how neon strengthens your industry partnerships

Meet Kirt Trimble. 9th of our (now) 15 pilot agents! He shares how his early years in the carrier world have helped him transform Trimble Insurance. And why he was so drawn to neon. For those craving serious industry change, this is one you don’t want to miss.

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Who is Kirt Trimble?

Since 1946, Trimble Insurance has provided Delaware and surrounding counties with comprehensive coverage for personal, commercial, farm, health and life insurance needs.

We pride ourselves on servicing each client with the care and attention they deserve. We take honor in each policy we write. The reason being: that client is entrusting us with their financial future should an accident happen. We have the experience and creativity to make sure our customers are covered no matter how unique the situation may be. While we are located in downtown Delaware, we proudly serve Columbus, Delaware, Marysville, Westerville and many other Central Ohio communities.

Connect with Kirt on LinkedIn.

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Syd Roe 0:00

So how are you doing since the pilot meeting? Have you, like, come back down to earth and like caught up? Or, you know, weeded through the email, forest, and all that good stuff?

Kirt Trimble 0:12

You know what I am? I don’t think so. I think, um, I think that I’m too excited. It was, it was pretty, pretty amazing. You know, one to be in the room with everyone and to, to see what you and what Clinton once said there, our building is just absolutely phenomenal. And to be in the room with all the other agents and to see the excitement and kind of feel the passion of, of, you know, each of us individually but more so collectively as a group to what we’re actually what we’re building and, and the mission. We’re all going on this together. It’s pretty amazing. It makes me feel like I’m still up in the clouds. But yeah, it’s something special. So No, you know, Taylor super user who we brought up, there kind of feels the exact same way. It’s just, it’s, it’s just a good feeling. Moving forward, we’re excited.

Syd Roe 1:13

Yeah, she’s awesome. By the way, I didn’t get to talk with her as much as I wanted to. But there were a couple of moments where we got to, you know, do some one on one, and I think she’s gonna be, she’s gonna be a rockstar. Like, I’m really excited. And I’m glad that she got to be a part of that too, because I feel like I’ve heard from a couple of owners that, you know like Robbie was saying, so Seth went to visit Robbie’s agency like this early this week, and I was on the phone with him

Syd Roe 1:50

actually about some other stuff and he was like, we have so when Seth came, I think my staff realized that I’m not the only crazy one out there. You know,

Kirt Trimble 2:00

Yep, that’s the thing you try to explain. You know, after speaking with Seth and after speaking with some of the other pilot agencies, and you go back to try and explain what you’re doing to your staff, I’m almost so excited that they’re kinda like, hold on what Wait, wait a minute was this? Yeah, what’s going on? Exactly. But to be able to bring Taylor up there and to see it was special, you know, for her and, and for us to see what we’re doing in the direction we’re going because she’s, she’s the frontlines she’s providing. She is the face of our agency, speaks most with our clients, and taking phone calls is really the big driver of our customer experience. And so to have her be able to see what we’re doing and to be completely 100% sold is awesome for us, huh?

Syd Roe 2:56

Yeah. How’s your dad doing? Is he still pumped?

Kirt Trimble 3:00

He’s just as excited as I am. I mean, back in the day when I mean, we’re currently on applied, Tam, he was the main driver who moved the agency to Tam back in the day when he first became an agent. And he’s got that same excitement that he did back then that he, he has that now with what we’re doing with neon. And it’s pretty special for me to see. And I know it’s easy, more excited to see where we can take the agency with it.

Syd Roe 3:35

So speaking of family, so you guys have a family agency Give me the lowdown on why Kurt decided to go into the family business because it’s not necessarily I mean, I know a lot of people think like, Oh, well, you know, your family owns the agency. So you know, of course, you’re going to take it over. But I’ve seen a lot of kid’s family members say you know Turn that off or down and go do something else. Why did you decide to take that on?

Kirt Trimble 4:08

So great question, I’ll give you a little bit. They’ll give you the short story version of our agency. We are a fourth-generation agency on the fourth, fourth-generation we go back to 1946. out of a pretty much up a pantry out of my great grandfather’s house. And Ashley, Ohio, which is probably about 30 miles north of Columbus. So we’re in Delaware, which is just south of that. But we go back, we have the family heritage that goes back 73 years and that really did play a part in why I wanted to go into the agency but it wasn’t the main factor. I’m an Ohio State grad from the Bucs. And while I was at Ohio State, I studied finance. I wasn’t really sure If I wanted to go to the insurance business or if I wanted to work in a different field, but I know I wanted to be in business do the relationship aspect that business provides

Kirt Trimble 5:15

to where we can really step in and make it different. So, I interned with Grange insurance when I was in college, and that was kind of where my insurance experience truly started. I had grown up around the agency. I was in and within high school and got my feet wet, but I really didn’t have a true understanding of what the insurance business was till I stepped into the carrier side for Grange insurance while I was in college, and I took an underwriting position directly out of college as well. So I was an underwriting for a couple of years and then I wasn’t in sales with Grangetown unless you can do Lexington, Kentucky for a couple of years. And with my personality, and with the new nature of the insurance business that really just clicked, I truly value what gives me passion and what drives me is the relationships that I can build. And it means every agent out there knows that that’s what this business is all about is truly how you build and develop your relationships. So it became more and more a natural fit to move over to the agency side. Once I started developing that insurance career on the carrier side, so I’ve been with Trimble insurance now for five going on six years and I truly haven’t looked back. It’s been an awesome ride so far.

