The Idudes sit with the Insurance and tech leader, Stacey Brown for a conversation filled with insights into the insurance industry landscape! Stacey talks about “InsurTech Hartford” one of the industry’s most successful InsurTech ecosystems, through InsurTech Hartford, Stacey has created a global network of industry leaders within carriers, brokers, startups, and investors. The conversation flows from InsurTech towards the crucial and pivotal role of fostering a mindset that supports innovation. Stacey and the hosts, then, shed light on the rapid impact of the emerging technologies, such as the AI tools we’ve been seeing, with the potential to reshape the industry.
Stacey also passionately advocates for collaboration and expanding the entrepreneurial "pie," leaving listeners with optimism about the industry's future.
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Both agents themselves, they both have scaled to around $10 million in premium. After searching for years for a system to create predictability in their agencies, they developed the Telefunnel after their interviews with so many agents and business leaders.
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Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman
The Insurance Dudes
You know, if you're an agent, and you're thinking I got, you know, five years left in my business and I don't want to make a lot of change, you might want to sell out now, right? Because number one you might be, you might be losing market share if you can't keep up with these changes in number two, a tech driven agencies probably gonna get a better valuation than someone with a filing cabinet and a Rolodex, right. InsuranceCraig Pretzinger:
dudes are on a mission to escape being handcuffed by our agentsJason Feltman:
out by uncovering the secrets to creating a predictable, consistent, and profitable agency Sales Machine.Craig Pretzinger:
I am Craig Pretzinger.Jason Feltman:
I am Jason Feldman. We are agents. We are insurance.Craig Pretzinger:
So I want to bring up the 4000 pound bot that's in the room, or what we're talking about. Oh, so what? So what's the deal? What are we gonna do about this? How does chat GBT affect the insurance world? Like, what's going to happen here?Stacey Brown:
Oh, man,Craig Pretzinger:
what's gonna go? Is that are there no more agents?Stacey Brown:
You know, what I'm gonna do, you just made me realize this, I'm gonna make a notice. So I gotta, I gotta buy a freaking crystal ball. For every, so in the future, when people ask me these types of questions, I can just say, let me pull up my crystal ball. I think, you know, with a lot of technologies, you know, I've seen the movie. But this one's this one's a little different. I think the thing that's different about this one is the speed at which it's being adopted. And the lift that it gives him in productivity. That's insane. Yeah. And yeah, the tools that are out there. In the last two days, I've had two different people one on the broker side, one on the carrier side, say to me, like, they make it so easy for us nowadays, right? So it used to be like, you couldn't do anything to a computer unless you had a degree and spent years like reading books like, like the ones behind Craig Wright. Like, if you hold up your manualsCraig Pretzinger:
to, and then they just tell her by numbers.Stacey Brown:
joke books probably all overJason Feltman:
me series.Stacey Brown:
Like, yeah, it was really hard to be in a to do anything with with computers, you were considered a genius, if you knew how to. But you know, fast forward now. We're all we're all we all are computer programmers, we set alarms on our phones, we, you know, we set reminders, we we figure out how to program our remotes to record our favorite channels. In shows, it's, it's like technology is all around us. Right? And, and so it's just keeps getting easier and easier. And faster and faster. It used to be also that you needed a million dollars, at least, so that you could build out a little data center and have a few servers that connected to the internet in order to have like an e commerce website, right? Nowadays, all you need is a credit card and access to to Amazon, or Etsy or Shopify or one of these platforms, right. And it's just, it's just amazing. So back to the question about Gen AI, there are infinite use cases and people coming up with ways to use AI every day. And so I think the important thing really is focusing on there are people in the industry that are ready for it, they're open to it, they're saying, hey, I want to go figure out how to use this AI stuff. Because if anybody's gonna do it, it's gonna be me. I've always been that kind of guy, right? When technology was like, I'm gonna figure it out, I'm gonna do I'm not afraid to push the buttons. You know, no nukes are going off when I hit Enter. So life is good. I'll figure it out. But then there's the people who are like, they just don't want to change. They're, they're hoping that they can keep doing what they do the way they do it until they reach retirement. Right. And, and so what we need to have happen here is more people running towards technology, because it's happening so fast. You can't hide from it. Yeah,Jason Feltman:
agreed. I've been telling a lot of people that recently is like, like, every day that you're not investing a few minutes into just understanding it or whatever. It's moving so fast that at some point. It's like not knowing the internet. You know, it's like, the amount of leverage is going to be in I think I think if I did have a crystal ball, it would pretty much say those that invest in that kind of leverage, because one person can now be do the work of 10 people, at least with AI, right? I think the the people that don't go that direction are completely gone. Like, I think it's, they're going to be so irrelevant, it's going to be amazing. It's like trying to go back to insurance agents, door knocking and writing, you know, writing paper. It's just how do you do that? These days? I think that's, you know, the difference. But,Stacey Brown:
