For 2018, we introduced our theme of Finding a New Normal. We chose that theme because we felt the industry was finally reaching a significant turning point. And boy, were we right!  

So many agencies and producers have clearly felt this same way, blazing new trails. And some have burned down the forest along with it. And others are standing at the trailhead for these newly blazed trails with panic and fear in their hearts, wondering what it holds and if they should walk that path.  

Some have bounded down the path and found a lot of potholes along the way. Some have walked carefully down it, doing their best to avoid the potholes. Some have studied the path, maybe sending a drone to check it out for them. Some have gone down the path and realized there isn’t a pot of gold at the end, but that it’s a good path nonetheless, yet not the only path.  

Regardless of where you are, you can’t help but run into talk of the #NewNormal. It’s been the massive dust-up the industry has needed to shake loose the persistently stagnant thinking. And as with any good good dust-up, comes lack of vision, a lot of stumbling around, and hopefully it leads to some settling to be able to see and breathe a little more clearly.  

No more sacred cows  

The articles getting the most attention this year on our agency blog, Crushing Mediocrity, are all about shaking things up.  

Agencies have been renowned for their sacred cows, and we’re happy to see significant changes to that limiting thinking that has had a stranglehold on agency growth for too many years. But some of the changes have been reactionary, and change for the sake of change doesn’t drive the right results. And change from panic or anger also doesn’t drive the right results.  

If you know us at all, you also know we’re addressing those reactions as we see them. The articles are in order of publication, so you can see the way the year unfolded. 😅 

Agencies are contemplating or straight-up changing the way they work, from business model to revenue and payments to marketing to sales conversations – nothing is above the scrutiny and soul-searching agencies are actively undertaking!  

Uncomfortable Conversations: As an Insurance Advisor, 'Tis Better to Give Than Receive 

Many insurance advisors are afraid to have challenging conversations with prospects and clients. But if you don't do it, someone else will. And that's not good for business.  

It's Time for Insurance Agencies to Find a New Normal 

It’s time for insurance agencies to bring back the strength and drive new practices to advise clients in healthier, more operationally sound ways of working. 

Wanted: Benefits Advisors Willing to Collaborate Locally 

As the health care and health insurance landscape changes and morphs, many insurance agencies will be distancing themselves from traditional medical carriers. Instead, they'll be collaborating together and seeking out other providers who make better business partners for delivering significant healthcare results to their clients. 

Approaching Benefits Like It’s Merely a Transaction? Your Days Are Numbered 

Independent insurance agencies have two distinct types of sales people: Brokers and Consultants. But not for long. Old-school product selling won't keep you relevant in today's business world. Find out who you are, and why you may need to find a new normal. 

Commission, Bonuses, Fees – Oh my! 

Still chasing after commissions like insurance agencies have been doing since forever? The bucks stop here. If you want to survive, you've got to ditch the commission and bonus mentality and embrace the advice and results mindset. How to do what's best for your clients-- and yourself. 

Sick of Not Making Sales? You're Probably Not Prospecting and Marketing Well Either  

Finding consistent success in sales doesn't just magically happen. Independent insurance agencies need to put time, resources, and financial investments into both prospecting and marketing activities to find that sweet spot for sales. 

Not Since Zenefits Have We Seen This Level of Industry Panic 

Employee benefits is going through a transformational era that redefines an industry. Advisors are looking to unbundle medical plans for their clients using direct primary care (DPC), bundled services, and transparent pharmacy. But not all advisors are embracing this approach and some are panicking. 

The Three Bears of Agency Commissions 

As scary as the thought of finding a bear in your bed might be, it pales in comparison to the fear insurance advisors experience when thinking about disclosing their compensation. But you've got to have those uncomfortable conversations with your clients. If you don't, another broker will. 

Benefit Advisors, It's About to Get Real 

You don’t have to look very far to see angry calls for transparency aimed at the players in today’s health care and insurance game. The Bezos-Buffett-Dimon healthcare venture is heating up, and will certainly bring more outrage. Why benefits advisors and agencies need to be concerned. 

Open Letter to an Angry Industry 

Attacking the BUCAHs (the major health insurance carriers) online is getting noticed, and not necessarily in a good way. When benefits brokers get stupid angry, versus using a professional way to challenge and push boundaries, they may find the insurance carriers they've been bashing rescinding their appointments. 

Photo Credit: leeavison

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