I attended a breakout session at last week’s LIMRA Distribution Conference in Orlando featuring a pair of top independent producers talking about what they value most from home offices, above and beyond product payout. Both said producers who are at the top of their game don’t make decisions based on product and payout but want to closely align themselves with organizations that have the following characteristics:
- They are trustworthy. They do what they say they will do.
- Ease of doing business. As one of the speakers mentioned, “If you have all the cool toys, top producers will want to play in your sandbox.”
- Responsiveness. If a million-dollar producer’s time is worth $8.50 a minute, as one of the presenters purported (based on 244 working days per year), he doesn’t want to be spending time waiting to hear back from — or too much time on the phone with — the home office. That leads right in to the next trait…
- High-quality customer service. Concierge services, if you will. Top producers want the kind of service that elite travelers receive from airlines and hotels. They want to be bumped to the head of the call center queue. They expect access to the most experienced service reps. They demand quick resolution to their problems.
- Loyalty to top producers. Top producers are special because they generate such a big percentage of the business. They believe the organizations they align themselves with need to recognize and reward that fact. They want resources focused on them, and they want to feel their production is appreciated.
- Ability of the organization to serve as an advisor to the producer. Top producers don’t want to be burdened by all the minutiae of specific products, but they want quick access to specifics when they need it. They also expect automatic, proactive updates on products and pending business.
- Overall reputation of the organization.
Top producers are different, and it is no surprise they expect to be treated as such by carriers and intermediaries. It’s also no surprise that the partners who provide them with the best support tend to receive a larger portion of their business.