Nationwide Switching to Independent Agency Distribution Model by 2020

By | April 16, 2018

  • April 17, 2018 at 8:19 am
    Big Jim says:
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    The article didn’t address about Nationwide’s supposedly push to sell Personal Lines direct to consumer. They announced about a year-and-a-half ago in my region that they were going to sell personal lines direct to consumer. Ticked off a lot of agents.

    • April 17, 2018 at 8:37 am
      David Sanfilippo says:
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      Big Jim, what geographic area are you located in?

      • April 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm
        Big Jim says:
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        NJ/PA/NY area. I don’t remember saying when they would start selling direct. My territory manager from Nationwide was telling me afterwards of what level of respect they had to say to their agents of what they were doing. I felt like saying “Well how would you feel if your husband said ‘Hey I’m going to see other women.’ would you feel respected?” I kept my mouth shut on that one.

        • April 17, 2018 at 8:40 pm
          Scottn15 says:
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          Big Jim,
          Nationwide has been going direct and through independents in other parts of the country for years and in some markets been top dog. Just Ike thier exclusive agents have had relationships wth independents to help handle that business that NW is out of the ball park on. Multi distribution is necessary for all large carriers as consumers choose the way they want to purchase. It all comes down to does the agent provide value, which in 90% of the cases they do.

    • April 17, 2018 at 8:52 am
      T-Man says:
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      They also cut commissions, jacked their rates up, and tightened underwriting. Having been on the independent side I just moved clients to carriers with better rates, more flexible uw, and higher commissions. Now Nationwide captives will be able to do the same.

      Online direct consumers are price shoppers who don’t want advisement or service; they want cheap. Agents work best for those whom we can add value.

      Nationwide’s attitude may seem like, “Let them eat cake”, but that’s fine. There’s plenty of cake to be eaten.

      • April 17, 2018 at 10:11 am
        Agent says:
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        Well, Progressive has been doing this for years selling direct and also through Independent Agents. Of course, Progressive still prefers selling direct as much as possible because they don’t have to pay commissions to agents.

        • April 20, 2018 at 10:07 am
          Mr. Solvent says:
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          In many markets agency business does much better than Direct at Progressive. They don’t show the signs of a carrier that prefers to sell direct, but rather all channels.

          • April 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm
            Agent says:
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            We have compared our Progressive quotes many times over the years with Direct quotes and Direct quotes have always been lower than agency quotes with Progressive. They deny that there is any difference, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

          • April 23, 2018 at 5:54 pm
            Rosenblatt says:
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            Does Progressive really share the number of direct quotes they receive with their agents?? I’m not an agent, so I don’t know – that’s why I’m sincerely asking you right now.

      • April 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm
        Jax Agent says:
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        That’s no different than any other company. If you’ve moved clients from Nationwide it means that at some point you moved them to Nationwide. Markets come and go and their relevant competitiveness does as well.

  • April 17, 2018 at 9:05 am
    Aven says:
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    Nationwide seldom have the best rates and have depended on exclusive agents to keep their customers happy. If the agents become independent agents, I suspect many of them will move much of their business to cheaper alternatives. Many customers but their insurance because they like and trust the agent and if they have the same trusted agent, they don’t care who the insurance company is.

  • April 17, 2018 at 9:40 am
    Daniel Minton,LUTCF, CBIA says:
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    It appears to me that the Nationwide Eagle is trying to build it’s nest high upon the pillar that is- has long been the Big I “Independent Agents Distribution System “and that has literally been built by loyal Big I agents across the country! It is already apparent that their “Nationwide’s New Business Model” has been feeding upon it’s own offspring by” nicely” forcing the smaller agency’s to merge or sell. I wonder once Nationwide is able to hang their shingle out as a Big I Member-to gain credibility in the Commercial Marketplace how long it will be before they extend the olive leaf of direct contracts to competing Big I Members in the communities? I hope the Big I has not just allowed a Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrusater-a brood parasite) to nest a top the Big I System!

  • April 17, 2018 at 9:49 am
    jay says:
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    I really think that sooner than later every company is going to go independent and online simultaneously, it’s the only and last chance before autonomous vehicles and the digital age overruns this industry.

  • April 17, 2018 at 11:56 am
    Baxtor says:
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    I agree. They are going to have to lower their pricing or risk losing a lot of business to lower competitors.

  • April 17, 2018 at 12:32 pm
    Stephen says:
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    The real question to all these “great benefits” to the exclusive agents is what is going to cost them to have their “independence?” They are charging, and 1099ing the agents for books of business they have already bought, or built with their own capital. Nationwide needs to think about the long term relationships with not just their current exclusive agents, but also all the independent agents out there. Be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • April 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    tommy says:
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    Nationwide is going to get a HUGE cash influx from the sale of the books & avoid their promised retirement liability to their agents.

    • April 19, 2018 at 1:37 pm
      Einstein says:
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      Bingo! And I would bet a dollar that other captives are watching this move and going “”hmmm…”..

  • April 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm
    Tom Griffith says:
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    Wait for the uproar when the transitioning Agents are told that the Book of Business they worked so hard at building belongs to Nationwide. They determine a Value of that Book and the Agent will have to pay for the Book from Extended Earnings and Deferred Comp dollars the Agent has accumulated hopefully for retirement. A wonderful way for Nationwide to reduce a huge Agent liability expense that is on their Books.

