We have written periodically about similarities and differences between independent agents in the US and brokers in Canada as each group seeks to rationalize electronic connectivity with its insurance carrier partners. While the goals of the two groups align in important ways, one difference is crystal clear: US Agents have fine tuned the promotion of its objectives into something resembling an art form. As there is some beginnings of similar work in Canada, interested Canadian brokers might take a look at how this is done on Leap Day (February 29th) this year.
Some background. The search for seamless connectivity between independent insurance distributors and insurance carriers goes back over 40 years. While there has been progress, everyone involved agrees that the current state is far from any definition of ideal. In addition, while almost everyone has an opinion about the roadblocks, there is general consensus that awareness by all players – carriers, distributors, and suppliers – is an on-going problem.
Over the years, there have been marketing campaigns by individual organizations and associations. However, these come and go. A few years ago, a group of leading independent agents, with the support of insurers, technology suppliers, agent associations, and ACORD, set up a semi-permanent marketing campaign under the banner of “Get Real Time”. There are a number of initiatives, including promotions, training activities, tools for business case calculations, and more on the GetRealTime.org web site.
The latest initiative is the Real Time Day campaign set for Leap Day (February 29) 2012. There are a series of on-line activities hosted by stakeholder groups to inform and motivate. Why Leap Day? Eddie (the cartoon leader of RealTime) says it best:
Do promotions like Real time Day and the ongoing campaign actually stimulate the real work required to implement standard distributor connectivity? It’s fair to say that the jury is out. However, there is little doubt that these types of activities keep the discussion open.
Canadian brokers have started something similar with ORBiT. It will be interesting to see how this progresses. In the meantime, for those involved or just interested, Leap Day is an opportunity to have a look at how our American friends do it.
And have a Great Real-Time Day!