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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.

June 19, 2018

Joseph Talmadge – Senior Vice President of Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Here's why agents must pay attention to blockchain

BLOCKCHAIN?! Is there no end to what we need to learn about?! Joe Talmadge – commercial lines producer and SVP at the highly esteemed Heffernan Insurance – delivers a wake-up call on the global emergence of blockchain as an industry transformer:

  • Blockchain fundamentals…what you should know about it as an insurance professional. (By the end of this conversation, you probably won’t be a blockchain expert…but, you’ll be able to have intelligent conversations about it, be able to talk to carriers about it – and have the confidence that you’ve got your eye on the ball.)
  • What you should know about how blockchain will transform insurance (and, how it’s already turning some industries upside-down). Learn how it will streamline product selection, customer relations, underwriting, claims analysis and industry efficiencies.
  • Why this technology is radically different than other solutions – and what that means to real jobs and functions in the insurance industry.

A note from Michael Jans: If you’re hankering for one of Michael’s ‘practical-tactical’ interviews (like ‘how to boost your email open rate by 30%), this interview won’t scratch that itch. But…if you’re going to be in the industry for the next three years (and you’re intellectually curious about what that future looks like), you’ll want to hear Joe’s crystal-clear explanation of blockchain. One day – soon – you’ll be part of that chain. Now is the time to learn!

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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June 13, 2018

Steve Beard – Vice President of Customer Experience at The Zebra

Insurance agents need to start acting like it's 2020... now!

If you Google 'auto insurance quotes', you just might find something like this:

'Compare car insurance from 204 auto insurance providers in under 60 seconds & save up to 50%. Find the cheapest car insurance rates in your area today!'

That's the promise of The Zebra, which proclaims: 'The Zebra is the nation's leading insurance search engine.'

As consumer behavior changes and new technologies emerge, new companies pop-up in the competitive landscape. Some want to disrupt. Some want to innovate. Some are friendly to agents. Others are not.

The Zebra is a provider that every agent or broker should be aware of. They work with direct, captive, and independent carriers – and they work with agents too.

Steve Beard, VP of Sales Operations, and longtime insurance industry veteran, shares his vision for The Zebra, and how they view the independent insurance agent & broker.

A note from Michael Jans: This is a discussion that every agent in the auto insurance market needs to hear. The Zebra is one of many companies emerging as a result of rapid advances in digital technology, and they have even secured Series B funding. Furthermore, they have an understanding of online consumer behavior that the independent channel is still playing catch-up on, and Steve shares valuable insight about in this 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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June 6, 2018

Nicholas Ayers – Co-founder of i80 Insurance Solutions and Co-founder of the Insurance Agency Owners Alliance

Simple but powerful ways EVERY agent can and should use video to generate leads, boost retention!

No doubt, you’ve seen the explosion of video on your smartphone, computer – coming at you from platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. You may not have thought ‘how can I use video to grow my agency?’ But, you will be when you hear this conversation with Nicholas Ayers. Good news: he also gives answers. Detailed answers:

  • The easiest way to get started delivering video to your marketplace. (It’s virtually no-cost. You probably already have the equipment…and you can set it up in less than a minute.)
  • Why video is so important to your customers (think: ‘emotion’ and ‘connection) and the 3 simple kinds of video (so easy you can do most of this without any more training than what Nicholas provides in this podcast!)
  • BONUS: precisely how Nicholas gets his customers to do more of the work AND enjoy doing it! (This should save you tens of thousands of dollars!)

Note from Michael: I’ve interviewed some very, very smart Thought Leaders and industry influencers lately. And, they’ve shared some very important ‘big ideas’ and ‘big trends.’ This time, I was fortunate to interview a very, very smart insurance agent…and we kept this conversation at the practical-tactical level. For those of you who want to know just ‘how it’s done’ in the real-world of running an agency, this is a conversation you’ll love. Nick was extremely generous with his wisdom and experience (he shares why at the end of the podcast). Nick qualifies as a Thought Leader in his own right. Leading from the field where agents work day in and day 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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May 30, 2018

Hugh Terry – Founder of The Digital Insurer

Founder of The Digital Insurer Sheds Light on the Future of Insurance, All Things Digital – and the Modern Agent

Hugh Terry is the founder of The Digital Insurer. 20,000 subscribers around the world. 5,000 attendees at the annual conference. More than 200 booths. If you were wondering if digital is really changing insurance – wonder no more! Hugh pulls the curtains back on a new world of insurance. A world that the modern agent must learn about…and learn to live in!

  • Disruption or transformation? Why agents need to be vigilant today more than ever. (And, which insurtech innovations are most likely to help…and which ones most likely to hurt!)
  • The unbelievable last place finish that consumers give the insurance industry (lower than banks and airlines!) – and, how agents can jump ahead and stand out from the crowd.
  • What the Modern Consumer really wants from the insurance industry (and why some demographics are so much more willing to work with agents than others!)
  • Keep an eye on insurance in Asia?! Yes – why innovation is stampeding forward in the Asian markets (and, what that signals for changes to come in North America.) Some of those innovations will boggle your mind!

Note from Michael: With Hugh dialing in from his home base in Singapore (before breakfast for Hugh; time for dinner for me), we take the sight-seeing plane up 30,000 feet. A true global view on our industry. No, you won’t get tips on how to get more Facebook engagement or boost today’s closing rate. But, you will get a clear-eyed view on the future of insurance – and, how that’s about to be very, very different than today. If you’re going to be in the insurance world for a few years, do not miss this conversation. Hugh is knowledgeable, insightful – and cares about how insurance takes care of its customers. Please join us!

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 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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