A veteran agency insurtech advocate has launched an online directory for property/casualty insurance agents to categorize, compare and connect them with technology companies that support the agency distribution channel.
In addition to the directory, InsurancePlayground.com includes the ability to rate and review vendors and a forum where agents can discuss questions and receive answers and recommendations from peers, according to founder Jason Walker.
Walker calls InsurancePlayground.com a “collaboration space for agents, technologists, service providers, networks, carriers, associations and those that advocate for agencies” in the insurance value chain. Agents can join for free.
Walker knows his way around insurance agency technology. He built digital marketing and technology firm Smart Harbor, which he sold to Insurance Technologies Corp. in 2019. He also has his own consulting firm out of Ohio called Agency Insurtech. He has been active in the insurance technology exchange AUGIE Group and he co-founded the digital marketing firm The Shipyard, formerly known as PeopletoMySite.com.
Walker says he has spent nearly two decades learning from agents about their business challenges and saw a gap in online resources to help agents rate and compare insurtech solutions.
He told Insurance Journal he believes that agency insurtechs have been overlooked except for a few that do not support the distribution system. But he feels that the market is evolving from a “doom-and-gloom” view of agencies to positively appreciating agencies and the fact that they control so many customers.
“Agents are being called by insurtechs all day long,” he said, adding that he see his site as a way for agents to get objective, peer-based information on them.
The site includes a virtual assistant named Sky that walks agents through three digital journeys—customer, employee and agency. Within each journey, agents are presented with individual categories that lead to hundreds of vendor profiles that address business areas like sales and servicing, recruiting and employee development and legal and financial operations.
“Like most industries, insurance is ripe with content, buzzwords, conferences and overused references of ‘the why’ to promote change through technology,” said Walker. “Meanwhile, agents were convinced years ago and must solve for ‘the how’, which is arguably the most difficult step in transformation because it requires work, risk and accountability.”
Now, he said, agents have a “partner in that journey.”
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