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  1. IA Advantage Podcast
  2.  » 101 Weston Labs: Accelerating the IA Channel

101 Weston Labs: Accelerating the IA Channel

Chip talks to Aubie Knight and Pat Cline about 101 Weston Labs, the first insurtech accelerator founded and operated by an association of independent agencies. Learn how this venture seeks to transform insurance technology and how agents and startups can get involved.
Published: April 18, 2023
Podcast Aubie Knight Pat Cline 101 Weston Labs

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Transcript:

Chip: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the IA Advantage. My name is Chip Bacciocco, and if you are joining us today, you are likely one of the tens of thousands of independent agency channel insurance professionals working all across America, doing the noble work of protecting the futures of millions of families and businesses.

Some housekeeping before we get started. This program is made possible through the support of TrustedChoice.com and the independent insurance agents and Brokers of America, the Big “I”. Today’s broadcast will be made available to over 300,000 IA professionals across North America via the Trusted Choice independent agency network.
As always, before we start, I’m going to urge you to make sure that your agency’s digital profile on TrustedChoice.com is complete and up to date. 2022 was a transformative year for us. Referral volume was more than doubled. Please visit our site and hear what agents just like you are saying about TrustedChoice.com, especially about Claim-it, which is completely transforming the way agents find and acquire high quality exclusive leads the same way Uber transformed the taxi industry a few years ago. And of course, don’t forget, Google continues to crawl our agency directory every hour. Having a complete and professional agency profile on TrustedChoice.com ensures that your agency is being properly recognized and showcased on the nation’s most important online agency directory.

I am excited to welcome an old friend and a new friend to the podcast. First, my old friend, Aubie Knight, CEO of the Big “I” of North Carolina, and my new friend Pat Cline, Director of Accelerator Operations of 101 Weston Labs. Welcome gentlemen.

Aubie: Thank you. Hey, Chip, great to be with you. Thanks for having us.

Chip: So I asked you guys to be on the podcast because you two are working on one of the most interesting projects in the IA channel today, and that’s the founding of an accelerator for the purpose of encouraging and nurturing insurtech startups that support the independent agency distribution system. I think that’s a very exciting venture that you have embarked upon, and that’s why I wanted to have you guys on the program.

Congrats on the launch.

Aubie: Yeah, thank you. It’s been exciting times. Never a dull moment. Pat has done outstanding work in bringing this vision into a reality, and we’re, we’re super pleased about where we are in the space right now. The early reception that, that we’ve received. So, yeah, thank you.

Chip: You bet. So it, it’s called 101 Weston Labs. So share a little bit about a high level, what is it?

Aubie: Yeah, so it is an insurtech accelerator to nurture early stage companies that are out to benefit and support the independent agency distribution channel and specifically independent.

So that, that’s it in a nutshell, and, and I know we’ll, we’ll get into kind of more specifics as we go through the conversation, but that, that’s it at, at a very, at the highest of levels anyway.

Chip: Okay. And before I get to Pat, I want to ask you one more question. Aubie, you know, I like back stories. I think the journey is often as interesting or more interesting than the destination. So what inspired you and your colleagues at IIANC to found this company, this accelerator? How did you get here?

Aubie: So great story. And, and you, you referenced in the intro Chip, I mean, you, you and I have known each other for going on a long time. You, you know, that I’ve always been, I guess, particularly interested in the, the transformative nature of technology and disruption, particularly as we’ve seen you referenced Uber in, in, in some of your opening comments. And you know, I’ve, I’ve always been, been interested in that and how technology can enhance and, and help independent insurance agencies.
We, we’ve always talked to our members about using tech and about the advantages that they can gain within their agencies by adopting technology. And, and so that’s been kind of a recurring theme for 15, 20 years at least. Now, you know, talk, talking about technology. So at IIANC, our, our board of directors is very forward thinking and, and so went a step further than just kind of promoting and talking about tech.

We actually, over the past several years have taken equity positions in, in several insurtech startups as a way of encouraging more technological development in our space, right? One, one way that you support development is, you know, you kind of put your money where your mouth is. So we, we’ve taken equity positions in, in several insurtech companies that were in various stages of, you know, pre seed rounds or series A rounds.

