ANE – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

It’s been a productive and profitable year for ANE and its member agencies. As we get ready to perform even better in 2018, here’s a quick look at some highlights from 2017.

January
ANE authored article on technology featured in Insurance Business America magazine

February
ANE Announces Seven Agencies Added in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

March
ANE CEO John K. Tiene honored at the 35th New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance Gala

April
ANE Annual Conference attended by more than 160 independent agents and other insurance professionals from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

June
2017 ANE Carrier Appreciation Beach Party draws largest crowd ever!
ANE is a sponsor of the annual conference of the Professional Insurance Agents of NJ/NY

July
ANE supports the annual Big I Trusted Choice Charity Golf Outing
ANE Profile Featured in Insurance Agents & Brokers Pennsylvania (IA&B) magazine

August
ANE VP of Operations Jocelyn Rineer Named One of 2017 “Insurance Business America Elite Women in Insurance”

October
ANE produces new brochure refocusing our strategy and message
ANE is out in force today supporting Special Olympics and the PIANJ Golf Classic

November
ANE Selected as a Finalist for Network of the Year in the 2017 Insurance Business Awards

ANE Announces Eight New Member Agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

December
ANE is the Event Sponsor for the New Jersey Young Insurance Professionals Gala Awards
ANE CEO John Tiene named to the IBA Hot 100 List


VP of Operations Jocelyn Rineer Named One of 2017 “Insurance Business America Elite Women in Insurance”

ANE agents that work with our Vice President of Operation Jocelyn Rineer know what an asset she is to helping their agencies grow. Jocelyn was recognized in the June 26 Insurance Business America magazine 2017 Elite Women issue highlighting women leaders in the insurance industry.

According to the magazine, few women have achieved leadership roles in the insurance industry. The 2017 Elite Women issue features women who “have overcome obstacles and broken barriers to become some of the industry’s top professionals.”

“Jocelyn has been a tremendous asset to the ANE team. She has lead efforts to help our agents become better business owners and grow their agencies," said John Tiene, CEO, ANE. “We are pleased that she is being recognized by Insurance Business America for her dedication and strong leadership in the insurance industry.”

Read the profile here

 


ANE's IA&B Platinum Profile

ANE is proud to be a platinum partner of Insurance Agents & Brokers Pennsylvania (IA&B). In July, IA&B ran a platinum profile on our organization.

ANE, Agency Network Exchange remains dedicated to helping independent insurance agents stay independent in a quick-changing industry. Our team has a deep understanding of the marketplace dynamics and trends affecting our member agencies.

The insurance industry is changing faster than most agencies can keep up. Profit margins are shrinking. Carriers are paying less contingency revenue and demanding more production. New technologies and evolving customer expectations are challenging the old ways of doing business. Complacency is limiting business growth. An aging workforce is putting pressure on agencies to find, recruit and keep new talent.

More than ever before, independent agents are finding it harder to own, control and operate their businesses. Our innovative approach adds tremendous value to help our agencies grow, compete and stay independent.

TO VIEW THE FULL IA&B PROFILE, CLICK THIS LINK..


ANE Adds Seven Agencies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

More than $22+ Million in New Business Premiums Written Last Year

ANE, Agency Network Exchange, LLC announced it added seven new agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey last year to grow its membership to more than 50 independently owned and operated agencies. The network, which began with just seven agencies in 2009, helped its members write more than $52 million in new business premiums over the last three years and paid more than $5.6 million in profit sharing to members in the same period.

"ANE's continued momentum across New Jersey and Pennsylvania demonstrates that our business model is working for independent agencies that want to stay competitive and grow," said John Tiene, CEO, ANE. "ANE will continue to add talent, realign staff and invest in technology that drives our members' success and helps us achieve our goal of expanding the network across the Mid-Atlantic states."

ANE added four agencies in New Jersey:

  • U.S. Insurance (Newton, NJ)
  • Richards & Summers (Denville, NJ)
  • Livingston Insurance Agency (Livingston, NJ)
  • Fidella Insurance (Mount Laurel, NJ)

ANE added three agencies in Pennsylvania:

  • Absolute Insurance Agency (Upper Chichester, PA)
  • Commercial Insurance Providers Group (Levittown, PA)
  • The DeAngelo Company (Wyomissing, PA)

ANE Personnel Announcements

ANE also named Neal Stanley as interim Chief Operating Officer and consultant. Stanley joined the ANE Board of Directors in 2016 as its first independent member. Jocelyn Rineer was promoted to Vice President, Field Operations.

