TRUSTED CHOICE® REACHES 6,000th-AGENCY MILESTONE
Year-end goal achieved eight months ahead of schedule
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 22, 2006—Trusted Choice®, the consumer marketing brand for independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms, has reached its 2006 goal of 6,000 participating agencies eight months ahead of schedule.
Big “I” President William G. Stiglitz set the brand program’s participation goal when he took office in September.
“My expectation was to reach the 6,000-agency mark by the end of this year; instead we surpassed that goal far earlier than anyone dreamed possible,” said Stiglitz, an account executive with Trusted Choice® agency Hyland, Block & Hyland, Inc., in Louisville, Ky. “This achievement speaks to the energy and support of the many Trusted Choice® champions in each state and the vision of the agency owners who have joined this rapidly growing brand movement.”
Ronald A. Smith, CPCU, chairman of the Trusted Choice® Board of Directors, noted that this is the second consecutive year that Trusted Choice® bested its agency-participation goal early; in 2005, the 5,000-agency goal was surpassed in June.
“This is a huge accomplishment for Trusted Choice® and for the agency system, especially coming on the heels of the tremendous agency growth we achieved in 2005,” says Smith, president of Smith, Sawyer & Smith, Inc., a Rochester, Ind.-based Trusted Choice® agency. “Agency owners everywhere recognize the value that the Trusted Choice® brand brings to their businesses.
“They see that the brand will help them compete with direct writers and captive agency companies and are joining the brand program to enhance their visibility and stature, which is increasing marketshare for the independent agency system. You can safely say that we have built an incredibly strong foundation for the brand program that will propel us toward our overall goal of Trusted Choice® being a household name with American consumers,” exclaims Smith.
“Trusted Choice® is an exceptional brand that captures the essence of what Trusted Choice® independent agencies are all about: trusted advisors providing customized service, choice of products and providers, and advocacy. Its popularity and influence among agency and insurance company executives are growing literally every single day,” says Big “I” CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “As we focus on this accomplishment, we are especially grateful to our Trusted Choice® company partners who have worked side by side with us to build this critical brand movement to take the independent agency system, and participating insurance companies, to the next level of success.
“To those agencies and insurance companies that are not yet a part of the Trusted Choice® brand movement, we say join us to secure a lasting, enduring market identity for your agency or your distribution force. The competitive advantages are numerous: the Trusted Choice® Pledge of Performance; the sophisticated Agency Locator; annual, nationwide advertising campaigns; co-branding by Trusted Choice® companies; tag-able agency advertising materials; Trusted Choice® Advantage, a national monthly newsletter; and much more. Agencies and insurance companies need to join the Trusted Choice® movement to tap into the growing Trusted Choice® advantages,” Rusbuldt says.
Launched in 2001 by the Big “I” and several agency system companies, Trusted Choice® is the national consumer marketing brand created to educate consumers—business owners and individuals—about the benefits of using independent insurance agents and brokers for their insurance needs. It highlights the benefits consumers get—choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support—when using a Trusted Choice® independent agency.
In addition to the active participation of more than 6,000 agencies and brokerage firms the growing brand program is supported by 33 leading agency system insurance companies.
Eleven national insurers are Trusted Choice® company partners: Drive Insurance from Progressive, Encompass Insurance, Hartford Steam Boiler, Markel Insurance Company, MetLife Auto & Home, Ohio Casualty Insurance, Rain and Hail Insurance Service, Safeco Insurance and three Unitrin, Inc. divisions: Kemper Auto and Home; Unitrin Business Insurance and Unitrin Specialty.
A total of 21 regional or single-state domiciled insurers are Trusted Choice® company partners: Allied Insurance, America First Insurance, Capital Insurance Group, Central Insurance Companies, Colorado Casualty, Consumers Insurance, GoAmerica Auto Insurance, Golden Eagle Insurance, Hawkeye-Security Insurance, Harleysville Insurance, Indiana Insurance, Liberty Northwest Insurance Corp., The Main Street America Group, Maine Mutual Group, Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, Montgomery Insurance, National Security Fire & Casualty, Peerless Insurance, Selective Insurance Group, Summit Insurance (R.I.) and Upland Mutual Insurance. InsurBanc, a federal thrift bank created by the Big "I," is a Trusted Choice® strategic partner.
The Trusted Choice® brand is promoted through a combination of national, state-level and local-agency advertising, promotional and marketing activities; insurance company ingredient branding; public relations campaigns; and Internet communications. All media direct consumers to www.TrustedChoice.com where they find the Trusted Choice® Agency Locator and helpful information on relevant insurance topics.
Participating agencies and company partners currently are taking advantage of Trusted Choice® Month (May), a concentrated, month-long campaign of advertising and promotional activities that will further build consumer awareness and recognition of the brand, the logo and its agencies. The campaign features a major nationwide cable TV ad flight; an Internet ad campaign on www.AOL.com and www.MSN.com; a business-to-business ad campaign in 13 publications targeting business segments highly served extensively by independent agents and brokers; a consumer-focused public relations campaign about renters insurance; as well as state and local-agency advertising activity.
Trusted Choice® is the consumer marketing identity for more than 6,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and their branch locations. These insurance and financial services firms offer individual and business consumers a choice of insurance companies, customization of policy coverage and advocacy support. Web address: www.TrustedChoice.com.