Kelly Klee: Successfully Partnering With Independent Agents


As a company that specializes in working with high net worth (HNW) individuals and families, we know that it can be challenging to match a client or prospective client with a suitable carrier to meet their unique needs. In addition to serving clients directly, independent agents often approach us to secure insurance for a HNW client, a market that they don’t specialize in.

In our role as a wholesale insurance broker, we act as a liaison or intermediary between the independent agent and carriers that insure the valuable property of the HNW client. For example, the property and casualty carriers an independent agent often works with won’t insure valuable works of art. Kelly Klee will match the independent agent’s needs with a carrier that will assume the risk.

Different Roles With the Same Goals

We’ve found that many independent agents started as “captive agents” with one company and found that the company they represented had a limited product line. As a result, they were missing out on some lucrative opportunities with prospects for whom they couldn’t provide a solution.

After staying with the captive agency and being trained for months or years, the agent eventually decided that they would become an independent agent to meet the needs of more people by contracting with a variety of insurers.

As an independent agent, the ultimate goal is to grow an agency by becoming a trusted insurance advisor and providing the right type and amount of coverage to protect clients. Over time, the agent is going to run into situations that could be called “hard-to-place risks.” They discover that no agency can be all things to all people.

That’s where Kelly Klee comes in. As a wholesale insurance broker, we partner with the independent agent in providing the right solution for a market segment they rarely have occasion to service. Kelly Klee’s end goal is ultimately the same as the independent agent: to protect and satisfy the client’s needs. There is one difference: we don’t interface with the independent agent’s client unless the agent specifically requests it.

The Benefits Kelly Klee Provides the Independent Agent

We’ve discovered that agents want three things from a wholesaler:

1.    Expertise

2.    Efficiency

3.    Availability

Let’s look at why these are important to the agent.

Expertise

Just as there are specialists in medicine, there are also specialists in the world of property and casualty insurance. The majority of agents tend to gravitate towards the suburbanite, who will become a loyal multi-line client that appreciates the agent’s value and rewards them with referrals to friends and family.

But during every agent’s career, prospective clients who don’t match the profile of their typical client will appear. For example, let’s say Agent Davis’s office is located in a suburban strip mall, and the value of his average client’s home is $500,000. One afternoon, a prospective client walks in and tells Agent Davis that she’s inherited a painting valued at just over $1 million and wants insurance for that piece of art.

The carriers Agent Davis usually works with don’t insure art of that value, so he approaches a wholesaler, like Kelly Klee, to provide access to an insurer who will assume a risk that large. Kelly Klee provides the agent with quotes from three carriers that will accept the risk.

The net result: a satisfied client, a satisfied agent, and a wholesaler that used their experience and expertise with HNW clients to meet everyone’s needs.

Efficiency

When working with a client like the one described above, time is of the essence; the prospect may have talked with more than one agent about their needs. Experience has proven that in a multi-quote situation, the agent who first responds and meets the prospect’s needs is awarded the business more often than their competitors. 

The high net worth client prefers not to wait for services to be performed. They want it done quickly, efficiently, and done right the first time. An experienced wholesaler in the HNW market understands this and responds accordingly, enabling the agent to secure the trust and appreciation of their prospect.

Availability

This could also be termed “service after the sale.” No agent wants to be treated like a “one and done” customer. They want to be treated with respect, including the wholesaler being available not only during the transaction, but also afterward. 

We know that longevity is the result of relationships built over time on mutual respect and trust. We’ve succeeded as a wholesaler because we know an agent will come back to us time and again if they’re treated well, and will refer other agents to us as a “thank you” for delivering the three qualities they value in a wholesaler.

Kelly Klee Wants to Help

If you’re an independent agent that needs assistance with a high net worth client, contact us at 833-661-0243 or agents@kellyklee.com, and we’ll quickly determine if we can help. We’ve built our business, and our reputation, on serving this market, and we’re here as a resource to help you grow your agency.

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