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Insurance Agents Talk Shop

Business & Economics Podcasts

Lively discussions with insurance agents and other insurance professionals regarding issues of the day, challenges experienced, successes enjoyed, innovations explored, and more. Join us to gain insights – unless you already have “all the answers”. Hosted by Doug Coombs, CMO for SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance) – the largest network of independent insurance agencies in the United States.


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Lively discussions with insurance agents and other insurance professionals regarding issues of the day, challenges experienced, successes enjoyed, innovations explored, and more. Join us to gain insights – unless you already have “all the answers”. Hosted by Doug Coombs, CMO for SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance) – the largest network of independent insurance agencies in the United States.




Improving Retention With Cross-Selling

In today's business landscape, keeping existing clients is crucial. Cross-selling, or offering your current clientele complementary products and services, is an important strategy that can significantly boost client retention. Dive with us into this episode of IATS, as we discuss effective cross-selling and its role in maintaining client loyalty. We're joined by Steve Tombarelli, Senior Vice President of Programs and Services at SIAA, who sheds light on crafting an unforgettable client sales journey and the importance of nurturing "sticky" client relationships through multiple interactions, turning those encounters into promising cross-selling opportunities. In this episode we also touch upon the fine balance of informing clients about relevant products without coming across as too assertive. Don't miss out as we discuss the pros and cons of honing a niche market, as well as techniques and tips that will enable you to excel at client retention and cross-selling.


Preparing to Sell Commercial Lines

Are you ready to master the art of selling commercial lines insurance? Join us as we dive into this complex sphere with guest, Jerry Thacker, Agency Growth Coach at AHA Insurance Network. In this episode, you will learn how agents can cater to the diverse needs of businesses, explore the profound differences between personal and commercial lines, and delve into the four types of liability exposure that underwriters consider when assessing risks. And that's just the beginning! This episode also touches on the significance of niche markets, the essential role carrier partners play, and the power of networking and discuss the benefits of getting involved with professional associations. And, we unveil how to leverage insure tech and digital platforms to streamline the commercial lines selling process. So, tune in and get ready to elevate your commercial lines strategy!


Insights and Inspiration from IA Evolve 2023

Join us as we explore the insights and ideas that came to life at IAEvolve! In this episode, our guests, Brendan Mulcahy, Vice President of Technology and Innovation Partnerships at SIAA, Jillian Wolley, Marketing Manager, Partnerships at SIAA, and Lisa Grover, Vice President of Marketing at SIAA, share their unique perspectives and reflections on what has become the premier virtual conference in the world of insurance agencies, with a focus on innovation and technology.


Maintaining Strong Carrier Connections: A Conversation with Jeff Bair

Get ready for a riveting journey into the world of insurance! We're ecstatic to have with us Jeff Bair, head of IA Marketing and National Accounts at Foremost Insurance, who shines a spotlight on the delicate dance between insurance agents and carriers. Market complexities abound, and maintaining customer trust while navigating premium increases is no cakewalk. Jeff deciphers these challenges for us, and emphasizes the power of clear communication in keeping this intricate relationship thriving. Our conversation with Jeff then takes an exciting turn as we venture into the realm of meaningful dialogues. Ever been held back by the fear of missing out or fear of looking dumb? You're not alone. We shed light on how these fears can stifle understanding and actually close off productive group conversations. Not to mention, the relationship between territory managers and independent agents could be the key to unlocking untapped potential. Hold on as we dissect the dynamics of this crucial relationship, unearthing the significance of nurturing it for mutual success. Finally, we couldn't let Jeff go without picking his brain on the recipe for a successful partnership between agents and carriers. From the importance of regular communication to adopting new age channels, Jeff's insights are a treasure trove. We also delve into how agents and carriers can champion for each other, creating a symbiotic and profitable relationship. So, buckle up and join us in gaining invaluable insights from an industry veteran on maintaining carrier connections in the insurance industry. This is one episode you won't want to miss!


Laying the Groundwork for a Powerful Digital Strategy

In the latest episode of Insurance Agents Talk Shop, host Doug Coombs and Cara Nagy Schoettes from Code & Color talk about why a solid online game plan is key today. They touch on must-haves like a good website, being social media savvy, and getting noticed online. Cara gives some tips on tools and platforms and advice for those feeling a bit lost on how to kick things off digitally. A must-listen for independent agents wanting to up their online game.


Paving the Way for Agency Transformation at IA Evolve

In this episode of Insurance Agents Talk Shop, host Doug Coombs is joined by Lisa Grover, Vice President of Marketing at SIAA, to discuss the upcoming IA Evolve 2023 conference. IA Evolve is a must-attend event for independent agents interested in innovation in the insurance industry, from tools to best practices and methodologies. Tune in for Lisa's tips on how to make the most out of your IA Evolve experience.