Syd Roe 6:4

So was the move to the carrier side something. I mean, was that a pretty calculated move to say, Look, I’m going to be an insurance agent. At that point. Did you decide you wanted to be in the agency and thought you needed some of that carrier? perspective? Or was it sort of I don’t know where I want to land in the insurance industry? I’m not sure if I want to be in the agency. Let’s see what the carrier side is like. Like what was the motivation for that, for that initial decision?

Kirt Trimble 7:15

I think early on that, I didn’t have full intentions of going to the agency when I first started with Grange. However, after dealing with agents after developing some relationships with agents, it was more apparent that’s kind of the side of the business where I fit best and why I belong. So our family is longtime Grange, greens agents, travel insurance, that was greening was our first appointment carrier. And so they probably had an inkling that I was going to jump back over to the agency side at some point but so I kind of I worked into developed some of those skills and I tried to tailor some of my skills was on the carrier side to be able to understand the underwriting and to understand the sales and the relationship side of the carrier agent piece from the carrier perspective. And that’s been invaluable to me, as I’ve been an agent as well.

Syd Roe 8:22

See, now that’s interesting. I haven’t I have not heard anyone say that, so I went to work for a carrier. And it actually gave me more insight into I mean, both the carrier perspective but also some sort of 30,000-foot view into what different agencies lives are like, because you’re getting to work with so many different agents, it’s almost you’re getting exposure to how they’re running their business and that, that helps you understand sort of, you know, gives you more context for how you do business. That’s super interesting. I thought about that before.

Kirt Trimble 9:02

He does because when I was on them when I was in Lexington, I called on probably, I think it was about 55 different agencies that I would make appointments with regularly, and go in and sit down, learn about their operations, see what they’re doing from marketing from a sales perspective from service. And then I was also in charge of appointing new agencies. Oh, I had to kind of branch out and see what other agencies were in the marketplace to fit best with Granger at that time. And it was very eye-opening. it was really interesting to see you know how larger commercial shops do business differently than smaller personal lines agencies. But at the same time, it was at the core of the most successful agencies that I worked with were their relationships and how they focused on their customer experience. It was what was the number one? That was the number one similar aspect that I found with the successful agencies.

Syd Roe 10:16

So coming back into the agency life What was that? What was that decision? Like? I mean, was it pretty clear? You did you set a time limit on yourself like Okay, I’m gonna work two years with Grange and then I’m gonna move back into the agency it was it sort of I you know, we’ll kind of run this out till I feel like you know, you’ll all know when I’m ready to sort of thing. When did that decision come to you and why did you, you know, at that time decide, okay, I’m moving back into the agency world.

Kirt Trimble 10:50

Sure. I think it was a little bit of, you know, me being ready to come back and step into that role. And also, it had to be a Good Fit for the agency as well. I was, you know, I’m a big believer that every person who plays a role within an agency is integral to the operation, especially when you’re an agency of our size, we have 12 Associates, and every single person is integral to the operation. So if it didn’t make sense for the agency for me to step back and at the right moment, then it wouldn’t have been right on both parts. So we had carriers coming on at the time in 2014. We had some stuff that was getting ready to retire, and we needed some kind of a refreshing way of looking at some marketing and some of our technology. And really, how do we transition into the next generation And at that time with, with everything going on, it was just a natural fit for me to come back into the agency.

Syd Roe 12:08

So, you’re back in the agency, and I’m assuming you’re focusing on customer experience like this is this your sort of like, and here’s why I ask. Personally, I feel like anytime I’ve stepped into a new role I’ve always wanted to make an impact, right and, and, you know, not just sort of come back into the business world or move into a different role in the business world and just do things the way that they’ve always been done. I like to look and see okay, what’s, what can be improved? What can be made better? And, and make them make my own mark. Do you feel that you yourself or I mean, were you happy with the way things were being done? It sounds like you had some things you’re looking at with tech and What were you kind of focused on as you were coming back in? And, and why?

