For those of you in the Wisconsin area, I am thrilled to speaking at the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin 2013 Sales & Leadership Conference. My topic is on recruiting talent to your company and maximizing that talent to help you quickly and effectively grow your agency or company. Below is a brief video detailing my program and visit. Learn more about the entire conference and registration by visiting the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin web site. For all of you NOT in Wisconsin, if you’d like me to speak on the same topic at your next conference or event, please contact me at (360) 697-1058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I’ve had folds ask me…”What will you be talking about in your 5-minute videos? Why should we watch?”
Your wish is my command!
I have already developed topics for over half the year. Not all of these are the snazzy titles that they may end up being, but you will get the point. Welcome to the value that you will get to help boost your career and life…
- Super Language – First Impressions
- Super Language – Sealing the Deal
- Building Relationship between introduction and effective date
- The Art & Science of Getting Referrals
- Techniques to better writing
- Improving the presentation/proposal
- Power Questions
- Using your own intellectual property to increase at-bats
- Super Language – Cross selling techniques
- 10. Speaking a value-based language
Improving Time Efficiency
- Managing e-mails
- Leveraging the power of technology
- Overcoming daily distractions
- Managing Social Media and technology
- Setting priorities
Enhancing Life Balance
- True wealth = discretionary time concept
- There’s always a bigger boat concept – perspective
- Managing crisis at home
- You don’t have a personal life and a professional life; you have a life
- Community involvement
- Managing a sales team
- Essentials of a Great Sales meeting
- Improving organizational mentoring and accountability
- Maximizing talent within your organization
- Recruiting talented people
- Succession planning
- Escaping gravitational pull
- Leading strong, effective organizational meetings
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I just spent 30 minutes being interviewed for an article that will be run in a journal for risk managers. The topic is cyber insurance and why about 50% of businesses don’t carry a policy. The journalist asked me why I thought more insurance buyers don’t purchase this coverage. My answer was pretty simple. I think it’s the fault of insurance agents.
Large, multi-national corporations all buy cyber insurance. The ones who really need it are small business owners. These are the people you deal with most. Businesses with under 100 employees are now being targeted by cyber thieves because they are low hanging fruit. You have a responsibility to sell them cyber insurance to protect their financial assets and future. It may be the most important coverage they need.
I believe it’s the agents fault for two reasons…
1. Insurance buyers don’t know about cyber insurance. They are not being told by their agents, or even those trying to win their account. They might read an article and bring it up, but that shouldn’t be the norm. You really have an obligation to make it part of your checklist.
2. They may be told and not educated. Sure, you tell them about it and they decline because they don’t think they need it. Your obligation is to fully educate them on what they are missing and what it could ultimately cost them. I sold insurance. I know insureds hate new costs and policies. Most didn’t buy Employment Liability Practices 20 years ago. Today, it is very common.
I am guessing the same will happen to cyber insurance. In 10 years, this will be a non-issue in insurance. In fact, you may find company carriers making it a part of their regular policy. As technology becomes stronger, faster, and more important to the success of business, the risk will also grow. You need to protect yourself and your clients by being more assertive about cyber insurance. That’s why you do what you do!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I was contacted the other day by a journalist at A.M. Best to get my thoughts on the AIG re-branding and You Tube marketing effort. As you may know, AIG shifted their name to Chartis several years ago to differentiatee itself after the bailout. It didn’t work. Now they are going back to the recognizable name of (at least in the industry) of AIG. They’ve launched a You Tube campaign to promote this change and thank the American public. Watch the videos. Below is the article by Fran Lysiak at A.M. Best and my views. Many thanks to her for reaching out to me. The link to this article is in a subscriber section, so I am posting it here for you to read…
Best’s News Service – July 30, 2012 03:59 PM
AIG Launches YouTube Channel in Rebranding Effort
NEW YORK – American International Group Inc. is forging ahead with its rebranding, launching a channel on YouTube as
part of the insurer’s effort to tell its turnaround story since its multibillion-dollar bailout from the federal
government in 2008.
This decision, and similar moves in recent months, reflect a return to the brand the company had once attempted to
distance itself from after its rescue package during the financial crisis of 2008.
