Today I start with a question central to SIS and our commitment to independent insurance agency support: What is it about small businesses that draws us? Why do we choose the local hardware store over supposedly less expensive chains? What is it that draws customers to independent insurance agencies when they seemingly save with big names?
The answer is simple, yet complex: relationship. This single word represents all that is valued in these local organizations. When you feel a connection with a service provider, it means you feel heard. You know they are there to serve you, not process you through a system. You feel respected, valued, and known.
As an independent insurance agency, you understand the power of relationship. This is what your customers value. And you should look for a similar relationship in all your agency partners. Vendors come and go, but partners are about long term win-win relationships; they work with you through challenges for mutual success.
Whether it’s your carriers, agents, service providers, or other associates, it’s important to look for and recognize the markings of a great partnership. To determine what makes a good partner, we asked our clients to share their experiences. We found similar qualities mentioned time and again.
Connection to leadership
Accessibility to leadership is a good sign. It indicates clients are valued and shows decision-makers are invested in your success. There is a confidence and care shown when leadership prioritizes clients in this way, reaching out with phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings.
“Immediately we got the attention of (SIS) President, Michael (Doran). To be on a first name basis with your leadership team was a huge difference from our old provider. Your commitment to building a relationship reflected our philosophy to build relationships with our clients and carrier.” – Max Van Wyk, Van Wyk Risk Solutions
The service you’ll receive is tied to how your partner treats its employees and the company culture it perpetuates. You want a partner that listens to their employees – this shows they’ll be inclined to take your feedback as well.
“It’s neat the way the (Partner XE) system has grown and what it has become. And, the updates come right from the agencies. That’s one thing I appreciate most – the team at SIS get it. They listen to what agents say. They’re always working towards making Partner XE better, and that makes us better.” – Dan Cassidy, Berndt and Murfin Insurance Agency
Team capabilities and capacity
Your partner should want to take care of your agency’s needs and have the capacity to do so. Look for a company with an experienced team that works with each other and you, including your agency in conversations about trainings, data transfers, upgrades, and other services.
“SIS was great about working with us. The team moved the data and recoded it, so we didn’t have to reenter information manually. It saved us hours of work. They were able to do it all without tying up our staff.” – Chad Van Camp, Family Insurance Center
Quality and service
Naturally, you want a partner with a product or service that works for you and your agency. Quality is more important than quantity, and the strength of service also plays a big role. When something goes wrong, you want a partner you can rely on: someone who you trust to be there and make things right.
“It’s huge just to have someone you can call with questions, and they’re readily available. It has been the communication and the service provided that made SIS stand out. It’s the quality of the people involved.”– Bill Bishop, Associated Insurance Agencies
Is your agency looking for a partner that challenges the status quo?
Finding a good partner not only improves your agency, it also saves you money. The wrong partner can cost you more than money. Some may offer initial savings, but in the end, bad service, a one-size-fits-all product or service, and a lack of input in improvements results in an overall loss for your agency in time, money, and potentially customer relationships.
At SIS, Partner is more than a name; it’s who we are. We’re committed to being that reliable partner, listening to our clients and forming relationships with individual agencies and their people. This partnership leads to lasting success for both of us.