Building a balanced book of business requires a strategy. You can’t just hope to have a balanced book. It requires planning and investing in areas that are both profitable and diverse.
At Assure America, we analyze our numbers monthly and benchmark every aspect of our agency. We live by the standard, “That which gets measured, get results – if you take action.” During 2017, we wrote about 60 percent personal lines to 40 percent commercial. That ratio helped maximize profitability for our agency.
We don’t just sell, we advise
From an underwriting perspective, we position ourselves as a consultative agency. We go beyond just offering a choice of price and educate clients about the value of their coverage. We are also very good at finding deficient areas in what our competitors offer and providing solutions to cover those gaps. We’ve gone so far as to develop a proprietary program that demonstrates our value proposition of “protection through education,” which results in a holistic approach to insurance.
We also know the most tragic insurance loss is the loss of a life and the subsequent challenges the family will face. In order for a person to be properly protected, the sum of all of their exposures must be managed, not just one cause of loss. Therefore, it’s paramount that life insurance is included as part of our holistic protection model. We call this the “sum of the exposures,” or “being whole.” As a result of this approach, we earned Gold Level Life Recognition in 2017 for the first time in five years. We plan on going Platinum in 2018.
We use data to make decisions, and we work as a team
To support our management and growth efforts, we use a proprietary dashboard that measures our monthly PIF and premium growth. We also look at loss ratios by line with a mix of data. That allows us to reallocate resources as needed to maximize profit-sharing opportunities. In 2017, we produced over $1.6 million in new business – that’s 11.5 percent growth. Policies in force grew 9.6 percent, or 560 policies, while we maintained a loss ratio of less than 49 percent for three years in a row.
To ensure we maintain growth, profitability and a balanced book of business, our entire staff meets each Tuesday to discuss the results of each product line. We tie in objectives and initiatives to assist and support the goals of each department. Internal ongoing education and communications further support our efforts, and recognition and awards provide consistent incentives.
We invest in our agency
We made many notable investments in 2017, including launching our new website, assureamerica.com, hiring a public relations executive and a director of sales and marketing and establishing the position of chief strategic analyst. Earlier this year, we held and off-site agency information and planning meeting to share last year’s results and outline our future goals. Transparency and trust are the mainstays of our culture.
Assure America currently employs 25 full- and part-time employees and maintains five locations. While on the micro level we don’t “sell insurance” so much as we provide insurance education, on the macro level, we see distribution or recruitment as a top priority.
Earning a Personal Lines Elite Award and being among the top 10 Branch Elite scorers at ERIE in 2017 provided recognition for the hard work and dedication of our entire staff. Our personal lines team in particular strives to represent ERIE and the agency with the highest standards of quality and excellence. Validation for our efforts is what motivates us the most, but the pre-trip award went even further by making us feel appreciated.
This article originally appeared in the June 6, 2018 issue of the Erie Insurance publication, “The Bulletin.”