Meyering Insurance Agency, lnc., is located in southwest Michigan only a few miles from Lake Michigan. The agency was founded in 1948 by John Meyering in the farming town of Hamilton. Shortly after starting the agency, Mr. Meyering hired his nephew, Robert (Bob) Jansen. Mr. Jansen ran the agency until his retirement. Since that point, the agency has had four owners and is currently co owned by Tim Yonker and me, with offices in both Hamilton and Zeeland, Michigan.
One of the ways our agency has had successful growth is from recently hiring two producers who had experience with a direct writer. We took advantage of the Auto-Owners Producer Development Program to solidify the agents' sales skills.
The producers appreciated the solid sales skills they learned, along with the opportunity to stay in touch with the other attendees from the program. Because of premium growth and life production, our agency was able to earn the fee back on both attendees.
From an agency outlook, there always seems to be pressure on both growth and staffing. Growth comes from various sources, including hiring new or experienced agents, continued book growth from current producers and expansion into other markets.
Of course, finding new producers in today's market is extremely difficult, and expecting growth from seasoned producers who have established books can be a difficult thing to ask. Goals are set with each producer for premium and new business growth and are reviewed annually. These goals help our agency and the agents stay focused on profitable growth. Meyering Insurance Agency has been honored to be one of the Top IO agencies for profitable premium growth for the West Michigan region.
Expansion can be an expensive alternative as well, and requires long-term planning. Our agency has continued to grow by attempting to offer the highest level of service to both retain accounts and attract as many referrals as possible.
We also focus on account rounding with our clients. We write personal lines for many of our business owners, and consistently try to write home, auto, umbrella and life insurance for our personal lines clients. We believe this approach enabled us to expand to an additional location in Zeeland.
From a staffing perspective, Tim and I continue to look for opportunities to become more efficient on both our own books, as well as trying to equip our employees with the tools needed to get more work done quickly and accurately.
We have found that our staff wants to be more involved in formulating processes that directly affect them. Our employees are given responsibilities to deal directly with all of our carriers, which has given the company a highly knowledgeable team that can educate one another and keep all of us in tune with the ever-changing carrier environment.
Our employees are given the option for flex time, which has helped us in retaining quality people. We also recently hired an agency consultant who advised us on staffing, agency management system consistency, good agency practices, and also some sales and marketing ideas.
Along with staffing and growth, the other big factor is rapidly changing technology. We continue to look at ways to become more technologically advanced and don't want to be naïve about the fact that this is a necessary piece of our business.
That being said, we also stress to our producers that they maintain a close relationship with their insureds. We feel that retention rates are maintained by close contact and the ability of the customer to always be able to access someone at any time.
As technology continues to grow, I still believe our customers will want an experienced agent to guide them through the process related to their insurance needs. I believe that this will be one of the biggest challenges over the next five to 10 years and will always be an ongoing test for any organization.
We also value our relationships with our carriers. Marketing representatives meet with Tim and me on a regular basis, and they are encouraged to also meet with the staff. Our agency takes advantage of co-op programs offered by our carriers. Through this we are able to do a lot of local advertising to cement our presence in the Holland, Zeeland and Hamilton communities.
Overall, our agency feels that the independent agency system is the best way to provide our product and to take care of our customers. Working with excellent carrier like Auto-Owners Insurance provides us with the best possible solutions for our clients and is a great way for us to do business.
This article is being shared from Agent's Outlook, which can be seen here.