Welcome to 2020! We’re kicking it off right by bringing you 20 voices germaine to the California Broker world. Of course, this is not a ranking or top 20 list. We do think our contributors are tops, but we’ve merely arranged the pieces in alphabetical order by last name. You’ll see that we have some longer contributions and some short Q&As and conversations. Our aim was to mix it up—and invite a few fresh faces to contribute along with a few regulars. Read on for what’s on these folks’ minds for 2020….
By Chris Kelly, CEO, NextGen Leads
Before founding NextGen Leads, I was in charge of marketing at a health insurance agency, and part of my job was buying leads. I was frustrated with the outdated platforms and anti-customer business practices I encountered. So, I took a hard right turn career-wise and started NextGen with the aim of building the lead generation platform I wish I had as an insurance agent. I would say what’s important to me is providing the best experience possible to insurance agents. It’s literally the reason I started this company.
Over the past five years, we’ve made a lot of progress toward this goal. We’ve introduced industry-leading campaign management tools, offered fair and transparent pricing, and generated millions of warm transfers from our California-based call center. But there’s still a lot to do. Even if we executed perfectly on the vision we had for NextGen back in 2014, we’d be five years behind the times without constant course correction. Things are always changing.
One of the clearest trends we see not just in this industry but in society generally is our evaporating attention span. We used to be willing to wait a few days for a delivery; now we expect next-day shipping. We used to stand in line at the grocery store and just wait; now the phone comes out immediately. We used to read books and longform articles; now we scan social media.
This rapid decline in attention span affects the insurance industry. Carriers and agents are in an arms race to provide faster and more convenient quoting, underwriting and binding. Waning attention spans mean these innovations are no longer “nice to have” but mandatory, with companies that fail to adapt falling by the wayside.
We see this change and are doing our best to lean into it rather than resist it. We’re gradually shifting our business away from “outbound leads” where agents buy a lead and dial out on it, and toward “inbound leads” where NextGen gets the consumer on the phone and transfers that person directly to the agent. In an impatient world, these rapid and seamless connections between consumer and agent are becoming the norm. We’re also moving toward a more multimedia approach where we selectively use calls, texts and email to contact and connect people according to their personal preferences, not what’s most convenient for us. Last but not least, we’re taking a firm stance on compliance because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s good for our customers.
The world is changing, and we’re going to keep changing with it.
Passion projects: Being a good father to my 1-year-old son and learning piano.
Life philosophy: I admire talent, honesty and competence in no particular order.
Currently reading: A biography of Alexander the Great, but I generally prefer fiction.
Chris Kelly is founder and CEO, NextGen Leads. Before starting NextGen, he was at Google where he served in product and marketing positions with AdSense and Google Apps. www.nextgenleads.com