Lou’s in the News
The Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas (IIAD) published a interview with Lou,
Agency Spotlight: Lou Zettler G.A. Non-subscription
With over 28 years of experience in the DFW Metroplex, Lou Zettler brings a wealth of knowledge to our industry
Background and Work Experience
My grandfather and father were executive officers of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, when I began my career as a third generation insurance professional, my father started me on a Debit1 route a long long time ago. If your readers are unfamiliar with a debit route, agents were assigned an exclusive territory and a book, (Book of Business) this book had a single page for every policyholder within the agents territory. On the back of each page is where the agent collected & recorded premium payments (typically made on a weekly basis). The Debit agent would work his route much like an old fashion milkman or bread man in the cities and urban areas of America. A Debit agent’s job was to visit and collect premium, (many times I collected $1.25 per week) that afforded an agent the opportunity to visit with their clients on a much higher frequency than today and fine-tune your prospecting skills. In America this was known as industrial insurance, in England it was typically fire insurance, an interesting historical note, in the late 1680s, Edward Lloyd opened a coffeehouse on Tower Street in London, this became a popular with shipowners & merchants that eventually led to the establishment of the insurance market we all know as Lloyd’s of London.
Captive Agent History
My experience as a (former) captive agent, lead me to the independent agency industry. Working as an independent General Agent affords me the freedom to choose unique products, such as non-subscription and identity theft solutions. Furthermore the freedom to serve other independent agents and support their clients.
My independent general agency is the “One Stop Shop” for Texas Non-subscription2, a sophisticated comprehensive alternative to Texas Worker’s Compensation insurance. For 20+ years I have assisted independent agents throughout the state of Texas with access to quality A & A+ rated carriers, expert attorneys for ERISA plan design, loss control and marketing support, (inclusive of free leads). Of all the services we provide, my favorite activity is to go on a joint call with an agent and assist in the presentation. To fully inform a business owner that they have choices, dispel any urban myths, educate the insured and give them the opportunity to make an informed decision.
I market my business through supporting industry associations, soliciting new agents and asking for referrals! A core element of success is maintaining a profitable and efficient relationship with my independent agents, turning around Quote requests ASAP, accompanying them on sales calls anytime, anywhere, intervening directly with the insurance company if there is a billing/claim problem. Responding to their phone calls, voice mails or texts promptly and resolving every issue that day!
The Future of His Agency
I see double-digit growth for the next year equally divided among organic and external markets. Over the next five years my favorite product, the non subscription option has a very bright future, we don’t need the Worker’s Compensation market to harden, it’s always been a matter of educating buyers that an option exists and properly market the policy renewal. 10 years from now, I will be affected by technology, the need for diversity among product offerings and unfortunately a last man standing strategy. LMS is the Achilles heel of our industry, with fewer young men and women to replace the aging leadership and the relentless consolidation of agencies is leading to a robotic servicing of policyholders. My business, your business, our business has always been and will always be a boots on the ground, a people business and no matter how pleasant that CSR is, in a remote location, he or she cannot truly service the human needs of our friends and clients.
The Advent of Technology
Technology has been transformational, email, scanning documents to .pdf, websites and social media have dramatically increased efficiency, however created unintended consequences. The Internet is a vast library and resource for information that all insurance agents should use to identify trends and select the industries that they will invest prospecting time & resources. Here is one extraordinarily insightful bit of Data, that should be carefully studied by every agent in the IIAD.
How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts 4
I’ve acquired most of my background and skills through continuing education and the relentless pursuit of new skills, I learned a lot during my time on the debit route & one of the first lesson, perhaps the most important, is to listen to my customer. They will tell you what they’re looking for.
As a member of the IIAD, I belong to a family, a family of professionals that support each, support the industry, maintain high standards and always place the best interests of their customers before their own.
Experience in DFW and Beyond
I have been working for 28 + years in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, while serving the entire state and now supporting agents in Oklahoma3.