“We can’t grow without our agents.”

That should tell you all you need to know about the commitment Patrick Brennan, Progressive’s Manager of Business Auto and Contractors Commercial Lines programs brings to work every day.

“Industry wide, agents are responsible for 99% of all commercial lines premiums. That’s why we pour a lot of energy into meeting our customers’ and agents’ needs with our product, pricing, and distribution efforts.”

And he understands just how important his role is in meeting those needs.

“On the product side, I work with agents to understand where our product does really well and where it can be improved, as well as what additional offerings or features customers want. With pricing, I work with our product managers to make sure we’re putting our most competitive price on the street, which helps our agents close and retain business, and in the process grow their books. I also work closely with our distribution team to influence our sales strategy and ensure that we have the right resources available to agents to help them grow.”

Laying the foundation for growth.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and an MBA for the University of Notre Dame, Patrick joined Progressive in 2006 as the head of Investor Relations, and in 2010, he moved to Commercial Lines as a product manager.

After five years in Commercial Lines, he says he still enjoys the fact that he gets to work with a lot of really smart people who are passionate about making Progressive a better company – for customers, for agents, for employees, and for other stakeholders.

“In my role, I am able to influence strategy and make decisions that are impactful to a large segment of our business. I believe that long term, despite our leadership position in commercial auto; Commercial Lines will continue to be a growth opportunity. For me, it’s really exciting to play a significant role in laying the foundation for our future growth.”

You probably won’t be surprised to hear him say that he thinks agents should write more commercial lines business, especially if their primary focus is personal lines. In fact, it’s the best advice he feels he can offer to agents.

“For one, it’s a great way to diversify. Second, as the economy continues to recover and conditions become more favorable, more and more small businesses are going to have a need for commercial insurance and will seek the advice of independent agents who will work to get them the best coverage. An added benefit for the agent is that commercial lines average premiums are generally higher than personal lines so they can potentially earn more commission dollars per risk they write.”

He says Progressive has lots of tools and resources available to agents who want to write commercial. If you want to start selling commercial, he suggests talking to your Progressive sales representative, who can give you an overview of our programs.

He says, “Our reps can also help you put together a marketing plan, obtain marketing materials, and get access to training that can help you get well on your way to growing your commercial business.”

So, just how easy is it to quote commercial with us? As Patrick says, “All an agent has to do is choose commercial auto when they start a quote on ForAgentsOnly.com and they are on their way. If they get stuck or are unsure how to move forward, they can call us, and one of our friendly and knowledgeable service representatives will walk them through the process.”

“And when you place your commercial lines business with us, you are able to leverage many of the things that you love about working with Progressive – quick, accurate, bindable rates at point of sale; a brand that helps bring business in the door; fast, fair and accurate claims service, and on and on.”

Embracing technology. Embracing the future.

Patrick says the pervasiveness of technology in every aspect of our lives is probably one of the most important trends of the last 20 years, “And I see no reason for the pace and significance of this trend to diminish anytime soon.”

“If anything, the emergence of cheaper, faster, more widely available technologies such as social media, smartphones, wearables, and the internet of things has the potential to accelerate those trends. I believe the agents who will succeed in the future are those who embrace these technologies to create value, but also find the right balance of delivering the objective, professional advice that small business customers have always expected from their independent agents. At Progressive, we are continually listening to our agents and learning how we can help them navigate this exciting time so that we can grow and succeed together.”

As far as his future? “I love to make pizza from scratch, especially with the younger of my two sons. Though he’s only seven years old, he’s already planning to open a pizza shop with me when he’s older. Keep that in mind -- I might be in the market for a Progressive Commercial Lines policy from an agent like you in a few years! “

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