Jimmy Cooper, Recruitment and Marketing Coordinator
As another year comes to a close, Mountain Empire Agency Alliance stops to reflect on the past 12 months. With challenges present, our staff and member agencies have overcome a lot to continue to see success around every corner. With 2023 on the horizon, we look back, and we look ahead.
Even though our economy has taken a hit in the past few years, 2022 shows that our industry is resilient and shows promise for the future. Last year we had 11 new members join MEAA, and our annual meeting was attended by more than 160 agency owners, carrier representatives, and vendors. Our members were busy, writing more premium volume than in previous years and becoming leading agencies in their regions.
New Resources for our Members
MEAA staff continues identifying and adding new resources, incentives, relationships, and programs to enhance our members’ experience. This year, we started quarterly virtual meetings for our members to have live discussions about issues, solutions, concerns, tactics, and more. Our leadership team and special guest speakers cover relevant topics to give agency owners the keys to success and allow agencies to ask questions. In our most recent meeting, guest speaker, Sheldon Snodgrass, spoke about goal setting and its importance in the personal and professional life of an agency owner.
In July of this year, we launched our closed Facebook group for our members to have an opportunity to ask questions about issues their agency is facing. This gives everyone a chance to chat with staff and other members about solutions in this ever-changing environment. The Facebook Group is also an excellent place for members to keep up to date on upcoming events and meetings. This space has proved that we are all stronger when we work together.
SIAA and our master agency made improvements to the Foundation Program in 2022, making getting an agency started easier now than ever. After helping thousands of agencies across the country, we perfected a turn-key program specifically for start-up agencies; with over an 80% success rate, the Foundation Program is the safest way to start a new agency.
The program is a structured, step-by-step systematic approach to teaching you not only what you need to be working on, but doing so in the correct order. Three crucial parts of the program are the People, the Process, and the Tools.
The People. One of our Agency Growth Coaches is assigned as the Mentor for each new Foundation Agency. This person that will be there to walk you through each step of the setup and startup process and answer all of your day-to-day questions.
The Process is a Best Practices checklist of activities that need to be accomplished, and the proper order in which to do them. From initial setup starting week 1 /day 1, you will know exactly what you need to be working on and when. With the help of your Agency Mentor, you will be up and writing business in just a week or two.
The Tools necessary for a successful startup are also provided in the Foundation Program. Agency management system, website development and hosting, comparative rater, E&O, Cyber Liability and the SIAA Training and Learning center are all included for your first year of business.
With access to personal coaching, tools, and resources from day one, you will be able to identify what steps you need to take and when to take them for every aspect and milestone of your business.
How to Plan for 2023
As we begin a new year, MEAA is dedicated to starting our member agencies off on the right foot. In December, we talked extensively about how to best lay plans for a successful 2023.
The best way to improve in the new year is to write a business plan. Take some time to map out your agency goals, concrete steps you plan to take, and how you will measure your success. Members remember it is important to utilize key performance indicators at least once a quarter to see measurable progress toward your goals.
Looking to 2023, we also encourage members to look at their carriers each quarter. Carriers are changing their models, and agencies must be aware of changes. Prepare your staff for all carrier changes and the hardening markets.
One thing we have learned in this market is that with carriers changing, so is the entire market. Be part of the change and evolve with the market, so your agency isn’t two steps behind the rest of the field. It is never too late to start thinking about the future of your agency by updating your business plan, conducting a SWOT analysis, and updating your mission, vision, and agency objectives with consumer trends.
The market is not the only change. Technology, as we know, rapidly advances, and updating your workflows to use new technology will help you work smarter, not harder. Stay current on communication internally and externally. One great idea is to stay in touch with staff and customers by sending out holiday, birthday, and achievement cards or emails to let them know you are thinking of them.
Three topics we plan to discuss in 2023 include a dive deep into marketing budget allocation, how to spend money correctly, and use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for external marketing and employment opportunities.
Speaking of employment, we will also discuss attracting, retaining, and incentivizing employees. Discuss employees working remotely and how to track their progress and their setups.
The third and final topic will be hard market selling. It is no secret that we have been challenged with hard markets, and regrettably, this will not change anytime soon. However, the coaches and mentors at MEAA will direct members on how to combat these challenges and more.
Save the Date for our 2023 Annual Meeting
May 3-4, 2023, we will be hosting our Annual Meeting in Kingsport, TN. More details will be announced soon, but mark your calendars to join us as we cover a variety of topics and host a number of carriers and exhibitors who can take your agency to the next level. Email Cara Schoettes for questions about the meeting.
Why Join MEAA in 2023?
MEAA prides itself in being able to not only help new agencies but grow existing and established agencies, your agency can always grow, and we can help. We help increase your revenue by giving your agency access to national and regional companies unique to MEAA.
Members also gain access to our mentors and coaches to walk alongside your agency, marketing, training, bonuses, and more, all while you retain full ownership of your agency. Get paid five different ways on a single piece of business from the base commission, guaranteed override, local and national profit sharing (available from the time you sign up), and growth bonus plus additional bonuses like the referral incentive.
Our success is your agency’s success. After all, being independent doesn’t mean being alone, so join us this year and see the difference for yourself.
This year had its fair share of challenges. However, we overcame them together and will continue to grow our network and provide the tools your agency needs to succeed. We are looking forward to 2023 and are excited to see what accomplishments it brings.