Insurer Chooses Agents Over Web

February 23, 2001

Ohio Casualty Corp. of Fairfield, Ohio, is abandoning its web-based Avomark brand direct personal lines auto marketing in favor of an independent agent sales force.

Dan R. Carmichael, Ohio Casualty’s new president and chief executive, announced the change in December shortly after taking over the company. The decision, he said in a recent interview, was made because the company’s web-based direct writing system was not proving to be an economical way of doing business.

The production and quality of business generated through the direct business center located in Denver was not justifying itself, he said in a Reuters news service report.

“The independent agent system is a better way to produce personal auto in general,” the news service reported Carmichael as saying. “It is a better value for both the buying public and the insurer.” The company is not abandoning its Internet strategy.

Rather, it will focus on providing better information to Ohio Casualty’s independent agent force so agents can do their jobs better. Overall, Ohio Casualty’s strategy is to improve and strengthen its independent agent distribution system and make a firm commitment to agents.

“I would suggest [that agents] question any of their companies that use alternative distribution strategies. Companies should not shake hands at the front door and take business out the back door,” the news service reported Carmichael as saying.