Years ago during a particularly challenging time for Arbella, the trust we had built with our independent agents was severely tested. On the advice of Arbella’s vice chairman and my long-time mentor, Frank Bellotti, I visited countless agents one by one to ask them what was going wrong and what we could do better. I didn’t try to sell the merits of our company; I just asked questions and listened. It was hard, humbling, and took time but as a company we rebuilt our agents’ trust in us and it endures today.

A strong carrier-agency relationship is based on trust, communication, and candor. The days of throwing products over the wall to the independent agent are long gone. Our best ideas come from our agents. Today and in the future, the most successful carriers will listen to their agent partners, work together to eliminate stovepipes, and do what’s best for the policyholder. When you open yourself up to understanding what your agents need, you can expect nothing less than honest feedback. Without it you won’t make progress…...

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