Growing Need for Urban Agents Spawns National Program

June 27, 2005

A growing need for agents who can serve the rapidly evolving urban market is leading companies and agents to explore new programs aimed at improving local distribution networks, according to Suzanne Reade, president of the Chicago-based Urban Insurance Partners Institute.

UIPI, the insurance industry’s main resource on urban and emerging markets, has joined forces with Donald Lewis, president and CEO of the Insurance Cooperative, to develop an ongoing program for both carriers and agents. The first forum will be conducted in Philadelphia, as part of the program, with others to follow in various cities across the country.

One of the main challenges in urban markets, according to UIPI, is elevating the performance level of agents. Carriers often have premium volume and loss ratio targets many urban agents cannot yet meet. Therefore, a significant program priority will be ongoing performance training and coaching that will help more agents succeed.

Another challenge confronting insurers in urban markets is the higher cost of doing business, notes UIPI. Underwriting, marketing and customer service expenses can all be higher in urban areas.

Final forum program priorities and direction will be drafted at a July 14 meeting in Philadelphia. More information on this program, and the Sept. 13, 2005, Urban Insurance Advantage workshop, can be obtained at the UIPI Web site or by calling UIPI at (773) 880-8780.

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