And, and once you start being involved in that space, you, you realize that it’s a pretty tight knit community. Other companies find out about you. So, you know, a after we’ve invested in, in a few of these, you know, it, it, it comes to reality that I’m being asked to sit in a product demo and review term sheets, you know, a couple of times a month.
And, and it sort of opened my eyes as to how much opportunity there was and how much activity there was in, in this space of companies looking to support independent. We were fortunate enough at, at IIANC that we, we had our first exit event last year. So one of the companies that we had invested in was purchased by one of the behemoth software companies in, in our space.

And, and so that was, that was nice to see kind of an investment go, go to an exit and, and to get a return on capital pretty quickly. And, and that sort of just opened the idea. If we’re truly going to support and encourage technological innovation in the space to support agents how about let’s start an accelerator and really get to know these companies earlier to get to know them better than, than what we were getting to know them and, you know, doing a couple of product demos and having a conversation and going through a pitch deck.

How could we go about really deepening the relationships with these companies that we’re considering an investment in, and what would that look like? So we, we started thinking about doing an insurtech accelerator. As you know, there are at least half a dozen insurtech accelerators, but we think ours is, is substantially different. Primarily from the fact that it is owned and operated by main street independent insurance agents. It’s. It’s not carrier backed, it’s not PE backed, and it’s not top 100 broker backed. It’s main street insurance agents. And that’s where, where we’re looking to bring companies into the mix that support that space within our industry.

Chip: Yeah. And, and it, and that’s why I wanted you to share that because I think the backstory is very unique and inspiring. And you guys are doing noble work. You know, I’m a supporter and I appreciate, you know, we’ve had conversations about this over, over the last year now, and you, you’ve come a long way. So congrats on that.
But I, I want to move over to Pat because you’re relatively new to this. You probably feel like you’ve been dropped in the deep end of the lake. I think they have a lot of lakes in North Carolina. So share a little bit about what it’s been what it’s been like to join, come on board on this extremely important initiative and, and share a little bit about where you came from.

Pat: Sure. Thanks. Thanks again for having us to, to share this story. So in, in, in many ways I am new in one, I think important way, I’m, I’m less new in that coincidentally both my father and grandfather, and also my uncle, were independent agents. So I grew up in a, an agency household and sort of lived that, that world for, for most of my youth, certainly. And, and my dad just retired I think three years ago or so. So much love and respect for, for independent agents and, and all the hard work they do.
More specifically on, on some of my background, I’ve spent most of the last 20 years or so outside the country and the last 10 or so of those years were, were primarily in Iraq. And, and during all that time I’ve worked with, with early stage companies promoting entrepreneurship in Iraq. I was part of the team that started Iraq’s first incubator. Several years later I led the team that that started Iraq’s first accelerator. So it’s been, it’s, it, it’s, it’s been a, a career journey up to supporting entrepreneurs.
I love founders. I love working with early stage companies. And what I’m doing now is, is very similar in a lot of ways. But as you said, I’m, I’m thrown into the deep end of insurance, so I’m, I’m soaking as much up of that as I possibly can there. Massive overlaps in, and this might sound strange to people, but you know, early stage companies kind of everywhere have similar needs and goals. You know, they’re, they’re looking to acquire customers. They’re looking to put a great user experience together. They need to build financial models and forecasts. And I feel really comfortable in all of those areas and I’m, I’m really excited to dig in with our future cohort. And, and at the same time, sort of get up to speed on the, on the insurance side of it. And Aubie’s been great in that. And yeah, I’m just still, still excited to dig in.

Chip: Yeah. Talk about a journey. Some day in the future I’d love to do a podcast just on your experiences overseas. That by itself sounds like a heck of a story. I’m sure that you could share.

So I want to switch gears a little bit and welcome Pat. I think you’re in a great place. And I think you’re about to embark on a, a really exciting adventure, but, Aubie as you said, you and I have been on this adventure for a while. I think we’re on like over 10 years, by the way, now that we’ve been working together. So it’s been a while.

Aubie: It may be closer to 15.

Chip: It may be. And they’ve all been, they’ve all been exciting and interesting, but think back about seven or 10 years ago with me, and when we heard the word insurtech back then, almost immediately you would also hear the word disruptor or disintermediator. I bet you remember that. How, how has the landscape changed? Have you seen some evolution in that idea?

