For five years now, the Agent for the Future Awards have honored the most future-thinking, growth-focused independent insurance agents and agencies.
This year’s winners are making data-driven decisions to improve their agencies, giving back to their communities, using technology to drive efficiency and much more.
Here are the 2022 Agent for the Future Award winners:
Outstanding Agency Overall: INSURICA
In the last few years, INSURICA has focused on harnessing the power of data to drive innovation.
“Evaluating data is essential for companies to push the needle forward in their industry and beyond,” agency representatives wrote in the agency’s AFTF Award application. “Data is used to make informed business decisions about a company’s present status and future direction.”
INSURICA is pushing the needle in many areas. The agency developed an in-house AI “robot” to perform routine account processing tasks. They built a “digital revenue engine” that generates sales through customer relationship management and automated marketing. And recently, they created data-backed, industry-specific risk assessments to offer insights to their commercial clients and prospects.
Along with innovation, INSURICA’s core values include integrity and purpose. This year, INSURICA won the title of 2022 Best Agency to Work from Insurance Journal. Even with the size of the agency (INSURICA is one of the 50 largest insurance brokers in the U.S, with 35 offices spread across 10 states), employees say they feel a strong sense of community and connection.
All of this and more helped INSURICA win the title of 2022 Outstanding Agency Overall.
Outstanding Large Agency: Insurance Management Group
Insurance Management Group (IMG) is committed to giving back – to the independent agent channel, to their community and clients, and to their employees.
The agency has partnered with the Underwriters Alliance of Indiana to help agencies across the state develop their agents. They have a robust volunteer program and partner with local nonprofits and community groups.
Internally, the agency has a focus on employee development, offering personal growth and development groups that meet once a month to learn and grow in areas such as finances, leadership, physical and mental health and more. They also created a bi-weekly forum for new sales producers to discuss strategies and learn from more experienced producers.
IMG is also focused on making data-driven decisions to drive the agency forward. The agency’s president created a data analytics tool designed to give independent insurance agency leaders strategic insights into the state of their business.
Outstanding Small Agency: RiskWell
After making the leap from captive to independent agent, RiskWell CEO James Jenkins became passionate about helping other independent agents launch and grow their businesses.
He created the Agency Freedom Podcast, where he has shared tactical advice and coaching with more than 2,000 listeners. He also created a social media community where he hosts weekly shop talk calls that are open to anyone in the industry.
RiskWell, which started as a scratch agency in 2019, is a fully digital agency that focuses on the commercial lines E&S side of the industry. Between 2021 and 2022, the agency experienced nearly 70% revenue growth, drawing on opportunities from inbound requests, referrals, social media content and local marketing.
Digital Innovator: McMichael Insurance
Recognizing that technology can increase efficiencies, the leadership team at McMichael Insurance implemented automation processes that streamlined customer experiences and saved hours of staff time.
The team can now generate a homeowner quote in under four minutes (the old process could take up to 30 minutes), and the standardized quoting platform has helped remove errors. The agency’s automated data entry bots can enter Medicare commissions in less than four hours a month, compared to 50 hours previously.
The agency’s digital tools also allow for more touches with their clients, supplementing their manual efforts with automated follow-ups.
These are just a few of the many innovations McMichael has implemented, with the goal of tripling the size of the agency in five years.
Outstanding Female Agency Principal: Dawnyel Smink, CLI Select Agencies
A former elementary school teacher, Dawnyel Smink now uses her passion for education while talking to clients about insurance.
She’s also passionate about improving the insurance industry, especially for women. In 2017, she started Women in Insurance Sharing Empowerment (WIISE), which puts on small retreats with female agency owners and executives from insurance carriers.
CLI Select is part of a network of nearly 80 agencies, and has a goal of reaching 200 agency locations. They aim to help agencies implement technology and navigate the ever-changing landscape of the industry.
Emerging Leader: Jiming Yan, Jim Insurance Firm
When Jiming Yan immigrated to the U.S. from China 12 years ago, he knew very little about insurance, and he saw those in his community struggling to understand insurance as well.
So, he decided to step up to help, launching his insurance agency in 2018 after getting a masters degree in finance and risk management. Since then, the agency has grown their book by at least 30% each year, focusing on providing education and advice for customers in the Chinese American community in Colorado.
In the last year, Jim Insurance launched a claims assistance program to help clients better navigate claims experiences. They speak with clients in Chinese before and after the call with claims adjusters to help give them a full picture of the claims process. This program has boosted referrals.
In the next few years, the agency has plans to expand to do business in several states, do more outreach to Chinese business owners, and extend their business hours with the goal of doubling the size of their agency by the end of 2025.
Congratulations to all the 2022 Agent for the Future Award winners!
- Outstanding Agency Overall: INSURICA
- Outstanding Large Agency: Insurance Management Group
- Outstanding Small Agency: RiskWell
- Digital Innovator: McMichael Insurance
- Outstanding Female Principal: Dawnyel Smink, CLI Select Agencies
- Emerging Leader: Jiming Yan, Jim Insurance Firm