The results of last fall's election have me concerned about thefuture of independent agencies. I'm guessing that might surpriseyou, given the new administration's stated mission of repealing the ACA. However, it is that verymission which has me concerned.

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Don't get me wrong; I believe the ACA is as flawed as you do.However, too many people see it as the only threat to the survivalof their agency.

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Too many of you have lance in hand with the ACA windmill dead in your sights; one morepursuit in a revolving landscape of windmills distracting you fromattacking your real threats.

I know what you're thinking:

Since March 2010, you have been on one Quixotic pursuit afteranother; you think:

  • There has to be some perfect new product to sell to myclients

  • If I hire a telemarketer, I will have enough newopportunities

  • If I redo my website, I will be more attractive to prospects

  • There must be a way to buy myself out of this mess

And since November 8, 2016, your thinking has likely shifted. Ifthe ACA goes away …

  • My business is no longer threatened

  • MLR will no longer be an issue and we'll get our old commissionsback

  • We will return to the “good 'ol days”

  • Let's attack this freakin' windmill!

It's time to attack the REAL enemy

Can we please give up on the constant Quixotic pursuits andsimply look in the mirror and address the real issues?

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As flawed as it is, the ACA was never your biggest threat; it simplyexposed our industry's most fundamental vulnerabilities. It exposedthe vulnerability of your agency being dependent on someone else'sproduct; it exposed the vulnerability of your agency allowing athird party to determine your value based ontheir commission schedule.

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The vulnerability of your business model is the realthreat. That threat doesn't go away, even if you take down theACA windmill. Don't think for a moment that …

  • The carriers are going to show up any time soon with bags ofmoney

  • Those same carriers aren't going to continue to be moreselective about who they allow to distribute their products

  • Technology is going to be any less of a threat

  • Prospects/clients will have any less control over the buyingprocess

  • And, maybe most of all, don't think for a moment that you aren'tgoing to be competing against a steady stream of newcompetitors

Your efforts haven't been completelymisplaced

Having the right solutions to offer clients is important.Ensuring you have a full pipeline of prospects is absolutelynecessary. An effective marketing presence is mission critical.And, it's OK to seek out partners to help with each, but none ofthem mean anything if they are attached to a flawed businessmodel.

Be honest with yourself

Is your greatest threat some windmill on the horizon or isit your denial of the need to address the fundamentals of yourbusiness model?

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For most agencies, it's definitely the latter.

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