"A common misconception is that agriculture is a slow-to-adapt industry, which couldn't be further from reality," says independent agent Luke Sandrock. "We service many clients that operate with small margins and who are constantly analyzing and innovating to be as productive as they can."
The Cornerstone Agency Inc.
How did you get started at your agency?
Technically, I started when I was about 10 years old, answering phones and taking messages—poorly, at that age—on snow days when staff couldn't get into the office. Years later while I was attending college, I interviewed with my father's business partner and 15 years later I'm still here. It's been a learning experience working my way up.
Why crop insurance?
Farmers are a different breed, and I mean that in the best way. I really enjoy the clients I work with and helping them wherever I can. The crop insurance program can be very complex, and I enjoy the challenge of constantly learning more about it and educating our farmers and ranchers to help their unique operations.
Changes in the crop insurance market?
A common misconception is that agriculture is a slow-to-adapt industry, which couldn't be further from reality. We service many clients that operate with small margins and who are constantly analyzing and innovating to be as productive as they can. Agents and our company partners need to continue to innovate in not only how we do business, but also in the use of risk mitigation and risk management tools, as well as the strategies we provide.
Crop insurance has been relatively slow to feel any digital transformation due to government regulations and large in-force books that would require a large effort to change processes and mindsets. The industry is ripe for change and innovation. Solutions are needed for problems that American farmers and ranchers face on a daily basis, which include everything from weather events to supply chain issues to inflation.
Crop insurance agents and companies that fail to adapt or choose to stay in the status quo will weaken under the pressure exerted by those that use digital technology, analytics and data to offer more impactful risk management solutions and platforms to their clients. Agents and companies that embrace change and innovation will survive the digital transformation that is coming not only within crop insurance but the insurance industry as a whole. Innovation and technology aren't here to replace the agent, they're here to make us more effective.
Advice for a fellow crop insurance agent?
Listen to your clients. You'll learn more from them than they'll learn from you. Also, get out of the office, get your hands dirty and be hungry to constantly learn more.
Favorite success story?
It may sound cliche but anytime we can help a client navigate through a disaster and get them back on track, it's a success story. I've made a habit of sending thank-you cards to clients. To get one back is what I'd call my favorite success story.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.