Ascinsure: Retailer-Owned Wholesale Broker Rebrands in a Down Market

By | August 3, 2010

Trust us. That, in a nutshell, is the underlying message behind a new rebranding campaign for Ascinsure Specialty Risk, the wholesale broker subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based retail brokerage Allied Insurance Brokers.

The rebranding includes a name change (it’s pronounced, “uh SIN sure”), new website and a renewed marketing plan that emphasizes the wholesaler’s generation of expertise in its niche insurance specialties: rental equipment, scaffolding, mobile cranes and inland marine.

“There are two main things we tried to do,” with the rebranding, said Assistant Vice President Chuck Weisenborn, one half of the two-man team that comprises Ascinsure. “First, we wanted a fresh name that would stand out in the crowd.”

The second? Address the deeper issue of trust, given that the wholesaler is owned by a large retail agency — a fact that could make some retail agents uneasy.

Weisenborn said the company wanted a new, separate brand name to “reinforce” to agents that — despite being owned by a potentially competing retail business — Ascinsure remains a completely separate, walled-off business that shares no client information with its retail sister company.

“There exists a certain level of distrust among retail brokers toward sending a submission to a wholesaler that operates with a retail agency,” Weisenborn said. “This helps us further delineate that division. Our integrity is priceless and it’s not for sale. Agents are not at risk for submissions getting taken by the retail side of our business.”

Operationally, separation has always been the case, including the computer systems, database and staff. The name change is meant to underscore that separation and ease agents’ concerns about client information being shared with a retail agency that could also write the business.

Timing of Rebranding

Competition is always tough but it’s even tougher than usual amid a down economy and perpetually soft market. This state of the market prompted the company’s rebranding, Weisenborn said.

Like most wholesalers with business lines concentrating on construction, Ascinsure’s has seen downturn affect its clients and potential clients. That’s another reason for the rebranding. It’s a chance to get out there and market Ascinsure’s products and services, so the name will be at the forefront of agents’ minds when things eventually turnaround, according to Weisenborn.

“Anybody who waits until the economy improves and the market hardens is too late,” he said.

From what he sees, the worst of things is already over, too. In the last six months, Ascinsure has received “more than just and uptick in inquiries” for coverage — a trend that Weisenborn expects to continue. Pricing, however, may remain soft for some time, he predicted.

Either way, Weisenborn said he hopes the rebranding effort will go a long way to communicating the firm’s key message: “Same reliable people, just a different label,” he said.

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