(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

We often market the Insurance Leadership Forum as a one-of-a-kind meeting, where the best in the business gather from morning to night to foster relationships, conduct business, take the temperature of other market leaders and prepare their sails for looming market trends.Each year we work hard to be creative and innovative and to keep our membership current on critical issues. So it’s been gratifying that in the weeks following our 100th annual forum so many of you have reached out to say that the meeting exceeded your expectations.

The conversations leading up to, during and after ILF give us great insight as to how our members are tackling their businesses and succeeding. They look ahead and anticipate change. They seek opportunities. From emerging risks, they create unique solutions for their clients.

Only days before ILF, I was reading the recent McKinsey study on the struggles of small agencies to maintain vibrancy due to all kinds of factors — the commoditization of personal lines, scale and the relative success of larger acquiring firms. I also saw the blowback from those who represent the small independent agencies who took umbrage at the McKinsey characterization that the economics of the traditional small-agent model are beginning to unravel.

The study states that market forces, technological advancements and new economic realities have the potential to alter the distribution landscape in personal lines and small commercial insurance within five to 10 years. It’s not news, really, that the local agent is undergoing vast change. Hard numbers prove it—the overall number of small p-c insurance agents declined 10% between 1995 and 2011.

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