Aubie: Oh, significant evolution in that. I mean, I, I, I think you and I may have attended if it wasn’t the first ITC, the Insurtech Connect Conference in Vegas. If we were not at the first one together, we were at least at the second one together and it was almost terrifying, you know, to see the, to see these well funded companies that had, you know, successfully raised 40 and 50 and 60 million and have their CEOs stand up on stage and, and talk about how, you know, they were going to replace underwriters with, with algorithms and they were going to replace agents with, with websites. And it, it, it was, it was scary. And the reality has been that, the, the distribution system is a lot harder to disrupt than these people thought, and there’s a lot of data out to support right now that, that agents, agents have certainly won the, the early rounds of the insurtech fight. Right now I, you know, I, I’ve gone to a pitch day recently and the, the private equity firms that were speaking there, the, the founders of, of these insurtech companies, no one was promoting a direct to consumer model.

At, at the very the very worst case scenario from the agent’s perspective, companies are considering multi-channel distribution where they’re including agents within their distribution model because I, I think everyone has come to come, come to see, and the data has certainly pointed to agents winning the market share battle. You know, the, the premium written by the agency channels, the independent agency channels actually increased the number of insurance agencies has actually increased over the past few years despite record setting levels of, of merger and, and, and acquisitions.

So there has been a definite shift in the landscape where there, there is a recognition that the customer relationship is valuable and the agent provides certainly a valuable piece of the transaction and, and they’re a force to be reckoned with when it, when it comes to being disrupted.

Chip: Absolutely true. And, and it just occurred to me as you were saying that do you remember there was that there was an author guy at McKenzie who wrote a, wrote a scathing report that the independent agent was destined to be extinct. I don’t know. That was about 10 years ago too. And maybe we should invite him on the podcast. Maybe he would have some reflections on that article.

Aubie: Yeah, I guess so. You know, Chip, I, I don’t know if you’d know this, but I, I started with the independent insurance agents of Georgia in 1990, which was right after the United, the, you know, the United decision where banks were allowed to enter in the insurance, you know, in, in the insurance agency business. And, you know, there were similar reports in, in the, the late nineties with chock full of, of the predictions of death of the system as we knew it. And it was all going to be banked on, right. Every independent insurance agent, you would just buy insurance when you went to, you know, deposit your paycheck at the local bank branch.

Chip: Yeah, it was. Yeah. But, but that, that we doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels, right?

Aubie: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s why the work you guys are doing is so important. We, we, we’ve won the last two battles. There will be another battle and we have to be prepared to fight hard when that comes.

Chip: So, Pat, now you guys again, we’ve already mentioned, just recently launched. Share a little bit about two things, if you don’t mind. One, what are the fundamental services that 101 Weston Labs provides to insurtechs in the IA space? And then share a little bit about, you know, what reaction in general you guys have gotten so far.

Pat: Sure. So, you know, for those who aren’t familiar with an accelerator model, I’ll go into a little bit of detail. Some things I call, quote unquote table stakes, which, which basically every accelerator has. Among those is, is workshops on, on business development concepts. So we’re going to talk about things like user experience you know, product development, product road mapping, growth, marketing, different areas of operations, certainly fundraising and then how to, how to build and scale an early stage company. We want to couple that with workshops from on, on leadership and, and leadership development. And, and that’s going to be a different set of speakers. You know, I want to have founders and ex founders come in and talk about their experiences, scaling companies, both in insurance and tech in general because I think there’s a lot of value seeing what happens outside of insurance as well. But to give people a perspective, to give these companies a perspective on what the future looks like with success.

And then a couple other components are mentorship. So we want to have a wide array of people. All of those areas I mentioned who can be called upon to answer specific questions in a specific company’s circumstance and, and get some feedback and get some help from these subject matter experts. I also, just based on my past experience, am a huge believer in, in peer development and peer work.

So we will have standalone sessions just for founders so that they can exchange both success and, and obstacles and, and how they’re working across their organizations to solve problems. What you tend to see is that companies, even if they’re working in totally different areas of insurance at a similar size, in a similar stage, will encounter similar problems. And, and it’s good to get you know… being a founder is, is very…. you’re very much in isolation. You can feel very much you against the world. And so if you have peers with you that that can help support and, and understand your problems specifically, I think there’s a great value in that. So we want to create a space for people to work together and then work with our experts and, and learn a ton from, from these people who have been doing this you know, for years and years.

