- Based in Poplar Bluff, MO, with branches in St. Charles, Farmington, and Dexter, MO
- Founded in 1935
- 40% Personal, 50% Commercial, 10% Life & Health
- 46 employees
Lara L. Moffitt
“I’ve never worked with another management system provider who was more accessible and responsive than Partner Platform. When an issue arises, we get the attention needed to resolve it. When we have a suggestion for an improved workflow or process, they do what they can to deliver, making those improvements in almost every case.”
When Lara Moffitt stepped into her role as CEO of MHJ Insurance, she knew right away that she needed to change her agency’s management system. The big-name provider they were using was expensive, complicated to learn, and unresponsive when it came to customer service. She and her team started their three-month-long search for a new provider with cost, ease of use, and service top of mind.
After many demos and in-depth meetings, MHJ Insurance selected Partner Platform as their new agency management system partner and haven’t looked back since. We talked with Lara about her team’s management system search, what led them to Partner Platform, and why they see Partner Platform as their permanent partner for years to come.
Tell us a little bit about your agency – what is your primary business, and what makes you stand out as an independent agency?
We have offices in four locations and producers in several communities throughout Missouri. We’re a pretty even split between commercial and personal lines, with about 10% life and health as well. One area where we stand out is our adaptation of technology. We retooled our technology over the past couple of years to take advantage of growth opportunities beyond the physical borders of our branch offices.
How long were you with your last provider, and when did you start thinking about changing management system providers?
Our last provider was one of the “big names” in the business. We’d been with them for about six years before looking for alternatives in the Spring of 2020. Our main goals were to find a system at a better price that was easier to use and had better customer service. We just didn’t feel we were getting what we were paying for with this large provider.
How did you go about finding a new system?
Our whole management staff was involved in the search. We narrowed our choices down to five systems and viewed demos of each. After that, we met with our top three candidates. We conducted in-depth demonstrations, talked with references, and met with management and set up personnel for a real deep dive into who we would be working with. After a search process that took about three months, we landed on Partner Platform. I’m proud of the depth and detail our team invested in the process. We took our time because we didn’t want to go through this change again – we wanted someone that would be our partner for the long term.
How did you first hear about Partner Platform, and what were your impressions?
Our CFO came across SIS and Partner Platform when he researched management systems before our most recent one. He remembered being impressed with the management and the story of the system’s formation. The expanded capability and system development over the past few years and the user reviews put Partner Platform at the top of our list when we began searching (again) for a new provider.
As you started to learn more about your options, what factor made Partner Platform stand out?
By far, it was the commitment to customer satisfaction. That is still the song that I sing when talking with agencies considering a management system change. We’ve never worked with any other provider that was as accessible, responsive, and helpful.
What factors were most important in your decision-making process?
Ease of use was at the top of our list because we have several new producers from the captive agency world. We knew they needed a system that wouldn’t take long to learn. But customer service and cost were considerations not far behind the ease of use and Partner Platform delivered on all three.
I’ve never worked with another management system provider that was more accessible and responsive than Partner Platform. When an issue arises, we get the attention needed to resolve it. When we suggest an improved workflow or process, they do what they can to deliver, making those improvements in almost every case.
How was the onboarding and training experience?
Exceptional. Our onboarding experience with Partner Platform was far superior to any other system. We spent significant time before going live letting the Partner Platform team walk us through how to keep the trash in our old system from transferring to our new one and being deliberate and methodical about every other step in the set-up process. The accounting set-up was equally as good. I can’t express enough how hands-on the Partner Platform team was! This time allowed us to understand the system and make sure our data was clean and operated how we wanted.
What are some of the top capabilities you and your team use today? What do you like about them?
The reports are incredibly easy compared to any other system. I can’t express enough how helpful it is to be able to access the information we need quickly. While downloads are not perfect (they aren’t with any system), we get fast answers and resolutions when we have an issue. Also, the Partner Platform development team is constantly working to improve and expand functionality, and we’ve seen those improvements in the year we’ve been on the system.
You’re on the Partner Platform Community Board. What brought you there, and what has your experience been like?
I was less than a year into my role as CEO when we switched to Partner Platform. I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of how our old management system was set up or how it worked. I just knew that it didn’t work well for us, and it took way too long to learn about it.
When we decided to change to a new system, I committed to being part of the transition and training process so that I could learn as much as possible. My involvement in that process made me very familiar with the Partner Platform team. Late last year, I was asked if I was interested in serving on the Community Board, and I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been great to learn from users at agencies of all sizes across the U.S. and share our experience in the development and improvement of the system.
How does the Board operate to serve the needs of Partner Platform agencies?
Board member agencies are critical in serving as pilot agencies for new integration partners. Further, the Partner Platform team looks to the Board for input about prioritizing updates to functionality and system performance. I’m impressed with Partner Platform’s commitment to their customers’ satisfaction and how often they ask for customer input.
Where do you think the insurance industry is going in the next 5 to 10 years? What challenges or opportunities will agencies face?
I believe we’re going to see younger, more tech-focused people enter the industry, requiring agencies, carriers, and vendors to adapt to their needs. While technology has improved dramatically in the past decade, we still have a long way to go. We need to develop tools that work as quickly and seamlessly as the younger generation is accustomed to using.
One of our biggest challenges in the independent agency world will be developing industry standards that allow insurtech users to rely on a basic expectation of performance, simplifying use. We also need to understand that many tech options available to agencies can be overwhelming for smaller shops. At the end of the day, an agent’s job is to sell insurance, and technology is a tool to help do that, but the expense is always a factor. I believe insurtech needs to do better in being able to illustrate to agencies the return on their investment.
How do you see Partner Platform supporting you through the challenges and opportunities of the future?
When considering new tech tools, I will always look to Partner Platform’s integration partners first. Knowing that their users have piloted those programs carries a lot of weight. I also know that Partner Platform looks to their customers to understand what additional tools would be beneficial, and they look for new integration partners based on that feedback. Should a new opportunity for our agency arise, I know Partner Platform would work with us to set up our system accordingly.