Agency Profile: Phil Klein Insurance Group

Phil Klein Insurance GroupPhil Klein Insurance Group opened in Bloomfield Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, during the 2008 recession. Even in an area hardest hit by the economic downturn and unemployment, Phil Klein has managed to grow his book of business to $3.5 million in six years. He accomplished this feat through hard work, dedication, and utilizing EZLynx technology to improve the customer service and productivity of his agency.

Klein learned the business as a captive agent, but three years later he decided to open Phil Klein Insurance Group as an independent insurance agency. Through a digital strategy, streamlined agency processes, and extensive use of EZLynx, Klein built his agency during a challenging economic time.

“I was using two different systems; EZLynx for rating and another vendor for management, but I was only using 30% of the features available in my management system,” explains Klein. Klein realized he was paying for a costly management system with features his agency never used, and his staff was tied-up in expensive, time-consuming training, which took resources away from new business and customer service.

In 2013, Klein made the switch to EZLynx Management System. “I found that it gave me not only a better management system but also a better value for my agency’s dollar,” he explains. “EZLynx gives us the ability to use one system that is easy to use, performs all functions, and is a true Internet-based system.”

This gave Klein the freedom to focus on growing his business rather than just running the system. “What sets it apart from other management systems is its ability to incorporate cutting edge technology in a management system with an understanding of the direction in which technology is taking the 21st century agency,” Klein adds.

He uses the integrated bulk messaging tool to promote new products and for cross-sell campaigns. His staff can quickly run the day-to-day activities and be proactive in helping current customers, especially during renewals.

The integrated management system frees Klein to focus more of his time on growing and retaining business. Knowing that social media is a popular method of communication, Klein utilizes a digital marketing strategy focused on Facebook to target leads in his area. “We have seen a dramatic rise in the amount of quotes being submitted through the Consumer Quoting Facebook App and it has led to numerous sales,” says Klein.

To increase customer service and retention, Klein uses the consumer facing EZLynx Client Center. “Many of my clients have already been using it and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Klein. “Clients love the fact that they have 24/7 access to their insurance information.” He had used a similar product through his previous management system, but found that it was challenging for the customers to use.

For Klein, the move to a digital focus did not just apply to communicating with his consumers, but pertained to his staff, too. “Since it is a truly Internet-based system, you can be anywhere in the world and on any type of device and have complete access to your virtual agency. All you need is an Internet connection,” Klein explained.

With about 70 percent of his business in personal lines, Klein and his staff interact with many customers in the local community. Having access to the agency’s full information in the cloud from anywhere with an Internet connection is just another way Klein offers his customers that personal touch that only an independent agent can provide.

At a challenging time, Klein laid a solid foundation for his agency, streamlined his processes, and provides online customer service for the modern insurance consumer. “EZLynx gives my agency the ability to interact with my clients through multiple lines of communication; phone, email, text message, or social media. It gives me the ability to stay in contact with my clients and promote new products and features through bulk campaigns. It also serves as an invaluable tool for my agents; it makes their job easier and allows them to be more organized which in turn increases productivity and gives me a great recruiting tool. EZLynx is the most highly-advanced management system on the market.” – Phil Klein (Personal Interview, 2014)

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Data Conversion for EZLynx Management System

It’s no secret in the insurance industry that legacy agency management systems have had a stranglehold on their customers for quite a while.  Their strategy was simple: Get as much of your agency data into their system as possible, and then make it extremely difficult to get it out again.  Agents soon found themselves chained to these old, expensive systems with no easy way to escape.

EZLynx has accepted that challenge by offering comprehensive data conversion services with EZLynx Management System, and we’ve taken the hassle out of converting your customer data.EZLynx Management System - Policies

EZLynx Management System can replace much of the functionality found in legacy management systems – at a fraction of the cost. However, cost is not the only factor an agency has to take into account.


We recently spoke with two of our customers that have had firsthand experience with the data conversion process when moving to EZLynx Management System.

“My first question was ‘Will everything come through?’” said Lindsay King of Insurance Center of Green Valley when considering a move from TAM Online.

He’s not alone in his initial fears about moving systems. Most agents have accumulated years’ worth of customer data.

EZLynx Management System - Document Library

Brooke Seaman of AmeriFirst Insurance Agency shared that sentiment. “Making sure all of my saved documents were transferred successfully from AMS360 was my initial concern, and they were!”
For many agencies, manually re-entering customer data into a new management system is simply not an option.

“I would have never considered entering the information myself.  That would take a full time person working for months,” said Seaman.
This problem often forces agents to stay with expensive legacy systems that are no longer a good fit. “We simply didn’t use all of the features in our old system. It was complicated and not user friendly,” Seaman went on.  “I can count on the reports I produce from EZLynx; whereas the old system’s reports rarely seemed to be accurate.”

