Left portrait: Turner Joel Jones, Boyd's Great Granfather
Right portrait: William Boyd McGehee, Jr., Boyd's Grandfather,
Left seated: William Boyd McGehee III, Boyd's father
Right seated: William Boyd McGehee, IV
It was once said that “experience is the key to success.” As Alabama’s oldest insurance agency and the nation’s third oldest agency (est. 1858), we at Talladega Insurance Agency have never forgotten the old tools to success but have always embraced newer ideas to gain the extra advantage. But, once again, “times are different now,” and “change is upon us.” We work, live, and socialize in a society where we want things done quickly, and we thrive on having the devices that help us to do these tasks, especially when our friends and colleagues do not. Simply put, whether business or personal we thrive on “the new.” Today, many are proud of having the newest/first: Droid, iPhone, Tablets, software updates, and the list goes on. Years ago, they called this “beta testing,” and it was said that most sat back and waited till the kinks were worked out.
My father was one of the first agents to purchase the Red Shaw system in or around 1978 and then Applied Systems in 1984. Our agency went paperless around 1991. It was a time when the baby boomers were becoming the decision makers, and they wanted technology. Older agents asked my father, “What are you doing playing with that computer- that’s for the CSR’s?” His response, “I don’t want any person in this office to know how to do something I cannot do myself. And this computer is about to be our most valued employee.” How true then and how true now? Our websites, Facebook pages, Linked In, and Agency Managers are ALL working for us when we have left for the day. They are a 24-hour employee. Shouldn’t we, as agents/owners, know what our employee is capable of?
I find myself, as well as young agents as a whole, on that same “bubble” that those baby boomers, like my father, were on in the late 80’s. Technology has moved so fast over the past 10 years, and the insurance industry is finally catching up with it. We are now learning that a website can become a money-maker and service our clients. For years, most agencies just had a website but had no idea what to do with it. We now know that Facebook can be used as a tool to drive home personal lines better than any radio or TV ad ever could. And technology is in place for us to randomly stop in on a prospect, bring up an industry-specific questionnaire on a tablet, complete it, upload it to an Acord form, and submit it before ever leaving the prospects place of business.
Boyd McGehee is 2013-14 a Big "I" national Young Agents Committee member, and Vice President Producer of the family agency, Talladega Insurance, Ala.
I am not saying that my agency is the best, but I do think that businesses that have been around for long periods of time all share one thing in common, they embrace the new. Young agents in this country are now becoming owners and principals, and, if they are not, at the very least, most have become the decision makers on all things related to technology. The torch is being past. Software and capability is now catching up to technology in insurance. Let’s embrace it. This is our chance as independent agents to gain the competitive advantage. It is our chance to meet with our carriers and tell them our needs and ideas. Don’t miss that boat!