Despite the doom and gloom of naysayers regarding the independent agent’s role in personal lines insurance, The Hanover Group sees nothing but clear skies ahead. In order to give their appointed agents more teeth in the fight against commoditization, the insurer announced the release of its Platinum Experience product in New Jersey and New York last week.
Platinum bundles auto, home, umbrella and recreational vehicle coverage into one policy, with one coverage effective date and one bill. The product also offers access to online payments and claims services, and three household and auto apps designed to help clients manage their household needs.
“Insurance is highly complicated. All the research we’ve done and seen points to the fact that individuals clearly want the advice of an expert when they’re going through the buying process,” explained Mitch Jawitz, vice president of marketing and distribution with The Hanover. “Platinum provides a solution for agents who are trying to merge their unique services with changing client demographics that say ‘I want it all now.’”
Platinum serves that demographic by allowing consumers to view and make payments online, file and view a claim and obtain a copy of their ID card. Apps also help consumers with household maintenance, like making an independent record of their personal belongings with the Know Your Stuff Home Inventory, tracking severe weather and maintenance requirements with HomeMinders and running online auto diagnostics and repair estimates with DriverSide.
“The only thing they can’t do [online] is change their coverage,” Jawitz noted. “That’s a really important decision, and it needs to be discussed with their agent.”
Platinum also offers broader coverage than is available elsewhere in the market. The auto policy, for example, no longer takes depreciation or betterment on mechanical parts. It also offers coverage of up to $300 to replace damaged car seats.
The Platinum advantage for agents isn’t just the value to clients, however. The Hanover also offers lead programs designed to drive new customers into agency offices, along with local advertising and tech support.
“Everything about Platinum is designed to help agencies grow,” Jawitz said. “We partnered with companies that help to improve agency websites and social media outreach, and provide lead generation services.”
So far, Jawitz said the response from agents selling Platinum has been “fantastic” in each of the 10 markets where the product is currently available.
“They really like what we’re doing,” he said. “They indicated to us that this is something that’s been lacking in their space.”
Platinum is now available in New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia and Illinois. The Hanover hopes to continue its rollout of the product in other markets through the end of the year, and possibly into 2015.
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