As world of insurance grows more complex due to competition from within the industry and from banks and other financial services providers, Allied Insurance has a simple business strategy: attract and retain quality independent agents."Agents are our primary focus. Everything we do is aimed at how we can help the independent agent do business better," says Nate Beyene, IT officer for e-commerce at the Des Moines, Iowa-based carrier. "If our automation is not good, our agents can go next door."

Although Allied is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance Co., it competes for business and independent agents as a regional insurer. Nationwide acquired Allied in 1998 to fill a niche for the larger insurer in the market served by independent agencies.

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