Astonish Helps Small Insurance Agencies Move Out of the Ice Age
Thirty years ago shopping for insurance was a completely different experience. The online world of instant quotes and information was years away. Most people in most towns - large and small - would spend an afternoon with their local insurance agent. These insurance agents worked in small family owned shops. They used typewriters and smoked in the office. There were paintings on the walls of those who had come before them. Some of these agencies grew as they adapted to the changes in the industry and technology. Some of them didn't. Some of them still operate in an antiquated fashion today. Many of them find it hard to compete with the larger online firms. That is when they call Astonish.
Astonish, whose slogan is "We're the best friend of the local insurance agent" specializes in bringing these generally family owned and local insurance agencies into the 21st century so they can remain competitive. Astonish provides the technology, the marketing and most importantly - the training to compete in a 24/7 insurance marketplace dominated by the bix box brands such as Geico and Progressive. Astonish is the brain child of Adam DeGraide, who has a passion for helping companies move forward. I spoke with Adam about Astonish and how they help small agencies compete.
"The average age of an agency owner is a little over 56 to 63 years old," Adam tells me via phone. "They have generally an older staff. These are some of the best people in the country. These are great small businesses. They really offer great service, and their services represent multiple carriers and they're really helping the potential insured look at all their options and manage their options."
The problem with these small businesses - and where Astonish comes in - is when it comes to social media and keeping a constant line of communication open with the customer. These agencies tend to be a bit behind the times, slow to get back to the customer with pertinent information - such as insurance quotes. These days, that kind of hesitation can destroy a local business.
"The local agent really has to become more relevant and more competitive when it comes to social media and the social consumer because the way they run their agencies. They're so slow. Like if you were asked for a quote on an insurance policy, they're so slow to get back to somebody and so slow to provide the information - which is great information. If you can go right to Geico or Progressive or Statefarm.com; they are there and set up to sell and serve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So what Astonish does is we really look at it as a David and Goliath thing where we want to give them the tools they need to compete with those big boxes to get their fair share of business, continue to sustain the local economies and to serve the insured at a local level."Continued on the next page