Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

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Scooter33
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by Scooter33 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:37 am

Sadly Nothing that carriers do to squeez us agents even more doesn't suprise me. Several years ago I had an insured get cancelled per their home inspection by the Hartford, so I moved their auto/home package to a new carrier. Less than a year later I get a call from our insured..."we just became aarp members, and got a flyer in the mail telling us that we can save money on our auto and home with aarp Hartford. I tell them, I had you with Hartford and they decided to cancel. I tell them to give them a call if you would like more information. AARP writes them, even though they were cancelled less than a year ago. I tell my rep, rep tell me direct has different uw guidelines than the IA channel. I have never written a Hartford policy since.

The Bottonline...None of our carriers give a damn about us. Perhaps regional carriers do, since they have no choice to work with the IA channel, since they do not have the capacity to go direct. Take a look at Safeco for example. These guys are always telling the IA channel how important we are, that local agents know their clients best, how they believe in the IA channel bah, bah, bah...if they "beleive" in us so much and beleive iA should provide amazing local service, how come you can walk into a Walmart and get a Safeco auto policy? Go ahead and Google walmart car insurance. You will see the Safeco logo right next esurance, travelers, 21 century and the general.

All the national carriers we work with will be available on Google when they roll out in a few month, as I am sure the same for amazon when they get involved in the insirance game.

I aurge agencies to send a message to these national carriers, stop writing them, enough is enough. Write with carriers that truly beleive in the IA channel.

The president of Safeco. Just recently sent out a heart warming email to us agents about how they support the IA channel... Total bullshit!

kbrooks18
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by kbrooks18 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:44 pm

Interesting that you think it is only personal lines. I just had a call yesterday a client who is member of the NFIB. Hartford offers a quote direct to them with a discount. I don't have the ability to add a discount for the membership. This client is smart but also appreciates our services to him. It is good thing he is with Travelers- just as good of coverage and only 1/4 of the price. Just makes you think twice to quote anything with Hartford again.

agent14
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by agent14 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:32 am

scooter, I feel your pain, but in all fairness to the Walmart thing, that is actually an independent agency that worked our an arrangement with Walmart, to receive referrals from their site. So Safeco is written through an IA that partnered with Walmart.

So for now, Safeco does not sell direct like Travelers, Progressive and Hartford. Who knows what the future holds.

Scooter33
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by Scooter33 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:59 am

regaurdless If Walmart is working through an agency or not, doesn't matter. All people see walmart is selling car insurance. I suspect Google will setup the same way, use an online agency they own to offer insurance. I saw they purchased or partnered with coverhound.com, which is an online agency out of califorina.

I just spoke with a progressive insurance executive the other day. He told me more business is written year after year through the IA channel, compare to direct, but yet carriers do everything to squeez us out. He also said the vast majority of insureds written direct are non standard, non homeowners, etc. image how much better they would do if the raised their commissions a bit. I haven't written a progressive policy months.

Safeco does write direct, liberty. I hate to say this because I really do like the people that work at Safeco.... But they are just like ever other national carrier. Trying to squeeze us out, looking for other distribution channels, while telling us how great we are to our faces.

Smalltownagent
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by Smalltownagent » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:33 am

Kbrooks I'm surprised you're glad to have them with Travelers. Travelers is the company we're getting rid of because of their new reduced commissions auto product and the general philosophy that indicates.

kbrooks18
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by kbrooks18 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:27 pm

I was referring to the small business rather than personal lines. NFIB stands for National Federation of Independent Business. Hartford is offering to small businesses a discount -direct and cutting out the IA just like personal lines. It makes me wonder why we even do business with Hartford yet I don't want to lose as a market either at least for Commercial Lines.

As far as Travelers has not reduced the auto or any lines of commissions for commercial lines. We do not represent them for personal lines and I am glad we don't.

Lots of personal lines markets are going direct plus entering into the small commercial lines - all cutting out the IA- look at MetLife.

Sevak
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by Sevak » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:27 pm

I did not know that you can purchase The Hartford personal line policy directly from the company

lonestar
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by lonestar » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:33 pm

Sevak, yes a customer can purchase personal lines and commercial lines direct from Hartford.

yoyowordup
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by yoyowordup » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:48 pm

Our new Hartford Commercial Lines Marketing rep (Small Commercial) has zero insurance experience.

With Hartford, it's not really about insurance anymore, it's about stock price and money and has been for awhile.

yoyowordup
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by yoyowordup » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:30 pm

agent14 wrote: So for now, Safeco does not sell direct like Travelers, Progressive and Hartford. Who knows what the future holds.