And then in addition to that, and we’ll, we’ll dig into this, I think a little bit more what we think our differentiator is, the sort of non-table stakes aspect of this is, the access to agents. So we’re really focusing on recruiting agents to come work with us at 101 Weston Labs so that they can be the subjects of user research. User in this case is, is just another word, a fancy word for customer. You know, they can give and provide feedback to these early stage companies, and also pilot, with the goal of, of eventually being a customer, a paying customer you know, that’s the sort of ideal life cycle of, of an agent coming in. They get to test, you know, Aubie has this you know, way of putting it, is basically we want agents to be able to understand and control the tech that will be in their future.

And so this is their avenue to, to help shape the future of technology in, in the independent agents channel. And then just as a last sort of coda, I think in order for this to be successful for each company, regardless of sort of where they are in terms of stage, we’re going to spend a lot of effort both on the front end and during the program, working with them individually to make sure they get access to the network that they need access to investors, access to those, those people that will specifically help them. And so that’s a big part of what I will do, for instance, is help these companies navigate the accelerator, navigate the world in which we live with agents and, and our network.

And I just want to shout out very briefly, That we have a tremendous advisory council supporting us. It is comprised of five or six agents that are, that are really well known across the country and actually the continent, because we have a, a Canadian with us, two founders and, and one industry professional. And they also are supporting in terms of just opening up their network and, and providing access to people.

So, we feel like we’re getting, we’re lining up great speakers, we’re lining up great mentors, people that are really dedicated to the success of the channel and therefore want to support these companies. So we feel really good about sort of the programmatic aspect of this, and then I’ll be much more brief on the second part.

The response has been tremendous. You know, we, the advisory council, has been influential. They’re, they’re you know, they’re sort of, they’re sort of influencers in, in the industry helping us re-share posts, get social media attention. We were very excited by the number of applicants that hit number in quality, to be honest. More, more important quality for, for our early application period, which ended this past Friday, March 31st. And so we’re excited. Yeah, we, we’ve seen, we’ve seen tremendous uptake. We’ve had a lot of people contact us. We are still looking for more people as, as mentioned, specifically agents. But in the short term here, just a month after launching we’ve seen, we’ve seen tremendous energy and, and really much like you, Chip, you know just a lot of support people who want to help and are reaching out to us to.

Chip: Yeah, that’s great. And, and thanks for going through that list that is quite a raft of supportive services that you guys are offering, and I can see why you’re getting such a positive reaction. And also shout out to everybody on the advisory council. I think you have a great group there. I think they’re all friends. I think I know ’em all, but for sure a great group of people to help you move the ship forward. So Aubie, I want to get a little more specific on, because Pat mentioned you guys are already seeing some applications and, and getting great reaction and I know it’s early days but what kinds of companies are you seeing so far? What, what problems are they solving? Are there, can you name some sort of categories that they might fall into?

Aubie: Yeah, sure. Happy to. Some of them seem to be you know, in a, in a space that there are, there, there are already existing competitors, right? So it’s maybe data analytics. It’s how to better understand and gain insights into your book of business. We’ve got one applicant that I would consider to be kind of in the, the smart form space. How do we make it easier for you to quote with multiple carriers and how do we extract and move data from your management system into carrier platforms and, and get you, you know bindable quotes back.

So we’ve got that space. We, we’ve got one company that’s pretty interesting to me. That is, it, it’s sort of data and business intelligence, but it’s also commission reconciliation which is something that agencies struggle with. You know, you’ve got 30 different companies and you’re getting a commission check from the companies with a report, and how do you go in and reconcile that the dollars from each company are matching what you think they should.

