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It's Official: Safeco Adds Online Distribution Strategy

Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Companies has decided to sell products via the Internet to supplement its existing -- and what it says is its preferred sales...
May 17, 2006

Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Companies has decided to sell products via the Internet to supplement its existing -- and what it says is its preferred sales channel of independent agents. The company announced that it was exploring this new distribution strategy in March.

A communication from Safeco President and COO Michael LaRocco was sent to Safeco agents and is posted on the company's website. In it, the company says it believes it can expand its reach to new customers while maintaining its primary focus on the independent agent channel. "Our desire is to grow as a company and become a better partner for you," La Rocco told agents. "Extending our distribution reach in non-traditional ways will help us strengthen our brand recognition and improve our knowledge of the marketplace in ways that will benefit Safeco and you."

LaRocco noted one of the guiding principles of Safeco's distribution strategy will be to "continue supporting and appointing independent agents because many consumers value the choice and consultation independent agents offer," adding that Safeco will give consumers the option of choosing an independent agent whenever they like.

LaRocco added that "Our immediate focus is on consumers who wish to buy auto insurance without the assistance of an agent," also noting "Business written through an agency Web-site link to Safeco.com pays full commission on both sales and renewals. Beginning June 1, though, we are discontinuing our referral program for the 120 agents participating in the Virtual Producer Select program. Those agents will receive shortly a mailed letter providing more details."

Update: Safeco's Distribution Strategy (Safeco agent website 5/10/06)
 
Safeco Adds Online Distribution Strategy (Insurance Journal 5/15/06)

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