Tuesday, August 10, 2010

3 New Agency Boot Camps

By popular request I am pleased to announce we have scheduled 3 more Agency Internet Boot Camps.

These are one day events.

Steve Anderson and I are the instructors and AIMS is the sponsor.

Here are the dates and locations...

The AIMS Society is pleased to be working through our existing CPIA Sponsors to bring you this exciting new program!!

Boot Camp Dates / Locations / Fees:

Sept 21, 2010 - PIA-NY/NJ/CT/NH headquarters - 25 Chamberlain St., Glenmont, NY 12077
      Registration Fees:  $185 (PIA / CPIA Member) / $225 (non-member)

Sept 30, 2010 - PIA-VA & DC headquarters -
8751 Park Central Dr., Su. 140  Richmond, VA  23227
      Registration Fees:  $155 (PIA / CPIA Member) / $195 (non-member)

Oct 21, 2010 - Alabama Independent Insurance Agents headquarters - 141 London Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35211
      Registration Fees (includes lunch):  $216 (IIA / CPIA Member) / $256 (non-member)

Click Here to Sign Up or Learn More


Monday, May 17, 2010

Part 3 of 10 - How to do Business Online

Part 3 of 10 - how to do insurance business online http://idek.net/1XYQ

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Do Business Online

I have started a 10 part posting on this issue on my Simply Easier ACORD forms blog.

You can check part 1 out at "How can an independent insurance compete with direct writers online?  I Part 1 of 10 part blog posting."

Monday, January 25, 2010

60 Second Web Site Review

What makes a good insurance agency website? Functionality and clean easy to read presentation.

I am starting with a good example...

You may need to pause the video to read some of the callouts.

This is pretty good - could be better - and you could have one that is better.

I don't build web sites. That is not my business. But I am interested in and aware of this particular market place. Since I am not trying to sell you my web site building I hope I can be impartial.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Insurance Agency Internet Boot Camp

The Most Asked For Class of the Year

Hands on Learning of the Basics for Your Insurance Agency Doing Business Online

As we have traveled around the country this year speaking at dozens of insurance meetings, the question we get asked more than any other is “Can you teach an Internet how to class that is hands on and detail oriented?” So that’s what we are going to do.

When:   12:00 PM Feb 8th through 4:00 PM Feb 9th, 2010

Where:  Aloft Hotel in Franklin, TN – just south of Nashville (right off Interstate 65)

View Larger Map

Space is Limited

Cost $249.00

Class Focus:

This is a true hands-on, active learning experience. You have to bring a computer with Wifi connectivity. Everyone in the class will be online and doing things the entire time. When you leave this class you will have actually completed the following tasks so you will be able to continue doing them when you get back to your office.

  1. Learned how Google and other search engines find you
  2. Learned how to understand your online competition and exactly how to move above them in search results
  3. Listed your agency in Google Local Business
  4. Tracked your online reputation and your competition with Google Reader and Alerts
  5. Created your own blog.
  6. Learned to add pictures to a blog and add video to a blog.
  7. Learned about Google Adwords and Adsense. Find out how and if you should use them for your agency. 
  8. Learned how to comment on other blogs to build your web presence and your business.
  9. Created a Facebook profile.
  10. Learned how to use Facebook advertising to attract prospects to your agency.
  11. Created a Twitter account.
  12. Learned exactly how to use Twitter to build your business.
  13. Created a YouTube account.
  14. Created and upload your first YouTube video.
  15. Embedded that video in your blog.
  16. Learned exactly what functions need to be on your agency web site – what real customers want.
  17. Learned how to create an online and offline business sales and marketing plan for your agency.
  18. Learned how to measure and adjust to be sure you are reaching your goals.

In addition to a laptop or netbook, you will also bring some type of video camera – a Flip Video or digital camera with the ability to record video – or something similar. You will have created a Google gmail account for yourself. You also need to begin thinking about a name for your blog.