We put a lot of focus on making our Data Conversion process a smooth and painless process. “I was kept completely in the loop throughout the entire process, “says Seaman.  “They used a project management system that let me know on a daily basis the activity that had taken place and who performed it.  I worked closely with one person who was extremely knowledgeable and patient.  He even called me weeks after my conversion, just to check on me and see if we needed any help using the new system.”

One of our goals with EZLynx Management System has been to give agents an all-in-one platform to streamline their agency. “The comparative rating system has enabled us to keep staffing down,” said King. “The management system will keep costs down and allow us to spend money elsewhere.”

EZLynx Agency Suites provides a cost effective way for agents to handle all aspects of their agency, from EZLynx Consumer Quoting and Agency Websites, to Management System and Marketing Campaigns.  “I have been using EZLynx Rating Engine for years,” said Seaman.  “When I did the demo on the management system, I really liked what I saw.  It just makes sense to use the same company for both systems. Plus, they did my website, which looks amazing.  With EZLynx Client Center, Consumer Quoting, and the ability to rate from anywhere on any of my devices, EZLynx has been an extremely valuable business tool, helping my agency to achieve the growth and success that we’ve been aiming for.”

“I was very pleased with the conversion and the pricing,” says King.  “It is most definitely a great product for the price.” Seaman agreed, “Everything was there, just as if I never transferred it!”

To learn more about EZLynx Management System and our Data Conversion process, please fill out this quick form.

Agent To Agent Advice

Self-reflection and resolutions are synonymous with the turning of a new year. When considering the ever-changing insurance industry, we are reminded of the need to develop successful strategies to thrive in the challenging economic environment of 2009-2010.

How do independent insurance agents address elusive online consumers, uncertain retention numbers, and aging customers on their books? After an in depth conversation with agent Mike Barr of Barr Insurance Agency, this seasoned agent offered some agent-to-agent advice to provide insight into what has brought his team success in these areas.

Apparently, you don’t need a fancy office, a large CSR team, or even the best rates in the land to successfully sell insurance these days…”At Barr Insurance, we feel that customers choose successful independent agents because the agent responds immediately with competitive rates and natural enthusiasm. I can literally be anywhere in the world as long as I can receive a phone call and respond to my customers as soon as possible.” Barr and his team are positioned to receive calls on their cell phones to get the job done. Many consumers are not aware of the difference between buying a policy from a carrier, captive agent or an independent agent. Barr and his team have immediate access to EZLynx, and keep their carrier logins current so that consumers receive instant live quotes from their agency’s CPLive! (EZLynx website integration)

“Where’s the service?” asks Barr. His agency is structured around sales, service, and retention.
The Barr Insurance team makes sure this shines through with each and every new business opportunity and policy holder call. “We spend whatever time necessary to effectively assist the consumer and we rarely miss a call.” Barr’s advertising budget cannot compete with agencies we all hear on the radio or see on television, but he wins his customers over by providing them a great experience and prompt service.

Barr is licensed to sell insurance in Georgia, but has no problem responding to consumer inquiries whether he’s traveling to New York, California, or even Argentina. He also doesn’t mind answering calls from consumers all across the state of Georgia. He boldly sees every lead as an opportunity to serve a future long-term customer.

Barr sees his role as a provider of a service and feels physical distance between the consumer and the agent is no longer a concern in the mind of a consumer. As long as the agent has the desire to help that consumer with their insurance buying experience, distance should not be an issue. Some agents tend to get in their own way, which hinders them from selling more insurance. If a carrier does not require photos of a property or need additional documentation, why is there a need for in depth investigation? “Do you think Geico® goes out to take a picture of each car?” “Fear and paranoia are part of sales dysfunction,”
explains Barr.

He enjoys his profession and believes an agent and the agency must have passion for what they do in order to be productive and happy. He has seen many consolidations, mergers, acquisitions, and policy changes in the insurance world. He takes everything in stride by creating a business philosophy that continues to motivate his team to produce and perform at a high level.

Online consumers are in need of instant gratification, which is evident in the way direct writers are gobbling up portions of the insurance market. With a straight forward approach to online consumers, Barr’s team has excelled in maximizing the use of EZLynx’ ICQ (Integrated Carrier Questions) and CPLive features to quickly respond to consumers. Their expert salesmanship and service complete the phenomenal package.

Barr says, “A web lead is like the phone ringing. You’ve got to follow up in minutes! These consumers want insurance now.” Because the majority of agents do not have online binding ability, service strategies adopted by Barr are becoming common to capture the attention of online consumers while the lead is hot. Barr unselfishly offers advice to his fellow colleagues with the hope that it inspires them to see and renew their joy for selling insurance this year. He believes that all customers want is for someone to help them with their insurance needs. Consumers may search for insurance online these days, but the value of the independent agent remains the same. “This is the best gig I can find in the world,” Barr says proudly. “I look forward to Monday morning.”

