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NAMIC Execs Voice Support for Independent Agent System

PropertyCasualty360.com - 09/20/11 
By Mark Ruquet


INDIANAPOLIS—As mutual insurers increase their dependence on technology to sell and service insurance, companies must demonstrate their value to independent agents while not cutting them out of the client relationship, says the incoming chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

Speaking during a panel discussion titled “Why Mutuality Is a Strong Business Model,” here at the 106th annual meeting of NAMIC, James Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, says, “We need to prove to agents our commitment to them.”

He says that in his case, dealing with two markets where there is a significant population of independent agents to work with, Illinois and Ohio, the challenge is meeting the expectations of producers the company wants to do business with.

Mutuals have to show that they are committed to the marketplace, which he believes is not a bad thing because it means companies are is working with agents who value their relationship with their clients.

He says what is most important is being able to deliver on “two touch points with the consumer.”

“We have to figure out how to add value to the relationship and to add value at the point of automation,” Kennedy says.

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