The YouTube campaign is new in the company’s re-branding, said Jim Ankner, a spokesman for AIG (NYSE: AIG).
As of July 30, AIG’s YouTube channel had 149 subscribers. Three videos are featured. One is titled “Rebuilding AIG,”
which had 1,942 views; another video is titled “Proud to be a Part of AIG,” with 1,176 views; and a third is titled
“Giving Back to the Community,” with 800 views as of July 30.
The campaign to return to the AIG name and to harness the power of YouTube is “the right move at the right time,”
according to Dan Weedin, a Seattle insurance consultant. “The old experiment failed, they are going back to what
worked, they are promoting what they have done in paying back, and they said thank you to the American public,” said
Weedin, president of Toro Consulting Inc., in an email.
Weedin dubbed the Chartis experiment a “disaster,” akin to the “New Coke” in the 1980’s. “It flopped, and AIG, like
Coke was, was quick to cut their losses and move on,” he said. AIG has been around for 90 years, and its name was too
deeply branded in the agent and broker community, Weedin said.
“As much as they tried to separate, it didn’t work,” he said, noting brokers had to tell their clients that Chartis
was really AIG. “The power of branding for nearly a century showed here.”
According to a memo AIG Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche sent to employees in June, the company is rebranding
it property/casualty business, and would soon be known simply as AIG, while SunAmerica Financial Group would become
AIG Life and Retirement. A date for the transition had not been set at that time (Best’s News Service, June 29, 2012).
In September 2008, the federal government stepped in to save AIG from bankruptcy by authorizing a bailout of up to
$182 billion, but AIG said it never borrowed that full amount. The company said government support has been reduced by
83%, or $152 billion, through paying back loans and other types of support. The outstanding federal support of AIG is
the U.S. Treasury still owning 1.06 billion shares, or about 81%, of outstanding AIG stock (Best’s News Service, July
AIG’s YouTube page also displays the company’s Twitter feed.
Overall, video is “now where it’s at for promoting and marketing,” Weedin said. In this visual world, “they are
reaching out to a new and younger demographics who watch video in an effort to rebrand their old brand.”
The YouTube campaign also represents an opportunity for an insurance company, which is akin to Wall Street, big banks
and “snake-oil salesmen” to most of the public, to show that they make good on their promise, Weedin said. This is
good for AIG’s agents and brokers who sell their products, he said.
AIG isn’t the only company to turn to YouTube for marketing. MassMutual has been on YouTube since 2006, and in
September 2009 launched a branded channel on its website with content filmed exclusively for YouTube. Programming
includes interviews about retirement concerns with industry leaders and man-on-the-street interviews (Best’s Review,
The AIG brand began showing signs of a comeback earlier this year when the company announced plans to merge the group
benefit operations of two units into a new organization called AIG Benefit Solutions (Best’s News Service, Jan. 30,
2012). Last fall, AIG started advertising term life insurance using its name, representing the first time in the
United States since 2008 that it was marketing insurance directly to consumers under the AIG brand (Best’s News
Service, Sept. 19, 2011).
“Now is clearly the right time to call ourselves by the name that stands for the fact that we keep our promises and
deliver on our commitment to uphold the highest standards for the benefit of all of our stakeholders,” Benmosche wrote
in the memo last month.
Most AIG companies currently have Best’s Financial Strength Ratings of A (Excellent).
On the afternoon of July 30, AIG’s stock was trading at $31.72 a share, up 0.48% from the previous close.
(By Fran Matso Lysiak, senior associate editor, BestWeek: email@example.com) BN-NJ-07-30-2012 1559 ET #
Our first Executive Breakfast was a huge success, thanks to the many great insurance leaders from around the Puget Sound. We had 13 industry leaders for a 90-minute breakfast to talk about how to effectively recruit, train, and retain talent in the insurance business.
Here is a summary of the event….
You are the recruited!
We as an industry, and you as an agency are the ones being recruited by talented individuals looking for a career. As an industry, we need to change the mindset of our “prospects.” They view us from the lens of television marketing, which often casts insurance in an unfair light. Create a new paradigm by using outcome-based language to express the value and personal reward they will realize by being a part of this industry and organization. Example – Instead of “We have a training program;” say “You will realize success more quickly.” Think in terms of the outcomes they receive; not the methodology you employ.
