Insurance consumer interest in Trusted Choice, the national brand created for the members of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or Big “I”), is growing, according the association’s chair-elect.
David Walker, president of Hartland Insurance Agency in Hartland, Mich., said that before the association launched Project Cap, which manages the consumer-agent portal at trustedchoice.com on behalf of independent agent members of the IIABA, hits to the trustedchoice.com website enjoyed a lackluster two-to-three thousand hits per month.
At trustedchoice.com, consumers can get information on auto, home, life and business insurance; comparative quotes and referrals to local independent agencies. While the portal offers comparative quoting for various lines, it stops short of letting customers buy policies online.
When Project CAP was launched in July 2013, the two “were on very separate tracks,” Walker told an audience of insurance professionals at the annual conference held by the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas in San Antonio in early June.
Now, a year later,”Trusted Choice has become the face of Project CAP” and the hits to trustedchoice.com “have gone through the roof,” Walker said.
Hits to the website are growing by about 10 to 20 percent each month, he said. In May 2014, the site recorded 152,000 hits.
“So, we’re seeing terrific growth on the trustedchoice.com website … and that links to CAP,” he said.
Walker said in the beginning, Project CAP had a lot of skeptics, himself included. He said many people were concerned about the kinds of consumers who would be attracted to the marketplace.
But, he said, the demographics for the personal lines-focused marketing effort “are way off the charts.”
As it turns out, more than 40 percent of referrals have been for values in excess of $30,000; more than 50 percent are married; more than 60 percent of referrals are picking maximum limits of liability and only 16 percent are picking minimum limits of liability.
“What that’s telling us is that we’re getting the referrals that we want,” Walker said. “The testimonials for the referrals have been spectacular.”
Another unexpected development in the Trusted Choice/CAP project is that even though the initial focus has been on personal lines of insurance, there is a growing interest in commercial lines, he said.
The association has taken notice and will be ramping up the focus on commercial lines later this year.
“We’re not pivoting, but we’re adding more commercial lines …,” Walker said. “It will be more about asking questions and providing solutions to people in business. But we are moving the commercial lines side of it starting in the third quarter or fourth quarter of this year.”
Walker also announced that two more insurers — Motorists Mutual Insurance Company and Travelers — have signed on as investment carriers the Trusted Choice brand.
And he urged the agency principals to go online and sign up for trustedchoice.com.
“We need to get you signed up so that you show up on that TrustedChoice.com website so that you get the referrals,” Walker said.