So it’s so it’s really, it’s all, it’s all over the board and we’ve got companies that are into doing appraisals for valuable articles. You know, kind of inserting the agent into that process and making it a, a easier, more modern way for the, the agent’s customers to go about having valuable articles appraised. And, and, and that’s just, I mean, I think about this, we, we launched a month ago and we’re already seeing these companies that have these, you know, creative solutions for independent agencies.
Oh, and I would be also remiss that we we’re also looking at… we have a company that has applied that is taking a really creative approach to take advantage of the M&A activity out there that would create an online marketplace for agencies to go and, and transact business in terms of buying and selling books of business, whether that be the, the entire agency or certain lines of business or, or pieces within that agency. So lots of creative people out there, really smart, innovative people that are, that are bringing some solutions. You know, some of it’s like no brainers. It’s like, why didn’t I think of that? So it’s, it’s really cool to look at the variety of the problems that these companies are, are trying to solve.

Chip: Yeah, I, by the way, I love the, “why didn’t I think of that?” I’ve had that. Kinda like, I’ve been in this business for 28 years, or whatever the hell I’m on, and how come I didn’t think of that?

Aubie: Yeah, I’ve, I’ve known, I’ve known this was a problem with, with inside agencies for 15 years. Why didn’t I think of that? But, you know, sometimes it’s so funny, I think about it with Uber, Chip. I mean, you know, I think about, you know, we’ve got our national legislative conference coming up in DC and Washington DC and going up for the Ledge conference was one of the few places where I would ever have to catch a catch a taxi cab. You know, I mean, I, I grew up in area, you know, where I drove my own car and, and so I wasn’t a taxi cab rider except once or twice a year being out of town on business trips. I mean, it was terrible. Like not knowing which corner to stand on or which side of the street and, and, and trying to hail a cab. Like, why didn’t I think of Uber? You know?

Chip: Yeah. No, I, and that’s what, that’s exciting for us because it’s reassuring to know that if you, if you crowdsource this, which is exactly what we’re doing when, when you let individual entrepreneurs come up with their own solutions, right. Lots of innovations taking place in our industry and we don’t, no one person has to think of it all.
But we do have to help those that are trying and that’s exactly what you guys are doing, which is…

So I wanted to ask, I want to get back to a definition because I want to I know that some of this stuff gets a little technical, so, so Pat, I’ve been using the word “startup” and I’ve probably just been using it pretty loosely. Can you help us define a little more, what are you guys talking about? Are you looking to help companies that are pre-revenue, post revenue? Share a little bit more about where you think you can add the most value.

Pat: Sure. So I think “startup” is fine. So, you know, some people, when, when companies grow, they, they start to use the term “scale up,” and it does get confusing. So we’re, we’re comfortable with “startup.” I think what we’ve, what we’ve published and sort of advertised is that we are willing to consider any company that has an MVP, which stands for Minimum Viable Product. And, and all that means is you have something that you could put in a user or potential customer’s hands, they could use it. It probably is not perfect. It probably actually doesn’t work very well or doesn’t look very pretty, but it will execute a task and, and you know, if we’re talking about data analytics, it will produce a result for you. So, so those companies are, are sort of by definition pre-revenue all the way up to companies that, that do have revenue probably in the low a hundred thousand annually. You know, we, we use this term annual recurring revenue. So that’s basically another word for subscription. So most of these companies have some element of subscription in their, in their business model. You know, are they, are they charging customers up to a level where they get to a hundred thousand annually? And, and, and it recurs and people renew and so on. What we’ve seen is both, both I think pre-revenue for sure, all the way up past that a hundred thousand mark. And, and what we’re going to do is as we sort of evaluate, where we are, we’re, we’re going to think a lot about cohort cohesion and making sure that we don’t have too wide a dispersion, but feel pretty good right now that, that our sweet spot is, is somewhere in the, in the zero to 100,000 range and, and, and we’re going to go from there. And, and what we’re doing in, we’re making sure, or we’re going to make sure that companies sort of know where they are relative to others. So if a more advanced company wants to come in and, and they’re aware that they’re slightly more, you know, ahead of, of potentially their peers, but they still want to participate, then I think, I think we, we could have space for, for those folks as well.

Chip: Okay. And, and I want to stay with you for a minute, Pat, so, so we make sure we share with everybody what’s the process. If a company just heard what you said, they heard what a said and they think they would like to apply, what’s the process for them to come to you guys and try to get into your next cohort?

Pat: Sure. So we are at 101WestonLabs.com. And there you can find in like seven different places you know, prompts for, for applying. The application form, I think is about two hours or so, is based on the feedback I’m getting. It is, it is focused on sort of, company, you know company demographics essentially. And also just some of the information we’ve been talking about where, where they are with the product, what problem they’re solving, where they are with revenue. And then those companies that pass through that stage after evaluation will, will participate in a brief interview.

