Batchelder Bros. Insurance
- Based in Sanford, ME
- Founded in 1874
- 40% commercial and 60% personal
- 10 employees
“With Partner XE, you’ll benefit from constant improvements and updates to the system, some of which are scheduled upgrades, as well as other enhancements. You’ll also see custom features, as SIS listens to feedback from agencies and actually implements changes to serve specific agency needs.”
Based in Sanford Maine, family-operated Batchelder Bros. Insurance has served clients in the Northeast U.S. for more than 140 years—and counting. They credit their longevity to the consistent, outstanding service and industry-leading home, auto, business, and commercial insurance products offered to customers.
When President Andrew Thayer began his search for an intuitive, reliable agency management system that could also provide a high level of personalized service, colleagues referred him to SIS and Partner XE. Read on to explore more on why this legacy agency selected Partner XE over the competition.
Tell me a little bit about Batchelder Bros. Insurance - What do you believe contributed to the longevity of your agency?
My grandfather joined Batchelder Brothers in the 1950’s and then my Father in the 1970’s. I joined the firm in 2010 and my brother joined two years ago. Two generations of Batchelder Brothers ran this agency from its start in 1874 and then a nephew connected our family to the agency. Our town in Maine is a tight knit community. Our agency is committed to showing the people in this town that we care by protecting their interests, families, and businesses. We not only say we care, we show them that we do. As we do that consistently, they have reciprocated a commitment and loyalty to our agency and family for all of these years. I believe that has been the key to our longevity.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your agency?
I am proud that our agency has been able to stay relevant and at the forefront of our community’s mind despite interruptions and outside distractions within our industry. There are always big, captive national and multinational insurance agencies that come in and try to disrupt this industry—even in our small town. Despite that, our agency has grown and moved forward and advanced. We made an acquisition about seven years ago and continue to try to build and grow organically. Thankfully, we do business in a state that supports the local agency channel. The number of long-term happy customers that have stayed with us are a testament to how we do business and I am proud of that.
What prompted your agency to change management systems?
We were actually fairly late to the game in terms of the management system side of the business. When I joined the agency in 2010, things were still done the old fashioned, manual way. It was working for us but we realized some inefficiencies. When we acquired another agency seven years ago, they were operating an agency management system. We decided to utilize another big name provider, which was a bridge from where we were and where we wanted to go. In time, however, we realized that system still didn’t quite suit our needs.
How did you learn about SIS and Partner XE? What stood out to you the most in your search?
About five to six years into using our previous system, we spoke with other partner agencies about what agency management systems they used and would recommend. Cole Harrison was integral in steering us in the direction of Partner XE and the benefits of the system for an agency our size. That it was more intuitive and had significantly better customer service appealed to us. The personal touch that SIS and Partner XE provided from the start also jumped out at me immediately. That just doesn’t exist with any other provider. Every other provider tried to wheel and deal me on price, but I was looking for that personalized aspect. I always questioned the sales pitches with “how is that going to translate into service once we get this installed and fully integrated?” Michael Doran and Jake Thaxton both came out to our agency and met with us in person to discuss our agency needs, as well as how SIS could meet those needs better than competitors and peers. At the end of the day, I was sold on the personalized touch and it has continued to exceed my expectations.
What have you found SIS is able to provide that larger providers do not/can not?
With SIS there are constant improvements and updates to Partner XE, some of which are scheduled upgrades, as well as a lot of other enhancements and features. With SIS, you also see custom features. They listen to feedback from agencies and actually implement changes to serve specific agency needs. SIS is nimble and flexible enough to meet your unique agency needs and to connect with you and your agents on a personal level. I don’t think there are many other agencies that can do that to the extent SIS does.
Has your agency changed since implementing Partner XE?
Our staff is happy with the system. The feedback from them has been very positive. We are only one year out from the switch to Partner XE and have already seen increased efficiencies. Using the accounting features more for direct billing and invoicing is starting to pay dividends for us. What’s ideal is that if we run into anything we don’t know how to do or are trying to zero in on something in particular, we can get help and an answer within 20 minutes that gets us to what we need.
What do you think is the best part of the Partner XE system?
It’s easy to stay organized with this system. You can easily navigate and multi-task. With our old system, you couldn’t do a lot all at once, as the layout wasn’t conducive to it. Now, I can have 10-15 accounts open at once and still have a good workflow. The prompts within the workflow are also helpful, as is that documentation never gets lost with Partner XE.
What advice would you share with other business owners considering a change to a new agency management system?
My biggest piece of advice would be to do as much cleanup to your legacy system that you can, so that the data transfer moves only up-to-date information. This step will make things a lot cleaner on the other side and enable you to use the full features of the new reporting system. I’d also say that anytime you decide to change management systems, it cannot be a knee jerk move. You need to pick the best system for your needs, your clients, and your budget. You also want solutions that help you stay ahead of innovation and maintain forward thinking so that you can be at the front end of the industry. With Partner XE, you’ll see the potential of the system and what it does right away. Our staff was able to get up to speed within a couple of months. It will still take us time to understand and utilize all of the capabilities that come with the system, but we are confident we made the right choice. We recommend Partner XE to other agencies all the time and are more than willing to be a referral for anyone who has questions about the system and the high level of service.