ceo insights Perspectives is published for the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies The Virtual BGA 11325 Random Hills Road, Suite 110 Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 884-1525 www.nailba.org NAILBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jeffrey D. Mooers Chairman Myra Palmer Chair-Elect Seixas Milner III Secretary/Treasurer James Sorebo Immediate Past Chairman Brittany Cross John Gilbert Jason E. Lea, CFP Ben Nevejans Victoria Van Dusen-Roos NAILBA Editorial Advisory Panel Scott Blumberg Christi M. Daughenbaugh Sheri Leaders Jeffrey D. Mooers Lori Payne Laurie B. Prevette Thomas Riekse, Jr., ChFC, CEBS Michael Tessler NAILBA Staff Daniel LaBert Chief Executive Officer Kathy Allison Director, Membership and the Foundation Ana M. Carreras Manager, Finance and Administration Joangel Concepcion Executive Assistant to the CEO/ Media Specialist Telly Lovelace Director, Marketing and Strategic Communications Ellen Toups Director, Advertising, Exhibits and Sponsorships Shara Wells Manager, Annual Meeting and Member Engagement Editor: Telly Lovelace email@example.com Advertising: Ellen Toups firstname.lastname@example.org Layout and Printing: Professional Printing Center 4 perspectives SUMMER 2018 DAN LABERT NAILBA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER I n a world of low bond rates, low interest rates and rising opera- tion costs, many agencies own- ers are looking for ways to reduce overhead expenses. With the conve- nience of many modern technology applications, enter the Virtual BGA. Small brokerage general agencies (BGAs) would like the market clout and economies of scale of larger agencies, however, those set-ups usually come with higher costs. Historically, one of the few ways to accomplish this has been through mergers or partnership agreements. Given the fiercely independent mindset of many agency owners, merger discussions tend to be a waste of time. Let’s first define what is a virtual office. A virtual office set-up would not have a bricks-and-mortar office. The agency would operate from a home office or shared work space, usually delivering services to clients at a distance using technological means of communication. We’ve all heard the saying, “you only have one chance to make a great first impression.” If you are virtual, how will phone calls to your agency be processed? Well everyone has a cell phone. Thanks to your NAILBA membership, you can con- sider Ruby Receptionists. Ruby’s friendly, live receptionists and proprietary technology makes them one possible solution to de- livering an impressionable initial customer experiences. Customized for your business, and integrated with your day, Ruby Reception- ists are there to help you focus on your business while Ruby handles your callers, transfers your calls, and helps win you business! As a member of the National Associa- tion of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, you’ll receive 5% off your monthly plan. Yes, a virtual set-up will burn up your monthly cell phone plan (un- less your plan offers unlimited us- age) at a pretty fast rate (depending upon volume of calls). However, do you know that through your NAIL- BA membership and our partnership with National Purchasing Partners (NPP), you can save 22% off month- ly access fees and more? NPP offers NAILBA members exclusive savings on a variety of Verizon Wireless ser- vices for business. Plus, you can also share Verizon discounts with your virtual employees. Through NPP, NAILBA members receive discounted rates on es- sential products and services from prominent industry companies. What about home office furni- ture or office supplies for your vir- tual office? NPP also offers NAILBA Members discounts at Staples. The Staples Business Advantage is de- signed to help NAILBA members consolidate business purchasing with one convenient vendor. NAILBA members can save on office supplies and solutions for all of your agen- cy’s needs, including technology, furniture, printing, and promotional items. No matter the space, a virtual BGA will need a cloud-based illustration system to share among virtual em- ployees and keep track of potential leads from your field producers. NAILBA partner InsMark, generates easy-to-understand solutions to complex financial issues covering myriad advanced sales areas from comparisons between cash value life insurance and other financial prod- ucts to comprehensive retirement, estate, and charitable planning. The InsMark Illustration System and In- sMark Wealthy and Wise System are offered to NAILBA member agencies at a significant discount. What would it look like for you to move from your office to an entirely virtual operation? If you can’t do it all at once, what about going virtual just one day a week to see how it works? In addition to low overhead, a virtual office offers you greater flex- ibility to transition between stages in your business, the ability to serve a wider client base because you ar- en’t tied down to a single office lo- cation, and flexibility with the hours you work and more control over your work/life balance. The above options (re: NAILBA Member Benefits) provide you with the opportunity to skip the ex- pensive overhead of leasing an of- fice space. Instead, you have more freedom to work the way you want. While this flexibility is very effec- tive for some professionals, your ac- tual success depends on your work style. The disadvantages of a virtual of- fice may be the lack of “true office feel.” This is important for many professionals. You’ll also need to take extra security measures when working out of shared spaces and/ or securing your data. Finally, there will be blurred lines between work and personal life. Whether a virtual brokerage gen- eral agency is right for you depends on many factors. I fully admit, there are other challenges within the bro- kerage profession that may hinder a virtual set-up. If you choose the path of a virtual BGA, it’s important to have the practice management tools and resources to adequately run your virtual office. NAILBA is, and will remain, your practice part- ner.