Nationwide now uses exclusive agents and independent agents to sell its products. Last week the company said it is going change that and shift entirely to an independent agency distribution model by July 1, 2020.
The company is one of the nation’s largest carriers and already has relationships with more than 10,000 agents in the U.S. who work with the company as independent agents. However, Nationwide’s news release said it has approximately 2,000 agents operating under the Nationwide brand.
PIA National President Timothy Russell said the association is thrilled with the decision. “This is another illustration of the fact that the independent agency system is the insurance distribution system of choice,” he noted.
Nationwide Property & Casualty president and chief operating officer Mark Berven said, “We don’t anticipate any changes for members. Agents will continue to serve members as they have in the past and still have access to Nationwide’s broad range of insurance and financial services products.”
The idea of making the announcement now is to give agents as much time as possible to look at their options and to plan for the transition and to “thrive and survive” as Berven noted in his news release.
“Market dynamics, customer preferences and increased desire by exclusive agents for more flexibility make now the opportune time to move to a fully independent model. It will create a win-win for our distribution partners, and ultimately, our members,” Berven said.
The news release also said:
• Agents will maintain access to Nationwide’s breadth of products, while receiving more flexibility to use other carriers.
• Agents will be better able to attract and retain commercial lines business — a segment predominantly served by independent agents.
• Agents can access investment capital in their agencies over the long term and leverage it to drive growth.
• Agent will receive control over succession planning and choice of what to do with policies at a future date.
• Agents will enhance their long-term viability by diversifying their revenue streams and offering their clients access to industry expertise through multiple carriers.
• Agents’ ability to acquire and integrate independent agencies will be near seamless.
Nationwide will also continue offering direct-to-consumer options for members who choose to do business online or over the phone.
In his statement, Russell said, “PIA would like to welcome all the Nationwide agents who will be moving to what we believe is the superior independent agent system. We encourage the agents who will be joining our ranks to take advantage of many business-building programs offered by PIA that help add to an agency’s bottom line. In addition, PIA advocates for you in Congress and throughout the industry. You can rest assured that, to paraphrase Nationwide’s slogan, PIA is also on your side.”
Source links: PIA National, Insurance Business America, PropertyCasualty360.com