An Agent's Lament

Agent and Brokers Commentary: May 2024 

Miami Skyline at night

During finals week in college, friends liked asking what I still had to do before the end of the term. I was such a procrastinator that I always had way more papers to write and tests to start studying for than they did, so they'd walk away feeling better about their situation.

My conversation with Gabriela Dominguez, president of Avante-Nea Insurance Group in Miami, for this month's interview brought finals weeks back to mind because of her vivid descriptions of the difficulties facing agencies in South Florida these days. Agents from just about any other part of the country will feel better about their plights after reading what Gaby is going through. 

For instance, she talked about a tattoo parlor she's writing at the moment, saying, "The carrier that writes that most effectively, efficiently and competitively, if you submit an account to them you've got to wait between 20 and 30 days to get a quote.... How can you wait 20 to 30 days to get a quote?" 

With Citizens, the homeowners insurance lender of last resort in Florida, she said they'll lock in an effective date for a policy but will take 20 to 25 days to look at the submission. "Then, she added, "they come back and say, 'Oh, by the way, you got everything in, but you're missing this. You've got five days to give it to me or you lose your spot and start all over again.'"

And even when a major carrier renews a client, the price soars—she's about to have to tell a restaurant that last year's $15,000 premium is now $29,000.

I draw two primary lessons from the interview. First, as much as carriers talk about making life easier for agents, they have a long way to go, at least in chaotic markets like Florida, and have a big opportunity if they get the coordination right. Second, there are benefits to consolidation to achieve scale, as Gaby describes at the outset of the interview, based on her recent experience with a merger. 

But even if you're not looking for lessons, I think you'll find her interview a compelling read—and it might even make you feel better about the chaos waiting on your own desk​.




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Insurance Thought Leadership

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