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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.

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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March 14, 2018

Marc DeLeonibus – Co-founder of Bold Penguin

Insurtech for independents. Bold Penguin offers innovation for commercial lines agents.

Insurtech. Out to kill the agent, right? Not always. More and more insurtech companies are on the side of the ‘good guys’ – fighting to help agents and brokers. Make their life easier. Get the competitive edge. And, to fend off the disruptors. Agents in commercial lines must listen to this conversation between two insurtech pioneers – Michael Jans and Marc Deleonibus, founder of Bold Penguin:

  • What do you do with commercial lines prospects you can’t or simply don’t want to write? (Marc’s company has a solution. They just might be able to pay you for them. Every single one of them.)
  • How insurtech can combine technology with ‘the human touch’ – to make sure clients get the smoothest process and they feel like someone cares.

Please don’t miss this conversation with one of the insurance industry’s most innovative entrepreneurs…and see if you can benefit from the merger of technology and ‘the human touch.’

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 7, 2018

John Prichard – President of OLI Insurance Services, and Executive Vice President of Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Innovation is alive and well in the agency system! Here’s how one company supports agents with cutting edge service…

They say the agency channel is under siege from disrupters who want to knock the agent out of the equation. What should an agent do? Hide their head in the sand? No! Here’s one agency advocate with a vision – and a solution! John Prichard, President of OLI Insurance Services (and a third generation retail agent) holds the belief that agents matter – and, he has a vision that with a little help, agents can build on their strength, and keep on growing:

  • Many agents do feel threatened by the mere pace of change. John shares his insights on the trends and forces agents should keep their eye on.
  • What do agents do that no other channel can do? And, who is the ideal customer for the agency channel? John uses his vast experience to show how agents can deliver on a promise that consumers really care about.
  • Technology, sales support, market access…John shares his vision for small and local agent, and how his innovative company can help them in turbulent times.

If you care about the agency channel…want to know about the innovations that are injecting energy back into the channel…or, if you’re a small or local agent wanting every ‘unfair advantage,’ don’t miss this exciting 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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February 28, 2018

Greg Wilkes – Partner at Insurance Solutions Group

Agency owner grows business 20X. Here’s how!

Greg Wilkes started a scratch agency…then grew it…then grew it again…and again. His agency is 20 times the size it was just 13 years ago, with five locations – and accounts from Alabama to South America. In this podcast, Greg doesn’t hold back. This one conversation could change the way you look at your agency – forever:

  • Greg’s method for ‘whale hunting’ – how to get those ultra-big accounts that you always thought were ‘too big’ for your agency.
  • How to steal those big accounts from agencies ten times your size (and how to make the incumbent completely irrelevant to your prospect!)
  • The simple way that Greg uses technology to nurture those highly desirable prospects (so they want to do business with you before they even meet you!)

Greg’s system has been copied by agencies throughout North America, as he has generously presented this step-by-step model to agency groups throughout the US. You’ll see why he’s a much-loved presenter…and a well-respected agent by carriers, competitors and, of course, his rapidly growing customer base.

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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February 21, 2018

Tyler McConvill – Vice President of Marketing at FMG Suite

SEO masterclass: how to flood your website with hot leads!

If you have time to listen to this one conversation, you’ll wipe out any confusion you have about SEO – forever! (And, you’ll know the secrets that master SEO experts use to flood their websites with high quality business every day!) Get ready to eavesdrop on one of the most important, information-loaded conversations for any agent or broker who’s serious about organic growth, as Michael Jans interviews one of the marketing industry’s most esteemed SEO masters, Tyler McConvill, Vice President of Marketing at FMG Suite:

  •  Discover why the most important part of SEO isn’t technical! You will learn what every agency principal needs to know about SEO…especially if you don’t ‘do’ SEO yourself!
  • White hat…black hat…changing algorithms…new technologies. SEO can be confusing. Tyler answers basic and advanced questions. (You will impress your team with how much you know…and, you’ll want them to listen to this podcast immediately!)
  • What you cannot ignore about your website! Get easy solutions to some of the most troubling problems agents and brokers have with their sites – and getting traffic to pay you a visit (lots of visits!)

Please don’t miss this conversation with one of the marketing industry’s top SEO experts. Listen close and take notes today – get ideas you’ll put into practice tomorrow!

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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