ITC Press Releases
|Zywave Acquires Insurtech Frontrunner ITC, Becomes Only Provider to Offer Front-Office Solutions for Independent Insurance Agencies Across All Lines of Business
The new partnership enables Zywave to deliver its market-leading operations, sales and marketing solutions to agencies selling employee benefits, commercial or personal lines of coverage.
POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2020 7:00 AM
|ITC Provides Free Property Data Prefill for Florida Insurance Agents
Agents Will Get More Accurate Rates, Save Time in Quoting Process
POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2020 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Agency Matrix, LLC
ITC announced today it has acquired Agency Matrix, an insurance technology provider
POSTED FEBRUARY 04, 2020 9:00 AM
|Sarah Jaquez Wins the Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Jaquez as the recipient of the 2019-2020 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Reinvents Online Insurance Shopping Experience for Consumers
Next Generation TurboRater for Websites Brings Best of Insurtech Capabilities to Agents and Carriers
POSTED SEPTEMBER 04, 2019 2:00 PM
|ITC Named Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, has been named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Smart Harbor
ITC acquires Smart Harbor, a provider of digital technology solutions to insurance agents. Smart Harbor works with more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies by bringing them technical expertise and industry knowledge to help them grow their businesses and retain clients through websites, smart forms, SEO, and data analytics capabilities.
POSTED AUGUST 14, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Named Top Technology Provider by Insurance Business America For Fourth Year in a Row
Insurance Technologies Corporation announced today that readers of Insurance Business America have named ITC a top technology provider for the fourth year in a row.
POSTED JUNE 12, 2019 9:00 AM
|Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship Open for Applications
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of insurance websites, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, opened today the fourth annual InsurTech Scholarship for applications for the 2019-2020 school year.
POSTED APRIL 25, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Assurance Systems Incorporated
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today it has acquired Assurance Systems, Incorporated, an insurance technology provider in the southeastern United States.
POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 9:00 AM
|Exclusive Customer Experience Educational Package
Insurance agencies need the right tools to create the right experience to better sell, service and retain the modern insurance consumer. Explore this selection of content, curated especially for you, and learn more about the right customer experience.
The educational package includes a live webinar, white paper, and a special video of ITC CEO Laird Rixford sharing how his insurance agent failed him.
American Agents Alliance members may qualify for special pricing on personal lines comparative rating system TurboRater.
Thursday, February 4th, 2021 12:00 PM PT: Next Generation of Online Consumer Rating
Consumers expect convenience and ease in an online shopping experience. It's time to reimagine online consumer rating for agencies and carriers. Laird Rixford, CEO of ITC, will be presenting the next generation of online consumer rating.
You'll learn how you can apply the best of insurance technology capabilities to your own website to drive more leads and more business. You don't want to miss this.
Hurry! Space is limited.
ITC presents the latest research on why agencies should be hyper-vigilant in their efforts to keep policies renewing by creating a complete client experience before, during, and after the sale.
To grow your insurance agency, you need to prioritize the customer experience. Click the button to get this guide.
Operation Agency Success
ITC CEO Laird Rixford shares a story about his experience with his insurance agent from his perspective as the consumer. It is a customer experience lesson we all need to remember.
Consumer Experience Discovery Call
A fun, mobile-first online shopping experience for your clients doesn't have to require a large investment or custom development. Schedule a quick discovery call and learn more about our turnkey solution that uses time-saving technologies and has 225+ carriers.
Plus! As an American Agents Alliance member, you may qualify for special pricing on our 100% browser-based personal lines rating system that powers this next generation of online rating.
POSTED JANUARY 14, 2021 1:26 PM
|Welcome to the Agent Resource Center
Welcome to ITC's Agent Resource Center, a hub of content for agents who want to learn how to manage, market and grow their agencies in today's insurance industry.
Not sure where to start?
To search for a specific topic, click the magnifying glass located at the top of every page. Then, type in your topic and hit enter.
Just browsing? Welcome!
You'll find all sorts of helpful resources in this hub.
Our Operation Agency Success series covers various topics, including marketing in short, helpful videos.
Operation Agency Success
Find out how others in the insurance industry plan their day and achieve success in our This is the Way series. You may see a familiar face.
This is the Way: Mick Becker, CEO of PIA National
In-depth eBooks and white papers are detailed, long-form content that cover our most frequently asked questions and popular topics like "How do I use Facebook for my agency?" and "How can I drive more traffic to my agency website?"
White paper library
If you have only a few minutes a day to learn, here are some good places to start...
If you made it to the bottom of this overview, here's a secret: We put on a free insurance marketing webinar every month. Click below to learn more.
Masters of Marketing webinar series
Whew, that's a lot of content. Trying to find something and can't? Leave a comment below.
POSTED JANUARY 03, 2020 3:21 PM
|10 Content Ideas for February
Having trouble coming up with ideas for next month’s content? Writer’s block is no excuse to not send your monthly newsletter or update your blog with fresh content. Here are 10 ideas to write about for your agency’s blog in February 2021.
1: Groundhog Day (February 2)
Always celebrated on February 2, this folk holiday is a fun one to share on your Facebook page. According to legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow, spring will arrive early that year. If it is a cloudy day and there is no shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. Here is some fun inspiration!
2: Spring Cleaning to Spring Maintenance
Take spring cleaning one step further this year. Level up to spring maintenance!
