SIAA Helping Smaller Agents Become ‘Instantly Big’
SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance) announced in March that it has reached a milestone — its members recorded $6 billion of in-force written premium in 2015. This was achieved as SIAA celebrated its 20th year.
During 2015, for the seventh year in a row, the Hampton, New Hampshire-headquartered SIAA signed over 400 new member agencies. Since SIAA’s first master agency, the SAN Group, was founded in 1983, more than 5,700 member agencies have joined one of SIAA’s master agencies, which now total 48.
SIAA is the largest alliance of independent insurance agencies in the country. It was ranked first in Insurance Journal‘s Top 20 Agency Partnerships ranking in 2015 based on property/casualty revenues.
SIAA has also helped to create more than 3,450 new, independent agencies. In 2015, SIAA’s strategic partner companies — its carrier partners — generated $570.3 million in new business.
“The numbers clearly show the success of our unique integrated model, which is dedicated to agency growth and profitability,” said Jim Masiello, chairman and CEO of SIAA.
But the numbers only tell part of the story, Masiello said, adding that behind the scenes, “we have worked with our master agencies to provide member agencies with innovative and proven educational, marketing and business development resources.”
SIAA said its marketing team is expanding the support it provides agencies for website development, mobile apps and social media. SIAA’s consumer-facing web portal, Insurancedeals4u.com, provides a way for member agencies and consumers to find each other on the web, while its “Business Insurance Advantage” education program assists member agencies write new small commercial lines business.
Further, SIAA’s training and learning center now has more than 1,000 users, many of whom come from start-up agency members. These resources are combined with the agency foundation program, which provides real-time assistance to start-up agencies, to help burgeoning businesses.
Masiello said that in signing new member agencies, SIAA focuses more on rural and smaller suburban territories, smaller agencies or captive agencies that want to become independent agencies.
Typically these operations have nine or less employees, Masiello said. “We identify the agencies. There is a very tough due diligence process. Every piece of business our partners do is unique. Our goal is 6-8 percent growth each year,” he told Insurance Journal. When SIAA identifies prospects, there is a lengthy due diligence process before any of the master agencies will accept them into the SIAA membership.
“These agencies get the ability to be part of a very large organization. When smaller agents join us, they become instantly big. They are part of a business that has generated more than $6 billion of in-force premium,” Masiello said.
“The smaller guys have access to our 22 carrier partners, which we call strategic partner companies. These are some of the most competitive markets in the country.”
Focusing on IA System
Masiello said that of all the figures, what makes him the proudest is the thousands of new independent agencies that SIAA helped create. He said SIAA “created over 3,450 new independent agencies so far. That’s going back to our focus on the independent insurance agency distribution system.”
“We’ve created about 10 percent of all independent agencies now. We are very proud of that,” he said.
“We are a multi-level agency partnering model. When it all comes together, we end up with a team, it’s a team approach. We have master agencies, member agencies, strategic partner companies, we all work together,” Masiello said. “Everyone has to be successful or our model won’t work. Our members receive top commission regardless of the premium they write.”
“Because we have a 15-year partnering agreement, our members know we are in this together for a long time. And then at the end of the day, if they decide to retire or sell, we have a perpetuation program, so they know they have a place to go,” he said. “Our goal is to do better today than yesterday. That’s our 5, 10, 20 year plan.”
Read the full article, published June 17, 2016 in Insurance Journal.