No, this is NOT going to be a political rant, at all. But the results of the recent election have me concerned for the future of independent agencies. I’m guessing that might surprise you given the new administration’s stated mission of repealing (all or parts of) the ACA. However, it is that stated mission that has me concerned.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe the ACA is as flawed as you do. However, too many see it as the ONLY threat to the survival of their agency.
Too many of you have joust in hand with the ACA windmill dead in your sights; one more pursuit in a revolving landscape of windmills that is distracting you from attacking your real threats.
I know what you’re thinking
Since March 2010 you have been on one Quixotic pursuit after another; you think to yourself:
- There has to be some perfect new product to sell to my clients
- Maybe if I hire a telemarketer, I will have enough new opportunities
- If I redo my website, I will be more attractive to prospects
- There MUST be a way to buy myself out of this mess I’m in
And since November 8, 2016, your thinking has likely shifted:
- If the ACA goes away, my business is no longer threatened
- If the ACA goes away, MLR will no longer be an issue and we’ll get our old commissions back
- If the ACA goes away, we will return to the “good ‘ol days”
- Let’s attack this freakin’ windmill!!!!
It’s time to attack the REAL enemy
Can we please give up on the constant Quixotic pursuits and simply look in the mirror and address the real issues?!
As flawed as it is, the ACA was never your biggest threat; it simply exposed our industry’s most fundamental vulnerabilities. It exposed the vulnerability of your agency being dependent on someone else’s product; it exposed the vulnerability of your agency allowing a third party to determine your value based on their commission schedule.
The vulnerability of your business model is the real threat. And, that threat doesn’t go away even if you take down the ACA windmill.
- Don’t think for a moment that the carriers are going to show up any time soon with bags of money
- Don’t think for a moment that those same carriers aren’t going to continue to be more selective about who they allow to distribute their products
- Don’t think for a moment that technology is going to be any less of a threat
- Don’t think for a moment that prospect/clients will have any less control over the buying process
- And, maybe most of all, don’t think for a moment that you aren’t going to be competing against a steady stream of new competitors; most of whom you can’t even imagine yet
Your efforts haven’t been completely misplaced
Of course, having the right solutions to offer clients is important. Ensuring you have a full pipeline of prospects is absolutely necessary. An effective marketing presence is mission critical. And, it’s okay to seek out partners to help with each, but none of them mean anything if they are attached to a flawed business model.
Be honest with yourself. Is your greatest threat some windmill on the horizon or is it your denial of your need to address the fundamentals of your business model?
For most agencies, it’s definitely the latter.