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Bill Bridges, president of Duncan Fraser & Bridges Insurance Agency
The independent agency system is definitely changing, but we are changing for the better. Today, we are bringing more value to our clients in the form of risk management, safety training and expertise in coverages and forms. There is a basic cost of insurance protection and if the public is buying it for less, then they are getting less. Good insurance agents today are professionally educated. Most people would not shop around for the cheapest surgical or legal advice, so don't put your assets and capital at risk by buying the cheapest insurance. That will cost more in the long run.
Tommy Dies, CFO of Bryan Insurance
Independent agents can and will remain profitable if they understand how the next generation likes to communicate. As agents, we need to embrace social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram and other online technology to better communicate with our customers, like offering online chat via our websites. Instead of limiting ourselves to the role of insurance sales people, we need to become counselors and consultants who help individuals and businesses identify the many risks they face and help them mitigate, avoid, or transfer those risks. That's what we do. And if we can embrace communicating through the media channels where the new generation spends their time, we can begin to take back the market share we have lost to the direct writers.