Provide your clients with a list of spring maintenance activities that can help them keep their homes safe, secure, and at low risk of home insurance claims. For example, having your home inspected for pests or cleaning out the gutters.
A safe home is a happy home year-round.
3: Hot Beverage Recipes
What's more satisfying on a cold winter day than a nice, warm beverage? Share your favorite hot chocolate or tea recipe with your clients so they can enjoy the sweet warmth as well. This is another great photo contest opportunity! Everyone has a favorite mug. Ask your followers to share a picture of their favorite hot beverage in their favorite mug. The person with the most likes gets a gift card to Starbucks or another local coffee shop.
4:New Year, New Policy
Does your agency sell commercial lines? A lot can change in a year, especially for small or growing companies during a pandemic. Businesses should plan on reviewing their policy at least once per year. What better time to do this than the new year?
5: Annual Coverage Review
You want to always provide your clients with the best deal possible. Remind them you can review their coverage when it’s time to renew their policy. Let them know your agency is there to help them through the process.
6: Super Bowl (February 7)
It's been a weird year, but we’ve still got the Super Bowl. At this point, it should be a national holiday.
Don't forget to post about the big game on your agency's social media channels. Take part in some friendly competition and post who you're rooting for. Share your favorite Super Bowl snacks or recipes. Make a fun photo contest and ask your followers to share pictures of their pandemic Super Bowl parties.
7: Top 5 Snow Day Activities
Winter is in full effect and that means the occasional snow day. Cure their cabin fever with some helpful recommendations on what to do on the next snow day. What can their family do when they run out of snowballs?
8: Early Bird Tax Returns
Many Americans have already begun to receive important tax documents for their 2020 returns. Does your agency do taxes? Encourage your customers to stay ahead of the rush and get their tax returns prepared early. Does your agency partner with a local tax professional? Add them to your Community Partners web page.
9: Valentine’s Day (February 14)
Share your ideas for a perfect romantic evening indoors!
Many may be staying home for Valentine’s Day this year. Share some great valentine’s day dinner recipes or fun activities to do with your significant other from home. Here’s another fun idea… Start a contest and ask your clients to submit their favorite Valentine’s Day dates.
The best idea gets dinner for two.
10: Referral Rewards Promotion
Want more referrals? Ask for them!
Want even more? Incentivize them. Every referral from a client gets one entry into a drawing for something exciting. Promote in your monthly newsletter every month. Share it on social media. You can even create a fun landing page on your insurance agency website.
We hope we helped with that pesky writer’s block. Pick your top two topics and get started on your latest content.
POSTED JANUARY 13, 2021 9:13 AM
|Digital Marketing: The Importance of Being Local
The value of the independent agent has always been a choice. A consumer has one point of contact (you) but access to multiple products (carriers).
The challenge for independent agents is how to stand out in such a crowded marketplace. Let’s be real. You can’t match marketing dollar for dollar with companies like GEICO, Progressive, or State Farm. Nor should you try. They spend millions of dollars every year on digital marketing.
So how do you stand out? What is your insurance agency’s differentiator?
Many agencies claim that service is their differentiator. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. Service is not a differentiator because today’s consumers expect good service.
So, if not service, then what?
You can be what the big companies can’t be with their national TV budget or high marketing budgets. You can be local.
You know what is important to the people in your city because that’s your town. Here’s the truth. Those million-dollar Super Bowl ads are funny, maybe even memorable, but they cannot compete with your insurance agency at a local level.
Did you know that 80% of all shoppers use a digital channel at some point in the insurance buying process? Whether you like it or not, insurance shoppers are now online. The good news is that most of them don’t want to buy without talking to you first.
So, how do you win local with online shoppers? With local marketing.
Local marketing targets consumers within a certain radius of your business's physical location.
Now, there are two kinds of local marketing strategies: Offline and online local marketing.
Insurance agents have mastered offline local marketing. Attending local events, postcards, mailers, billboards, and relationship building are all effective tactics. Those tools work because they present your agency to consumers as someone they can trust.
The same mastery of online local marketing is a little more uncommon.
Did you know that 46% of Google searches are looking for local information?
Directions, phone numbers, store hours, and information. The list goes on.
So, if half the people in your town looking for insurance start with Google, wouldn’t you want them to find your insurance agency website?
Here’s another stat that should grab your attention. Eighty-eight percent of users doing a local search visit or call within a day. If nearly 90% of people who search for insurance in your area call or visit you, would your agency grow? I think so.
Now that I have your attention, let’s move on to how you can win locally.
Your Insurance Agency Website
A website is no longer an optional tool. In today’s digital age, it is a must. Why? Your insurance agency website is the hub of all your marketing.
It is where you want to funnel any marketing initiative or campaign, online or offline, for more information. So, it is crucial that you have a powerful website to present to consumers.
To start, you need to take a hard look at your website. If it’s been three or more years since your last website redesign, it is time to freshen it up. Website design trends change fast, so it does not take long for your website to look outdated.
A quality insurance agency website should have a good design, a clear CTA, and lead capture forms. It also needs to be mobile and user friendly.
Here are three New Year’s resolutions for your insurance agency website.
Your insurance agency website’s ability to convert local leads comes in handy because of the next tool to help you win locally.
Google My Business
Google is the traffic light controlling the traffic in your town. Whether we like it or not, we have to work with Google.
“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for users.” – Phil Frost
Google has gotten really good at giving us the results we want. Let me give you an example.