Stanley has over 40 years of experience as the president or senior officer of insurance companies and agencies. He recently retired from United Valley Insurance Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest agency networks, where he was a director and COO. He continues in a consulting role with the company, assisting its member agencies in perpetuation and acquisitions.

Rineer joined ANE from E&K Agency, Inc. of Eatontown, NJ, where she served for 15 years as Commercial Lines Marketing Manager with responsibility for placing a wide variety of commercial lines risks with numerous standard and wholesale outlets. As Director of Field Services, Rineer was the primary contact for ANE's New Jersey members. A licensed producer, Rineer is also a Certified Insurance Counselor.


Avoid the fate of the dodo

In this month's issue of Insurance Business America (Issue 4.12), ANE CEO John K. Tiene discusses how technology is changing everything for agents, but they underestimate just how much.

Insurance agents should heed the lesson of the dodo bird. Most notable for its sudden extinction some 300 years ago, the flightless dodo has no natural predators until humans colonized its native island, Mauritius. The clumsy birds were easy to catch and defenseless against the island's new population of cats, rats and monkeys. The demise of the dodo was swift. In just 75 years, the bird ceased to exist.

Agents stuck in the olds ways of doing business may face a future as dire as the dodo. Most agents understand that technology is changing, but they underestimate how dramatically technology is impacting the relationships they have with their clients.

Consumer expectations are evolving. Clients still want a relationship with their agent, but the nature of that relationship is very different than it was just a few years ago. From my vantage point, insurance agents are not changing fast enough to keep up, and the clock is ticking.

Agencies still look a lot like they did 20 years ago: people sitting at desks in front of computers, using the phone as the primary way to contact customers, all between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In the next 10 years, successful insurance offices will look dramatically different. A physical office may not even exist because portals and cloud-based computing will enable clients to do many transactions themselves - faster, more efficiently and, most important, when it's convenient.

Consider the new client. At the beginning of the relationship, you have a lot of personal interaction. You're counseling them, explaining coverage options, building a relationship. Eventually you sell them a policy. At this point, a lot of agents would send a paper policy. But today's clients don't want a stack of paper. They expect a portal connected to an app on their phone, laptop or tablet where they can access all the information they need: policies, ID cards, driver information and so on. Using the portal, they can also chat with agents and download forms.

The connected consumer of today is already using technology to buy their groceries, clothes, utilities and financial services. Companies like Amazon, Google and Charles Schwab are leading the way, defining what convenience and efficiency looks like in the minds of our clients. For example, Charles Schwab customers can interact with a financial advisor in person or via text, email or phone.

At some point, consumers are going to ask themselves, "How come I can't do insurance this way?" If agents don't embrace technology to offer a multi-channel approach with the convenience and ease of use that clients expect, they will no longer be relevant. Their clients are going to migrate to new insurance channels, and it won't be easy to get them back.

It's not just about retaining clients; it's about attracting new clients, too. Disruptors in the insurance marketplace are even further along in terms of technology adoption and integration, and they're threatening the traditional distribution insurance model. Lemonade, for example, is a new peer-to-peer insurtech startup that promises customers instantaneous homeowner's and renter's insurance quotes with a simple swipe of their smartphone. A feature called "switching" allows users to cancel policies, obtain a refund and buy a new policy with the click of a button. Within the first 48 hours of launching in New York, the company had 142 policies and thousands of dollars in premiums. No agents involved. There are hundreds of these disruptors looking to build a better mousetrap.

Independent insurance agents have a tremendous advantage in the marketplace - existing relationships with clients, the ability to provide consultative advice and a tradition of serving their communities. A well trained, knowledgeable insurance professional will always be successful because clients still want the counsel and support that only a real live professional can provide. However, the nature of that relationship must change for that agent to survive. Today's tech-savvy clients want to be able to do things seamlessly without making a phone call. They don't need advice and consultation to manage billing or get an ID card.

This kind of change is not easy, but it is essential. Agents resistant to change will be viewed as slow and old-fashioned. Their clients will move to an insurance platform that fits their lifestyle demands. Before long, these agents may find themselves out of business and, as the saying goes, "as dead as the dodo."

See the full publication here.


ANE Adds First Independent Board Member Neal Stanley, Raymond Pavese Elected Chairman of Board

ANE, Agency Network Exchange LLC, announced that it has added Neal Stanley as the first independent member of the ANE Board of Directors. ANE has also elected Raymond Pavese as Chairman of the Board.

