Calif. Agents and Companies Recognizing Trusted Choice Benefits

April 16, 2002

More California insurance companies, as well as IBA West agent and broker members have joined Trusted Choice (SM)-a new brand created by the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) to better communicate the advantages of buying insurance and financial services from an independent agent.

The new brand identity, featuring a blue eagle, swoop and the copy “Trusted ChoiceSM” with the tagline “We serve you first,” reportedly will help consumers recognize both independent agents and brokers, as well as independent agency companies.

“Trusted ChoiceSM agencies and companies are committed to providing choice, customization, advocacy and excellent service to their customers,” IIAA CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt commented. “The brand is the vehicle to engage and educate consumers about the key benefits independent agents offer.”

A study of year 2000 insurance marketplace results showed an increased preference for the independent agency system on the part of consumers as market share continued to grow in both commercial and personal lines.

“What differentiates us as independent agents is choice and advocacy,” Brad Wilson of Wilson Insurance Agency said. “When I saw those words being used, I signed on immediately. It’s important to join this well-planned and researched national campaign to sharpen the image of the independent agent.”

The program, which recently launched the initial stages of what will be a national advertising campaign, also allows companies to sign on and promote the independent advantage. Familiar national brands include MetLife Home & Auto, SAFECO, Encompass Insurance, and The Hartford. In all, 13 regional and national carriers have joined Trusted ChoiceSM.

Closer to home, California Insurance Group (CIG) recently took the lead among California insurers and became a company supporter. In a letter to its agents, CIG President Peter Cazzolla said for his company the choice was between being a passive advocate of the independent agency system or to actively support it through the Trusted ChoiceSM brand. Cazzolla encouraged agency partners to actively participate in the program.

“We were excited about the ability to tap into a program that brands our way of doing business and helps consumers distinguish independent agents from other distribution channels,” James Armitage of Arroyo Insurance Services in South Pasadena, commented. “It’s a great way to convey to consumers that we are the trusted advisor and offer choice-exactly what consumers’ want.”

Armitage also stressed the importance of additional agencies signing on to the program in order to ensure its success. “It will help to gain market share for independent agents and insurance brokers. It’s critically important we all take advantage of this powerful tool and show our support for our insurance delivery system,” Armitage added.

The program also aims to create a more consistent experience for Trusted ChoiceSM customers via agencies’ commitment to a Pledge of Performance. More information on Trusted Choice is available at www.TrustedChoice.com.

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