What would happen right now if you typed pizza delivery into your phone right now? What results would you expect to see?
I’m willing to bet that you’d expect a pizza place near you. You don’t even have to add near me to your search. Google knows you’re looking for a local search result. And the results I see would be different from yours because we’re in different locations.
Your Google My Business listing provides Google (if complete) with everything it needs to help your agency show up in local search results. It’s free and critical to local search. Think of it as a digital phonebook that helps consumers learn more about your agency.
If you haven’t already completed your Google My Business listing, here are a few resources to get started.
Content is king.
That statement has never been more valid than when you’re talking about Google. Google would not be Google without all our content.
If you want to be found for local searches, you need to start working on your local content to feed it to Google.
Local content on your website should include everything about your agency that shows consumers why you should be their choice in your area.
Make a list of everything you get asked from clients and prospects daily and answer it on your website. Chances are, if you do this, you’ll cover quite a few local subjects in your content. And don’t forget your local keywords. 😉
Would you believe that 90% of people read online reviews before visiting or calling a business? How about if I told you 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, a review is as good as a referral.
The trick is to get a lot of reviews.
Would you be more likely to trust a product that has three 5-star reviews or a product with an overall review score of 4.7 stars but more than 2,000 reviews? I would take the latter.
Step 1: Ask for reviews.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews every opportunity you can. You want to time your ask as soon after a positive interaction as you can. Automation tools can help you with that. Google likes to give search authority to businesses with recent reviews.
Step 2: Monitor
Reviews aren’t just someone’s opinion of your agency. They are a two-way conversation. Monitor them so you can respond to everyone.
Step 3: Respond
Respond to every review! Good or bad, respond to every single one. Google likes to see you’re involved with your online reputation. Always start with gratitude and thank them for their feedback. If it’s a negative review, don’t match their tone, apologize for the experience, and attempt to take the conversation offline to address their concerns.
Local content is, of course, about being local. But, more importantly, it is about being useful.
Blogging is a great way to accomplish this goal. Here are some ideas to seed your creativity.
You can review local businesses or interview local figures. Write about local news or events. Profile your referral partners. Another local blog topic idea is top-five lists. For example, create a list of the best picnic spots, cheap date ideas, or places to get a great cup of joe in your community.
The goal here is to give granular details that only locals know.
One of the best places to win local is on social media.
An absolute must for being local on social is to include your agency’s location on your profiles.
When you’re in attendance at any local events, make sure to tag your location in your posts.
If you do any social media advertising or boost a post for greater reach, you can target that by location.
My advice to agents around the country is always to start local and never give up on marketing. The only way to climb a mountain is one step at a time.
POSTED JANUARY 07, 2021 12:10 PM
|How to Get Started with an Insurance Website Redesign
Your insurance website ages as design preferences change and technology develops. What was once a modern and professional website may now be not as effective or impressive as it once was.
If it has been more than a few years since you updated your insurance website design, it is likely time for a refresh. This is why your website is never finished.
What are your goals for your insurance agency website in 2021? Do you want your website to be a better resource for your clients? Do you want to attract new business or modernize your website for today’s consumers? You can achieve these goals with a website redesign.
Here’s how to get started with redesigning your insurance agency’s website.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience
Contrary to what many people believe, your first step is not design, branding, colors, or images. You start the insurance website design process by identifying your target audience.
This is the specific group of consumers whom you want to target. They are the group whom you want to work with. The ones who are the most receptive to your products, services, and story.
Here’s an example of knowing your target audience. A physical therapist may have different target audiences, like athletes recovering from injury. Or senior citizens looking to increase mobility. Or middle-aged men or women with back pain.
If the owner of a physical therapist’s office is looking to build a website, they would want to be sure that they were appealing to all of these audiences.
Different groups of people use different language and like different imagery. Knowing your target audience will inform your insurance website design. This understanding can also deepen your connection with them and increase conversions.
So, a great way to identify your target audience would be to ask yourself this question. Why are people coming to my website? Are they…
- Why would someone need a policy from my agency?
- Trying to learn more about my agency?
- Trying to get a quote?
- Trying to submit a claim or other service request?
Knowing who is on your website and why will assist you in creating your insurance website design.
Here are some examples.
In the example above, an agency specializing in auto insurance has a button to get a quote on their homepage. This takes the website visitors straight to their quote form. This improves the experience by reducing navigation steps. It also helps the agency accomplish its lead generation goals by making the call to action obvious.
In this second example, the agency offers many buttons. One to contact the agency and one to request a quote. There are also buttons to the lines of business they write. This agency understands its target audience. Their website goal is to make it easy for these different audiences to find what they need.
You can see how your target audience and their goals can influence your design. That is why you must identify your target audience before selecting your website design.
Step 2: Select Your Website Design
Now that you understand your target audience, the next step is one of the easiest parts (and most fun!)... Choosing a website design.
Most importantly, providing your website creation team with all your desires, goals, and information about your target audience.
A good website provider will already know about industry standards of design and technology. However, the secret ingredient to long-term website success is making it for your target audience. (See step one.) If your provider isn’t asking about your audience, bring it up in your design conversations. Otherwise, you might end up with a website that won’t resonate with your target audience.
Here are some more examples of designing your website for your target audience.
This agency offers Medicare policies. They know their target audience is primarily senior citizens. Their goal was to create a simple design that makes navigating and learning as easy as possible.