yeah, I think it's interesting also to think when I think about it from, you know, the distribution side of the house, and, you know, the big corporate carrier side of the house, and the distribution side of the house, you know, these these, a lot of these independent agents specifically, right, they they don't have the resources. And in how do you, and what I've seen firsthand from just some of the agent, events I've gone to and had conversations with, is kind of a fear over this stuff. Like when I tell them I'm with InsurTech, Hartford, they're like, insurer tech, you're bad. You know, it's like, right, you're, you're gonna destroy my business, you're gonna take all my customers away, and like, they have all these fears. And, you know, maybe to some extent, some of that's, that's right. But it's, it's but doesn't have to be that way. Right? It? Yeah. And nowadays, what I see when I talk to agents is there's a growing population of tech driven brokers and agents growing up in the industry, right? So I don't have like a metric on it. But it's definitely a growing population of people who are really progressive in their thinking, saying, like, Hey, I'm going to be tech driven. I want to run a tech driven agency, it gets really interesting and dynamics, where it's like, a multi generational family, you know, running the agency, and it's like, you know, well, dad built it this way. And he doesn't understand that I need to run it that way. And I'm sure you guys have probably run into some of those stories along the way, right? Yeah,Jason Feltman:
those are the best stories. Because if you can take proven processes of the past, and then stick it with somebody who's super forward thinking, but holding on to the, you know, to the especially the values and everything in some of the processes of the past and merging the two, that's where it's just unstoppable. You know, I think too many times people either tried to go to too much in one direction, it can't be like, AI and all that stuff, still need somebody to manage it. So it's like, it's a tool. It's not a replacement, like everybody's so black and white. Everybody has been every time some technology comes out. It's the internet, oh, it's going to take away all this? No, it's like those who, you know, the small shop on the street, when Walmart came out and stuff like that, like Walmart could take them away. But like, if they started selling on the internet, all of a sudden, they the whole, you know, world is their, you know, at the foot of their store. So it's like, as long as you're using these tools that we have, then it won't, it's just a tool for you. It won't take away your job. But I think if you decide to, to not let you use the tools as leverage for your business, I think you're making I mean, I think you're just putting a end date on your business bringingCraig Pretzinger:
a knife to a gunfight, like why why when everybody else has guns? Are you going to show up with a knife? Well, you know, there's it didn't work out for the guy with Indiana Jones. It's not for hate.Stacey Brown:
Plastic seen?Craig Pretzinger:
How much you flip it around? Doesn't matter. It's still a knife.Stacey Brown:
Yeah, I forgot. I was gonna say, well, like the I think one of the number one pain points that that all agencies still seem to have is that there's a lot of copying and pasting and rekeying of stuff that has to happen. Because, you know, you want to get a quote from this carrier. Now you want to get a quote from that carrier, and you need to get a quote from this other carrier. And you know, there are aggregators and other intermediary platforms coming out now that are getting some of the integrations down some of these carriers that are kind of helping it, but it goes back to you know, a lot of the ages don't. They're not either they don't have the budget, the resources or the time to figure out how to adapt the technologies that that do that stuff, so it's just easier to keep paying somebody to cut BMP. So let me go to progressive and get a quote, oh, now let me go to state farm and get you a quote, right. And then, and then present all those options, it's, you know, the, these agents of the future I'll call them are the ones that are figuring out how to automate that stuff. I saw one company recently that has like a super copy, super paste feature, where like, you map it out to, let's say, you know, State Farm auto quote, and, and, and into a, you know, maybe a progressive one. And so you entered into progressive the next time you through to State Farm, you hit super copy and go into progressive hit super paste, and it just fills in all the fields for you. So like, there's some reallyCraig Pretzinger:
through an API?Stacey Brown:
No, no, it's just through a plugin in the web browser. Right? Well, that's interesting. Yeah, in the mappings are all reusable and stuff. And so it's, it's stuff like that. It's like the agents that are looking at the productivity improvement things, because waiting for the back end stuff to become all API and stuff like that, like, first off, they don't want, like the carriers are getting there. But still a really slow game, most of them still don't have the majority of their products and stuff available through through API. And we're not even talking about claims. We're just talking about getting quotes, right? Well,Craig Pretzinger:
they don't want to share the client data either. Right? I think that especially the captive ones get real protective about the client data. And soStacey Brown:
why everyone's protective about all their data. Right, right. Right.Craig Pretzinger:
So yeah, as soon as you have that API open, you know, there could be some issues, I think,Stacey Brown:
