Do You Know the Difference Between a “Captive” and an “Independent” Insurance Agent? Neither Does Anyone Else and That Stagnates Their Growth
MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio � November 8 , 2004 � About 80 percent of all drivers looking for car, motorcycle, boat and RV insurance shop through a local agent who can give them guidance and advice. And who can blame them? But two thirds of them are shopping with captive agents who represent only one company, limiting their choices, according to the Progressive group of insurance companies.
That’s why Progressive is branding its $10 billion Agency business and launching a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to educate consumers about the advantages independent agents have over captives. The marketing effort for the new brand, Drive Insurance from ProgressiveSM, will aim to increase marketshare for independent agencies.
“Independent agents and brokers offer consumers a unique combination of choice and service that captive agents don’t,” said Bob Williams, group president, Drive Insurance from Progressive. “On average, an independent insurance agency represents seven personal lines companies, so they can help people shop around for the policy that best fits their needs. They’re knowledgeable and offer personal interaction. It’s important that consumers know about the choices they have, so Progressive is putting money behind helping them understand the benefits of using an independent agent like no other company ever has.”
“Ten years ago Progressive’s Direct business started advertising and grew from nothing to a more than $3 billion business. We know what the power of a strong brand can do and now we want to apply that to our Agency business,” said Williams. “Independent agents account for about $54 billion of the $134 billion of auto insurance written through agents today�this is an $80 billion growth opportunity.”
Williams said: “Our experience tells us that some people like to shop around on their own for car insurance, but many more want someone they can trust to take care of everything for them. Independent agents are the perfect solution for people who just want to live their lives. In fact, the tagline for the new brand is �Relax, just driveSM �. “
Progressive intends to deliver its new messages in a big way with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign launching in Florida on November 8 and countrywide in early January. The year round campaign, created by Grey Worldwide, features national television, print, radio and direct mail. Independent agents will be empowered to leverage the brand locally through Yellow Page advertising, outdoor signs and other co-op marketing opportunities.
The centerpiece of the marketing effort is the television campaign. The 30-second spots feature stars like Ryan Stiles of The Drew Carey Show and Who’s Line is it Anyway? and Wendie Malick of Just Shoot Me who think they are afforded special treatment from their independent agent simply because they’re celebrities. Williams said: “The truth is, independent agents give that level of service to everyone.”
The Progressive group of insurance companies, in business since 1937, is the nation’s third largest auto insurance group. Progressive companies using the Drive Insurance from Progressive brand offer consumers insurance through more than 30,000 independent agencies across the country. Drive Insurance from Progressive provides consumers with competitive prices and great service along with knowledgeable advice from an independent agent or broker. The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at driveinsurance.com.