When your audience is more tech-savvy, you can use features like dropdowns or icons. Like in the example below.
Once you’ve selected a design, it’s time to decide on your website's design elements.
Step 3: Choosing Your Website Elements
Your insurance website design consists of different elements. Each element contributes to how people interact with your website and affects their connection to and trust your brand.
Many of you already have an agency logo and won’t consider changing it. However, the importance of a logo to an agency cannot be overstated.
“A logo anchors an agency’s brand and becomes the single most visible display of the agency within the target market” – Jason Gillikin
Your agency logo represents the identity of your agency. ITC has gone through multiple different logo updates to ensure it looks modern and fits with our brand.
If you already have a logo for your agency, we recommend that all logos contain an icon to be used elsewhere less prominently on your website, assets, etc. Consumers can then create a connection with both your agency name and its logo. A great example is the Wal-Mart smiley face or the Target bullseye. Both of which have gone through multiple makeovers.
We also recommend matching your agency logo to your branding. A logo can play a large role in bringing your whole website together. Here is a great example of the two points mentioned above.
The icon in the logo matches the branding of the website. It can also be used throughout the website without the full logo being included.
If you aren’t looking for a logo redesign at the moment, make sure the rest of your website branding matches your logo.
The colors on your website matter. Choosing an appropriate color combination in the website design process is considered one of the most important and often overlooked elements.
“Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure, or suppress your appetites.” – J.L. Morton.
When deciding on a color scheme, keep your target audience in mind. It’s important to use colors relevant to your agency’s brand and relatable to your audience.
What colors make you happy? What’s your favorite color? What’s your product? Get in touch with colors that resonate with you and build on them. Your website should represent you and your brand. But, remember, keep it simple.
The images on your website should represent your agency and what you do. For example, if you exclusively sell commercial insurance, the images should show that. You want the images to reinforce your content and convince prospects of your expertise.
The images in this example make it obvious to a website visitor that this agency sells auto insurance.
You can also see a clear connection between the color schemes, the images, and the agency on the website.
- The image and logo represent cars.
- The color scheme of blue, green, and white are aesthetically pleasing and simple.
- The Get Started call-to-action button is made more prominent by the use of the color orange.
Altogether, these elements create a pleasing design and a clear focus for website visitors.
Your website is never finished. We recommend refreshing your insurance website design every three to five years. This will keep your website fresh and modern. If one of your new year’s resolutions is to increase your website's return on investment, now is a great time to consider a redesign.
ITC is the leading provider of websites for an insurance agency and would be happy to talk further about the next steps in your website redesign. Contact us today for a free consultation.
POSTED DECEMBER 22, 2020 2:36 PM
|3 New Year's Resolutions for Your Insurance Agency Website
3 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Insurance Agency Website
2021 is upon us. (It’s about time!) This is the time of year for reflecting on the year that has passed and imagining the year to come. And, it has me curious…
As independent insurance agents, what have you learned from 2020 that you want to improve on in 2021? What are your professional resolutions for the new year?
I have a recommendation. Make it one of your 2021 resolutions to look at your website’s performance.
Any consumers who still weren’t comfortable with online shopping certainly are now, thanks to the pandemic. And, this includes buying insurance. During the height of the pandemic in mid-April, we saw a significant transition in consumer habits.
Here is a quote from State of Insurance Rating COVID-19 Weather Report #4, which covered the week of April 14, 2020.
“Consumers seeking insurance online continue to out-perform the historical model. Traffic to Insurance Website Builder clients was up 3%. Online quote requests and goal completions jumped considerably over the past week. These two online activities ended at 25.2% above expectations for the week.”
We expect this trend to continue and increase. So, an optimized, well-designed website is the tool for attracting and selling these online consumers.
If you’ve recently redesigned your website, you should still evaluate your website’s performance. In fact, we recommend you do it every year to ensure peak performance.
Here are some suggestions to get you started on your insurance website resolutions.
Look at Your Data
When looking for a place to start, always begin with data. Your website analytics probably has a few of the answers you’re looking for. This is because your website data will tell you how consumers interact with your agency online. It’s time to open Google Analytics and identify which pages are your best and worst.
Need some help with Google Analytics? Here are some resources that will guide you in the right direction:
Some critical metrics to be on the lookout for are both traffic AND conversions.
Traffic refers to the number of people who visit a website. Conversions are most often considered a quote or contact form submission. But, a conversion can mean many things, depending on where a consumer is in the buying process.
Say you’re trying to establish your expertise and thought leadership. You can accomplish that goal by writing blog posts and sharing them on social media. A social media follower who clicks on a link to one of these blog posts represents a conversion. Other actions that could be a conversion: Subscribing to newsletters, downloading a free report, or leaving a review.
Regardless of what your call to action is, the goal of your page is to create a conversion. So, when evaluating the effectiveness of each page, look to see how well and how often that page is generating a conversion. Is that page accomplishing its goal? If not, it might be time to try a new strategy.
Refresh Your Content
When it comes to websites, content can be the solution to a lot of issues. That’s why content will always be king. Here are some examples.
Content Can Increase Website Traffic
Let’s say your data analysis revealed that you have low traffic to your home page. Low traffic to a page usually indicates consumers aren’t finding it organically. This is a search engine optimization problem.
To optimize your home page for search engines you need to take another look at the keywords on your home page. It may be necessary to update your content with more or different keywords. These updates to your content can increase traffic to your home page.
