Mark Bigham - Texas State Dir.
Enjoying a successful career in the financial services industry, I was enticed by “self employment” and the “Independence” it offered. I wanted to utilize my education and a track of record of accomplishment, to create my own destiny, or establish my own security.
I pursued and was actively recruited by the “usual” captive insurance companies, as a result of having active P&C and securities licenses. Impressed with the vigorous interest and follow up, and, what I interpreted as their “assistance” in starting my Agency, it was an easy decision to join the ranks of one of the familiar captive insurance Carriers. The recruiting efforts by all of these companies are truly impressive, as their success depends upon it. I was eager to begin and build my book of business and my own security.
I achieved top producer status in my first two years, so as to maximize the “assistance” or “subsidies” made available to my Agency. However, I also became disillusioned and disappointed with the “independence” I expected with self employment. Over the next few years, as with ALL insurance companies, appetites change, underwriting guidelines change and they have significant impact upon your customers and your book of business. As a Captive Agent, I had no alternative to offer my customers, when my insurance company reaped havoc upon my book of business with unusual and unsubstantiated premium increases, despite a record of minimum or no losses. My customers were torn as they wanted to be loyal to ME, but at the same time, were offended at the treatment of my Insurance Company. I felt restricted; I felt like I was not in control of my own destiny, which is the reason I originally pursued self employment. I had not achieved the independence I had yearned for. I realized, I truly did not have the power of independence. The independence, that only an Independent Insurance Agent, can have.
As a result, I began my research. Armed with the knowledge of my experience, I was committed to find as much flexibility as possible. My initial findings were disappointing. Many independent agents were struggling and I was surprised to find their resources, or the number of Carriers they represented were very limited. I was committed to find the ability to do what is best for my customer, realizing that everybody’s situation is unique; so, my search continued while my frustration level was high.
I became intrigued with these “groups” or “aggregators” or “consolidators” or national agencies. It seemed like everybody had a different title for what they called themselves. Many had exorbitant fees, both for initial contracting and also on a continuing basis.
Knowing that I had created a profitable book of business as an Agent for my Captive Insurance Company, I questioned these fees….they ranged from $10,000 to over $100,000, just to start! Subsequently, some of these groups disappeared overnight. Others were doing well, but they seemed to be more interested in the fees they collected from the Agent, instead of providing what was necessary to make the Agent successful.
Ultimately, my research brought me to the Pacific Northwest, Eagle, ID, Pacific Crest, and Shawn Webb. Thankfully, my frustration level finally began to subside! I learned that the concept Pacific Crest brings to the industry is truly unique. Pacific Crest allowed me to help bring their concept to Texas, which after 15 years in the industry within the State, I knew would fill a huge void, as there is no other group in Texas, like Pacific Crest….none.
What makes the concept at Pacific Crest unique? First, our primary concern is to bring the Agent, all the tools necessary to make your agency successful. Whether your expertise is in personal lines or commercial lines, life insurance or financial management, or all of the above, we are providing you with an abundance of resources you need to be successful. Compare what we offer to what others offer; commit yourself to do this research or comparison, as it will prove to be a wise investment of your time.
First and foremost, we bring you a large selection of preferred Carriers to address your clients’ unique situation and close their business. Second, technology is vitally important to the management and development of your Agency. At Pacific Crest, these services such as our multi-raters, client management systems, contact management systems, websites, email, E&O, are all brought to you, at our cost. This alone, differentiates us from other groups or agencies. In other words, our success, is wholly DEPENDENT on YOUR success, as an INDEPENDENT Agent.
Immediately upon becoming an Independent Agent, my production realized levels that I had never experienced before. Retention was very high and my referrals escalated! My customers, both commercial and personal, appreciated that I was able to fit their unique situation to a Carrier that best fit their needs. Referral activity sky rocketed as a result.
Earn the business of your customers and be able to maintain them long term!
Experience the power of true and genuine independence!