-core information that our listeners needed to hear. As one of the industry’s leading M&A specialists, he has a unique seat on what’s driving value – and, conversely, what those forces and trends are that can hurt your agency. This conversation is so utterly important, I urge you to share it with at least every principal in your agency. Be prepared to take notes!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures

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April 25, 2018

Frank Sentner – Coordinator of the ACORD InsurTech Innovation Challenge

The revolution happening in insurance today

Co-founder of CISCo and former SVP of Technology at Vertafore, and creator of the Sagitta - the first ACORD-based agency management system, Frank Sentner was on the cutting edge of insurance technology innovation 40 years ago, and he still is today. Frank is a leading voice, authority, and hands-on facilitator of the very changes that will create the ‘new’ insurance of tomorrow.

  • Discover the huge breakthroughs in insurance technology… the ones that are being funded today – and will be on the market tomorrow.
  • Have you wondered where new insurance technologies come from? Out of the blue? From garage workshops? Insurance innovation has become a well-organized (and well-funded!) sub-industry of its own. Frank shares his personal insights.
  • Find out how ACORD – one of the industry’s most reliable, stable, and core organizations – is fostering change and transformation through their ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge.

A note from Michael Jans: My conversation with Frank pulls back the curtains on just how fast and how well-oiled the ‘innovation machine’ is in the insurance industry. I learned things in this podcast I didn’t know – and, I can bank on that for you, too. If you’re looking for a ‘quick fix’ on some tactical problem, this is not the conversation for you. On the other hand, if you’re interested about the future of the industry, DO. NOT. MISS. OUT.

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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April 18, 2018

Phil Edmundson – Founder of Corvus Insurance Holdings

Insurtech that is friendly to the agency. And, it's one you should know about.

If commercial insurance matters to you, listening to this conversation with Phil Edmundson should be a priority. Why?

First of all, Phil is a master of the field. He co-founded the brokerage firm William Gallagher Associates – and sold it to Arthur J Gallagher. He's been an active leader in The Worldwide Broker Network and the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

Then, he scanned the future of commercial insurance… and decided to be part of it. How? By founding Corvus, an insurtech firm that works with and supports commercial brokers.

That should be a breath of fresh air for agents & brokers. As billions flood the insurtech ‘revolution,’ most of it, so far, doesn’t ‘play nice’ with brokers. Phil’s company does. And, he has successfully secured $4 million in Bain Capital Ventures funding – so, expect to see this company become a serious player in the industry.

Here is a glimpse of the discussion:

  • What commercial brokers must pay attention to in today’s marketplace.
  • Changes in what commercial consumers want and how behavior has changed – and how commercial brokers should adapt.
  • How emerging insurtechs are supporting – not fighting – the agency channel (and, how Corvus can give brokers an ‘unfair advantage).

A note from Michael Jans: A great many of my guests are friends that I’ve worked with somehow over the last 25 years. Phil is a new friend. Smart. Articulate. And, very, very knowledgeable about what matters in commercial insurance. I plan to keep my conversation with Phil ongoing. I suggest you get to know him through this conversation.

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April 11, 2018

Neal Stanley – President of Palmetto Management Advisors

Insurance clusters and networks: what every agent needs to know

With 45 years of experience, including as a former insurance company CEO (3 times over) and a former 'network' principal, Neal is a true veteran of the insurance industry. In recent years, Neal has brought together a 'network of networks' – and is widely recognized as the 'go-to' consultant for this important corner of the insurance industry.

What exactly is a 'network'? By Neal's estimate about 65% of agencies & brokerages belong to one. Listen to this discussion to discover:

  • What every agent & broker needs to know about networks. Why you should (or shouldn't) join. What you need to consider first. How to determine if a network is right for you.
  • How networks provide solutions for small and large agencies, whether it's about carrier access, contingencies, perpetuation, training... and a whole lot more.
  • Neal's 4 steps to success for modern agencies & brokerages
  • What separates the winners from the losers in the modern insurance marketplace.

A note from Michael Jans: This is a 'can't miss' episode for anyone that wants to know more about networks or clusters. Even if you're in one, it's a good time to reflect on your own membership. (BTW, Neal predicts that we will soon see a consolidation of networks, so everyone needs to pay attention to this trend). By my own admission I did not include this in my State of the Industry report... so consider this podcast an 'amendment' to that report! Please don't miss this conversation with the industry's most respected network consultant – I took a page of notes (as I do every time I talk to Neal!) and you probably will too!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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April 4, 2018

David Schwendiman – Client Enrollment & Retention Specialist

Three super-practical tips for agents who want to grow

Our young podcast guest is a super-star of the modern era. Dave started his insurance career as a young agent with his own captive agency. He followed the sales training advice provided by the so-called ‘sales pros’ in leadership in his company – and had a big fat ZERO to show for it. Then, he turned things upside and did it a completely different way.

