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Becky PatelThe Role of the General Agency

General Agencies were created to consolidate distribution for the carriers in a fragmented marketplace, to promote their unique message and value in the marketplace, and GAs are compensated for handling these efforts. In the last 26 years, GAs have evolved in their offerings to brokers and we have flitted in and out of the entire process. To varying degrees, we quote, send supplies, handle enrollments, provide customer service, and facilitate renewals. I see an opportunity for General Agents to further help consolidate these processes. We need to be involved and ready to assist from quote to continuous renewals. We also need to embrace technology to help with our endeavors. It is no secret our compensation has been adjusted to HCR times. The question then becomes what value do we provide that a carrier wants to pay us for – today?

Compensation models will change, and our roles will evolve. Simultaneously, California will remain a very complicated landscape. We, as GAs, have a very specific role in distribution and delivery of group benefits in California. How that role is financed and valued will probably be determined on a case by case basis from our partners. The insurance companies have a say in that value proposition as do you: the brokers. We have a very unique business model – we serve you the broker and our compensation comes from the carrier. Thus, balancing the sometimes-competing needs and wants can get a little tricky.

Going Somewhere… Together

So to sum up, there is a lot of work to be done. Roles will change, and perhaps new players will emerge. Certainly the existing crew will have to transform. As a General Agent, LISI will embrace the law and learn it to provide you the most current interpretation while it is being created. We will also work with our carrier partners to deploy the changes the law requires. We will dialogue with our esteemed brokers to understand gaps and opportunities in the sales process. LISI will embrace technology as a means to address rising costs and to bring greater efficiencies to our industry. Most importantly, we will immerse ourselves in the total process and we will adapt accordingly at every level. In the New Year, there will be confusion and, possibly, even chaos. But we are diligent in looking out for your interests, and determined to always work for the greater good.

Happy New Year to you and your families. Wishing you great success in 2013! And yes we are going somewhere – FORWARD.

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