Content Can Increase Conversions
Here’s a scenario we see often.
Many agencies have high traffic to a particular product page, for example, their auto insurance policy page. However, they’re not seeing that traffic transition to high conversions or sold policies.
Here’s how you can fix your high traffic, low conversion insurance website.
The goal of an individual product page is to generate a conversion or, in other words, a quote request. Good, optimized, and focused content can remedy this issue for your insurance agency. And, be sure to have a strong call to action that drives consumers to that next conversion step.
We recommend insurance agencies review their home page, about us page, and the main line of business pages every year. Your goal should be to maintain good content and optimize it for search engines. This will help consumers find your insurance website and convert them into new leads and, ultimately, sales.
Here are some free resources on website optimization:
Update Your Design
How long has it been since your last website redesign? Has it been longer than three to five years? If you’re looking to maximize your website’s return on investment (and you should), this might be the best time to consider a redesign.
Insurance website design trends change often and if your design has been the same for more than three years you risk your website looking dated.
Why should you care about a fresh-looking, well-designed website?
The short answer is because your customers want it. And if your agency does not give it to them, your competitors will. Maybe they already have.
More research, transactions, and customer service occur online every day. Now more than ever, good website design is an important component to business growth.
In short, a well-designed website can…
- Make a great first impression in seconds and help visitors feel comfortable and secure on your website.
- Engage people with compelling images and complementary colors that evoke emotion.
- Make the research and insurance buying process easier for consumers.
- Increase conversions with state-of-the-art online quote forms.
- Provide customer service by offering useful information.
Consumers are online, and their expectations of you have grown. So, your website should be your best tool.
As we near the start of 2021, it’s time for you to review your data. Use that data to identify your best and worst webpages and optimize or adjust your website content accordingly. If it’s been three to five years since your last website redesign, now is the time to get a well-designed, modern insurance agency website.
POSTED DECEMBER 17, 2020 2:00 PM
|Top 10 Insurance Agency Resources of 2020
Every year we like to look back at the content we’ve published over the year. It’s nice to look back at what we did. But, more importantly, we get to see what you care about!
In previous years, we only focused on our marketing articles in this top ten list. But, this year, we published so much great content on other topics. So, we decided to expand our top ten list to include all topics.
Let’s count down the top ten blog posts from 2020.
10: If you ever wondered why your insurance agency should invest in digital marketing, don’t feel bad. So was everyone else. If you haven’t yet, make 2021 your year!
9: Dirty data does not lead to good insights into your agency’s performance. Many agents know this pain. The good news is it is possible to fix the data in your agency management system! This article provides best practices on how to get on the right track.
8: How many times did you pull out a phonebook this year? I’m guessing not many. However, I’m willing to bet you looked at a Google My Business listing at least once a week. This guide will help you get the most out of your agency’s Google My Business listing.
7: It’s not just the influencers who are on Instagram these days. Instagram stories have opened a whole new way for brands to connect to consumers. Here’s how you can make it work for your agency.
6: If our previous four top blog posts are any sign, people are very interested in the digital age. But it’s one thing to survive in it. And quite another to thrive.
5: Amazon has changed consumers forever. All businesses have to embrace the micro-moment. Even insurance agencies. It’s critical to your future growth and success to learn how to sell to the modern insurance shopper.
Garnering attention on social media takes a consistent strategy and willingness to try new things. These four social media trends can be very effective in your next content strategy. Don’t worry - we’ll have more top social media trends for 2021 ready soon. 😉
3: There’s a reason why we like to talk about how things were “back in my day.” To appreciate the progress and lessons we learned along the way. This insightful look at the comparative rater revolution shows how our industry has evolved to meet the needs of the modern insurance shopper.
2: 2020 was just, well, different. COVID-19 has caused us all to navigate some unfamiliar waters. That’s why we stopped all planned content and shifted our focus to creating resources for insurance agents to help during the pandemic.
1: We didn’t stop at tips to help agents through these tough times. We also provided weekly weather reports on the state of insurance rating. Based on anecdotal feedback as well as the analytics, agents and carriers alike found these updates helpful. These reports broke down the impact of the pandemic on the industry and what we could expect in the future.
Stay tuned to the ITC resources hub in 2021 for even more information and resources on agency marketing, technology, operations, sales, and more!
And find our past top performers here:
POSTED DECEMBER 15, 2020 12:52 PM
|10 New Year Content Ideas for Your Insurance Agency
A new year is upon us. That means it’s time to freshen up your insurance agency website and your agency newsletter content! Regular publication of new website content on your website is critical for search engine optimization. It’s also important for keeping your clients engaged with your agency.
Here are some content ideas to get your creative juices flowing throughout January!
New Year’s Day – January 1st
What will your agency accomplish in the next 365 days? This is the perfect time to let your clients know! You can write a personal blog post reflecting on your 2020 goals, or you can outline your new ones for 2021. It would be a great idea to add a celebratory message to your January agency newsletter.
New Year, New Policy
Does your agency sell commercial lines? A lot can change in a year, especially for small or growing companies during a pandemic. Businesses should plan on reviewing their policy at least once per year. What better time to do this than the new year?
National Trivia Day
National Trivia Day is on Monday, January 4th, and this is a great opportunity to have some fun on social media! Host a trivia contest and the first to respond with the correct answer on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn gets a prize. This will keep people engaged with your channels throughout the day. Share your winners on your channel and request that they share it on their profiles as well.
