Ashley Wingate, Senior Vice President
Like many of you, I recall breathing a sigh of relief when the calendar flipped over to 2021, with high hopes that the challenges of 2020 were finally behind us. Unfortunately, that was not the case and as the pandemic lingered, so did the obstacles for many industries, including ours. Yet Smart Choice, our agents and carrier partners all worked together to hit some amazing milestones and put together another great year in the books.
2021 marks Smart Choice’s 11th consecutive year of double-digit growth. We recruited over 1,150 new agents, bringing our total number of active agents to 9,000. We were again able to offer top compensation to our agency partners, and our carrier partners continue to step up with additional incentives, including an exclusive European river cruise and the giving away of 10 Teslas.
Looking Ahead to 2022
We anticipate continued growth and strong incentives in the year ahead. Market consolidation and merger acquisitions are two trends to watch, and as our CEO pointed out in his letter, remember that agency perpetuation is something Smart Choice can help guide you through should that be something you are considering in the near future.
Another big trend is technology, as carriers continue to utilize telematics and AI for Personalized Premiums through their quoting systems, and we are seeing more automation and technology in Claims service. There are a myriad of high-tech options for agencies to streamline operations as well. Smart Choice provides access to some of these companies, and we are always exploring more, to help make your office run as smoothly as possible. Insure Tech carriers continue to enter the space and we have partnered with several - Lemonade, Clear Cover, Branch, Openly, and Cover - to ensure you can offer your customers a variety of options.
Our core carrier partners continued to drive profitably as 2021 proved to be another great contingency year for Smart Choice. We are proud to offer top compensation to our agency partners and will continue to expand our portfolio and carrier appointment opportunities.
The Smart Start programs have expanded their markets (Nationwide, Chubb, K2) and Personal Lines has added staff to continue to provide the highest level of service. Both Personal Lines and Commercial Lines have additional training on our website to ensure agents’ success as both programs aim to assist agents in growing their books of business and earning their own direct sub-code appointments.
The Excess and Surplus space continues to expand and grow throughout the country, and having a great E&S line up for your agency is more important than ever. Express Markets.com is a great place to search for options for those hard-to-place risks, and check often as we have added several new market offerings to the program - CannGen, Orchid, Attune, SIS Insure - and will continue to do so because we are constantly evaluating our carrier line-up to give you the best options for your customers.
We have every expectation to continue our our double-digit growth in 2022 and have over 9,600 agents in the program. If your agency is not hitting the mark, set up a consultation with your local Territory Manager to find out how you can benefit from a deeper partnership with Smart Choice. And don’t forget about the Smart Choice Leadership Club, offering 100% commissions and a number of benefits, including the opportunity to earn bonus and contingency shares, once your agency reaches a certain level.
Remember, we ultimately want to help YOU maximize your revenue in 2022!
- From the Front Line
Even though we turned the calendar on 2020, the pandemic lingered, and so did the obstacles for many industries, including ours. Yet Smart Choice, our agents and carrier partners all worked together to hit some amazing milestones and put together another great year in the books. Check out the 2021 Issue 6 of Smart Choice Magazine for all of the milestones and achievements of 2021 and what we have to look forward to in 2022 (hint: there's a lot!).