OAA’s Visit to LinkedIn Headquarters

Last week, Tony Caldwell, CEO of OAA, and his wife, Sharon, attended a session on maximizing the use of LinkedIn professional social media tools at LinkedIn Headquarters in San Francisco, California. The training was hosted by Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies during the President’s Award event. This event honors the company’s largest and most successful agency partners. Dale Steinke, Director of Bricks & Clicks for Safeco conducted the session. Thank you to our carrier partners for hosting this great event!

Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way.

The team at OAA has been raising money for many good causes this year, this month we chose the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City which provides free housing for the families of children fighting cancer at OU Children’s Hospital.  We’re sure the kids would much rather be chasing down eggs in the sunshine of their own back yard, but we thought we would help the Easter Bunny out and drop off a few baskets for the kids until they can get well and get home.  We have been so blessed by the outpouring of donations from our team members through our Five Dollar Friday’s (we get to wear jeans if we buy a sticker for $5).

The excitement was contagious!  When the checkout clerk at Walgreen’s asked “why are you buying so many bunnies?” our answer inspired her…  it turns out her life had been affected by childhood cancer and the experience of losing a child.  She and her coworkers pooled together to donate 16 bags of candy to the kids baskets!

Our team will be dropping the baskets off this afternoon.  There are so many great things you can do to support this amazing home, to get involved visit the Toby Keith Foundation here.

OAA Trip to Arkansas

Last week, members of the OAA team (Tony Caldwell – OAA CEO, Jennifer Fabian – Agency Development, Ladonna Mitchell – AR Territory Recruiter, and LeAnn Sanderson – VP of Communications) traveled to Arkansas to visit some of our OAA member agencies in AR. They discussed many plans and opportunities for the future in our Arkansas territory. The trip included a breakfast in Fort Smith, and then later, they enjoyed a great discussion in Fayetteville, AR over lunch. OAA is so proud of the strides our members in Arkansas are making and see great momentum toward the future for these agencies. What a successful experience!

The Sky Is Falling Part 1: By SIAA’s EVP & COO Matt Masiello

The sky is falling! Or maybe it’s just our industry evolving at a more rapid pace. Insurance is one of the last industries to become consumer-centric. Big change is coming, but I’m sorry to tell the doomsayers, it’s NOT happening tomorrow. Or even next year.

SIAA has a unique view into the lens of the insurance industry. We do business with many players in the insurance industry – including local agents all the way through the most senior executives of insurance companies. This gives us a perspective like no one else from Main Street to Wall Street.

There are ‘disruptors’ and ‘insurtech’- just what we needed, more buzz words. These things DO exist, and they are NOT the boogeyman. These concepts are looking to make our industry more consumer-friendly. Some people think they will make the agent obsolete. A recent article I read suggested that agents and brokers can make the insurance companies obsolete
with ‘insurtech’. Change is coming, but let’s get out of the sci-fi movie and back to reality. Here’s where we are:

1. Independent agents are NOT going away. True, some won’t make it. Maybe even some of you reading this piece (sorry). For years, we’ve been touting that you need to change to survive. That’s not new. The good news is that those of youwho survive will have evolved to be better business owners.

2. Captive agents are in deep…stuff. They are NOT doing well. They have ONE product to sell. Their carriers find their form of distribution VERY expensive. When opportunity knocks, you should probably answer the door! These agents, many of whom are local in your community, write 40% of personal insurance and 12% of small business. A bit later we’ll discuss what you can do about this…

3. Insurance companies are not going to put YOU out of business by using multiple forms of distribution. In fact, they are more likely to level the playing field with product and pricing with all their forms of insurance distribution, which reduces their expenses by managing one platform. If insurance is sold online or directly, through a captive agent (with one product), or through an independent agent – who do you think wins? I’m betting on the home team (that’s you guys!). Also, its important to note that insurance carriers are losing large agents at an alarming rate through acquisition every day. This rapid consolidation has them looking at the local agents in a much more favorable light.

4. Consumers, not companies, are forcing these changes. The agent of the future will be a new type of business, and a business development center for insurance companies. You will assist clients with the insurance purchase and make sure they have adequate protection, but service will move to a secondary position in your agency. Consumers want self-service, like they have in other parts of their life, and carriers will bring it to them in response to that demand. You will not be out of the loop, you’ll still be an advisor and advocate. The future client is not looking for a traditional insurance agent. Don’t get in their way – help them get what they want!