Storing Holiday Decorations
There is always a house that has holiday lights well into March. Give your clients a push! Offer some helpful packing and storage tips for decorations. For example, labeling a series of boxes 1 of 5 or front porch can keep things organized for next year.
You can also explain the benefits of pulling down decorations early, like saving money and home safety. Get creative!
Keeping Your Resolutions
Many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions about two to three weeks into January. Offer a personal story of how your resolutions have affected you personally or professionally to keep them motivated. Give your audience some tips to successfully stay on track with their resolutions. Here’s a good place to start.
Policy Review Reminders
As we said before, clients tend to review their existing insurance benefits at least once a year. Beat them to the punch. Include an offer for a free consultation in your agency newsletter or on social media.
Your existing clients will appreciate the reminder. It is also a good opportunity to engage prospects who are currently reviewing their policies with another agency.
Insurance Regulation Changes
Anything that can impact your clients, make sure your clients are aware of any insurance regulation changes that could impact them. That means on the national, statewide, and local levels.
Healthcare Insurance Enrollment Reminder
If someone didn't get health insurance during open enrollment, they might be able to after January 1. Now is the time to send them a reminder and let them know who qualifies, what their options are, and how your agency can help.
New Healthcare Plans Start January 1
Many new health insurance plans take effect in January. Remind your clients to review coverages, deductibles, and financial responsibility in a blog post.
National Blood Donor Month
January is national blood donor month and is even more important this year because of COVID-19. Donating plasma is crucial to help fight the coronavirus. Create a few posts throughout the month telling your local community where they can go to donate blood.
Check out our free whitepaper for year-round content ideas!
POSTED DECEMBER 09, 2020 12:23 PM
|This is the Way: Kaylee Chappelow of RiskGenius
Kaylee Chappelow of RiskGenius has always been, as her friends say, obsessed with growth.
As a high school student growing up in Blue Springs, a Kansas City suburb, Kaylee was an over-achiever. Along with participation in numerous extra-curricular activities, she graduated high school fourth in her class with more than 44 hours of college credit. This allowed her to finish her degree in sales and marketing from Missouri State University in only three years.
Throughout her young adult life, Kaylee has had a focus on helping people. She wants to help other people who are focused on growth to achieve their goals, which is why she currently serves as the Missouri DECA State Director of Leadership. (DECA is a 6,000-member, co-curricular business, and marketing organization for high school students.)
Kaylee first opened the door to the insurance industry in college, when she interned at Croley Insurance as a licensed navigator. She walked people through the healthcare.gov website and helped them enroll in health insurance. She loved how this industry can help people and wanted to be a broker at a bigger scale, so she interned next at Lockton Companies.
After two and a half years at Lockton, Kaylee was offered a position at start-up RiskGenius. The name felt prophetic appropriate to Kaylee because, at the time, she felt she was taking a risk to leave a good job at Lockton for a start-up insurtech company. She trusted her gut and accepted the position.
What might have felt like a risk before, now is a no-brainer. Kaylee feels she was born to work in sales at a start-up. She loves the entrepreneurial experience, and it fits her like a glove because she loves embracing new challenges. The most recent opportunity to continue her passion for growth came in October of this year when Bold Penguin acquired RiskGenius.
“The chance to grow with Bold Penguin and sell their newly released agency terminal product is really exciting to me.”
This is the way Kaylee Chappelow works.
Kansas City, Missouri - Live on the Plaza.
Manager of Business Development (sales) at RiskGenius. My company was recently acquired by Bold Penguin.
One word that describes how you like to work:
Current mobile device:
iPhone X (already feel like it is outdated).
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
Closing out a couple of sales opportunities for 2020 and building my pipeline for 2021. Helping with the integration of Bold Penguin in terms of improving our sales processes and leveraging resources, it has been really fun to get to know the new team and work together to help our current and overlapping clients.
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
Proving my value and what I brought to the table to be put in a sales role. They were looking for someone more experienced. I had to show that I had the grit and drive to work extremely hard, was dedicated to learning and open to feedback, and had the people and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the role.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
My goals are to get more comfortable with the sales process, help implement our software at several p&c insurance companies who have a need to understand the language that exists in their policies and be more confident in my role and execution. I would also like to finish 21 books in 2021 and continue to get to know myself, and have personal growth, particularly around patience and listening.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Working independently because sales is all about experience, and there is a lot I have not seen or navigated, sometimes I can be quick to want others’ opinions instead of trusting my instincts. Every insurance company operates differently in terms of how they partner with vendors, so it is a challenge to get to know each organization and their internal processes.
What do you like most about your job?
I LOVE that I really create my own opportunity and can see the direct impact I am having on our start-up. It is really fulfilling.
What technology, apps, or tools can’t you live without?
Hmmm, Grammarly/spell check is huge for me. It is an app that corrects spelling because I am the WORST speller ever. Google snoozes are huge. I like that I can set an email to re-pop back into my mailbox. It keeps me organized and timely on my follow-ups. Slack is huge for collaboration, and obviously, with all that is going on, Zoom has been pivotal to keep meeting with my clients and prospects.
Describe your workspace.
Well, right now it is at home, so I have my MacBook, my extra monitor, a picture of my best friends, a sign that says “Boss Babe,” Never split the difference is a book that sits on my desk, I reference it often. I have some positive quotes I have heard or read on sticky notes/in a spiral notecard book. One says, “be relentless.” Another says, “it is the union between belief and action that brings about a life of integrity.”