"Neal Stanley, who adds greater depth and expertise to our Board as we pursue new strategic directions that add value for our agency members and their clients," said John Tiene, CEO, ANE. " As Chairman of the Board, Ray Pavese continues his commitment to ANE that started when he helped to found the company seven years ago."

"ANE is one of the most innovative models for agents," said Neal Stanley - recently elected to the ANE Board of Directors. "I'm very pleased to continue my involvement with independent agents working with ANE."

Stanley has more than 30 years of experience in the management and direction of insurance companies and agencies. He recently retired as Chief Operating Officer for United Valley Insurance Services, Inc., an agency cluster in California. He joined United Valley in 2002 as executive vice president to manage its Retail Agency and to lead the Agency Acquisition Program. Stanley has served on the Board of Directors of various industry organizations and is an active member of the State Bar of California.

"It's a privilege to serve ANE in this new role," said Pavese. "Our industry is changing quickly and in dynamic ways. ANE is committed to helping independent insurance agents remain independent."

A founder of ANE, Pavese began his career at the Prudential Life Insurance Company after graduating from Roger Williams University in 1986. Within a year, he joined his father at the Pavese-McCormick Insurance Agency in New Jersey, where he expanded the agency footprint from Middlesex County to thousands of clients throughout the state. He bought the agency with Michael McCormick from their fathers, and today it is one of the largest in central New Jersey with clients across the Mid-Atlantic region. He is the past president of the Middlesex County Independent Insurance Agents, Exchange Club of New Brunswick, the Brunswick Bank and Trust Advisory Board, and the Executive's Association of New Jersey, one of the oldest and most prestigious networking organizations in the state.

ANE has grown from just seven members on 2009 to more than 45 independent insurance agencies with over $150 million in controlled premiums. In 2014, ANE announced plans to expand into Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic states. In the last three years, ANE has helped its members write more than $75 million in organic new business. The network paid more than $1.8 million in profit sharing to members last year.


Help Your Agency Meet Customer Expectations

With 2.4 billion smartphone users by the end of 2017, how is your agency providing assurance to customers?

Insurance buyers turn to independent agents for assurance that the bases are covered and their risks are mitigated by a professional. Their expectations for engagement with their agent during this process has changed rapidly and will not stop evolving. Focusing on an Omni-channel experience with your client will satisfy their need for fast interaction, but still provide personalized touches only an independent agent can provide.

Empowered by technology, your customers have more leverage than ever before. You as an agency principal or staff have to embrace four imperatives:

  1. For speed, tap into mobile connections.
  2. For intelligence, set up systems to gather customer knowledge.
  3. For impact, build a better customer experience.
  4. To become more flexible, embrace digital transformation.

Meeting these changing customer expectations is hard and not every agency will pursue it equally. Watch Ellen Carney, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Inc. teach us about data driven marketing, customer buying habits, and the future of the independent insurance agency.

SEE THE FULL VIDEO HERE


Staying Relevant in the Age of the Customer

ANE CEO John K. Tiene's featured article in this week's edition of Insurance Journal.

Laptops, smartphones and tablets are giving consumers the power to make buying decisions from anywhere, and at any moment of their choosing.

“We’ve entered this new age — the age of the customer,” said Ellen Carney, principal analyst, Forrester Research at the ANE, Agency Network Exchange annual conference in April. “Digital has moved that power shift into the hands of customers.”

Forrester predicts 2.4 billion smartphone users and another 651 million tablet users by the end of 2017. The pervasiveness of these devices has changed consumer expectations: insurance agents need to provide their clients with the tools they want to interact with the agency. Agencies must have a robust mobile-friendly website, a mobile app, client portal and provide a location-specific experience.

Agents must rethink how they use technology to improve, differentiate from competitors and make data work for them.

At the ANE conference, I asked several industry executives and ANE member agents for their thoughts on how agents can stay relevant in the age of the customer:

  • Matt Kirk, senior vice president, The Hartford: “Your clients are going to need advice and counsel about the products they are buying. They expect you to take care of their needs. That doesn’t change. What is their expectation of that engagement? How will you communicate with them? The way they are engaged is going to change, and it will change rapidly.”
  • Gary Capone, vice president, Franklin Mutual Insurance Co.: “People still want to do business with an independent agent. Millennials are not just looking to buy online. They want professional advice. You have to listen to the customer, give them what they want, the way they want it, be very flexible and use many channels.”
  • Bob Redden, vice president, Selective Insurance Companies: “The challenge is where to start. Everyone has limited resources. Where do you get the best return? Moving forward, a focus on an omni-channel experience for the customer becomes even more critical. You may have customers who prefer to interact by phone, some by web or text. One way to be relevant is to let them know their options.”
  • Ellen Carney, principal analyst, Forrester: “A lot of organizations are available to help independent agents. You can have the same advantage as the most technically sophisticated agency. Someone else can manage the infrastructure, make sure the experience is fast, easy to navigate, and meets expectations in terms of mobile, social and whatever the next digital touchpoint could be. Technology is a lot different than it was in the 1990s when you had to build it yourself. Now there’s someone else who will build it and by the end of the day, you are up and running.”
  • Freddie Marin, ANE agent, Your Insurance Solutions: “I was afraid that physical agencies were no longer relevant. Everybody is addicted to cellphones and 80 percent are doing research online, but they are looking for agents. You have to learn to interact in a new way through technology, but still provide the personal touch that a digital device can’t provide.”
  • Doug Mohr, vice president, Vertafore: “It’s those little touches. I get the Starbuck’s card on my birthday, a note when it’s time for renewal. I think of my agent first before I think of the company. It’s because my agent has that personal touch.”
  • George Reese, agent, Henry Young Insurance Agency: “We are in a changing world and the pace of change is accelerating. We need to be open to everybody in all the various ways they want to communicate, and be responsive to that.”

Read the full article HERE


Forrester Analyst Says Insurance Agents Must Embrace Digital Technologies to Stay Relevant at 2016 ANE Conference

At the Agency Network Exchange Annual Conference this week, Forrester Principal Analyst Ellen Carney told independent insurance agents they must exploit digital technologies that create value and increase operational agility to stay relevant in the face of new competition from digital "disruptors" that are changing the way insurance is sold and serviced.

In Carney's keynote, "The Agent in the Age of the Customer: The Customer-Driven Changes that are Remaking Insurance," she outlined four market imperatives for independent agents:

  • Turn big data into business insights
  • Transform the customer experience
  • Embrace the mobile mind shift
  • Accelerate your digital business

"Agents who want to succeed must change how they do business by embracing the digital technologies today's consumers are looking to utilize," said John Tiene, CEO, ANE.

"Change is never easy, but it is essential and necessary to keep clients from migrating away from independent agents. ANE is helping our agents succeed by giving them the tools they need to transform their businesses."

Last year, ANE announced an agreement to make Vertafore the exclusive provider of agency management technology solutions for ANE members. ANE agencies receive preferred support and pricing for the Vertafore Agency Platform -- comprehensive software that helps agents easily and economically grow new business, retain clients, maximize profitability and manage business lines.

The ANE conference was attended by more than 160 independent agents and other insurance professionals from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The event featured six break-out sessions for agency owners, producers, account managers and CSRs. Carney also participated in a panel with executives from The Hartford, Selective Insurance Company and Vertafore to discuss "What Agents Need to do to Stay Relevant."


Brave New Omni-Channel World: Adapt or Bust

As seen on IAMagazine.com, CEO of ANE, John K. Tiene, asks independent insurance agents what they are doing to transform their agency to embrace Omni-channel technology?

According to Google Research, 98% of Americans switch between devices throughout the course of one day.

Technology is changing the buying patterns of insurance consumers, and not just among millennials. Every baby boomer has a smartphone and knows how to use it. This emphasis on ease, convenience and mobility has opened the door to new insurance competition from retail goliaths like Wal-Mart, Amazon, credit card companies and a host on insurance startups.

Meanwhile, large insurance carriers are using data analytics to leapfrog agents and sell directly to consumers. Mergers and acquisitions, perpetuation headaches and carrier-retailer partnerships are also putting the squeeze on agents.

In almost every service industry today - from banking and investing to local pharmacies and car dealerships - consumers want to interact on their own terms, whether that's in person, via phone, text, email, social media or the Internet. They expect an Omni-channel experience that leverages a convenience cocktail of technology and customer service that provides them with access to products, services and information in real-time, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Aberdeen Group found that companies with extremely strong Omni-channel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers - compared to 33% for companies without it. Change is happening so rapidly that agents who don't adapt soon will find their customers going where they can get the seamless service model they demand.

The nature of agent-client relationships has changed drastically from what it was years ago. Agents who gave smart, professional advice used to have the edge. Now, people still value consultation with an agent, but they also want the convenience of Omni-channel access to get their information or complete service activities seamlessly. Whether the customer is shopping online, by telephone or in a brick and mortar store, these are the options they want.

Read the full article online here.