Texas Agent Touts ROI Due to EZLynx

Flower Mound, TX, November 17, 2009 – When you’ve been in the business for more than three decades, it could be difficult to make the adjustment to today’s drastic industry changes. Customers know enough about insurance to be dangerous, and instead of looking for insurance in the phone book, they search endlessly online. Independent agencies are being outspent in advertising by companies with deep pockets as well. How do you grow your business, maintain a website, advertise, retain current customers, and find an hour or two to hit the green? An agent has priorities!

Tommy Thompson, President of Southwest Insurance Marketing Group, feels confident his agency has the formula down to a science. “We don’t wait for the business to come to us,” says Thompson. Southwest spent time building name recognition in their community and surrounding areas through multiple channels. After several months of creating their website, the agency strategically added their website link to the bottom of their email signatures to be included with each new email. It didn’t matter if the email was directed to a customer, family member, or friend. Every email was an opportunity to expose the Southwest website and attract new business. “Our website is the path of least resistance. Customers these days are not always eager to talk to you on the phone. They can check out the agency website and receive a quote (CPLive®) without feeling like they are being sold to,” explained Thompson. “If they are really interested, the applicant will respond to the email or phone call when we follow up with their quote request.”

Although it took months to set up the agency website, Thompson takes pride in this investment. Southwest easily spent $10,000 a year on print yellow page ads before creating their site, and have already seen valuable return. “People think it comes down to spending money, but it is really important to have a strategy that will work in the current market,” Thompson advises.

Southwest will not work with certain independent companies that write direct to consumers because it believes they will take business from independent agents. Thompson did not mention them by name, but says, “This is a tough business.” There are other companies out there that are driving independent agents out of business. It is hard to develop a sense of community when independent agents are essentially competing amongst themselves for new customers. Understanding the complexities of the insurance industry helps the agency make informed decisions about managing their business.

“We are out of the order-taking business. We used to spend a great deal of time running multiple quotes for customers who were not really ready to purchase a policy. My team and I can now focus on interested applicants while other consumers can use my CPLive® (on the website) to generate quotes.” With updated tools to efficiently manage his business, the Southwest team spends most of its time utilizing their expertise of insurance consultation and providing excellent customer service to his clients. For Thompson, the reward of being an agent is being able to educate the consumer on the value of protecting their family through effective coverage. “The agent is a critical piece of the puzzle when purchasing a policy. How can an agent focus on addressing customer needs when they are chasing down customers who are just shopping for insurance?”

Southwest proudly touts its 90% customer retention, refined website, and search engine optimization plan. “Competitive companies with great technology tend to last much longer than those who don’t adapt to new technology tools.” Thompson experienced the transition from 1970’s to the new millennium, when agents went door to door to sell policies and the extensive time spent on the phone trying to make a sale. “Technology has evolved and I understand the huge role that insurance software and automation has played in our agency.” He feels that utilizing EZLynx® and its live quoting feature for agency websites (CPLive®) makes an agent’s life easier. The independent insurance agent market has gone down in Texas and Thompson attributes his success to maximizing the best insurance software tools available to make his business run smoothly. He has done something right; not just once, but many times over the last thirty eight years. You won’t see him left in cyber dust.

EZLynx Product Family Chart

About Webcetera, L.P.
Webcetera is a leading provider of real-time quoting and insurance software solutions for independent insurance agents and carriers. Its flagship product EZLynx® delivers accurate real-time rate quotes to independent insurance agencies across the United States. As an insurance software provider, Webcetera has focused on empowering both independent agencies, wholesales/MGAs, and insurance companies with the technology they need to grow and compete. Webcetera is a privately-held company. For more information, visit or call us toll free at 877-932-2382.

EZLynx Delivers Growth for Florida Agent

I have been working with EZLynx for two years. I don’t know what I did without it! Due to the ease and speed of the quoting process, it has allowed me to offer time efficient accurate quotes to my customers in a fraction of the time I was able to do before. Prior to EZLynx it would take an hour or more to quote one customer with 8 carriers and now it can be done in minutes. EZLynx significantly reduces the potential of data entry errors by not having to re-enter the same information in multiple quoting formats. Best of all, I can retrieve prior quotes when the customer requests me to shop their rate and all the information is already in the system.

Since all of my carriers are on EZLynx, I input the information once and within minutes, generate enough information to narrow my choices down to the most competitive carriers. Additionally, it allows me to quote each carrier every time which helps to maintain my agency contracts. EZLynx has been instrumental in improving my auto production and assisting in the growth of my agency.