How do you manage your to-do list?
I set intentions and my tasks at the end of the day for the next day. I start with the hardest or tasks I am looking forward to doing the least. I set meetings if I need to update someone on a project first, so I create a deadline for myself from the get-go.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
I actually got this from our current COO, but scheduling meetings, scheduling them back to back as a block rather than doing one 30-minute meeting in the morning and another two hours later. The idea is that you want to create blocks of time that do not include meetings so you can focus and get things done, rather than having 30-minute windows to work on tasks in between meetings because, by the time you really get into a groove, you have to stop and hop to another meeting.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Since I work from home now, I get to my desk at 7:30 and go through my spiral notecard book of inspiring quotes and bible verses to start the day off in a positive way, then I read the Morning Brew, it is a quick newsletter that covers high level what is going on in the world - political, sports, pop-culture, stock markets, tech.
What do you listen to while working?
I listen to music - Taylor Swift, Drake, Maverick City Music, Justin Bieber. I love podcasts, but I cannot focus on work and listen to them simultaneously.
What are you currently reading?
Invisible Man - by Ralph Ellison. It addresses the social and intellectual issues faced by African American people in the early 1900s and frankly are still facing today. Also going through the book of Jonah with my small group at church, supplemented by the Prodigal’s Prophet by Timothy Keller.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee - has to be decaf though because I am caffeine sensitive.
Night owl or morning person?
Night owl that forces herself to be a morning person.
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
Sister Sister is my background show if I am cleaning or answering emails at night. The past few nights I have been watching the new Netflix Christmas movies like Midnight at Magnolia and Operation Christmas Drop. Netflix Christmas movies never disappoint.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up, get some water, spend time reading/going through my spiral notecard book, work, eat lunch - typically a vegetable power bowl, work, do a workout class, and on to whatever evening activity I have - time with friends, small group, volunteer, or watch a show with a glass of wine and a home-cooked meal.
Who are your business idols and why?
Jeremy Smith - President and COO of RiskGenius - he is honest, fair, and makes people feel valued. Plus, he is so positive and doesn’t spell ill of anyone. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She wrote Lean In, one of my favorite books, and is setting the stage for women in business. Brene Brown - she focuses on vulnerability and being transparent, which is so vital.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard as if no one is looking. My mom taught me that, and it is true that if you work hard with integrity, you will be successful in what you do.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I would switch jobs with my friend, a nurse, to see what it is like because her stories are always wild, but I would need to magically not be queasy at the sight of blood.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
POSTED DECEMBER 08, 2020 12:20 PM
|4 Reasons Why a Google My Business Listing Can Help Your Agency
Google My Business (GMB) is an essential tool for every insurance agency to have. Seriously, it is a must-have for every business.
Let’s say you’re walking through the mall.
For the purposes of the scenario, this is a mall with only insurance agencies. That’s pretty tough competition, right?
One of these insurance agencies doesn’t have windows, a sign above their door, store hours, or proof that anyone has ever gone inside. You might not even know that this store is open or what they sell.
If I’m walking past that store, I would assume they’re out of business, not good at what they do, or untrustworthy.
The same goes for consumers on Google.
Without the necessary information to educate themselves or get in touch with your agency, consumers will move on. Here’s why a Google My Business listing can help your agency.
Google My Business is the Modern Phonebook
Prior to the internet, how did we find the contact information for a business?
We pulled out the phone book.
Well, what happens if a business changes addresses or their phone number? We would probably move on to the next business.
Google My Business allows businesses to update their contact information in real-time. It’s now common practice for consumers to type in the business’s name to find their contact details.
According to research done by Bright Local, 64% of consumers use GMB to find contact details.
Perception is everything, and NOT having updated contact details, store hours, or location information can create a bad customer experience. It could also lead to some nasty reviews.
Make sure your agency name, address, and phone number are accurate on your listing. Always remember to update these if your agency moves, your hours, or phone number changes. The holiday season is in full swing. Do you need to update your agency hours? Here’s how.
Google My Business Improves Local Visibility
People use the phrase near me when looking for local businesses. In fact, 76% of mobile near me users visit a related store during that same day. If you’re targeting the cities surrounding your agency, optimize your GMB listing accordingly. Then, you will be more likely to show up in the organic results of near me searches.
Organic search refers to the search results that paid advertising does not influence. Search engines rank these organic results by their relevance to the search term.
Google does use distance as a ranking factor. So, the more detail you include in your listing about the areas you serve, the better. Optimize your listing to attract those near me users. They will be more likely to visit your agency that same day!
Bright Local also found that 84% of users will be more likely to organically find your GMB listing than searching for it directly (16%). Both of these percentages are important. Why?
The 84% who find your listing organically are more than likely prospects. For example, someone who is more likely to search independent insurance agency near me than searching for your agency by name.
The 16% are probably existing customers. Why? They are searching for your agency name specifically. These are behaviors that we attribute to people who know exactly what they’re looking for. It is important to keep both audiences satisfied with updated information.
For new prospects, include in your GMB listing lines of business you offer and service options. You should update these whenever they change.
For your customers, keep information like agency hours and contact information accurate and current.
Google My Business Increases Website Traffic
Fifty-six percent of users will look at your website after discovering your listing. Thus, GMB can help drive traffic to your insurance agency website.