yeah, this one, so this one I was talking about, I think it's called guy eofy. And they, you know, it's something that any agent can put in their web browser and just start being productive with it. And it's like, kind of a low cost, monthly license fee. And I think it's one of these things that, you know, kind of like, you know, chat GPT, when when people start to win, when they start to see it, it's gonna like, it's just gonna blow up, like, everyone's gonna lose it. But there's, there's lots of uses for tech. And I know, some, some of the brokers are out there, making their own investments, hiring offshore teams and building their own integrations into different things. And those are, you know, what I was talking about earlier as to more progressive agents. And I really think for the distribution side, that is the long term winning direction. And, you know, if you're an agent, and you're thinking I got, you know, five years left in my business, and I don't want to make a lot of change, you might want to just sell out now, right? Because number one you might be, you might be losing market share, if you can't keep up with these changes in number to a tech driven agency's probably gonna get a better valuation than someone with a filing cabinet and a Rolodex. Right. So I would think that that's incentive enough for for someone to want to make make that investment now as part of their exit strategy. Right? Is that something you guys see? Do you hear that from people? Or do you talk to a lot of agents, we'reCraig Pretzinger:
both did it with a captive that we can't say we're not allowed to on the other thing? But yeah, I need the the ones that are the ones that are doing the best to figured out how to scale because because at the end of the day, it's about everything so thin, right? Especially when you're with a captive, the margins are so thin, that you have to have volume. So as long as you can beat the gear cost per sale, you're winning, right? Like, it doesn't matter. You're good. So that's what that's what we see. That's what we do in our agencies. And it's been effective.Stacey Brown:
Well, I know, like, even in the captive space. You know, I see a lot of captive operators and owners over the years. And if what I was saying about, you know, agents and brokers has any truth to it, I think it's, it's multiplied in the captive space, right? Because a lot of it has to do with what you're talking about. They're like, the margins are so thin. And like, where's that investment supposed to come from? But like recently, I ran into this company, XN capital. They are founded by this guy gave who? Cape Weiss who he had his exit with CCC and, and safekeep. And now he's starting up this this captive operator company, and they are trying to take the tech driven approach to captives, right. So it's really interesting to see somebody who's been a successful Will tech entrepreneur in our industry come in and say, I'm going to build a tech driven captive operating model?Craig Pretzinger:
Interesting. But that's called x n like, X ray. Nancy capital.Stacey Brown:
Correct. I forget what it stands for. He told me the story. I loveCraig Pretzinger:
phone, Nimbus. That's right. What was that that other tool that you were talking about?Stacey Brown:
Was it guy AFI? You see? Yeah. How do you spell that? Ga YAFI. But maybe I got it wrong, because I've googling it. It's not coming up. Maybe it's something different.Jason Feltman:
You should ask chassis PD.Craig Pretzinger:
i What's that? Can I use chat? TBD? Three? I don't want to use one of my one of my credits. Oh.Jason Feltman:
No, you cannot. Oh, youCraig Pretzinger:
hate it when you're really cooking. And then you you tired? As you have all your you're like, Man, I gotta wait an hour and a half? I don't know. It'sStacey Brown:
guy. It's GA? Why a.ai?Craig Pretzinger:
Interesting. Okay, that's really cool. Yeah.Stacey Brown:
They're still pretty early stage startup. But what they're, what they're doing is pretty amazing. And it's stuff like this that one day, you didn't hear about it. And the next day, everyone's talking about it. Right?Jason Feltman:
Yep. 100%. What are your predictions? Let's go back to predictions of the crystal ball. What are the things that going to the future? You see, are the competitive advantages for agency owners? And what are some of the things to kind of look out for? And I think we just kind of discussed the things to look out for, which is, put your put your head under the ground? While all this is going down? Well,Stacey Brown:
yeah. First off, I'd say, you know, the agent doesn't go away. Yeah, agents don't walk around worrying about that, or worrying about the wrong thing. I think the right thing for agents is to be figuring out how to spend more time on the phone. Right? And not with, you know, not with their staff, but with customers and clients and prospects, right? I think the more that technology advances, the more important the human aspects of all of our jobs becomes. And we, I don't know if we'll ever get to a point where as it's coming out of my mouth, it's it's, the policy is coming out of the system. And I'll never be that easy. But the productivity will continue to, to to improve by leaps and bounds for the foreseeable future. So what that means is as as productivity improves, what do you do with that with, with the freed up resources, you go out and you sell more? Right? So I think the agencies of the future are going to be much more productive right back to that some of the earlier comments I was making around, you know, the talent and gaps that are going to be filled by technology. I do think that's, that's going to be a part of it. But I really see that it's more about people. It's more about learning how to do better prospecting, spend more time and create better relationships and more value for your for your clients. LoveUnknown:
it. Well, cool.Jason Feltman:
If anybody wants to get in touch with the organization, are you? What's the best way to reach out?Stacey Brown:
Well, our websites InsurTech hartford.com. And you can always email me Stacy dot Brown, and show tech harford.com Or just ping me on LinkedIn. I'm there all the time as well.Jason Feltman:
Awesome. Well, appreciate it. Man. This has been this has been awesome to talk about. We'd love to talk about the future.Craig Pretzinger:
The future. He's a futurist.Jason Feltman:
I'm a futurist andCraig Pretzinger:
Let's sell more insurance, dude. Love it, dude. Thanks, Daisy.Craig Pretzinger:
We'll take some action. Action, action, action. Okay. Thanks, guys.