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It’s Not Personal … It’s Business

Photo on 2010 05 05 at 12.34 150x150 It’s Not Personal … It’s Business

Rick Gilman, Executive Director

When I was first introduced to the Personal Lines Growth Alliance and told about its mission, I thought, here’s an organization that has a built in formula for success: it’s all about communicating the opportunities available for independent agents to aggressively go after the personal lines market and grow their income. The billions of dollars in untapped premiums and potential commissions seemed like a no brainer.

When you hold that up against a backdrop of diminishing returns for the commercial lines business, one would think that the entrepreneurial nature of agents and brokers would have led you immediately to recognize the value of PL as a means of making up the lost revenue stream. But it seems, some agents have a built-in fear factor and struggle with “outside the box” thinking necessary to break out of their comfort zones.

When I came on as the executive director, I realized that communications wasn’t going to be enough – we needed to open the eyes of independent agents and provide education on how to efficiently and effectively go after a larger slice of the personal lines pie. So, a campaign built around communications, education and advocacy was established. Now it is time to execute that campaign.

However, it’s no longer good enough to just state the obvious, we need to provide the “how” along with the “why.” In the first quarter of this year you will notice a new series of podcasts themed, “The Power of Personal Lines.” They will focus on agents and carriers that have successfully grown their personal lines business. I will be asking them to talk about what the tipping point that lead them to pursue this course of growth and how they went about achieving it. I would welcome your comments and ideas for questions you’d like me to ask along with names of others you believe have a good story to share.

In addition to the podcasts, over time we plan on developing other resources such as white papers, assessment tools and case studies. But we need membership to grow. Agents, brokers, carriers, solution providers and other associations are all eligible. Agent and broker memberships are complimentary. We need you to spread the word and succeed at growing your businesses, to add your stories to the resources.

Independent agency carriers membership fee costs no more than the cost of a color ad in a trade magazine and yet can bring a lot of benefit to their relationships with their agency force.

When agents attend their local agent association meetings, talk up PLGA. If your association is looking for speakers, let me know; some of our directors really know how to deliver a captivating message. If you are aware of any companies that should be part of this work, please send them to our website (

Also, we will be renewing this quarter the monthly enewsletters to keep members up to date on PLGA activities. Feel free to forward them to others in your office or association.

Finally, I will be sharing my thoughts with you directly through this blog; I hope you will share yours with me. This needs to be a two-way conversation. Let me know what you need to succeed.

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