Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

 

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Catalog-Item Reuse

Declaration of Independents: Dana Dattola

Last year, Weaver & Associates won the 2021 Agent for the Future Award for Outstanding Large Agency. As March marks International Women's Day and Women's History Month, third-generation owner Dana Dattola says that “there's a lot of opportunity for women in insurance."
Sponsored by

DoI-DanaDattola.jpgDana Dattola

Principal

Weaver & Associates Inc.

Arcadia, California

Last year, Weaver & Associates won the 2021 Agent for the Future Award for Outstanding Large Agency. As March marks International Women's Day and Women's History Month, third-generation owner Dana Dattola says that “there's a lot of opportunity for women in insurance."

“If you know what you're talking about and you ask questions, you stand out," she says, noting that women in a male-dominated industry “can compete with male counterparts but need to be better educated on coverages and risk management techniques—you have to really prove you know your stuff".

Tips for Women in Insurance?

If you're obsessed with learning and having better coverage knowledge, you'll win over business owners. There is less and less of a “boys club" among business owners, I've found that the majority of owners ultimately care about coverage and knowledge over relationships—although you have to be likeable!

You Built a Video Recording Studio?

We own our building and have all this empty space because 90% of our staff is remote, so we converted one of our offices into a video recording studio. We have a teleprompter and everything that is needed for video recording. My husband has a video production company, which made setting it up easier. We're recording videos to answer questions clients ask frequently, as well as offering our clients the opportunity to come in and record some marketing videos.

What Video Content Are You Creating?

If we can clearly and concisely explain something in a video, not only does it help with our search engine optimization, but also it saves my staff time. We're posting the videos on our YouTube channel, social media and the sending them out in an email blast.

On the commercial side, we're using video to answer commonly asked questions, like what goes into your final audit and what to do in the event of a claim. On the personal line side, one topic that gets a lot of traction is how to save money on young drivers. In benefits, we offer Medicare to seniors, which is a confusing process and can take a lot of time explaining to individuals newly enrolling. We ask them to watch a five-minute video before meeting with us which helps them better understand and saves our staff time repeating themselves.

Why Did You Join the Family Business?

I didn't grow up thinking I was going to work in insurance, but I also didn't have any burning passion to be anything else. When I looked at my grandparents and my parents, I saw that they lived comfortable lives and liked their jobs, they had flexibility to come to our school/sports events and we went on a lot of vacations. I saw that there is a lot of flexibility and—coming from an entrepreneurial family—that there was also unlimited income potential. That was a big draw.

What Is Your Agency's Perpetuation Plan?

My parents are still involved in the agency and I'm in the process of purchasing the agency from them. By 2025, I'll be 100% owner of the agency. They're stepping away but they're not fully out.

What Impact Did the Pandemic Have on Your Agency?

We did really well during the pandemic. By dumb luck, we had upgraded all of our technology in January 2020. We had just moved to surface laptops, we had already gone to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and we went all in on Microsoft 365. We've got multifactor authentication, everything we're using is on OneDrive, and we're all on Teams—so we were fully ready to go remote.

Best Thing Your Agency Did During the Pandemic?

We started doing a morning check-in on Teams with our entire staff at 8:35 a.m. every day. For two years now, the entire staff gets on a call and just chat with no agenda for ten minutes. Culturally, it's really kept us together.

You're Currently Changing Agency Management Systems (AMS). What's it like?

It's a painful process. But I'm excited to get to the other side of it. I am obsessed with continuous improvement around technology to stay relevant and become more efficient. We are hoping this change allows us to consolidate some of our technology platforms and improve efficiencies through increased automation.

Tips for moving AMS?

We're over preparers. For the past two months, all of the staff have been doing the trainings. Simultaneously, our department heads are assigning homework for their team and checking their teams comprehension. Our management team has been working on the transition for five months.

You need a team to have a smooth transition. You could absolutely just go live and wing it and people will figure it out, but we want to use the new AMS to its full capacity. To do that, it needs to be set up with the right data and workflows.

Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.

16379
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Agency Operations & Best Practices