Given the death of the auto insurance industry, most expected a somber mood at the convention of the American Independent Insurance Agents Association Inc. dba The Big “A” in Washington, D.C. But that wasn’t the case at the five-hour welcoming cocktail reception, the Monte Carlo night or the other events on the educational agenda that included:
Chopped — Carriers gave agents a picnic basket of policies and agents had to sell $1 million of each within a day or they faced termination.
America’s Got Talent — Agents chose their favorite insurance company CEO in a talent contest involving tap dancing, magic tricks and comedy.
Amazing Race — Teams of two CSRs from 10 agencies raced around the convention hotel translating state regulations. The first-place team won lifetime continuing education credits.
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? — Some of the industry’ favorite elected representatives from Capitol Hill competed in a trivia contest to win campaign contributions.
The meeting was also a reminder of how important technology has become to the agency system. Cogna Chip, the robot owner of Chip Insurance Agency in Freehold, N.J., became the first automaton elected president of the Big “A.” Chip, who was born in China, is also the first Asian and only the second female to head the association in its 200-year history.
“I am honored to become the first automaton programmed for insurance distribution to lead the organization,” the tiny business owner chirped.
Robots have been gaining in agency ranks. An estimated 32 percent of independent agencies are now owned and operated by robots.
In her inaugural remarks, Chip said insurance is still about relationships and there is a lot robots can teach other agents about creating and maintaining them. “We know everything about our clients and never forget a detail about them. We never miss an opportunity or appointment,” she said. She said she is proud that robot agents work 24/7 for their clients and have never had an errors and omissions claim.
Chip railed against unfair competition from the giant direct writing Watson Insurance owned by the conglomerate IBMW. “Buyers will always prefer the personal and warm touch of independent robots,” she said.
Chip’s election is proof that the automation that some independent agents once feared now represents the future of distribution. However, even Chip acknowledges that robots aren’t perfect, yet. “We’re still lousy at golf,” she said.
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