Welcome to The Strategic Alliance Advisor. The SAA is a weekly blog written by Brandon Stuerke, Creator of Winning With CPAs as a platform to shares insights and strategies that you can use in your practice to build your own strategic alliances. The Strategic Alliance Advisor can also be read on lifehealthpro.com and ProducersWeb.

Property & Casualty Agents… Alliance Opportunity or Waste of Time?

This month, we’re evaluating various types of professionals you could potentially benefit from forming an alliance with as an annuity producer. This week, we’re going to look at the property & casualty agent. As we discussed last week in looking at attorneys, the central issue always comes down to the level of trust and relationship. What level of relationship does a typical property & casualty agent have with their clients? In my experience, not much. Without a strong relationship of trust, the P&C agent’s referral won’t carry much weight with their clients.

That being said, should you ignore the P&C agent completely? In my opinion, probably. While you may find that you could benefit by receiving a referral or two per year, I believe you’d be hard-pressed to really tap into a large base of high net worth clients through P&C agents. The only exception would be a P&C agent who works primarily with commercial clients and business owners. If that’s a market you want to focus on, then it could possibly be a good fit.

However, the two main reasons I would encourage you to shy away from partnering with P&C agents are:

  1. The lack of relationship P&C agents tend to have with their clients
  2. The types of advice and service clients expect from P&C agents

P&C Agent/Client Relationships

The truth of the matter is the P&C industry is one that has become very commoditized. There are only so many ways to try and differentiate yourself when selling auto, home and liability insurance. As a result, it often comes down to price for clients “shopping” their coverage. The reason this is important is that you need to understand client turnover within a P&C practice is oftentimes much higher than that of other professionals. As an example, stop and look

sometime at many of the commercials and advertisements you see by P&C companies. They almost always revolve around the value proposition of “saving you more money.” Because the industry has chosen primarily to compete based on price, it

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makes it much more difficult to hold onto clients.

As annuity producers, our client process is more consultative in nature. Thus, you will have more traction working with other professionals who also utilize this approach, and their clients will be much more receptive to your services as well.

The Types of Services Clients Are Looking For

With regards to P&C clients, it may be better said to address the types of services their clients are not looking for. Clients do not typically look to their P&C agent for advice regarding retirement and financial planning. Therefore, even if you were to form an alliance with them, it’s unlikely the clients would pay much attention, as they do not associate their P&C agent as someone to help them make these types of plans and decisions.

In summary, it’s not that there are no opportunities in working with P&C agents, but because your time is limited and you can only successfully work with a handful of other professionals, you’d be better served to invest that time in relationships that more closely compliment the services you specialize in. Not only will there be more opportunities to help the other professionals, but also their clients.

For more information on successfully forming strategic alliances with other professionals, check out our website at www.WinningWithCPAs.com.

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