When you’ve been in an industry for 35 years, you tend to learn a thing or two about that business. Such is the case with Bill Kampf, Progressive’s Commercial Lines Marketing General Manager. We sat down with Bill and talked about his perspective on the independent agent landscape and things to come.

So what’s the most important piece of advice he can give to an independent agent?

Have a marketing plan.

“I see many agents who are living only on referrals. Referrals are a great source for leads and should never be overlooked, but supplementing that lead flow with a proactive marketing plan separates fast growing agencies from those with more moderate growth.”

Bill says that Progressive offers free marketing materials on Brand Express and free training on Knowledge on Demand.

“Whether your marketing plan involves optimizing local internet search, distributing collateral at local events, or designing a co-op campaign, we have the know-how and tools to help you with your marketing needs.”

Helping the local agent.

With experience ranging from call center operations to large account management, he’s developed a unique perspective on the relationship between a carrier, an agent, and a customer – especially as it relates to Commercial Lines.

“Commercial Lines is a local agent game. Small business owners appreciate the counsel of local agents, who, as business owners themselves, are in a unique position to understand the needs, opportunities and challenges of their commercial customers.”

“We help by giving them competitive, quality products and by making it quick and easy for them to market, quote, sell and service policies through our intuitive technology. We save everybody valuable time in the process, and best of all, should a customer be in an accident, our specialized claims service gets that business back in business fast.”

Bill feels that independent agents have a bright future. He says that over 99% of commercial auto is sold through local agents because local business and households want the advice and counsel of a local professional. As he says, “No one is better positioned to provide that service than independent agents.”

And the best part about his job? After 35 years, he still loves coming to work every day.

“What excites me the most is learning from our agents and customers to create value propositions that are a win for small business owners, our agents and for us. Our partnerships with agents, along with our winning combination of competitive rates, ease of use and responsive claims, helped us rise from the number four writer of commercial auto insurance to number two last year.”

“I am always interested in hearing what our agents have to say. In Commercial Lines and at Progressive, we work hard to provide our agents with product and service offerings they can be proud and confident to sell. By listening to agents and customers and working hard to understand their needs, we make sure they have the right products, services and support available to them to succeed today and in the future.”

Have a question or comment for Bill, or any of our People Behind the Blue? Email us at pbb@progressive.com.