On July 1, Nationwide made history by completing its transition to operate as a fully independent agency carrier.
Yesterday, Nationwide made history by completing its transition to operate as a fully independent agency carrier.
Since the company made the announcement to transition to a fully independent model in 2018, new written premium driven by independent agents has increased by 35%. Nationwide boasts more than 11,000 independent agents across the country that sell personal lines, commercial lines, agribusiness, excess & surplus and financial services solutions.
“Kudos to Nationwide for successfully completing the 18-month transition from exclusive agents to independent. Nationwide is now an independent agent company—a win-win for Nationwide, the independent agency system, and the Big ‘I,’” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO.
“New written premium has increased via Nationwide independent agents, and all indications are that the newly independent Nationwide agents have hit the ground running,” Rusbuldt said. “The Nationwide brand is a big asset in independent agencies, along with their stable of products, technology and service. We look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership with this great carrier.”
Nationwide has worked with independent agents since 1929 and this transition comes at a critical time. Two-thirds of independent agents say that their biggest challenges are driving new business to keep their agency strong for the future and maintaining their portfolio of clients due to the economic impact of COVID-19, according to a recent Nationwide Agent Authority survey,
“Despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve made tremendous progress in transforming our business to meet the needs of independent agents and set our former exclusive agents up for success within the independent agent model,” said Mark Berven, President & COO, Nationwide Property and Casualty.
To address the challenges independent agents are facing in today’s evolving business environment, Nationwide accelerated a variety of transformational investments in both its personal and commercial lines businesses enabling the speed, ease, price stability and competitiveness that independent agents demand.
Additionally, technology investments have enhanced agent self-service capabilities, allowing customers to pay their bills, check their balances and get quotes, as well as providing the ability for agents to assist clients in personalizing their coverage.
“Nationwide brings the best of both worlds to the table. We have deep experience listening to our members and offer a broad portfolio that is unequaled by other carriers serving the independent agent market,” Berven said. “At the same time, we’ve been listening to independent agents to understand what they want and need to grow their business.”
In 2018, Nationwide set out its intention to transition to a fully independent agency model by July 1, 2020. In completing the transition, agents will maintain the flexibility to offer their clients access to industry expertise through multiple carriers, control succession planning and the opportunity to diversify their accounts.
“This transition will provide our agents with more flexibility and choice to grow their business in the future,” Berven said. “They will have access to Nationwide’s breadth of products while receiving more flexibility to diversify their revenue streams and have multiple options to meet the needs of their customers.”
“We celebrate the exclusive agents who helped us build our business in the past, and we’re excited they are joining us in the independent channel on our journey forward,” he added.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.