You’ll need to do a little work to help with your evolution and we’ll get to that-stay tuned for the 2nd part of The Sky is Falling where we discuss what SIAA is doing as the insurance industry evolves.

Abundance 360

Tony Caldwell, OAA CEO, attended Abundance 360 in Los Angeles, California. A gathering of entrepreneurs, futurists and leading thinkers in technology Abundance 360 is an important tool and experience that Caldwell and OAA are using to think about and plan for the future of our organization. This year’s Abundance topics include Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Materials Science, Robotics and Human Longevity among others. All of these topics have relevance to the insurance agency industry and OAA plans to offer access to much of the learning potential of A360 to members over the coming year.

OAA Leadership Retreat

OAA held their leadership team retreat this week.  We kicked off with an evening of great food and golfing fun, followed by a full day of meetings facilitated by Dan Ramsey.  We finished with a closing dinner and some time to dine and relax with one another.  Why would we need to get away from the office to focus on our business?   The answer is that it’s imperative to step away from the head-down day-to-day responsibilities of running a business in order to think and see things differently.   Each person in the room brings their own experiences, energy and unique perspective to the table.  The environment fosters creativity, brainstorming, and open discussion without the usual interruptions or distractions.   OAA’s leaders considered what the future might look like for OAA and our independent agents, and what we might be able to do to ensure success.  We set goals for 2018 and each departments goals were up for discussion.  Were they the right goals?  How and when would we accomplish them?  Who would be accountable?  What could we do to help each other achieve those goals?  We filled up so many flip chart pages we ran out of wall space.  Now we move on one of the most important elements of any business retreat…execution.

 

 

 

A Record Breaking Year

2017 was a big year for all of us. “Jim Masiello, CEO of SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance) – the largest alliance of independent insurance agencies in the U.S. – announced, ‘2017 was another great year for SIAA due to the tremendous partnerships formed among our member agencies, master agencies, and strategic partner companies. These numbers provide all the information needed to understand the success of our organization:’

  • $7.41 Billion total in-force premium ($7.1 Billion was projected), an increase of $810 Million or 12.3% over 2016.
  • $459 Million or 15.6% growth with Strategic Partner Companies.
  • 562 Member Agencies signed.”

Though these numbers are shocking, as SIAA and OAA continue to grow, our mission has not changed. We are dedicated to the creation, retention, growth, and continued success of the independent insurance agency distribution system. As we grow, we hope to maintain our level of professionalism and relationship with each agency owner, further clarify our processes, and seek out new opportunities for all to take advantage. Congratulations to all on a year of well-deserved success!

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The 2018 Success Conference and Celebration: Moonshot

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win…”
– John F. Kennedy

 

Moonshot thinking changes the world. By setting our minds to seemingly impossible ideas – much like landing on the moon – we push ourselves to our greatest potential, break new ground, and open a wealth of opportunities for ourselves and others. We are proud to say that OAA (our team members, members, insurance company partners, incredible entrepreneur partners, and SIAA) is comprised of individuals dedicated to audacious goals – we hope you all will join us at the 2018 Success Conference and Celebration, as we reach new heights together.

Mark your calendars for May 16th, 2018, to attend one of the largest gatherings of independent agencies in the region! The conference will take place at the Embassey Suites by Hilton in Norman, OK. You will have the opportunity to sit down with representatives from Safeco, Travelers, The Hartford, Mainstreet America, Metlife, OGA, and more. We look forward to seeing you as we celebrate the success of another year, as millions and millions of dollars go to OAA members.  Stay tuned for registration details.  

OAA’s Annual Charity Toy Exchange

Every year, we draw a name and buy a toy for that person that reflects their personality or interests. As the person unwraps their gift we tell them why we chose it for them as laughter and gratitude fill the room and the toys pile up. All the new unwrapped toys will be donated this year to Red Andrews Christmas Dinner.

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Foundation Academy IV

This Wednesday, OAA hosted Foundation Academy IV, at OAA’s Training Center. Ten new members joined us in discussing all the ways OAA and its partner carriers, along with SIAA, will help these new agents become Agents of the Future. OAA is here to support all our members, and ensure they stay “ahead of the curve” in the insurance industry. Whether that be taking advantage of up-and-coming technologies, maintaining strong partnerships with carriers, or keeping open lines of communication between all agencies, OAA is here to develop and cultivate success for years to come.

Truly, our experience, team and influence in the industry cannot be matched by any other partner in the nation. We are so excited that these new agents chose to join OAA, and are witnesses to the enormous potential the future holds for us all, individually and as a community. We are looking forward to the next Foundation Academy!