We’re honored to announce the winner of the 2019 Agent for the Future™ Award: Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services.
Paradiso’s focus on customer experience, innovative marketing initiatives, and commitment to improving the independent agent channel helped the agency win the award.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” says Chris Paradiso, the owner of Paradiso Insurance. “Our agency works hard to create an excellent customer experience, and we’re passionate about helping other independent agencies do the same.”
Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance launched the Agent for the Future Award in 2018 to recognize independent agencies that are adapting to meet the changing needs of customers and drive the industry forward.
“The market today is evolving,” says Tyler Asher, president of Independent Agent Distribution for Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance, “so we want to shine a light on agents who are really embracing strategies required to thrive in the market today and tomorrow. We’re highlighting agents who are running toward change, not away from it—agents who can inspire the entire channel.”
“Paradiso Insurance truly embodies what it means to be an agent for the future,” Asher continues. “From their work implementing innovations that drive outstanding customer experience to their focus on brand consistency and niche expertise, the agency is a great example to others. Plus, Chris and his team willingly give back to their community and to our industry as a whole.”
Giving back to the industry
One of the things that made Paradiso Insurance stand out among this year’s 75 AFTF Award nominees is owner Chris Paradiso’s commitment to helping other independent agents succeed.
“Winning IAs approach their work with a tremendous spirit of generosity,” Asher says. “In local communities and professional networks, they willingly share time and expertise to lift others up.”
Paradiso has developed successful marketing strategies using social media, search engine optimization, video content and other online tools. And the agency regularly shares their techniques with other agencies. Several years ago, Paradiso created Paradiso Presents, a platform that aims to educate and empower independent insurance agents to grow their agencies through digital marketing.
“We started Paradiso Presents to help and encourage agents to move forward in the digital space and embrace it,” Paradiso says. “We teach them about digital marketing, branding, agency processes, and more. We are hands-on so that agents have the opportunity to implement what they have learned.”
Paradiso also writes a regular “Tactical Tech” column for Rough Notes magazine. Plus, every year, Paradiso Presents releases a magazine, Be the Last Agent Standing, which is full of practical insights about marketing and technology. Proceeds from the publication go to charity.
“We’re keeping up with the times and encouraging others to move forward,” Paradiso says. “This not only helps them, but it also helps our agency stay alert, learn new strategies, and implement emerging technologies, becoming early adopters.”
Using technology to connect with customers
Paradiso Insurance uses those emerging technologies to build relationships with their customers. The agency employs a combination of traditional and digital communications to connect with clients. They have more than 20 unique touchpoints for customers, including automated email marketing campaigns, handwritten cards and customer engagement programs.
“Communicating regularly with clients helps us build lasting relationships,” Paradiso says. “We use technology to automate some of our routine communications and service tasks so we can spend more time creating personal relationships with our customers.”
To maintain those relationships, Paradiso’s staff is focused on providing excellent, personalized service. The agency’s online callback feature lets them easily connect with website visitors, and their review platform (powered by Rocket Referrals) lets them respond and show how much they value their customers. They have extended operation hours to include Saturdays and make sure someone answers the phone 24/7 – so customers can talk to a human no matter when they call.
A community player
The Paradiso team is highly involved in their community in Stafford, Connecticut. The agency has supported many local initiatives through the years, including raising money for local nonprofits, giving away bikes at Stafford Elementary school, doing “reverse trick-or-treating” at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and more.
“We love our community,” Paradiso says, “and the best way to demonstrate that is for our actions to match our words, by being heavily engaged.”
Every year, the agency hosts a Flag Day barbecue to support veterans and celebrate freedom. Along with the cookout, the agency gives away American flags and flag-themed shirts, and encourages residents to bring in old flags to exchange for new ones.
Paradiso wants their Flag Day celebration to encourage local pride and local shopping. They invite local businesses to get involved, offering email and blog content businesses can share with clients. They support small businesses outside of Flag Day, as well, offering classes for local businesses to help them learn how to use social platforms to grow their business.
Moving into the future
Paradiso Insurance is constantly striving to improve their processes and find better ways to serve their customers.
“Being an Agent for the Future means always innovating and evolving to seize new opportunities,” Paradiso says.
Ever the early-adopter, Paradiso is partnering with insurtech startups to explore new technologies.
“It is going to take perseverance to address some of the digital challenges in the market,” he says, “but there are many great partners and startups who are willing to advocate for the agent. There’s no better time to be on the ground floor of new technologies and new ways of doing things.”
What’s next for Paradiso?
“In 2020 and beyond, we envision our agency staying true to its values, but looking different than it does today,” Paradiso says. “We plan to implement a strategy that incorporates greater use of advanced media, new marketing tactics, and a more modern, consumer-focused approach to customer experience.”
Thank you to all the agents that took time to submit a nomination for the 2019 Agent for the Future Award. Congratulations to our other finalists, Stewardship Insurance, Glidewell Investments & Insurance Group and JPI Insurance Solutions for all their incredible work.
We will be presenting the Regional Agent for the Future Awards later this year, so keep an eye out for those.