"Pundits keep saying that the independent agent will be replaced by technology. Well, the pundits are wrong." That was the message of Boh Dickey, president and chief operating officer of Safeco Corp., Seattle, Wash., at a keynote address to the ninth annual convention of the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado, a group representing more than 2,000 agents statewide. "Our blueprint for the future starts and ends with agents," Dickey told participants at the three-day convention, which was devoted to the theme "Blueprint Your Future." Dickey noted that Safeco has made changes to provide a broader array of products for its agents and distribution partners to sell, including its acquisition of American States Insurance, which doubled Safeco's business base. The company is also launching a new Internet tool that enables customers to buy auto and term life insurance online and be assigned a local agent.

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