BGAs, NAILBA Getting More Attention From Companies
A lot of companies want to get into the insurance brokerage business, according to Jack Dewald.
The president of Agency Services Inc., in Memphis, Dewald is also the current chairman of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, Fairfax, Va.
During an interview with National Underwriter on general product trends, Dewald mentioned that one of the key trends he is seeing right now has to do with distribution arrangements, not just products.
Specifically, he says, many insurers are looking for a different source of business. “They say they want more expertise and less cost, and they see brokerage operations as a way to achieve that.”
His views are not uncommon. Many brokerage general agents tell NU that insurance company executives are knocking on their doors, looking to establish (or strengthen) their marketing relationships. Many come with new products built just for the brokerage arena.
The momentum is high, says Dewald. For example, he notes that NAILBAs annual meeting last November drew 1,400 people. “That was an all-time high for us. We broke every record we had, in attendance, sponsorships, exhibits and so on. And this was despite the down economy.”
Further, he says, just weeks after that meeting, “we had almost sold out the spaces and sponsorships we have available for next years annual meeting.”
Several newcomers were insurers that are now looking to get into, or expand their use of, the brokerage system, Dewald says.
“We establish new relationships with eight to 12 companies each year,” points out Joe Normandy, the executive director for NAILBA. A number of the newest members are from old-line insurance companies with household names, he notes.
NAILBA membership is growing, too, Normandy adds. For instance, he says the association now has 310 full members, up from about 250 four years ago. It has also established a new “provisional membership” category for brokerages that do not yet qualify for full membership; they can hold this position for up to two years.