Image source: 360 Pix
As mentioned in the previous section, most people will find your listing organically. So, getting those organic searchers from your GMB listing to your agency website is an important piece of the puzzle!
How do you do that? You have to optimize your listing.
Having an optimized GMB listing means the same thing as having an optimized website. Your website needs a combination of elements to help your agency convert website leads to website sales. Similarly, your GMB listing needs as much information as possible to convert organic Google searchers to visits to your website.
Each person who stumbles upon your GMB listing is going to require a different key to opening the door to your agency website. So, your GMB listing should have ALL of the keys.
Some people might want to look at reviews. Some might want to see your products and services. Ensure that your listing is optimized with ALL agency information to improve conversion. Here is a guide to optimizing your listing.
Google My Business Improves Your Customer Experience
When customers have more access to your business information and updates, they can make better decisions as they browse. If you want to manage your GMB listing effectively, regular posting is a must.
Posting on GMB allows you to improve your customer experience by communicating with your customers directly and provide them with timely information. You can post updates about new carriers, policies, events, and other news. You can also engage with your customers using videos and photos.
Need help posting on your GMB listing? Here’s how!
You can post stories, articles, videos, polls, events, and business updates.
Here are some resources directly from Google that will help you get started.
In addition to the resources above, it’s important to follow these best practices to post on GMB successfully.
- Use Google Trends to identify the keywords and phrases with a higher search volume. This will help you get the most out of your post.
- These posts are only given a preview in which users would need to click on the post to expand it and read the whole thing. Make sure the first 100 characters are attention-grabbing and informative.
- Make sure the landing page you link to coincides with what the post is talking about. You don’t want to discuss auto insurance and lead customers to your home insurance page. This will lead to a higher bounce rate.
- Keep in mind that these posts may look different on mobile and desktop. So, when choosing photos for these posts, try not to include any with text on them as it may get cut off.
- Choose a compelling call-to-action (CTA) button that coincides with the content of your post. If you are discussing your auto insurance, you can use the Learn More button as your CTA. This lets users know where to go (your website) to learn more about what your agency offers.
Google My Business is an often overlooked but highly effective tool for generating new business. These tips will help you better manage and improve your listing.
If you would like to learn more about this digital marketing tool, we’ve got a free guide for you.
If you would like to learn how ITC can help manage your Google My Business listing, click here, or call us at (800) 383-3482, option 3.
POSTED DECEMBER 02, 2020 12:18 PM
News – Insurance Journal
|Oklahoma Dairy Recalls Contaminated Milk Given to Children
Oklahoma schools are advising people to throw away milk products received from districts after a dairy company recalled its chocolate milk because some of it may have been contaminated. Hiland Dairy is recalling 4,800 cases of its one-half pint 1% …
POSTED JANUARY 21, 2021 1:48 AM
|New Delay in Getting Vaccine Worries Nebraska Workers
Nebraska teachers and meatpacking workers worry it will take longer for essential workers like them to get the coronavirus vaccine now that the next group of people to be vaccinated has been expanded to include everyone 65 and older in …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 5:51 PM
|DuPont, Former Employee Charged in 2014 Fatal Release at Texas Plant
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. Inc. (DuPont) and a former employee have been indicted for knowingly violating requirements of federal safety regulations and negligently releasing an extremely hazardous substance at the company’s plant in LaPorte, Texas. U.S. …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 5:46 PM
|Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Policy Count Down, Financial Position Up
Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-sponsored insurer of last resort, now in its 14th round of depopulation, continues to shed policies, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The drop in policy count has occurred even during the most …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 5:29 PM
|The Hilb Group Acquires Michigan’s Owen Moore Insurance
The Hilb Group LLC (THG) acquired Linwood, Michigan-based Owen Moore Insurance Agency (OMA) in a transaction that was effective Dec. 31, 2020. OMA is a full-service property/casualty agency, providing a broad range of personal and commercial insurance products and services …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 5:13 PM
|Supreme Court Rejects Merck’s Bid to Reinstate $2.5B Damage Award Against Rival
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Merck & Co. Inc.’s bid to revive a $2.54 billion jury verdict it won against rival drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. for infringing a patent in a dispute over a blockbuster hepatitis C treatment. …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 4:09 PM
|California COVID-19 Benefits Fraud, Cyber Attack Could Reach $9.8B
California may have paid out nearly $10 billion in phony coronavirus unemployment claims – more than double the previous estimate – with some of that money going to organized crime in Russia, China and other countries, according to a security …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 3:58 PM
|Florida’s Property Insurance Market Is ‘Spiraling Towards Collapse’ Due to Litigation: Report
Florida’s property insurance market is “spiraling towards collapse” and requires immediate attention if there is any chance of protecting the market, consumers, and ultimately, the state’s economy, according to an analysis about to be presented to the Florida Legislature. The …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 3:28 PM
|Future of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Looks Increasingly Uncertain
The future of Nord Stream 2 looks increasingly uncertain as the U.S. ramped up pressure on the project with new sanctions, and companies walked away from the controversial Russian gas link. The new sanctions come just days before work on …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 3:14 PM
|Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Vetoes Sweeping Climate Change Bill
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate change bill Thursday, just days after top Democratic lawmakers on Beacon Hill vowed to immediately refile and pass it again if the Republican refused to sign the legislation. The bill had been …
POSTED JANUARY 20, 2021 2:45 PM