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Access general agency coming on strong for brokers.

In our ongoing survey of activities in the business, we have come to the conclusion that some general agencies are enjoying their success and standing "pat" while others are actively seeking new brokers, providing them fresh access to top carriers, while affording their clients superior customer service. New York and New Jersey are blessed with excellent GA's, some Macy's styled, others, more boutique styled.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing F. Glen Gabriel of Access General Agency, more the boutique styled outfit, although growing rapidly, to take a look at their plans and their offerings.

Access General Agency is a wholesale division of the Bender Insurance Agency, Inc. based in Woodbury, New York working with brokers in NY, NJ, CT, MA, & RI. The Company founded in 7997, is coming up to its 16th year in excellent form. In our interview with the company's founder, we were pleased to learn of their dedication to their agents and brokers.

Q. Glen, the old saying "stick to your knitting" applies pretty consistently in the insurance business. What are your specialties?

A. We are property specialists together with personal lines, homeowners and condominiums, and we do write in coastal markets. We do not stray from our original focus, since that can trip up any brokerage when they need a specific instrument to accomplish their goals for their clients. We are the correct instrument for agents and brokers in personal lines coverages mentioned above, notably coastal markets.

Q. Can you discuss your carriers?

A. We deal with highly rated national and regional carriers. We are proud to work with them and we give them enough business to keep our relationships meaningful, enabling agents and brokers to take advantage of the products they offer.

Q. What is the platform you work on?

A. We work on a proprietary software program that was designed and developed by Access General Agency. The program takes data from quote request forms and determines the right applicable carrier and it prices the carriers for our brokers and agents in a manner that gives them quick interface. We deal with 3,000 brokers and are beginning to defy the usual formula that you get most of your business from a small number of brokers.

Q. Will the Company be expanding?

A. Our expansion will be in niche products in this market place, in both commercial and personal. Right now Kathy Casale, our marketing and branding leader, is working with us to create an identity for niche products with key brokers. Our next phase may well prove to be a surprise niche, but will be most useful to agents and brokers.

Q. What about staffing? Are you having the same personnel problems so many entities complain about these days?

A. No. Thankfully, most of our staff is 10 years plus with us; we promote from within and sustain a mission to provide products that agents and brokers typically do not have access to. Our seasoned staff has very strong personal relationships with brokers and carriers and have been very important for their success.

Q. What about your relationship with USLI?

A. We are heavily vested in USLI where we have substantial growth opportunity in the various niches with which we are identified. We have private label operation potential for brokers and agents and demonstrate a level of creativity that we think is rare in the marketplace today.

Q. What's on the horizon?

A. Hard work, streamlining all processes to benefit our brokers and add to their strength. We are aiming for an increasing relevance and for an identity that bespeaks commitment to enhanced resources in the market for our "partner" brokers and their clients.

I.A. Thank you, Glen.
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Title Annotation:Q&A with ... F. Glen Gabriel: CEO, Bender Insurance
Author:Gabriel, F. Glen
Publication:Insurance Advocate
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Oct 14, 2013
Words:617
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