What Others Have Said

"Attending the boot camp made me realize how many useful programs are out there on the web.....for free!

Jose L Miraya, CIC, LUTCF
Advantage Insurance Agency"

"I was unable to attend the first boot camp but I can tell from reading the blogs that everyone who attended is light-years ahead of most agency principals in their understanding of how to integrate Internet Marketing into their agency operation.

I plan to attend the second Agency Boot Camp in Franklin, Tennessee and highly recommend it to everyone in the insurance industry! I hope to see y'all there.

Eddie K. Emmett
Editor / Publisher
FYI Express

"I thought the meeting was great. I plan on meeting with my technical employees and brainstorming about all the things we talked about. When I say technical employees, I mean people that know how to turn a computer on and off. I will probably have more questions after we meet. Whatever it takes, lets have at least three more meetings.

Rick Pegram, Founder of Pegram Agencies and Superior Agencies"

This boot camp is not the 30,000 foot view. This is the feet on the street, how to execute the action view of the world.

About the Instructors

Steve Anderson is a nationally recognized insurance agency technology authority with years of experience. His newsletter – The Anderson Agency Report – is one of the best and most influential in the industry. His annual HIGH-TECC Conference in Vail, Colorado is a must attend event for the technology leaders in the Property and Casualty industry.

Duke Williams has created several of the most used web sites in the Property and Casualty insurance space. He has been teaching all over the country for the past two years trying to help agents understand how to use the Internet to grow their agencies.

Who Should Attend
  • Agency owners
  • Agency marketing and sales staff
  • Carrier marketing reps

Limited Space Guarantees Personal Attention

Because Steve and Duke spend as much time as needed walking around the class room to help each individual work through each step, space is limited to 20.

Cost: $249.00 per attendee.


I have read recently that in 2009, 85% of insurance buyers made their first contact with the agent they eventually bought insurance from online. Would they find you? If they did would your online presence make them want to buy from your agency?

I looked at almost 250 independent insurance agencies in 5 cities. Only 64 had any web presence. Twenty five percent. Of those with a web presence, no independent insurance agent site had more than 7 of the 17 functions I think are critical to doing business online. Most had only 2 of these functions.

Close this Gap - Be in Business in 2012 and Be Growing

Learn How to Start

Insurance Agency Internet Boot Camp

When: Feb 8th and 9th
Where: Franklin, TN
Cost: $249.00
Click here to register.

The registration price covers the class only. Snacks and drinks will be available.

Is Franklin Tennessee too far for you? Let us know where you are and we will use that to put this class on in other locations. Email me at duke@sehhey.com or call me at 1-800-768-0907.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Agency Web Presence Numbers

I have spent the later part of my holiday season taking a hard look at insurance agency's web presence. I looked at five communities - Aiken, SC; Durham, NC; Duluth, GA; Mobile, AL; and Pembroke Pines, FL.

These communities had 392 unique physical locations with addresses inside the city limits where you could buy car insurance.

In addition, all locations had at least 19 online only agency choices where you could purchase a real time policy.

248 independent agencies
49 Nationwide agencies
19 Online only agencies
51 State Farm agencies
26 Allstate agencies
7 Farmers agencies
7 Alpha agencies
2 Farm Bureau agencies
1 GEICO local agency
1 Direct General agency – a regional non standard auto insurance carrier with owned agency locations

Agency Web Presence

All direct writer agencies had web sites for each agency location.

Obviously all 19 online only agencies had a web site.

64 independent agencies had a website. 25.8%

184 independent agencies had no web presence

All direct writer agencies were in Google “local results” in addition to being in the general organic search results.

74 independent agencies were in Google “local results”.

174 independent agencies were not in Google “local results”.

These functional results are for the independent agencies only. All national direct writers had very high functionality. No agency had all these functions, but the national direct writers had all but one or two.