Safeco does not sell direct? Maybe you've heard of their little parent company Liberty Mutual.

insuranceman50
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by insuranceman50 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:05 pm

I have been on both the Underwriting, and IA side of insurance. I am an IA with 18 yrs on this side of sales so far. Many may believe that all carriers have a significant difference in fixed costs aka higher premiums to charge clients when comparing Independents to Direct. Actually, ask yourself, why would a major carrier like Progressive use IA's? Well lets take a look at Year Ending 2016 Personal Lines Auto Financials from Progressive to explain:
.........................'Agency.....Direct
Loss Ratio..............75.3........76.8
Expense Ratio.........19.7........18.8
Combined Ratio.......95.0........95.6

So, not only did the Agency side have a lower Loss Ratio than Direct, but also performed better with a lower Combined Ratio. On top of this, even though the Expense Ratio is higher by a negligible .9 pts on the Agent side, the lower Loss Ratio by 1.5 pts means overall more profitability for the group of business written by the Agency side. How is it then that Progressive has a better performing book for agents than under Hartford? The answer likely has to do with scalability of technology. Allowing agents with Progressive to do much more independently, not have to utilize carrier employees, and better resources for rating tiers, and buying power for Progressive claims. Another factor, lower commissions paid by Progressive as well. Again, it's a myth that Hartford auto product Direct premiums are lower by double digits than Agents, over the long run. Sure, new business, the rate is low to attract the client. Only for the rate to creep up significantly every renewal, until parity is met. That is why Hartford and AARP have numerous rating platforms that change every few years since using old lower rates no longer become profitable within their respective rating class. I have rewritten clients from old AARP direct, and Agency numerous times to witness this. If Progressive is any example I think IA's will have a long career writing business. Especially since IA's bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the client that the Direct market can't match. Many like to know and trust the person who is managing their most valued assets. Overall, It only makes business sense.

ediddy
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by ediddy » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:51 am

I am sick of the term "agency partners". Our Progressive rep has used this term for several years and I finally told him if I heard this term one more time, I will vomit. We are not their agency partner. They, especially Progressive, will cut your throat in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Regarding Safeco, they will do the same. We had a homeowner policy cancelled on renewal due to an inspection. They got coverage from Liberty Mutual. I got the same bovine scatology from that was mentioned. Liberty Mutual has different underwriting rules. I have been an agent for 45 years and have seen the business change drastically. Don't ever think you are the companies, "agency partner."

ediddy
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by ediddy » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:03 am

Speaking of Wal Mart, I hope every standard carrier in the US partners with them. It won't take long to get their clock cleaned. The average wal mart customer isn't what Hartford, Safeco, Travelers or any other standard market is looking for. Even if there aren't any claims, and we know there will be, the bad debts they write off will be in the millions. The wal mart customer isn't going to pay an auto policy for the full term. They just don't. After the second or third monthly payment is due and they want a new tattoo, cell phone, lottery tickets or get their nails did, the policy policy will cancel and there will be earned premium left. Good luck trying to collect it. I hope all the companies get burned, and they will.

d's insurance store
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by d's insurance store » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:04 am

ediddy wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:51 am
I am sick of the term "agency partners". Our Progressive rep has used this term for several years and I finally told him if I heard this term one more time, I will vomit. We are not their agency partner. They, especially Progressive, will cut your throat in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Regarding Safeco, they will do the same. We had a homeowner policy cancelled on renewal due to an inspection. They got coverage from Liberty Mutual. I got the same bovine scatology from that was mentioned. Liberty Mutual has different underwriting rules. I have been an agent for 45 years and have seen the business change drastically. Don't ever think you are the companies, "agency partner."

After 45 years, without disagreeing with you about this particular policyholder and a SAFECO refusal and Liberty Mutual acceptance, I would urge you to think about getting out. Life is too long to have your stomach churning over changes that may seem idiotic to you and I about an industry we 'grew' up in, but are powerless to change.

Quite simply, it's not my world anymore after 35 years in the biz. And it's not yours either. The concept of a 'trusted insurance advisor' hanging a shingle on Main Street, sponsoring the local little league team, attending Rotary meetings, making house calls, and trading clients with the direct writers on a rotating basis due to rate changes are long gone. People like us can survive going forward, but only so long as the client base stays alive and doesn't move to a retirement home. Otherwise, massive mindset, business model and promotional changes will have to be learned and practiced in order to thrive in the new insurance world order.

If you've lived a fiscally responsible life, then there should be adequate resources to disengage and enjoy retirement. Save your stomach lining for your next life phase and not for shaking your fist at the inevitable.

pbuffo
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Re: Take the Harford "Agent's Challenge"

Post by pbuffo » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:42 am

when I lost a commercial LRO previously insured through Hartford to Hartford AARP for less money, made me realize the writing is on the wall about Hartford. esp. if you write workers comp, as payroll companies take away your work comp, once they figure it out, they will be writing directly with Hartford BOP's as well. If people can save a dime..my dad always used to say, tripping over dollars picking up pennies.

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