Learning from other insurance agents.

Listen as they share their stories.

Here are best practices and stories of agents that are using digital technology to build and grow customer relationships as well as enhance employee communications and engagement.

We've conducted interviews with agencies that are taking advantage of some of the technologies highlighted in Part 1: Technology Stack. Watch their videos and you'll learn about the benefits they are experiencing, the business results these agencies are realizing, and pitfalls to avoid.

My experience with:
Voice Over IP
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Al Pappalardo
Pappalardo Agency
New Orleans, LA

Can a VOIP System make you money? Can it free up time for your CSRs to account round and protect your customers better? Can it give you management, marketing and efficiency tools to put you on par with the biggest direct writers out there? Can it help you monitor remote workers? Your VOIP system can do all of those things. Listen to how Al Pappalardo found out how new VOIP solutions can catapult his agency to new levels of success for less than half his existing telephone bill.

My experience with:
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Vonda Copeland
Copeland Insurance Agency
Manhattan, KS

Copeland Insurance Agency was an early adopter of videoconferencing, originally using Skype paired with a camera in its conference room for meetings with carrier representatives. Today, Vonda Copeland and her teams use videoconferencing for staff meetings between the agency's nine office locations, as well as sessions with carrier representatives, clients and others. Vonda says there were big benefits to being comfortable with videoconferencing technology early on—when the pandemic hit, it was very easy for Copeland's producers to pivot to meetings with clients online. She loves the virtual background feature which often becomes the focus point for themed team meetings. And at Copeland, all videoconferencing solutions are welcome. Vonda says it's important to be ready for whatever the client or carrier wants to use so her agency supports Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other solutions.

My experience with:
Email Marketing
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Tyson Fuehrer
Biggs Insurance
Vancouver, WA

When it comes to successful email marketing, Tyson Fuehrer of Biggs Insurance, says it starts with having the right content for your audience. Biggs was an early adopter of email marketing and has found it to be an excellent way to enhance customer relationships and drive new business opportunities.

Email sample

Biggs has been very successful at producing two newsletters a month for a business audience (CFOs and HR executives) by focusing on helpful content that is designed to educate, not sell.

The agency currently uses a mix of solutions that provide the tools to manage lists along with providing content, testing and sending emails, and measuring performance. Tyson's advice to other agencies: look for solutions that provide A/B testing and use it. You may be surprised at the subject lines and content that results in the most clicks—it's not always the ones you expect.

My experience with:
Virtual Assistants
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Ariel Rivera
Deer Insurance Agency
Jacksonville, FL

Ariel Rivera of Deer Insurance Agency first started using Virtual Assistants (VA) after a major hurricane in Puerto Rico when the phone at his agency was ringing off the hook with customers asking questions about their claims. He was able to work with a company that provided a bi-lingual VA to answer the phones and triage the calls, immediately taking the pressure off his team so they could focus on getting customers the answers they needed. Now, several years later, in a different agency now based in Florida, he's using VAs again, but this time his need is related to growth—his VA processes specific tasks, freeing him up to focus on client relationships. VAs can be a great tool for agencies of all sizes, and the tasks can be structured based on specific agency needs. Some vendors provide VAs that know insurance and are already trained on specific agency management systems. According to Ariel, it's important to set goals, communicate with the VA daily, and to look for ways to integrate with your agency's culture.

My experience with:
Net Promoter Scores
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Jared Morgan
Paducah Insurance
Paducah, KY

Net Promoter Scores are just one of the benefits of a comprehensive solution for customer communications, surveys and referrals. Paducah Insurance, which started working with Rocket Referrals in 2018, has seen phenomenal results from its program that includes customer email communications, handwritten notes, and text messages as well as the Net Promoter surveys and solicitations for referrals. The solution uses algorithms to know when to communicate with customers. Some of Paducah's results include more than 194 customer testimonials, 60% of customers saying they'd be likely to recommend the agency, and many opportunities for cross-selling.

My experience with:
Social Media Advertising
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Jonathan Cross
Elizabeth Libby
Cross Insurance
Bangor, ME

As a family-owned agency with 1,000 employees and 45 locations, Cross Insurance has had a website and has been on social media for a long time. But when the agency recently switched website vendors, not only did it get a new website, the vendor offered more insight into how Cross Insurance could use social media effectively. That included changing the focus from dozens of locally-run social media accounts to a more centralized corporate account approach that strengthens the brand and still connects with the branch's communities by telling local stories. When the pandemic hit, the agency pivoted again. Committed to meeting its 2020 sales goals in spite of the crisis, it turned to Facebook advertising as one way to connect to prospects – with great success. Facebook ads provide the ability to reach specific target audiences and is very user friendly, walking you through the process. And, according to Jonathan Cross, these pivots have identified opportunities that are here to stay.

My experience with:
Social Media and Podcasting
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Aaron Levin
LG Insurance Agency
West Long Branch, NJ

When Aaron Levine started LG Insurance 12 years ago as a scratch agency, part of his philosophy was to go for it. Today he runs a successful, growing agency focused on insuring coastal properties, luxury homes and cars, hospitality businesses, law firms and others. Going for it has continued to be a theme as he has jumped into using social media to build his brand, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and, more recently, podcasting. While social media is an opportunity to make the phone ring in the agency, Aaron and his team see it–most importantly–as a way to connect with the communities they serve, particularly during the pandemic. In this interview, Aaron shares how he uses social media and podcasting to educate, inform, motivate and entertain his customers and the broader community. To see firsthand how Aaron's using social media, check out @luxurygroupins on Instagram or https://www.facebook.com/LGinsuranceinc on Facebook.

My experience with:
Microsoft Teams
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Allan Degner
Robertson Ryan & Associates
Milwaukee, WI

With 25 locations and 350 employees–and growing, staying connected is critical for Robertson Ryan. When the pandemic hit and team members were working remotely almost overnight, the agency’s implementation of Microsoft Teams took on special importance, according to Allan Degner, VP of Marketing. One of the greatest features of the new tool is a simple one: using chat for quick questions has significantly cut down on email across the organization, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. But that’s not all. Allan explains that the seamless integration with Microsoft Office Suite was a key factor in selecting the tool. In addition, features such as the ability to host group calls and meetings–with camera on and off–combined with screen sharing have enabled Robertson Ryan to replicate the in-office environment from no matter where team members are working.