    • April 18, 2018 at 10:50 am
      Eddie says:
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      looking at other business models, it seems to me Nationwide is getting ready to sell the company in 2020

      • April 19, 2018 at 3:03 pm
        John says:
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        To who? They are fortune 50 company and a mutual. They aren’t selling to pay shareholders as there are none. Literally only State Farm could buy them out of the P&C business.

        • April 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm
          Agent says:
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          State Farm has their own issues to deal with with massive losses on Personal Auto and Home.

        • April 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm
          Eddie says:
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          Nationwide purchased Mutuals in the past…I’m thinking Global…AIG…some company with much deeper pockets than State Farm

          • April 23, 2018 at 4:49 pm
            Paul says:
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            Actually, a holding company could own them – like Zurich “owns” Farmers, which isn’t a mutual but a reciprocal.

  • April 17, 2018 at 2:31 pm
    SacFlood says:
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    I almost went with them. In late 2007-early 2008, I went through the process, flew back to Columbus, OH for training, did some pre-contract work at an office with two other agents; the reason I told them thanks-but-no-thanks was due to their 72-month production quota where if you missed one month, you were immediately on probation and, if you failed to make up that production the following month, you were terminated. Now in the Industry for over 33 years, with an independent Broker, and am happier, wiser, wealthier & less stressed than if I’d gone.

    • April 17, 2018 at 3:59 pm
      Agent says:
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      They told one of my partners that they had to be #1 in the office within 18 months. High pressure does not sit well with Independent Agents who represent several long term companies. Good Bye, thanks for stopping by.

  • April 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm
    Tom Griffith says:
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    Transitioning Agents need to be aware that Nationwide will claim ownership to your book of business, set a value amd make you pay for it either through private funding and/ or extended earnings and deferred Comp.

  • April 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm
    County Line says:
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    Headline: A leaner & meaner Nationwide. In the short run this will cause a lot of collateral damage to faithful producers who put all their eggs in one basket with N’wide. But when N’wide’s desire for an “open marriage” drives their formerly-exclusive producers to other arms (carriers), it will prove the truth of the old saying ‘Be careful what you ask for’.

  • April 17, 2018 at 4:34 pm
    Einstein says:
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    Going independent and selling directly to customer at the same time – Nationwide did what eventually every carrier will end up doing. The captive model is simply not sustainable for the changes the insurance industry will see in the next 10-20 years.

    Allstate has already begun selling products through independents. It will be curious to see how long SF and Geico stay the course.

    • April 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm
      Stormin says:
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      Allstate has sold through both captive agents and independent agents for many, many years. It’s interesting to note that Allstate continues to increase support to their captive agents because the distribution channel sustains them. Nationwide has been losing market share for years and has laid off home office employees for those years while remaining uncompetitive. This is simply another cost cutting move by the insurer, but in the long term will cost them dearly.

  • April 17, 2018 at 5:14 pm
    1963 says:
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    Nationwide is in major reactive mode due to its resisting the independent agent model in favor of a 100% (or as close as possible) captive agency environment. The movement towards the independent agency has been in full effect for the last decade. Many L&H shops, and, more recently, P&C carriers, have migrated towards totally independent agencies. Not sure if Nationwide will benefit from it much unless they restructure its method of calculating premiums; I feel that lack of lower rates is their number one problem.

  • April 18, 2018 at 10:58 am
    GTT says:
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    I’ve spent twenty five years working day and night, and on weekends. I love what I do and have always done well, and will continue to do so, no matter how all this plays out. What is hard for me to digest is the Columbus Dispatch had it on their wire minutes after I got an email. An agent in my office already knew the whole deal, in complete detail, from a Nationwide board member. I feel I was the absolute last person to know and no one at my company cares about that, at all.

  • April 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm
    what happened to old fashioned business? says:
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    It seems that every time these companies change their shorts they change their minds, or is it vice versa?

    “Come with us and be a captive agent and we will support you and your community” – then when the **** hits the fan on the loss and expense ratios they forget they even have agents out in the field………….

  • April 18, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    L T Agent says:
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    Having weathered the shifting winds of Nationwide for many years, thru bad times and even mega bad times, it now appears the decision to stick it to the loyal agency force is a full micro burst! (A strong wind that will take them all the way down to the bottom) For many many years it has been tough providing adequate “Added Value” to the “Members” to make up for consistently non-competitive rates but that was what was required to stay in business so we did it … at least until now. I for one feel like I have been shot in the back, beaten and robbed! The narrative being proffered by the residents of the “Ivory Tower” truly falls flat on the ears of those whose lives have been dedicated to the company. We know who this benefits and who will pay the price.

  • April 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm
    Jax Agent says:
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    I’m not sure why this is now news, my agency has been writing with Allied/Nationwide for 4 or 5 years now. I found them to be very good to work with.

    • April 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm
      George W Lee says:
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      It is “new” depending on which side of the fence you have been working. Nationwide as a company, not including agents has been screwing over its agents for years, covering its lies under the guise of “new contract” negating the ones signed years ago. Agents don’t have & have never had a contract,—the company does. There is no way Nationwide agents can have decent rates with the cash cow the agents have been to NWide going to buy the Allied’s, Wausau’s,—-etc.of the insurance world, build the NWide Tower,—etc., & finance the top-heavy management. They fire the janitor & then boast about their work to cut cost. I don’ know of an insurer out there with a higher expense ratio.

  • April 23, 2018 at 4:43 pm
    Paul says:
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    Nationwide has been moving in this direction for years with their commercial lines. After having bought Allied and Harleysville, they no doubt saw benefit with in dealing with IAs, and they also have permitted their captives to align with IAs to broker business. This isn’t a surprise.



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