Aspen Agency Insurance Services
- Based in Coon Rapids, MN
- Founded in 1979
- 60% Commercial, 40% Personal
- 10 Employees
“The (Partner Platform) system, price, and personalization are outstanding, but in the end, it was the people that stood out to us. They just fit our approach. “
When Jen Wyles started at Aspen Agency, she knew what her first project would be when she stepped in the door: a new agency management system. Aspen had been with their old provider for over twenty years, and its age was showing. Long service delays, out-of-date processes, and a far too high price tag made Jen act fast. When her team connected with SIS and Partner Platform, they saw a dedicated partner willing to work with and for them to bring the solutions they needed.
We asked Jen to talk about Aspen’s management system search and what Partner Platform brings that helps their community-minded agency thrive.
Tell us about your agency – what makes you stand out in your industry?
Our long-term partnerships are what stand out most to me. We’re invested and involved in our community and have been since we opened over 40 years ago. We focus on our community’s personal and business insurance needs and regularly get engaged in volunteering as a team. We recently held a food drive for a local shelter and collected school supply donations for local schools, and we match many of the donations our employees make to local non-profits.
For us, it’s beyond transactional with our customers. Our objective is to establish a partnership between the customer, the insurance company, and our office. Our service and involvement in the community make us stand out.
How long were you with your previous management system provider, and when did you start thinking about switching?
When I joined the agency in 2015, we’d been with our previous provider for more than twenty years. The system was extremely out of date, and we weren’t using a lot of the functions. It was holding us back. We started looking for a new system for about a year before switching to Partner Platform.
What prompted your decision to switch management systems?
Before moving to Aspen, I worked with another agency and saw what management systems could do, so I immediately knew what we were using wasn’t cutting it. Plus, the service was terrible – we’d wait in a queue for days or weeks to get a response. On top of that, the price was more than we should pay for the utility and service. So, finding a new system was my first order of business when I came to the office.
What outcomes were you after?
There were a few things I knew we needed, the first being ease of use. As a small office, everyone wears multiple hats, so we needed something everyone could pick up quickly. The second was streamlined processes that worked for us. We needed something we could adapt for our use and implement as process standards across the agency. That way, we could hit the ground running on day one. The last was the price. We needed something affordable that wouldn’t jump in cost year over year like some other providers.
What was it that made Partner Platform stand out as the best choice?
The system, price, and personalization are outstanding, but in the end, it was the people that stood out to us. They just fit our approach. I had multiple calls with several SIS team members, and they were always straight with their answers and willing to work through any questions or concerns we threw at them. And this was before we’d signed on.
After the people, the system has the capabilities we need and want. We use all parts of the system, and that’s a win for me. Plus, the Partner Platform team is always working on new technology and integrations that make sense, so we know the system will grow with and for us.
How has your partnership with Partner Platform and the SIS team evolved over the years?
I love that the system is constantly evolving with the latest technology. The SIS team is great at working with companies that specialize in the integrations modern agencies need and, because I trust SIS, I know I can trust the companies they partner with. The SIS team thinks outside the box when it comes to bringing solutions.
Another factor I continued to be surprised by is the Partner Platform service. Our emails get answered right away, and every phone call is returned. That’s not something you see from other providers.
What keeps you a Partner Platform agency?
The service and the ability to think creatively. Just in the last few months, we’ve seen new reporting abilities that made a real impact. Data has become more important in every industry, and SIS saw that coming. And, of course, the solid and genuine partnership we feel with the SIS and Partner Platform team is invaluable.
What advice do you have for someone looking to change systems?
Look beyond price. There will always be a better price out there, but you have to look at the complete picture. What are you getting for what you’re paying? Determine your agency’s weaknesses and find a management system that will turn them into strengths and help you reach your goals.
Where do you think the insurance industry is going in the next 5 to 10 years? What challenges or opportunities will agencies face?
I see the industry becoming more automated and tech-based. Agents need to keep up with these changes, offering their customers more streamlined self-service while staying knowledgeable about their products. I’m confident we can lean on Partner Platform for insights on where tech is going and what we need to do to grow with it. As a Partner Platform Board member, I’m proud to work with the Partner Platform community to keep agencies well-equipped for whatever the future holds.