Boom. Everything changed. Top ranked in life sales in the state. Top ranked rookie in commercial sales in the state.

And, shortly after, started his own coaching company to share the simple secrets to his success. (The 180 agents who followed his model quickly became the fastest growing group out of 13,000 that were tracked and measured.)

In this fast-paced conversation, here are the three ‘quick secrets’ David and Michael talk about:

  • The 6-step process to overload your lead funnel. (This has two elements that turn the usual ‘cold call sequence’ upside-down. One – a twist on psychology that makes the agent an ‘instant friend’ of the prospect. Two – a very easy way to keep it organized.)
  • The easy way to make it easy for CSRs to sell more. A lot more. Dave tells the story of the CSR who threw down the gauntlet when she said, ‘You’ll never make me sell.’ (This story ends with 34 sales in the very next month – and an email that says, ‘I can’t believe how easy it was!’)
  • Dave’s a millennial. So, I asked him what this industry – with the average age of owners in their late 50’s – needs to do to attract and earn the trust (and wallet) of this booming market. (‘We’re all digital natives.’ He shares how to use digital the right way.)

A note from Michael Jans: We covered three ‘tips’ – and they’re all different. The first one, on ‘funnel filling’ leads is specifically designed for commercial producers, but, with a tad of creativity, anyone can use this principal. (I discuss this directly in the podcast.) The second tip – on getting CSRs to sell more – is a breakthrough secret for anyone who frets that their CSRs are leaving money on the table. And, the third tip – about millennials – is sound advice for anyone who wants to sell to more millennials. (And, frankly, unless you’re selling your agency tomorrow, everyone needs to pay attention to what millennials are telling us about how to earn their loyalty.)

Connected Podcast listeners know that I like to balance my content and guests. On one side, I want to present those big picture trends and forces that you absolutely must attend to. (Get crushed if you don’t. Win like a monster if you do.) And, on the other side, practical-tactical ‘put it to work tomorrow’ ideas that are already proven in the marketplace. This podcast is in the practical-tactical category…plus some awesome insights on the millennial market every agent better pay attention to. (From a millennial!)

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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March 28, 2018

Brent Sheppard – President & Founder of Xanatek

Industry tech leader reveals insights on the state of insurance today

Where is the insurance industry really headed? Most agents are so busy running their own agency, it’s tough to get your head up long enough to know which way the wind is blowing. But, if thousands of agents use your software every single day, you’re privileged to get an industry-wide view of the big picture. Our guest, Brent Sheppard is the founder and president of one the industry’s leading agency management systems, Xanatek – and his broad industry knowledge and leadership give substance to this exciting conversation:

  • Why are we seeing a surge of agency start-ups – and what does that mean for the long-term agents of today?
  • What technologies should agents be using to run efficiently – and grow? (And why do so many agencies only use 40% of the power their technologies offer?)
  • Why are so many agents stuck on their own ‘hamster wheel’ – doing the same thing every day but not growing nearly as fast as they could?

Please don’t miss this conversation with one of the insurance industry’s most respected technology leaders. Stay ahead of the trends and win.

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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March 21, 2018

Claudia McClain – President & Founder of McClain Insurance

The easiest money in insurance…right under your nose!

This may be the single most profitable podcast you’ll ever listen to. Why? The ‘most awarded woman in insurance’ – Claudia McClain, shares her step-by-step secrets on how she gets an average 95%+ retention, year after year after year. And, you’ll discover why the ‘easy fix’ on retention radically alters everything: team morale, margins – and, long-term profitability.

  • Easy team incentives that align every person, every call, every simple task behind deep-rooted customer loyalty.
  • Find out how much ‘itty-bitty tweaks’ to your retention adds to your long-term income (and, be sure to share this with your team…nothing opens eyes up like simple math!)
  • The psychology of unbreakable customer loyalty – and how to make huge jumps in the way your customers feel about you (and how that translates into more policies per customer, more referrals, and, of course, higher retention!)

Please don’t miss this conversation with one of the industry industry’s most respected agency owners. A few minutes of your time eavesdropping on this conversation will change the way you think about your customer base - forever!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

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