The Future of Insurance Podcast – Ryan Hanley

Founder & President, Rogue Risk

Season 2, Episode 17, February 22, 2022

Guest Bio

Ryan Hanley is the founder and president of Rogue Risk, a one-of-a-kind national digital commercial brokerage, pioneering the “Human-optimized” independent agency methodology. Ryan produces  The Ryan Hanley Show podcast, the largest independent agent-focused podcast in the world. Ryan is also the Amazon bestselling author of Content Warfare and has been an insurtech advisor and investor for more than 5 years.

Highlights from the Show

  • Ryan started in insurance as a producer at an agency almost 20 years ago
  • Growing up, Ryan never had a clear vision of what he wanted from his career, and got into Insurance because his future-father-in-law offered him a job
  • He realized early on that he was terrible at the traditional approach to sales, driving around, trying to talk to people for leads and business
  • He realized digital was the key, so he shifted to using digital platforms to drive activity
  • He left to join to be their Chief Marketing Officer, and then do the same at Bold Penguin
  • Due to a family emergency, he had to stop traveling, so he left Bold Penguin for a local business he lead for a short time before starting his own insurance agency, Rogue Risk
  • Ryan has met thousands of people across the industry through his career, and saw this coalescence of attempts to disrupt the agency channel with enhancements to the value agents can provide, and that was the genesis of his business, Rogue Risk, which brings together both sides of the equation to support small businesses better
  • Ryan found that many leaders can’t deal with taking losses or having failures, while he sees them as a normal part of building something
  • If you’re unwilling to put something at risk, you will never capture what is really possible or meet the true needs out in the market
  • Ryan says he’s going to lose 50% of the time, but the wins will be much bigger, so it’s worth it
  • If you want innovation, then you have to be willing to take the lumps with it, like pricing that may move more than other players
  • Carriers should think about how hard it is to work with them (whether for the insured or an agent), and the excuse is “because that’s how it’s done”
    • Then you have new entrants like Coterie who you can close an account with in seven minutes on one call
  • People often focus on nuances of the startups or their coverage that don’t matter to the vast majority of risks, yet they hold these things up as valid reasons to dismiss newcomers who are doing things better/faster/more flexibly and missing the chance to learn from their example
    • Ryan gives an example of The Hartford, who won’t allow premium to be paid in the first year any way except in full and from a bank account; you can’t use a credit card until year two; but most small businesses want to manage their expenses differently, want the points, want aggregated expense tracking, etc, so this doesn’t fit their need; yet The Hartford says it’s small business focused
    • Then you have Coterie on the other side, who allows credit card payments from Day 1, so if you’re quoting both carriers on a risk, and the price is the same, Coterie wins the account for the simple reason that they work the way that small business account prefers to work
    • Increasingly, this is how small business is won, on the way we work more than the details and nuances on the margin
  • Ryan gives advice to InsurTechs trying to sell into Insurance, and how much it is still so much about relationships (than Financial Services is), so knowing the right people can help shrink timelines
    • This is because as an industry, we need to trust who we’re working with and that they will be here for the long haul, like the carriers will be
    • Ideas come and go, and that’s ok, but they need to know that the people will stand up if something happens so they can trust that things will be ok in the end
    • While he hopes we speed up, he hopes we don’t change caring about the long term because that’s what lets us stay able to be there for people in the worst moments, like major hurricanes
  • Rogue is a digital agent, but also knows that many situations require a phone call, so pure digital paths will inherently mean some people can’t find coverage with you; Ryan started the agency with a concept of No Customer Left Behind, which means he leans on digital, STP solutions as well as being able to pickup the phone and talk to an insured in a hybrid approach
  • Ryan sees a future that will still include local agents because there is a local need for advisors, but it will be supported by new technology that can make the economics of a small agency better than they are today, making them more sustainable
    • However, those local agents won’t look like they did forty years ago, where you could open a shop and walk the streets to drum up business
    • Digital agents can drop a pin in your area and scoop up business in a way that never existed before, so the model will be different for local shops
  • Launching Rogue three days before COVID lock downs changed how they built things
  • Rogue’s model is to incubate producer’s futures by letting them build their own business to eventually spin off
    • This is different from being a producer at a large shop where you can be a star, but never ultimately own your book
    • COVID forced them to pivot to in-bound rather than the outbound model he envisioned, but now they’ve been able to go back to the incubator idea he originally had
  • So many people talk about wanting to grow, but are really ok with low single-digit growth; if you really want to grow, you have to be willing to make investments in your business

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