Real Time Functions

Quotes – 6 – 2.4% of all, 9.4% of agencies with web sites

Buy a policy – 3 – 1.2% of all, 4.7% of agencies with web sites

Request changes  - 0

Report claims – 5 – 2% of all, 7.8% of agencies with web sites

Make Payments – 13 but 6 were just links to carriers, 1 used PayPal – 5.2% of all, 20.3% of agencies with web sites

Review account information – 6 but 2 were just links to carriers – 2.4% of all, 9.4% of agencies with web sites

Get Directions – 11 – 4.4% of all, 17.2% of agencies with web sites

E-mail link – 21 – 8.5% of all, 32.8% of agencies with web sites

Get needed forms – ie, proof of insurance, certificates of insurance – 3 – 1.2% of all, 4.7% of agencies with web sites

Follow on social network – Facebook, Twitter, etc - 0

Peer ratings and reviews – 1 – 0.4% of all, 1.6% of agencies with web sites

Non Real Time Online Functions

Quote forms to request a quote – 33 – 13.3% of all, 51.6% of agencies with web sites

Request a change – 8 but 1 was page showing carriers phone numbers – 3.2% of all, 12.5% of agencies with web sites

Report a claim – 13 but 9 were just links to carriers or carrier phone numbers – 5.2% of all, 20.3% of agencies with web sites

Questions I Can’t Answer – This Relates to Car Insurance

Recently I have read that 85% of all car insurance buyers in 2009 had their first interaction with the eventual source of their insurance purchase online.

But I have seen other reports that show the percentage of policies actually bought online are still in the low single digits.

If my memory is correct, when the travel agents got put out of business by travel websites, it happened in about 12 to 18 months.

What is it about the sale of insurance that is tracking car buying more than travel agents?

Today, most car purchases are researched online but the vast majority of cars are bought in person. Of course a car is physical.

An insurance policy is as digital as an airline ticket, but current consumer behavior is somewhere between travel agents and car dealers.


Regardless, I think most car dealers have a website.

The 74.2% of independent agents who have no web site simply do not exist to the 85% of buyers who make first contact online.

Even among the independent agents with a web site, the functionality was never even half as complete as the national direct writer’s sites.

NOTES on Development of These Numbers

This information was put together by Duke Williams. dwilliams@myatlatl.com , 800-768-0907. Please use it as you see fit.

I used the “find an agent” feature on many insurance carrier websites. I used Google search with the term “car insurance city name state name” but without quotes. I used the SuperPages, YellowPages and about a half dozen other lists online.

When using Google search I would go to about the 8th page of results.

I will have missed a few agencies – but since they did not show up in the first 8 pages on Google I assume all insurance buyers will miss them also.

I will have some agencies on the list that are no longer in business. I tried to only take agents from secondary lists which were confirmed on other lists.

I personally went to all websites and saw the features I have recorded in these results. All this was done between 12/30/2009 and 1/10/2010.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sign Up for Google Reader and Alerts

Each person at the Boot Camp signed up for Google Reader and Google Alerts. We did this so each person could clearly and easily see how the things they posted on line were real and being reviewed or noticed by a variety of online services.

Google Reader is a way to organize your blog reading. Since everyone is going to be creating their own blog, setting up Reader will be a way they can see a service notice their blog posting right away. They will also go back and subscribe to the other blogs created in the class to see how tracking other blogs works, looks and feels.

To set up Google Reader you go to your Google Account. If Reader is not one of the options you already see, scroll down and click on more options. Select Reader from the options.

Click on Reader. Click on the "Add a subscription" button in the top left area. Cut and paste or type in the blog's web address - url.

You have now added and account blog subscription. You can add as many as you want.

Add Alerts the same way. Once you have added Alerts to your account, click on the Alerts link and add any words or phrase. Be aware that common words or popular phrase may bury you in results. Setting an alert for the word "insurance" would probably send so many results as to not be useful. Enter the name of your agency, your name, your competitor's name will probably be very useful.