Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now in Washington, DC.
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) partnered with Floodbroker.com to bring a tool to its members that helps them generate leads and sell flood insurance. The exclusive access for PIA is proving to be an attractive new member benefit.
Associations are always looking to provide solutions to the problems their members face day in and day out. One way to do this is to roll out new benefits. But what if a new member benefit can also help the association's bottom line?
That would definitely be a win-win—and that's the position the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) finds itself in, thanks to its partnership with Floodbroker.com, which it expanded nationally in June.
The trade association represents insurance agents and their employees who sell all types of insurance but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes, and businesses. They also sell flood insurance, traditionally considered cumbersome because of changing flood zones and different insurance requirements across the country. According to PIA Marketing VP Alexi Papandon, expanding the partnership—initially rolled out to one of its Northeast chapters in 2013 with great success—was ideal because it makes the process of selling flood insurance simpler. Plus, it reduces an agency's risk for errors.
"And with the rise of flooding over the past few years, PIA saw this as an opportunity to not only educate property owners but also make it easier for all of our member agents to sell flood insurance," Papandon says.
Floodbroker.com's online tool simplifies and automates the process for consumers to get insurance quotes through the National Flood Insurance Program. And it provides a way for PIA member agencies to get sales leads. Even better is that the association's 10,000 member agencies have exclusive access to it.
The arrangement works like this: When an agency signs up for the service, which costs $50 per month, it gets its own agency-branded microsite. The agency can then direct clients and prospects to that site, where they'll learn what flood zone they are in and can request a quote. After the customer answers a few questions, the quote is emailed to the agent, who can complete the sale offline using the agency's flood insurance carrier. PIA gets a royalty based on the sales generated.
Papandon says about 1,000 agents have already signed up, and he is hopeful that the number will continue to climb thanks to the simplicity of the process.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Rising Tide."]