Leverage High-Tech Specialty Brokers for Unfamiliar Products

Leverage High Tech Specialty Brokers for Unfamiliar Products Blog Image

Picture this: A new customer walks into your office in need of coverage. They own a successful small business and will continuously require your services for years to come. The customer asks for a quote for general liability insurance and business income coverage. Easy stuff: you write and issue these policies every day. However, the customer also needs coverage that deviates from your agency’s core product lines. You know this coverage falls outside your expertise, but you don’t want to risk losing the customer by sending them to a competitor for this specialty product. Naturally, you tell them you can get a quote, but what you didn’t foresee is having to spend hours navigating outdated carrier websites and talking to countless underwriters to place the risk. To top it off, the commission on this policy pales in comparison to the customer’s standard coverage yet has by far required the most work.

So, what’s the solution? Are agents destined for headaches and exasperation each time a customer needs a non-core product? Fortunately, there is a better way. By leveraging the expertise and technology of specialty partners, agents can better serve their customers and issue certain non-core products with ease.

First Things First

Before we get into how technology can eliminate the pain points of obtaining non-core products, it’s important to clearly define why you should offer them in the first place. 

Consultants have long advised agents to get non-core products off their desks as soon as possible. Still, massive investments in technology in the insurance business changed this calculus, especially for products that complement your core offerings.

While that sounds nice, is ease of issuance the only reason to offer complimentary products?

If it were, then we wouldn’t have written this article. Let’s take a look at how offering complimentary products can benefit your agency: 

  1. To increase the value your agency provides to your customers. Many consumers (erroneously) view insurance as a commodity, and offering products they aren’t able to easily obtain elsewhere helps set your agency apart from the competition. 
  2. Certain non-core products can create sticky relationships with customers. For example, surety bonds are subject to stringent underwriting requirements, with many bonds requiring a credit check and review of the applicant’s financial statements. While no one enjoys disclosing their creditworthiness and finances, as soon as you become that trusted advisor, it is unlikely that insureds will jump ship to another agency. 
  3. Many bond principals in need of non-core products also need core ones as well, creating leads for other types of insurance. Let’s again use surety bonds as an example. Most contractors who need a license bond also require general liability, worker’s comp, commercial auto, and builder’s risk products; the license bond is often the first insurance product they’ll require, and as they mature, performance and payment bonds, effectively a line of credit, will be extremely important to their business making their surety agent indispensable.

To be clear, we’re not suggesting your agency offer every product under the sun (there are certainly product lines that you shouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole); however, certain products (such as surety bonds) provide your agency with ample opportunity to create sticky relationships and cross-sell coverages. Done right, these products can spur growth and lead to increased success for your agency.

Wouldn't It Be Nice

Now that we’ve established the benefits of offering complementary non-core products, let’s examine how you can do so efficiently. To start, ask yourself the following questions: Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever your customer needed a non-core product, you could easily fill out an online application and have an already-shopped quote in minutes? Better yet, what if you could send the online app. directly to your customers, or better still, have them complete the application directly on your own website? Thankfully, all of this is easily accessible to you. Depending on the non-core product in question, chances are that there is technology available to integrate with and streamline the offering for your agency.

Take Advantage of Broker Technology

It’s an unfortunate truth that carriers have neglected to invest in adequate technology for quoting non-core products. Third-party platforms and a few specialty brokers have largely stepped in to fill this vacuum, making significant gains in tech development. Now I know what you’re thinking; “Brokers compete with me for the same business, lower my commission, and add an extra layer to the process.” These reservations are understandable, which is why you should ensure that any broker you use satisfies all of the following criteria:


This one seems obvious, but make sure the broker has a working platform that allows you to easily obtain quotes online. The best brokers will go beyond simply quoting online and bind, service, equip your website with their quoting technology, offer API integration, automate leads, etc.

Wholesale Only

By using a wholesale-only broker, you can rest assured, knowing that they will not be competing with you for the same business. Additionally, wholesale-only brokers are incentivized to get you more business, and the best ones will promote your agency to insureds free of charge.

Market Access

As mentioned before, many consumers view insurance as a commodity. Make sure your broker has access to multiple different markets and is able to offer competitive pricing.

Customer Service

Does the broker have a dedicated team of experts to answer the phone on the first ring? If not, consider using one that does. Issuing non-core products can be confusing to both you and your customer, which is why it’s important for your broker to provide you with real-time customer support and be able to walk you through the entire process.

For non-core product lines, the chances are high that it’s not worth investing millions of dollars in creating custom quoting software for your agency. Partnering with companies that have already done so will help drive growth for your organization.

Embrace Technology, Don’t Run From It

As little as 10 years ago, offering non-core products was a nightmare for most agents. Even when using brokers, agents still had to submit paper applications and engage in lengthy back-and-forths with underwriters. Advances in technology have completely revolutionized obtaining certain non-core products, reducing the time it takes to secure quotes from days to a manner of minutes. 

As our world becomes more and more digitized, agency owners such as yourself are left with a choice. You can either reject leveraging new technology and stand by as your competitors eclipse you by providing more value, or you can embrace technology (and the specialty platforms that provide it) and watch your agency grow. The future is already upon us; the only thing left to determine is how your agency will respond.

Here Comes the Shameless Plug

At BondExchange, we make obtaining surety bonds easy and profitable for your agency. Our platform allows you to instantly quote and issue bonds, including hard-to-place risks subject to credit and financial underwriting. Our underwriters are easily accessible 12 hours a day by phone, email, or chat, and we actively promote your agency to insureds in your area.

If you haven’t already, gain access to BondExchange today (it’s free and takes seconds), and let us turn surety from a pain point into a consistently profitable product line for your agency.

We're More Than Just Instant Issue