PIA Partners with Agoragate to Position Agents as "Local Insurance Heroes"

Jun 05, 2012, 15:09 ET from National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

New Internet Marketing Service Enables Agents to Dramatically Increase Their Visibility Online

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) today announced the formation of a groundbreaking partnership with cutting-edge Internet marketing firm Agoragate that will enable participating agents to dramatically increase their visibility online, positioning them as the "Local Insurance Hero" in their communities when people search the web for insurance.

"It is already well established that while people may start their search for insurance online, they want to buy their insurance from a local insurance professional in their community," said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Leonard C. Brevik. "Until now, bringing web searchers together with local insurance agents has been difficult. Now with PIA and Agoragate, Main Street insurance agents can attract the customers who are already out there looking for them."

Through Agoragate, pronounced "AGRA gate," participating agents create a profile and purchase one or more niche microsites (personal and/or commercial lines) that are tied to the agents' geographic location of choice and housed on the consumer centric website www.EnhanceInsurance.com. These microsites are interconnected not only to each other, but to a series of web pages that feature useful insurance articles related to current events, commonly asked questions or city/state geographic areas. These web pages are being developed to match commonly searched phrases and questions, so that they will receive relevant traffic from web surfers searching on Google and other search engines.

"With the Agoragate system, when web surfers click on a search result featuring an EnhanceInsurance.com article, the web page will not only provide useful information but it will feature a single, participating agent as the 'local hero,' an agent who can assist the web surfer with their insurance needs," Brevik said. "Using IP addresses, Agoragate is able to dynamically insert the profile of the local agent who can best meet their insurance needs as determined by the words they type into the search engine."

"This innovative program is a game-changer for independent insurance agents," Brevik added. "This approach to marketing has the potential to eclipse mass market advertising in its effectiveness. The agents who will benefit the most are the ones who recognize how compelling this opportunity is, and get on board right away."

While most agency websites may rank well for searches containing their agency's name or searches containing a local modifier (a town name or zip code) — EnhanceInsurance.com is designed to attract inquiries on searches like "over 55 auto insurance," in addition to local and agency searches. By combining the online authority of hundreds of agents, Agoragate will have a much better chance than a standalone agency to have prominent online positioning for car insurance, home insurance and other insurance related web searches.

"A hero is a person noted for special achievements in a particular field," Jim Holm, president of Agoragate stated. "Professional, independent insurance agents provide their customers with a wide choice of coverages that give them financial protection. When they do that, they truly are heroic."

"Agoragate will attract customers that have a better credit score, higher net worth, and a more complex insurance situation; they're the people who are looking for a local insurance agent they can trust," Holm said. "What the microsite won't do is provide a quote. For the last twenty years I've been suggesting that agencies avoid quoting over the phone. They need to meet face-to-face to create a long-term client. These sites introduce the agent as a local human being who can be trusted."

Agoragate's technology platform was created by a search engine optimization firm that has achieved success with a client list that includes Cargill, Nestle USA, Marvin Windows, and many other large corporations. "They have been reducing the price of warm leads for home contractors for four years," Holm said. "They can have the same success with insurance by applying scale, combining agency and company online strengths, and showcasing content that appeals to high end insurance seekers."

PIA members receive a substantial discount on the cost of the Agoragate microsites. Agoragate is being offered to PIA members as part of the PIA Branding Program. Through this program, PIA provides its members with marketing materials such as print and radio advertisements.

Funding for the PIA Branding Program is provided in part by PIA's Pinnacle Partners. Pinnacle Partners are highly regarded insurance companies that demonstrate their commitment to the independent agency distribution system and financially support the development of new marketing tools which are made available to PIA members through PIA Branding Program. The 2012 Pinnacle Partners are Bankers Insurance Group, Encompass Insurance, Erie Insurance, Harleysville Insurance, Progressive Insurance, QBE the Americas, State Auto Group, The Hartford and The Motorists Insurance Group.

"You almost can't turn on your television without seeing advertising that treats insurance like a commodity," Holm said. "We think it's essential for insurance agents to assert their position as a trusted source of information. The average insurance buyer places the need for 'trust' as the most important factor in their buying decision. They want an insurance product that fits their need and an agent who will communicate with them. Only after those desires are met do they consider pricing. Agoragate reflects those priorities."

Holm concludes, "Agoragate isn't meant for agents who court the buyer who is only interested in the cheapest insurance. Agoragate's target client is the professional agent who seeks to provide professional service for his clients for a large number of years."

Agents who want to learn more about Agoragate may visit them online at www.insuranceagoragate.com. To find an upcoming webinar about Agoragate, agents should visit PIA's national website at www.pianet.com/agoragate.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America(SM). PIA's web address is www.pianet.com.

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SOURCE National Association of Professional Insurance Agents