Navigating A Tough Year: A Michigan Success Story
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As the saying goes: “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” As an insurance agent, you are certainly no stranger to the amount of hard work, dedication and time that it takes to build a successful agency.
Ever-changing client bases, increased competition, changes in local and government rules and regulations… agents navigate numerous hurdles throughout their careers. With the right tools, however, they can turn all of this hard work into a profitable, thriving business.
Dillon Mathews is one of these agents. Mathews is licensed in the states of Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and joined Phillippo Insurance Agency as a trusted employee back in 2016. A family-owned agency founded in Stephenson, Michigan in 1937, Phillippo Insurance Agency currently provides a full line of services in farm, home, auto, business, and life insurance to residents of both Michigan and Wisconsin.
At the time Mathews joined the firm, a robust and reliable agency management system was already in place. For over 20 years Phillippo Agency has been using Eclipse, the innovative software system from NASA, to manage all of their records. After years of hard work as a dedicated agent Dillon, along with his wife Melissa, decided to purchase the agency and became owners in January of 2020.
As we all know, 2020 didn’t turn out quite as anyone planned.
“About as stressful a year as anyone could imagine.”
Two months after purchasing the agency, everything changed for Dillon and Melissa. The pandemic forced businesses to shut down, academic institutions switched to online learning, and more and more people had to work from home. For the new owners of Phillippo Insurance Agency, the impact was drastic: many of their agents had to leave for health reasons or family commitments.
“Within five months we went from seven [staff members] to two,” Dillon explained. “My wife had to quit her job and join the team.” Fortunately for the pair, it had always been the plan for Melissa to eventually join the agency. Thrown in the deep end, she was expected to navigate Eclipse almost immediately.
Luckily, the intuitive nature of the software, along with the constant support from the NASA staff, made Melissa’s job much easier. The successful adoption and usage of the insurance management system also gave the couple more time to address the new challenges arising within their industry.
Adapting to changes.
Despite adhering to strict standards of cleanliness and social distancing within the office, Mathews observed that many policyholders were cautious about visiting the agency in person. This was also complicated by huge changes in the auto insurance industry: Michigan’s No-Fault insurance reform.
In July 2020, sweeping and unprecedented changes to Michigan’s No-Fault Law affected every driver and car accident victim in the state. Changes included PIP choice, opt-outs, and increased bodily injury liability coverage.
Phillippo Insurance Agency was immediately inundated with questions from existing policyholders. Fortunately, their AMS system had every detail of every policy in one accessible place, and offered an online portal for agent access.
Built from an agent’s point of view.
Today many independent agencies face challenges. For Mathews, the Eclipse agency management system from NASA helped overcome some of the unforeseen circumstances of the previous year.
“Eclipse is awesome!” Mathews told us with a laugh. The software provides the functionality and features needed by small to medium-sized firms, and is constantly developed and managed by a dedicated in-house NASA team. When agents encounter roadblocks or need assistance, a tight-knit group of specialists are always available to help troubleshoot issues and answer questions.
New team members can also be trained quickly and easily with no disruptions to the day-to-day operations of the agency. Which is good for Mathews, as training new agents is finally on the horizon. He has steered the agency through a difficult year — and is now seeing the glimmer of a successful and profitable future ahead.
Moving forward with Eclipse.
On August 2nd, the agency will welcome a new agent to the team. They will be trained on the Eclipse system, and Mathews is confident that this process will be as seamless as it was for his wife when she had to learn the ropes at the last minute during the pandemic.
He has also been able to implement the positive changes that he had first envisioned when working as an agent at the company: going paperless. “That was one of my main goals when I started,” he explained. The firm is now 70% paperless and continues to convert older files and policies into digital records. “It’s extremely efficient,” Mathews said, gratefully.
Phillippo Insurance Agency remains an integral part of the local community in Stephenson, MI. The team continues to make positive changes for local families through donations, sponsorship, volunteering, and funding educational speakers and supplies for local school systems. With Mathews at the helm, the agency is both a successful business, and a successful pillar of the community.
Here at NASA we are thrilled to hear success stories from all of the agents that we work with. If you would like your agency to be a part of this supportive community, please schedule a free demo to see if Eclipse software can elevate your business, through good times and challenges.
Topics: Case Studies