A Deep Dive Into Aggregators Clusters and Networks

In this episode of Insurance Agents Talk Shop, listeners are taken on a deep dive into the world of insurance aggregators, clusters, and networks. Don't miss this insightful conversation with Jack Calabrese, SIAA’s Senior Vice President of National Recruiting & Sales, as he shares his take on the differences between the three, providing valuable information to agents looking to understand their options.


What’s In A Brand - Part 2

In this episode, "What's in a Brand? Part 2," we delve into SIAA’s own rebranding journey. Our guest, Matt Masiello, the Chief Executive Officer of SIAA, shares valuable insights on why SIAA decided to embark on this rebranding process and what it means for the Alliance. Join us as we explore how the new brand aligns with SIAA's mission, values, and commitment to evolving the independent agency distribution channel.


What’s In A Brand – Part 1

Join host Doug Coombs, Chief Marketing Officer at SIAA, in this episode of Insurance Agents Talk Shop as he and Josh Kelly, Managing Partner and Chief Strategist at FINE, A Brand Agency, discuss branding for independent insurance agencies. Learn about the key elements of a strong brand, gain valuable insights on avoiding common branding mistakes, and hear expert advice on rebranding and reinventing an agency's image. This is a don’t miss episode for businesses looking to enhance their branding.


The Future of SIAA – What it means for members, prospects and the insurance industry

SIAA entered into a definitive agreement with private equity firm Odyssey Investment Partners on March 26 for a majority stake in the company. Listen to our internally focused discussion with Matt Masiello, CEO of SIAA, to learn what comes next for the largest independent insurance agency network in the country – including its member agencies.


Applied Systems has Acquired EZLynx – What are the Implications?

Applied Systems and EZLynx entered into a definitive agreement on January 14, 2021. What does this deal mean in the long run? Hear what Taylor Rhodes, CEO of Applied Systems and Nag Rao, Founder and CEO of EZLynx have to say about the merger of these two significant players in the Insurance Rater and Management Systems space. What does it mean to those already using either of these company’s offerings?


Bundling an Agency with Other Lines of Business

Grouping an insurance agency with related lines of business under one roof makes some sense in terms of rounding out relationships. Hear how this approach is working for Performance Group in Pendleton, IN. Agent Sean Kirby also gives us some insights into his own agency podcast – the logistics and benefits.


A Singular Focus – Success with Commercial Lines

Some agents shy away from commercial lines for a number of reasons – not John Roark and Michael Sutton of Roark | Sutton in Springfield, MO. These agency owners have succeeded by making commercial lines “what they do”. Their success is something to behold. Please join us and hear about their journey to success.


Owning & Managing a Successful Independent Agency

Gain some insights from Miles Merwin of Greenville, South Carolina - a successful agency owner who started with very little, and built “nothing” into a successful $2MM agency in 8 years. What does it take to make that happen, and how does one sustain it? People and technology are important, but there’s more to it.


One Agency’s Path to Independence.

Join us as we check-in with the four co-owners of Firehouse Insurance in Mariemont, Ohio. Following-up on our last episode, these agents were previously captive agents and came together to form their own independent agency. Less than a year into operations, we talk about the motivation, the challenges, and the successes.


Successfully Navigating from Captive Agency to Independent Agency.

Join us for a discussion with two independent agents who were previously captive agents. Why did they make the move and what did it take? At two different stages of independence (in terms of duration), did they take the same approach? Are their paths to independence typical? There are some commonalities and differences you’ll want to hear.


A Mobile App Makes Sense Now More Than Ever.

A mobile app isn’t necessary just because of the current pandemic. It’s a technology and branding tool that insurance agents should be implementing as a means for serving clients better in general. Join us as Tanner West, Application Developer at Code & Color, discusses the process of building and using a mobile app for your agency.


Agency Perspective on the Current Marketplace.

Two insurance agency owners, one in the east, one out west – experiencing success despite the events of 2020. Join us as Kelly Gonyo of Blue Line Insurance and Katie Auberlin of Suburban Family Insurance discuss the factors contributing to their ongoing success. A lively discussion that touches on a number of topics regarding the insurance marketplace today.


The Role of the Wholesale/Brokerage Firm in Insurance Agencies.

A discussion with Joel Cavaness, President of Risk Placement Services (RPS), demonstrates how a wholesaler or brokerage firm has a definite place in the operations of an insurance agency. Not all premium can or should be placed with conventional carriers. Learn something about Joel and RPS along the way.


Let’s Talk Video for the Rest of Us

It seems that video is everywhere these days. It appears to be the way most people consume much of their content. How do you get started down the path of using video for your insurance agency? What resources are available? Do analytics come into play? Join us and hear what two experienced users of video in the insurance business have to say about using video.