Bogle Agency Insurance in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was the top-performing agency in the $1.25 million-$5 million in Revenue category in the 2022 Best Practices Study.
REVENUE CATEGORY:$2.5 million—$5 million
Bogle Agency Insurance
Phil Bogle | Owner
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Why did you want to become a Best Practices agency?
In 2003, my agency was nominated to submit detailed operational and financial data to participate in the study. At that time, my son and daughter had entered the agency, so I had to figure out ways to grow the business since we were now a six-person agency with revenues under $750,000. Best Practices gave me an avenue to gain information on how other agencies operated and how I could grow the agency.
What do you love about the Best Practices program?
No matter the size of the agency, there's always room for improvement and to make your agency grow—whether you are a two-person agency or a 100-person agency. Every agency has questions and issues, and Best Practices provides valuable knowledge of how things are run throughout the industry and what the norm is. No one's identity is revealed, so it is truly based on the size and operations of similar agencies. It gives you indications if your agency is performing better or worse in certain areas compared to others within your peer group.
What changes have you made at your agency?
One of the first things I did was to get as many policies on a direct bill with the insurance company. If an agency bill is the only way for certain policies, then we make sure that the premiums are either financed or put on installments. This has reduced our accounts receivable tremendously, eliminated bad debts and reduced accounting expenses.
How do you engage your team?
A change that I made and continue to stress is to involve the employees in all aspects of the agency. I opened up many of the agency financials and files to the employees and I let them know that this is a team approach. I share with the employees—the good, the bad and the ugly. If the agency makes money, then a percentage of it gets shared with the employees.
How have you benefited from the program?
In 2003, the agency made $750,000 in revenue with six employees. In 2018, the agency made $4 million with 25 employees. In 2022, the agency has 18 employees and revenues of more than $5 million. I attribute the growth and increase in revenue to studying, analyzing, modifying and implementing things I learned by participating in Best Practices.
Why should other agencies try to become Best Practices agencies?
It gives you recognition amongst your peers and the insurance companies that you represent. We now find it much easier to get a new market. Once we tell them that we are a Best Practices agency or that we participate in Best Practices, it makes the insurance company or wholesaler sit up and listen. It gives you an edge in a very competitive industry.
Advice for a first-time Best Practices agency?
Do not get discouraged. You may find it overwhelming at first, but if you stick with it, you'll find it gets much easier as time goes on. Then it's like having a full-time consultant in your agency.
Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.
This interview is part of a six-part series to mark the 30th anniversary of the Best Practices program.