Nolan Insurance Agency
- Based in Brandon, WI.
- Founded in 1968
- 60% commercial and 40% personal
- 18 Employees
“Ultimately, we are a very common sense agency. In order to give our clients the customer service they expect, as well as the solid insurance solutions they need, we have to have quick responses from our vendors. In this business, any delay can be costly – in the sense of dreams, families, pocketbooks, business functionality, and more. We can’t let our customers down. Partner XE helps us protect our employees, our business reputation, and our customers.”
Marking nearly fifty years of service, Nolan Insurance Agency runs on referrals. Located in Brandon, Wisconsin— a small town of around 900 people— the bulk of Nolan Insurance Agency’s business comes from daily referrals sent over by happy customers. Partner Kathy Mulder and her team are set apart by persistent, personal, 24/7 customer service that supports every personal, farm and agri-business, commercial or health and life insurance solution. There is no voicemail here, only real people!
When Kathy realized her existing provider was going out of business, she embarked on a thorough search for the next best management system. Vetting multiple agencies and providers, the owners selected SIS and Partner XE because, “With Partner XE, we have a voice.” Explore more on why she selected Partner XE below.
What are you most proud of when it comes to what Nolan Insurance Agency offers compared to your competitors?
We are a customer service agency. We know that if we do a good job, we are going to get a referral— and I can proudly say that referrals make up the bulk of our business today. We don’t advertise, except occasionally sponsoring a local football game, and yet we receive an average of 25-30 phone calls per week for new business referrals. This is in a town of only 912 people!
We are proud to take care of our customers. These are our neighbors, after all. We ensure we quickly get a quote to insured clients, find the right insurance solutions for new customers and strive to help address even the simplest of questions. When we receive a call to report a claim, we walk the individual through the entire process, helping to obtain a police report, explain actual cash value vs. replacement value, etc. We hold our clients hands through the entire process.
What’s more, every time a customer calls Nolan Insurance Agency, they get a live person. We have no voicemail here! I’m pretty proud of that type of service in this day and time.
How long were you with your old provider and what led you to consider making a change?
We were with our old provider for twenty-two years. It was a management system built and maintained by agents so it was the best of the best. The parent company ended up getting bought out and they decided to sunset the existing program, so we were left to find a new solution.
What led you to consider Partner XE?
I was the Chairman of the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of Wisconsin’s Automation Committee and we decided to put together an event to host a number of providers in one room and put them through the same tests. We hosted over 12 different agency management systems and asked them questions to uncover whether they could help us provide the level of customer service, and solid insurance solutions our customers expect.
We knew that everyone had a system that our agency could use. With Partner XE, it was a better program to use in terms of the number of clicks to accomplish everyday tasks. But most important, we had a voice with Partner XE. If we needed a particular feature, they listened, brainstormed with us to develop a solution and set an actual timeline for implementation when possible.
We work in reality. We know our customers, and we know technology and what we need to serve our clients at the high level for which our agency is known. So, we needed a company that would be real with us about what they can and can’t do and ultimately listen to us, whether we have questions, suggestions for improvement, or need someone to come out to our office. After meeting with all the leaders in the industry — big and small — we realized the answer was Partner XE.
What have you found SIS and Partner XE are able to provide that larger providers do not?
It’s the customer service. I know how to massage systems and can work within the constraints of any system to get it to do what I need. But if I don’t have a voice, what good is the software? It is priceless to maintain the quality of customer service that comes with Partner XE.
Partner XE is also simple to use. It becomes a better and better system as I push my employees to use it. As an owner, I always read the notes that our employees enter— usually 200-300 notes per day— to stay up on everything that is going on with our system. When needed, I can take feedback to Partner XE and I get an immediate response, a real person to speak honestly with me. They never blow smoke.
Ultimately, we are a very common sense agency. In order to give our clients the customer service they expect, as well as the solid insurance solutions they need, we have to have quick responses from our vendors. In this business, any delay can be costly— in the sense of dreams, families, pocketbooks, business functionality, and more. We can’t let our customers down. Partner XE helps us protect our employees, our business reputation, and our customers.
What features do you use the most in Partner XE?
The notes. Our employees are trained to take detailed notes to protect themselves and our agency. It is vital that we can keep all information organized and accurate when a client calls in. Partner XE makes note taking easy, organized and detailed at the level we need.
What advice would you offer to someone weighing SIS and Partner XE against big name providers?
Every vendor will tell you that they will convert your data – dive into that claim, make them define that. We heard from every company in our search that they would convert 100% of our information. Except with Partner XE. They didn’t make that claim.
Many vendors may say they’ll convert 100% of your data, but that’s not necessarily true. When it comes to policies and clients, you’ll have to do the initial load. That is not 100% conversion.
It’s important to note that Partner XE successfully brought over 22 years worth of documents for us, matched to the client screen to which the information belonged. That was impressive.
What advice would you share with other business owners considering a change to a new management system?
Change is never easy or pleasant, but take the time to consider all the possibilities. Compare how much manual labor you and your employees are putting into the old system to how much could and ought to be automated. Don’t go with the flashiest technology. Yes, you want things to be fast and easy but you need a solution that will make your employees’ lives easier, help to protect their jobs and help to safeguard your agency.
The cost of Partner XE is very competitive but I encourage owners to consider pricing last. Focus on the value of your employees’ time to convert information over. Don’t forget about the hundreds of hours you could end up investing in information conversion during a transition to a particular solution.
Look at what is converting and how many clicks particular actions take. Have the sales person click through the proposed program and show you how to do a certificate of insurance. If a sales person can’t operate or understand the system they are trying to sell you that should be a warning sign.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
When you are looking at purchasing a management system, you need to ask every employee what challenges they face when working with the existing system. Ask what is too complicated of a process, what duties are the most frustrating— accessing and processing certificates of insurance, taking a claim call, etc. That detailed feedback from your team enables you to start to match what you need with what you can get from a software agency.
As the agency owner, ask yourself if you want the fluff or for your employees to be able to work at a better speed every day? Do you want fancy, flashy features or a technology that is easy to use and will make your employees more efficient?