A new event recently brought InsurTech experts together to explore trends and share tips.

On Jan. 20, industry groundbreakers, forward-thinking agents and other digital thought leaders in the independent agency space gathered in Savannah, Ga., for the first Big “I” InsurTech Summit. The assembly was part of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America winter meeting.

Larger firms have invested significantly in InsurTech, said Chris Cline, executive director of the Big “I” Agents Council for Technology.

“But in the middle of the bell curve, there’s a lot of privately held firms or agencies that are out there that are really looking for ways to become and remain viable and to figure out how to embrace technology,” he said.

Confusion and uncertainty can present hurdles, and large numbers of options are overwhelming, experts said. The 90-minute, panel-style Big “I” forum shared examples of how agencies can take existing or evolving strategies and business goals and effectively leverage technology to bring them to life. Participants also dissected return on investments and looked to the insurance industry’s connected future.

The event was the first in a series held throughout 2023 to encourage independent agents and brokers and carriers to learn about — and embrace — increasingly available technology.

Panelists encouraged independent agencies to maximize their existing toolkits, cultivate a culture of innovation and introduce new tech in steps. Jason Walker, president of Agency Revolution, recommended hearing out employees who are averse to change as their voices can provide key talking points when meeting with InsurTechs.

“That’s usually the most valuable information to then set yourself up with a vendor or a technologist to say, ‘These are the things you must solve in order for us to make a decision to work with you,'” Walker explained.

A free video recording of the summit is available on YouTube. The program was presented in partnership with AscendIA and the Agents Council for Technology. Travelers was the Diamond sponsor.

“The Big ‘I’ InsurTech Summit brought InsurTech leaders together to discuss all of the technology issues important to independent agents and brokers,” said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “The Big ‘I,’ the Agents Council for Technology and TrustedChoice.com are leading the way on InsurTech issues — both opportunities and challenges — for independent agencies and our industry. InsurTech has an array of meanings, but we are boiling it down to ensure independent agencies are the most efficient, effective and consumer friendly they can be in the marketplace.”

The event provided insights on different facets of InsurTech and their relevance and role in the independent agency channel in the future. The Big “I” task force will announce the next InsurTech Summit soon.

“There’s a plethora of tools and resources available for independent agents, but from an agency owner perspective it can be overwhelming sorting through the noise,” said Chip Bacciocco, CEO of TrustedChoice.com, who moderated the winter meeting panels. “We’re glad to assemble these thought leaders to demystify InsurTech and help agents take advantage of all the solutions this digital age has to offer.”

The morning of the January summit, the Big “I” and AscendIA recorded a series of InsurTech podcasts hosted by Bacciocco; Chris Cline, ACT executive director; Aubie Knight, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina; and Reid Holzworth, CEO of Ivans. The podcast recordings will be released on IAmagazine.com’s “Agency Nation Radio,” Ivans’ “The Insurance Technology Podcast” and “IIANC Radio.”

Other event sponsors included TrustedChoice.com, Ivans, ACORD Solutions Group and BondExchange.