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.”


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.


Veteran Insurance Executive Sold on EZLynxs Quote Scenarios

Flower Mound, TX, December 9, 2008 – Marla Folsom, of Horizon Insurance Group in Arizona, is passionate about finding the best insurance plans and rates for her clients. As an insurance executive, Marla serves on advocacy panels for MetLife Auto & Home®, Electric and Encompass and has been in the insurance industry for 26 years. As a member of beta test groups, she often evaluates the value and efficiency of new programs and services before they’re introduced to the insurance world at large. In 2004, Marla was part of the initial pilot of the EZLynx® quote system so she was naturally intrigued when she heard about Quote Scenarios. After Quote Scenarios was released, she decided to investigate the new feature and see if it would be a good tool for Horizon Insurance. In doing so, she had no idea she would become an advocate for it. “I was excited about Quote Scenarios from the first day it rolled out in Arizona,” she said. “It is a phenomenal sales tool and allows agents to get multiple rates back from the same carrier for one applicant.” Quote Scenarios works by submitting different agent defined coverage/deductible options along with the coverages/deductibles agents have selected for the applicant. The premium results are shown in a matrix on the screen allowing the agent to up-sell or just compare different coverage/deductible/premium breakdowns. In minutes, EZLynx® loops through and returns a rate for the coverages/deductibles selected along with several more options.

“Agents who prefer the old quoting model of retrieving a single quote back from each carrier still have that option, but I prefer using the Quote Scenarios system,” Marla said. “EZLynx Quote Scenarios recently showed me how to help one client get 10 times more coverage for only $10 more,” said Folsom. “Another client got $1 million in coverage for about $100 more a year.” Horizon Insurance Group, a fullline insurance agency, uses Quote Scenarios in all quotes and has discovered the feature helps them “close more business because clients value seeing the facts and options on the screen or on paper.”
Price-only clients and up-sell business sales have also increased. In the insurance industry, Folsom has noticed more E&O lawsuits among agencies that do not offer higher insurance quotes. “Quote Scenarios can be a good preventive method because quotes are documented and can be proven, therefore, there are less errors and omissions.” Folsom said Quote Scenarios provides information in about five minutes as compared to
the 30-to-60 extra minutes she spent earlier selling to clients. “We’re able to sell more business since we have more time,” she said. “You can’t beat that!”

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 https://www.ezlynx.com or call us toll free at 877-932-2382.


Comparative Auto and Home Rating with EZLynx

Flower Mound, TX, September 2, 2007 – If you are an independent insurance agent who writes auto or home insurance through more than two carriers – you know how time consuming and error prone it can be to re-key the same information over and over. In addition, you know how hard it is to stay up-to-speed with each company’s ever changing insurance software and websites. All things considered, finding the right company to place a risk is very time consuming. Gone are the days where you could look at a risk and know right away which company to place them with.

EZLynx integrates with each carrier so that ALL rating and credit scoring takes place on the carrier side. This not only guarantees accuracy, but it also bridges the data directly into each company’s rating website. Simply click the “EZLogin®” button when you are finished quoting and be automatically logged in to the company site to bind. EZLynx allows you to spend more time selling insurance. Being able to give a risk a fast and accurate real-time quote, is what will set you apart.

  • 100% real-time quoting from 122+ carriers in 45+ states
  • 100% web-based
  • Single data entry point
  • Single system for your agents/CSRs to learn
  • Reduces the chance of error by re-keying the same information
  • Secure data repository. SAS 70® compliant data center
  • Access to your data 24×7, via the Internet
  • Automatic login to carrier sites through EZLogin®
  • Integrated with lead generators
  • Quote Scenarios® (vary quotes using different coverage/deductible scenarios)
  • Management system support
  • Reporting at an Agency/Agent/CSR level
  • Consumer Facing Quote Forms (return live quotes or just collect data)
  • Email quotes directly to the risk from inside EZLynx
  • Award winning customer service (live chat, email & telephone)

EZLynx has been the industry pioneer and leader in real-time rating. Here what other people are saying about EZLynx:

“EZLynx provides the speed, ease of use, accuracy, and support that we desired from our old rater. In our experience there is no substitution for EZLynx.” – Evan P. A Sun Country Insurance Agency, LLC

“EZLynx is the best asset an agent can have for comparative rating. Customer support and service is second to none.” – Dan Ramey, Ramey Insurance Agency

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 https://www.ezlynx.com or call us toll free at 877-932-2382.