The focus of the interview is going to be more on that alignment. You know, it’s, I hesitate to even use the word interview. I would love for it to be a conversation where, where we’re asking questions, but we will also answer questions and make sure that we’re aligned, that people do want to live in this collaborative world participate and take advantage of the things that we think we’re going to be very strong in offering.

And, and then, you know, pending the outcome of sort of that interview evaluation, they’re, they’re in or, or not. But, but that’s, we’re trying to keep the process pretty streamlined pretty quick and, and give people feedback a as they go through. And so depending on when this comes out, you know, our, our final deadline is, is May 5th.
We are beginning on June 12th of, of this year, obviously. What I would say is if you’re hearing this and it’s too late, so, you know, you kind of missed the application deadline, I would definitely still reach out. And I am at Pat at 101westonlabs.com because we will do this again for one thing, but also I’m just happy to, to meet new and innovative companies, keep them in the loop, see how we can work together. And so yeah, if, if somebody has missed a deadline, don’t fret. Just, just get in touch and, and you’ll hear back.

Chip: Yeah, I imagine a good deal of the fun is getting to meet all the people, whether you meet them in this process or in the next one that that’s part of the, of the value and the fun of being involved in all of this.

Pat: Yeah, I’m, I mentioned earlier, I mean, this for me is like, the accelerator is an elaborate way for me to like, hang out with startups and founders. I just, I love it. I love, I love helping people solve problems. And so the more people you know, and we’ve been approached, I’ve been approached by people outside of insurance who, in one case, they want to, they want to refer their product to insurance agents. And that’s, that’s, that’s cool too. Like, that’s a really interesting sort of problem to solve. And can we, can we build up like even a slightly wider ecosystem of, of folks that are, that are in our world? And you know, one of the things we want to do for our companies is, have services they can tap into, whether that’s a branding company or a PR company or, or AWS with, you know, web services. Like what can we do for these companies? And so even if people are sort of outside the industry, but feel like they can help or, or they can access something that we’re trying to offer, you know, we’re, we’re open to those conversations. It’s, it is really exciting.

Chip: Yeah. Yeah. Aubie, I want to make sure we, we cover another area a little bit here, which is, which is what makes you guys unique and, and differentiates you from, from other accelerators. You mentioned it a little bit earlier before, but I just want to make sure that everybody heard it and that you get to share a little bit about it. What about, you know, the ownership and how you guys were founded, that you’re within the Big “I” family. How does that help both you and the insurtechs that you support.

Aubie: Yeah, as, as we mentioned earlier, and you know, it’s kind of a recurring theme that we have and we think it’s our differentiator is, is the ability to involve agents at the very earliest stages with these companies. So in addition to obviously giving that user feedback about the product, the problem that it’s solving, the user interface, and all those things. We, we also have access to get word to, you know, thousands of agency owners across the country to, to talk about your product and the problem that it solves and, and to put these companies in front of potential customers. So I, I think that’s a huge benefit. And certainly by the fact that we, we’ve got relationship with the state associations across the country, you know, potentially that’s a wide way to spread the message about these companies. What, what they can offer, the solutions that they can offer.

Chip: Yeah. And I, I just want to make sure, I know you mentioned it before, but I wanted to cover it again, and I wanted to give you a chance because I know you guys. Want to enlist the help of agents that want to be more involved. And so, Pat, share a little bit about the fact that, you know, age agents across the country, if they want, they can sort of sign up to actually be more directly involved in what you guys are doing. Along the lines of what Aubie was sharing, how, how can they do that?

Pat: Yeah, thank you for asking. I want to also clarify one point we, we are coming from, from North Carolina, but this is very much a actually continental, as I’ll say again, program. We want, we want companies from all across North America. And, and you can look at our advisory council, you know, you can, you can see the geographic dispersion of applicants already. So it’s important for everyone to note that, although North Carolina is sponsoring this, we’re, we’re a national program and we’re happy to work with agents from all across the continent as well.