You have them…now what?
The cost to hire someone is 1 ½ times his or her salary. You need to protect that investment. Formal mentoring and coaching programs are key strategies to quick and effective “on-boarding” of new employees. Mentors should feel engaged and not burdened by their role as a mentor. This allows for healthier and more productive relationships. Training them to be effective communicators and mentors is advised. By promoting a formal program for bringing on new people, your organization reduces the chance of a bad morale, misunderstandings, and poor performance.
Poor performers are often the consequence of bad training. Areas that lead to poor performance can be mitigated if proper training is in place. We discussed the concept of accountability partners. Accountability partnerships, when done correctly, have a three-fold result for the organization. First, you get out of being the “accountability partner” for your entire team. Your time increases and stress level reduces! Second, a culture of “team” is proliferated. The lone wolf mentality dissipates into a more collaborative setting. Finally, there is a forum to change behavior and activity to reduce poor performance and help “bounce” gravitational pull. Gravitational pull is that calamitous condition where people sink back into bad habits and don’t reach their desired goals.
Talking ‘bout my generation
There are now four generations in the workplace. Understanding what motivates each one (knowing that people are still individuals) is key to recruiting and retaining. It’s more than just money!
Dan’s 4 Rules for Generational Bliss
- Don’t assume they are damaged. Thinking that the younger generation is entitled, lacks motivation, expects constant praise, and other such generalities leads to miscommunication, distrust, and bad morale.
- Just because it worked for you, doesn’t mean it’s right for them.
- Reach them where they live. Find out and be willing to communicate with them in their world. They appreciate your efforts.
- Be willing to learn from them. We may be able to learn more than we teach!
Note that it works both ways. You may be finding exceptional talent in people who are in their 40s and older. Your younger talent may be very helpful in mentoring to an “older” crowd!
Resources on Generations in the Workplace:
- Roberta Matuson – http://www.YourHRExperts.com
- Anna Liotta – http://www.AskAnnaLiotta.com
- Cheryl Cran – http://www.CherylCran.com
What they said…Biggest takeaways from the group
Accountability partners (6); Meeting young guns where they live; Don’t assume they are damaged; Creating a formal mentoring program; Changing the insurance paradigm; outcome-based language; continual learning; and the definition/difference of mentoring vs. coaching
Web Site – http://www.DanWeedin.com
Twitter – @InsuringSuccess
Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com/in/danweedin
You Tube – http://www.youtube.com/user/InsuringSuccess
For more information on “insuring the success” of your organization and your team, please contact me. I work with all types of insurance professionals from agency owners, executives, producers, and consultants to accelerate their professional and personal growth and thrive in their careers.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Video # 3
Video # 1 – The Paradigm Shift
The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day numbers about one hundred. It’s the sweet spot of the year for most Americans. It’s also the deadliest.
The number of automobile deaths rise rapidly during these 100 days. The reasons should be obvious for you in the insurance industry…
- Increased drinking and driving
- Increased travel for vacations
- Increased road rage
- Increased speed on the roads
- Young drivers are out of school and loose on more roadways
You have a responsibility to be advising your clients. Your job is to help them avoid, mitigate, and respond to risk. That’s part of your commitment for receiving payment on commission or fee. Here’s a few things you should be telling them…
- Slow down. Speed kills. It’s summer, so chill out and don’t be in such a hurry.
- Get a designated driver. People still don’t get this. More parties, more drinking, more driving under the influence. It can both kill and cost a ton of money. You can never remind people too much.
- Be alert. We all were preached to about defensive driving in drivers ed in school. This is the time it’s most important.
- Never lose your cool. Never antagonize someone who has. Road rage is real. When people get in a hurry and combine it with alcohol, bad things happen.
- Remind them that this is a dangerous time. People don’t understand this because it’s warmer, lighter all the time, and more “fun.” Dangerous driving can fly under the radar. Keep them apprised.
