Using Blockchain to Differentiate Yourself as an Agent

Every person who enters the Insurance Industry has probably been warned by their friends and family of the multitudes that have gone before them and either failed or become a fantastic success.  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  And, one of the most important reasons for that dichotomy is the “rule” that to be successful in “the business” a person needs to be a specialist and solely focus on that specialty.  Anyone who wants to be a “generalist is advised that in the business, you cannot be good at everything, so pick one thing.


Springing from that old sage advice are Employee Benefits Thought Leaders and Risk Managers and High Net Worth Advisers, etc.  No one ever admits to selling insurance.  We’re too good for that.  And, most of us (and I am speaking for myself and the 1000’s of agents/brokers that I’ve met over my 37-year career), because we’re specialists, don’t believe that any phone call we receive from those that sell into the industry, is really for us.  Lead generators sell Auto leads to Long Term Care Professionals, newly minted SaaS (software as a service) cold callers sell Workers Comp Mod tools to Life Insurance Pros or Agency Management Software that doesn’t allow for benefits comparisons.  On it goes and it’s rare that we see anything that really applies to us.


Compound that go-it-alone mentality with seminars on Blockchain or Webinars on Connected Insurance or White papers on API’s and most people who sit in front of actual customers abhor a phone number on their telephone advising them it’s origin isn’t from someone or some company that they know of.  All that stuff is truly noise and none of it really applies to the real world at this moment in time.  Sure, maybe, just maybe, one company may last long enough to be needed or worthy of setting time aside from taking care of clients who have problems or need quotes, to sit through a pitch.


Really…from the small agency (revenue under $5,000,000 a year) owner’s perspective just how many tools have we looked at that we couldn’t do without?  How many companies actually have created a product that every single insurance broker or licensed agent needs?  Answer:  E&O, Continuing Education Credit Providers, filing out a W-9 (so Acrobat) and paying for those things (checking account services/PayPal).  Blockchain?  Are you kidding?  Blockchain companies look and feel like they’re in search of something that is actually necessary, but it feels totally forced.  Way too much hype.  Way too many out there that seem like they were made to steal money for Pablo Escobar and way too volatile. On its face, it just seems like a scam that can be avoided with something else that’s easier and cheaper and faster and….well…legal.


I thought that.  My life was and probably would have been fine without ever needing to think about those seminars and White Papers and advertorials.  That is until I got a call from the founder of  Any broker who has ever needed a Certificate of Insurance to prove that they have E&O in order to contract with or renew with an Insurance company or Any Brokerage that has to issue a Certificate of Insurance (along with an Endorsement) knows that the COI world is a raging insane asylum.  There’s very little that makes sense.  There’s very little that goes easily or without a revision or correction or two.  There is very little verification or audit process.  It’s very much on the honor system.


This honor system can lead to huge lawsuits that can end an agent’s career. If you scan AgencyEquity’s frequent emails, the number of lawsuits the agents not only incur but lose are Certificate of Insurance (COI) related or dependent.


One area that furthers the industry’s lackadaisical view of COI compliance is the use of COI’s when Managing General Agents or Program Administrators accept pretty much any COI given to them when licensing an agent or agency to sell an MGA’s products and programs.  For instance, when signing up agents or agencies for the first time to re-sell or sell a Surplus Lines or even a fully insured Hiscox or USLI programs (Think of the literally dozens of National or Regional MGA’s that work with thousands of independent agencies), agents are asked to:


  • digitally (DocuSign) of manually signing an Agency Agreement (outlining an agents’ does and don’ts) that confirms the ability to sell or resell or merely just quote (but not bind) that MGA’s programs or Fully Insured or Surplus Line suite of products,
  • Provide Proof of E&O
  • Sign a W-9


I know of no case, in my 37 years of working with MGA’s, where the MGA’s compliance staff picked up the phone and called my E&O carrier to verify coverage.  However, upon expiration or about 30 days on either side of that Expiration Date, I do get an email asking for proof of renewal or new coverage.


This is where comes in and saves the day for everyone concerned.


With Trustlayer’s Compliance Dashboard, a client or MGA or Carrier can have


1)Automated Text-based COI Extraction

2) Policy Expiration Tracking

3) Insurance Requirement Checking

4) Automated COI Verification


In addition to the basic compliance verification and audit process, MGA’s and Carriers are provided:


One-time Bulk Verification, Automated Non-compliance Reach-outs, Full-Service COI

management, On-site Onboarding, TrustLayer API Access, Risk Manager Consult, Insurance

Requirement Assessment, Custom Verification Packages, Custom Integrations.


All this without needing a staff person to email or pick up the phone the agent or agency.


This system would not be possible without Blockchain programming.  Through this technology, which finally has a real every single workday application that actually provides everyone involved with compliance and transparency that we’ve been waiting for.  No more “wink-wink, nod-nod”, we have everything and you’re licensed to sell an MGA’s or Carriers insurance products.  Thorough verification of the E&O via Trustlayer’s API to the Agent’s E&O carrier to verify not just that coverage is in place, but that the limits match the requirements of the MGA/Carrier.


Trustlayer’s system will not only provide confidence that the coverage is “there” for agents and agencies, it solves the problems of every General Contractor or Property Manager or Entertainment Production Company or Event Production Company on the planet.  Agents can extend their Trustlayer system to all their clients that need the same level of confidence and compliance in their every day need to assure themselves that their Sub-Contractors have the coverage that they say they do.  That everyone who rents space in an apartment building or office building has current and non-lapsed coverage at the proper limits.  All without the back and forth (if there ever was any back and forth) to verify compliance.


And, if an Agent wants to win new business, leading with Trustlayer’s technology is not a bad way to differentiate yourself as a Risk Manager in a world where price is relied upon as the major differentiation in 90% of competitive bids.


Thus, for those of us who went into this business for all the right reasons, Trustlayer helps us provide confidence to our prospects and clients that by selecting you as their agent of record that they have made the right choice…for the right reason.


About Larry Lipman

Larry is a long-time agent who has sold both the biggest and the smallest of insurance policies. Consultant for (the best Telematics provider on the planet), (Insurtech leading the way for Digital Nomads and Startups with out of country people that they care about) and (I'd tell you, but then I'd have to.....)

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