And to do that once again, it’s, we’re at 101WestonLabs.com. There is a contact form and once you get on there, it says, how do you want to be involved in the first choice is agent And I think there’s, I haven’t counted, but I want to say about eight questions, most of which are very short. Just your name, you know, your LinkedIn, what’s your agency name? And then one open-ended question that we hope people will spend a couple minutes on, which is just tell us a little bit about your agency. So a referenced earlier that we will match these companies up with their specialty. So commercial lines, personal lines, and so forth. So we can, we can know that stuff on the front end and then, and then align our companies with, with the best agencies to get that feedback.

And yeah, if anybody, like, once again, I know I’ve said this already, but if, if, if that’s onerous or, or you’re hearing this and whatever, you know, you can just reach out to me as well, directly at Pat at 101WesternLabs.com. And, and when you do apply, you will hear directly from me you know, acknowledging that, that, that we’ve, we’ve got you on the list and, and we will, we’ll get in touch and, and figure out how to, how to work.

Chip: That’s great. And, and while we’re talking about agents getting involved, I would be remiss and I, and you guys I guess would too if we didn’t encourage every agent out there to make sure that they are an active and current member in the Big “I” in the state that they are in. So If they’re in North Carolina, I’ll be, they can go to the IIANC website and, and become a member. Is that right?

Aubie: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve, we’ve got a great membership team here. As a matter of fact, I just posted it on social media, the outstanding month that we just concluded with membership. Jill Lewis is our director of membership and she does a fantastic job of not only onboarding, of recruiting new members into the association, but immediately onboarding them and getting them, which is key. So reach out to Jill and you can find her at IIANC.com. That’d be great.

Chip: Yeah. And for everybody else in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, there is a local website for your state association or, as Pat has been doing, feel free to email me, Chip at TrustedChoice.com, and I will get you introduced to the CEO of the Big “I” in your state. I can’t stress enough. Get involved, be part of the solution, be part of what we’re doing to advance the IA channel across the country, and we definitely support that.

I think we’re kind of coming to the end here. Did we forget something? I’m going to give you the last word. What else do we have to say? What else do you want to share about 101 Weston Labs.

Aubie: No, I think, I think you did a great job, Chip. I will, mention a couple of other ways that agents can get involved. And, and this is you know, something that we, we expect to tap into. We’re already seeing it to some degree. So one, if you’re an agent out there and, and some new solution provider contacts you about a great problem, a great product that they’ve invented, that will make your life a lot easier, we’d love to know about them, particularly if they’re, if they’re early stage. So we, we know that there are companies out there that, that built a product and they’re actively out trying to sell the product, but they could, they could still benefit potentially from having conversations with 101 Weston Labs.

And also I know of a number of agents that personally invest in insurtech that they get excited about. So if you’re an agent that is, does invest actively in the insurtech space that supports agents, or you would be interested in investing in a potential insurtech, then please contact me or Pat, we would love to invite you to pitch day where you could come and listen to these founders and they can talk about their product and, and kind of what their, what their path into the marketplace is.
So, so those would be two other ways that agents could get involved. And we, we’d love to know we’d love to have that support.

Chip: You bet. And congrats again to both of you. Did we ,Pat, did you have fun on your first IA Advantage podcast?

Pat: I did. I appreciate the invitation. It was a good experience.

Chip: Sure. And, and Aubie to you, I say, when’s the next time we’re going to get to play craps? It’s been a while.

Aubie: Well, ITC in October, I hope, Chip. If not before then.

Chip: All right. I hope before then too.

Well, thanks fellas. It was fun. I want to thank my guests, Aubie Knight, the CEO of IIANC, and Pat Cline, Accelerator Director at 101 Weston Labs.
As always, I want to remind everyone listening, take a few we few minutes each week and look around. We are living in the golden age of insurance innovation, as these two gentlemen are proving. Enjoy it, soak it up, you’ll tell your grandkids about it.

I want to thank all the folks that make this program possible, including Central Insurance, Encova, Main Street America, Safeco, Selective, State Auto, Travelers, Westfield, and of course, the Big “I”.

And one more reminder to check out your agency profile or your IA company profile on TrustedChoice.com. Your digital footprint matters now more than ever.
Thank you everyone. This has been the IA Advantage, and I am Chip Bacciocco signing off. Have a safe and prosperous week everyone.

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