Do your job as their friend and adviser. Use newsletters, email blasts, social media, speeches, and and any other platform you think is viable. This is truly important.
One final thought. All of this applies to you, too. Be safe this summer.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Most insurance Internet sites seem to drive the visitor to hiding money under the mattress rather than investing in insurance.
I never cease to be amazed at the woeful state of so many insurance brokerage and agency web sites. We are a full 15 years into the Internet and this platform has now become your storefront, brochure, credibility statement, and face of your company – all in one package. Yet at least 75% or more of the ones I visit are simply horrid.
Here is my TOP 10 LIST of the most egregious errors…
- We don’t know who you are. The “About Us” section is filled with information about the business and not people. I don’t read who the owner is, what the names of the key agents are, and what they specialize in. Is this supposed to be a secret?
- Lack of photos. This is a relationship business. Show the pictures of your agents along with their name and what they do.
- Lack of testimonials. You have clients. Get testimonials about why they do business with you. Plaster them on every page and have a special section.
- Add videos. Video testimonials, videos from the principal, videos from the agents, videos about the agency. People are more visual then ever and this is an easy and free way to gain an identity.
- The font is too small. I’m not kidding. I saw one today where I needed to look for a magnifying glass (and who owns a magnifying glass anymore anyway). Wasn’t this checked by anyone before going live?
- Lack of a value proposition. Stop talking about your tremendous customer service, because that should be a given. Stop talking about the length of time in the community. Stop talking about your friendly staff. Start talking about how you improve the condition of your clients and why someone should talk to you. My guess is, many of you don’t know the answer to this. If you don’t know, it won’t be evident on your web site.
- Hire a professional to create a professional site. If you use a “do it yourself” web site, it shows and you won’t be thought of as successful.
- Provide free resources; instant chat with a customer service rep, forms to fill out prior to coming in, or anything that will make your client’s life easier.
- Stop using clip art pictures. For goodness sakes, take pictures of your staff and your building. It looks like you bought picture with a fake family and stuck in in your home.
- Be creative. I know the insurance industry is wary of taking chances. Be a pioneer. This isn’t life or death and it can all be changed if you make a mistake. The worst thing you can do is have a boring web site, and I’m here to tell you most of you do.
Final thought. This should be a “department ” in your agency. It may or may not include the principal. It should include bright, creative people who are willing to think outside of the box and try new things. They also should be tasked with checking it every quarter to make sure it doesn’t get outdated. Next to boring, this is the next unforgivable offense.
To you 25% or less who are working diligently on your web site…congratulations. You are the few. To you others, it’s time to ride into the 21st century. Make fixing your web site a priority and watch your brand and identity improve, and your sales increase.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
There are nearly 500,000 insurance agents and brokers from all lines in the United States. According to the Unites States Department of Labor, the median income was $47,000. This is worse than almost any other profession. What that tells me is that there are a lot of people caught in the white noise of insurance, and only a few who rise above it.
Welcome to my blog specifically tailored for the development and success of professionals in the insurance business!
I’ve been involved in the insurance industry for 25 years now. Whether it’s on the company, broker, agency, or consulting side of the equation, you will gain tremendous value from following this blog. Here’s how…
We will delve into issues that are pertinent to your success. In my experience, insurance professionals don’t do enough to grow their professional development. The reason has nothing to do with want, but rather with direction. Professional athletes, musicians, and entertainers employ coaches and mentors to guide them. The best and brightest in the business world do, too. You just don’t always see it. My proposition to you is to not only help you move forward in your career, but to accelerate the process and get you there more quickly.
This blog will feature articles, resources, testimonials, and information on upcoming events. It will also challenge your thinking; antagonize and irritate you at times; and provide you with valuable tools and strategies to reach your goals and dreams. We will accomplish this by making you think differently than you do now.
So try this blog out for size. What do you have to lose? Or perhaps the better question is, what do you have to gain? I promise you that if you are willing to invest your time with me, you will start trending up above the noise, regardless of where you are today.
You can receive this blog right in your Inbox. Go to the tab in the upper right-hand corner of this page and select “subscribe.” Then you can simply sit back and begin insuring your own success!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved