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Keystone provides the Independent Agency with a menu of products and services that is unparalleled. Whether it’s group benefits, 401k plans, estate and business planning life insurance, risk management services, claims adjudication, program business, point of sale partnering, aggregation, sales training, whatever, Keystone allows you to choose from a wide variety of services.
You decide what is best for your agency and how you can design opportunities to leverage your existing relationships, create new revenue streams, and place your agency in the trusted advisor role with clients. We partnered with Keystone in 1996, and I’ll readily admit that I was opposed but went along with my father and brother, but I can now admit that in my 33 years in the business, there has been no decision better than partnering with Keystone.Read More...
I really struggled with the decision to partner with Keystone. We’re a third generation agency, we've got excellent companies and we write about anything we want. My decision to partner was based on the other agencies joining up and my 25 year relationship with Colin Buzzard. Getting EMC, and participating in some of the programs, has allowed us to write risks that didn't fit the appetite of other carriers. I was also able to attract a new producer with the increased opportunities.Read More...
Keystone is made up of insurance folks who understand who we are and what we do…..they anticipate our needs with specialized markets, services, and resources. It is up to us to use what fits our needs. Keystone is so much more than premium volume consolidation.
We have not had a need to use the expert claims review service, but this resource was a key part or our decision. We have placed this capability on our website.
I have participated in the sales training with Robert Sutter. After 32 years in the business, and being reasonably successful, this is the first sales training that I have ever had. It was worth every penny. We use his Path to Professionalism material for our weekly sales meetings. He has also assisted us with interviewing sales candidates, and his sales testing is better than what we were previously used.
The partnership that I feel with the other 260 partner agencies is incredible. I can seek advice for a wide variety of subjects from insurance agency experts. Their opinion and help is just a click away.Read More...
Since joining the Keystone team in November 2011, we have greatly benefited in two specific areas: First, our younger producers are going through the sales training program with Robert Sutter and this will have long term positive results for our agency. Second, in addition to contracting with some important core carriers, our company relationships have improved and become more focused due to the large representation of the overall Keystone group of agents. The core carrier responsiveness to our marketing and underwriting needs is vastly improved.Read More...
Our agency has benefited in numerous ways not the least of which is the interaction and free exchange with other partners both in the structured meetings and in contact outside of meeting agendas. That often proves invaluable.
We benefited substantially with Ralph’s efforts (Claims Division) on a major fire loss to subrogate against a sub contractor that actually caused the loss.
We used the Benefits Division on a few occasions that provided better products while enhancing our commissions.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the revenue increase we have realized due to the aggregating of our volume with our partners.Read More...
As a Pioneer Agency in Ohio, we quickly understood the benefits of Keystone. Networking with our partners and the intellectual capital they bring to the equation is second to none. We happen to be very independent and Keystone only enhances our agency. With the extensive resources they bring to the table, and the work they do for all of us, you can compete with anyone. We now provide boutique-type service with a national brokerage menu of services.
That is the Keystone Difference.Read More...
The single biggest thing Keystone has done for Peel & Holland is to add bench strength to our team that we could not have afforded otherwise that allows us to compete head to head with the larger brokerage houses. Keystone brings industry leading talent in claims management, programs, risk solutions, and sales training, just to name a few.
We did a thorough job of due diligence, so there have been only positive surprises. The most challenging thing about our Keystone relationship is that they provide so many opportunities that it’s difficult to maximize each. Thus we had to prioritize and determine where we can get the maximum impact for our organization.
In our first year, we earned a contingency through Keystone with a carrier that would not have been earned were we standalone. That single contingency paid for several years of our Keystone partnership.
Like so many other high caliber agencies in other states, we knew that Peel & Holland would be successful on its own. What we were betting on, and what has proven true, is that partnering with Keystone has elevate us to yet another level.Read More...
Since joining Keystone in October 2009, Keystone has greatly increased the confidence of our agency, given us more clarity about our future, and provided us with numerous resources. The benefits of our Keystone Partnership have been all that we anticipated and much more.
To our surprise, some of the resources we initially thought would be the least valuable have been the most significant. In several situations, it has been the use of two or more Keystone resources on the same deal that led to our ultimate success.
During our time in Keystone, we have worked with all its divisions. In every division, we have found extraordinary professionalism and ability. The talent Keystone has assembled is topnotch. Whether it is Ralph Sitterson helping with a claim situation, Robert Sutter providing advice to close a sale, Risk Solutions providing the “go to” market for a specific situation, and the list goes on and on; the resources provided by Keystone make us better than we could ever be on its own.
There is no question that joining Keystone is one of the best business decisions we have ever made.Read More...
My Grandfather started our Agency more than 80 years ago. We have grown and evolved as a company; in doing so though we’ve remained committed to the same core principles. We are a family Agency and fiercely independent. We strive to be ‘students of the business’ and try to give back to the industry and our community. We endeavor to be a resource to our client base; being a good Agent often starts with being a good resource.
The decision to join Keystone was not taken lightly. We initially struggled because we weren’t sure it would fit our Agency’s culture. The experience has been nothing but positive.
We have benefitted from the Program business, Claims and Reserve management, and sales training. Because of resources like Orchestrate HR, we have a competitive advantage in Benefits that is both unique and compelling. And the list goes on and on… In short, Keystone has greatly enhanced our culture. We are more sales focused and better positioned to be a resource.
Our core principles have not been compromised but instead enhanced; we now have Partners who share our passion for the industry, their communities, and their Agencies. The value of Keystone has been remarkable. We have no doubt though that the best is yet to come!Read More...
After doing some serious due diligence, our agency (3 locations, $5 million in revenue, 35 employees) decided to become a Keystone Partner late in 2011. Since that time we have found significant value for our operation in the partnership. We have found something important / worthwhile almost every week, in many different areas of activity.
Several tough business problems or decisions have been made easier because of the resources and consultation services provided. We’ve added access to two important new markets. We are restructuring several aspects of the way we do business, and we’re comfortable that we are moving in the right direction because we have access to answers and ideas in a timely manner through Keystone, our Partners there, and the vendor relationships that Keystone has made affordable.
I can confidently state that we are significantly better off for being a Keystone Partner than we would have been if we’d remained on our own.Read More...
I was strongly opposed to our joining KIG 2003. Even though I had worked with Colin Buzzard at The Aetna, my experience with consolidators both as a Filed Underwriter and NC/SC Field Manager with Selective was terrible. Inevitably these organizations were bringing together agencies that could not sell or, due to integrity issues, maintain relationships with quality carriers.
I came into the fold kicking and screaming. I expected it to bust and be over in a year. I was wrong. It has been the best decision my now partners have made in the 11 years I’ve been part of Mountcastle Insurance.
Here is my very short list of the KIG difference and the things of which we’ve taken advantage:
Insuramax was started from scratch in 1971 by Marvin Smith. We’re a $6+ million revenue operation in Louisville and there are five officers. While we had no problems or needs per se when Keystone entered Kentucky in 2009, we were intrigued because so many of our peers were partnering.
The opportunities we saw in Keystone were many: Programs, sales training, trusted and literally free advice, established and professional leadership, partner networking, some carrier relationships exclusive to Keystone, and, of course, the money, even though they’ll caution you that it’s not about the money!
Key though was the ability to compete with the really “big boys” like Marsh-Mc and AON. Equal or better or better carriers and exclusive programs are huge pluses. We write many larger accounts that we simply would not have written prior to partnering with Keystone. They bring a certain expertise and group of carriers that most agencies can’t duplicate.
Keystone doesn’t tell Insuramax how to operate. They and our partners are there when we need them, and I believe the Core carriers are even happier with us than before simply because we now look to place more business with them so we can maximize profit sharing. At the same time, if a Core company can’t do what we need, we’re free to use other markets.
The best thing about KIG is everything and the worst thing is that you simply can’t take advantage of everything! Keystone easily pays for itself. You have a Team that is totally committed to the success of your agency. They bring expertise, knowledge and professionalism right to you. The networking with your peers and the openness of the ideas is truly unprecedented.
Keystone is not for everyone; probably even more so, most agencies are not for Keystone. The underwriting process is grueling because they want only the best. They will not compromise their integrity.
As the former Chairperson, IIA of Kentucky, I can honestly say that IIABA has no greater friend and ally than Keystone. Nearly the entire Kentucky Board partnered and I’ve seen that trend as Keystone has expanded into other states. Keystone is supportive of the association and in no way competes for members or programs.
All in all, the best decision Insuramax has made.Read More...
We partnered with Keystone in 2007 and have consistently utilized the expertise of Keystone in multiple areas over the years. A few areas in which we have found immediate value, the kind on which you can’t put a money value:
Keystone allows us to partner with an organization which provides the intellectual capital and enhanced carrier relationships in this ever-changing insurance marketplace. The professionalism, passion, and leadership of Keystone is unsurpassed and gives our agency the backroom support to remain independent and position ourselves to grow the agency.Read More...
For over fifty years we have operated as a family oriented agency, fiercely independent and very conservative. We have recognized for a long time the need to become more diverse in our marketing while maintaining our benchmark “good service” mindset.
Initially, we saw Keystone as a possible solution but we worried about giving up contracts, Keystone possibly wanting first right of refusal, and the manner in which they would select new partner members. We partnered because we had faith that Keystone people would “practice what they preached” and because we knew the exceptional quality of so many of the other partners.
Our concerns were unfounded. If anything, we’ve gained independence. Carriers pay more attention to us and we have more opportunities at our doorstep than we can handle. Aligning ourselves with Keystone and our other NC partners was the best business decision we’ve ever made.Read More...
Broome Insurance is a family agency in Hickory, NC. My brother is a Commercial producer and my father is enjoying staying active in the agency, without quite the responsibility he once had. I am the operations manager and do some personal lines as well. All total, we have 24 employees.
Thinking back to when Keystone visited our office, my first comment to my dad after Colin presented the Keystone opportunity and then left our office was, ‘Why would we do that? We can get any Company we want, we don’t need them.’ I was rightfully proud of how far we had come on our own. My statements were true, but, at that time, I didn’t understand who Keystone was. The beauty is, all my partners could say the same thing. That is what makes my partners so valuable to me. Keystone has been like a warp drive in my learning curve and idea implementation.
The best way I can explain Keystone is with an analogy. I have four kids and a few years back my son Nathan and I went on a field trip to Williamsburg, VA. We talked a lot about the history of our country and how our forefathers decided to Unite under a common cause. Each colony had a different model of doing things, but on the fundamentals, every colony unanimously agreed they would be stronger, more effective, and free to set their own course if they came together as one nation. The irony is they had to give up some of their own identity, be willing to change and even give up some of their perceived independence as individual colonies to become an independent nation.
The result of their vision coupled with unity and a common cause has caused us to become the great nation that we are. This is how I see Keystone.
I honestly do feel like a founding father in a way. I am so proud of my unity with other Keystone partners. For our agency, it has only made us stronger.Read More...
Getting hooked up with Keystone has been the single biggest positive change this agency has ever made. By leaps and bounds. It is the difference between being on an island in the dark versus being connected to a constant pipeline of information and opportunities. The thing for us — we didn’t know we were on an island in the dark.
Keystone brings additional markets. They bring increased profit sharing. There is powerful claims management. Sales training. An in-house life ins. brokerage. So many, many things, too many to list.
BUT, that really is just window dressing to the meat: what you get as a Keystone partner is access to other bright minds in the insurance industry. Other like-minded agencies across the country are your partners — have problem with an account? Just ask your partners, chances are someone has had the same problem and can share their experience. This point cannot be overstated — we help each other.
Perhaps the best tale of all: my personal income has nearly tripled due to the added opportunities I have been able to harness through the Keystone relationship. I wouldn’t expect that to be the case for everyone, but it has been huge for me on a personal level, as a salesperson.
There is no downside, from my point of view. None. It’s not perfect, don’t get me wrong — things can almost always be improved. If we could go back and change anything, we only would have joined up earlier.
This hasn’t changed our relationship with Cincinnati Insurance. Still the single largest relationship in our agency.Read More...