Kirt Trimble 13:08

So my goal coming back into the agency was not only from a perpetuation perspective, but also to take a fresh look and how do we improve our customer experience? And how do we connect with the next generation and grow the agency and set new goals into what, what we want it to be for the future? So coming back in I wasn’t trying to, to rock the boat to turn the agency on its head, you really can’t. You can’t do that with an agency that’s been in business for 70 years at the time and you’ve pleased those who are used to doing it, a certain way that has made the agency successful. So I really wanted to take the foundation. What made us successful and move that forward? And how do we adapt some of our technology and improve our customer experience with the foundation that’s made us successful? And that’s what I’m still trying to do today. I really feel like we’re that that’s where neons are going to be huge for us is that we try to blend the foundation of the relationship, the human element that’s made us so successful and how do we take that with me and figure out how our customers are acting in their digital life? How do we adapt to the relationship from a digital perspective? And take that forward? So it’s, it’s more of a, an evolution rather than just come in and make a complete change if that makes sense?

Syd Roe 14:51

Yeah, yeah. No, that absolutely makes sense. How did you come to find out about neon? How did you inset meet

Kirt Trimble 15:00

So I feel like I’m a little bit like some of the other agents in the pilot group I found out about Seth at elevating 2018 and Cleveland. Kudos to you said, the host there. Yep. Yep. So I was, I sat in on one of the breakout sessions and Seth was the speaker and I, at this time, I had been looking at our technology within our agency and I had been through every single demo with every single agency management system out there and I couldn’t find something that I felt like would make our operations our employees and our customers lives easier. And the moment I heard Seth speak, and his ideas I didn’t get I didn’t see the product. I didn’t see me on But I understood at that moment that this is where we needed to go. It all clicked right then and there that the focus on the customer experience and the customer has the buying power and they are the one that is going to determine the future of the business. I was sold right there because that is what I’ve always truly believed and we need to adapt our agency with that mindset moving forward. And I went right up to Seth after he was done speaking. I was like, Hey, buddy, we got to talk. So I was able to go out to dinner with him at a con as well. And in 2018, with Mia, and I sat down with him and Salesforce, and we really got into the depth of what neon was going to be. And I think from the moment he and I first talked, we were 100% on the same wavelength and it just absolutely clicked.

Syd Roe 17:02

So, I mean, I have to ask this is, this is not like bringing a, you know, a new email tool into your agency? No, it’s like, Okay, this is, you know, pretty similar to what we’ve been doing before, just click the button over on the right instead of on the left. It’s, it’s actually there’s a quote that Jason cast, it’s going to be in the video that’s going out today. But he said, You know, this is like a restructuring of your agency. It’s really thinking a little bit differently about how people are walking through processes and handling technology and even looking at data and seeing their own behaviors. It’s so different from the way we’ve been doing things. So does that. Does that scare you? And I’d be curious because it sounds like you were the one that found Seth. What was that conversation like with your dad? You know, I’m bringing these ideas back into the agency with your team. Because it sounds like you’re the guy who’s really spearheading this. And I know I’m throwing a lot at you, but I’m just like you. I mean, this is really impressive that you know, you’re willing to take this on. What has that experience been like for you?

Kirt Trimble 18:23

Does it scare me? I would say, in a good way, if that makes sense. I think that the potential of what this agency could be is scary good. And I owe that. What neon really offers and it offers us and allows us to, because it’s not just you, right? It’s not just another tool that you plug into your agency. It’s really a cultural mindset of What neon takes when what takes to make it work. So how we want to handle relationships and the way of the insights that it’s going to allow us to see within our agency. That’s the approach I took when I brought it back into the agency. And when I talked to my associates, and when I talked to my father Greg, and it, it wasn’t, hey, here’s a new piece of technology, we need to completely restructure the way we’re doing things more, because that is one piece of it, but it’s more so the way hey, here’s a way in which we’re going to be able to better meet our clients’ needs and to provide them a better experience and our overall daily interactions with I think that’s what’s most important. That’s the core of the beating heart of neon, is that this is all about the customer experience and how we better meet our client’s needs.

Syd Roe 19:55

Yeah, it’s funny because when I talk about neon to other People, you know, it’s a product name, right? And it is a product. But it’s weird because when I talk about it in my own head, I hope that there are other products people create, eventually that are similar to what neon will do. Right? Like it’s to me it really is a different way of thinking about how a small business and an agency runs its operations. And it’s hard to communicate that to people because immediately because I think we’re just we’re so often sold things in the insurance industry, you know, buy this upgraded feature by this next widget by this next technology. Everything’s going to solve your problems. And I really like how you’ve sort of presented it to them with you know, this is, this is going to be work. This is going to be a new set of actions we’re going to take. This technology is going to support it. It happens to be called neon But the focus is, you know, here’s what we’re going to be doing on a daily basis and how it’s going to impact our customers.

Kirt Trimble 21:07

And I think you’ve touched on it. Another great point said is that this is not only going to change each individual industry agency that Neon is in, but it’s a different mindset than it’s bringing to the industry. And I think that’s exciting for every single neon pilot agency as well because we love other independent agents. This is all about collaboration with each other. It’s a different way of thinking that really focuses on the relationship with other IAS with our carrier partners. And it’s, it’s really, it’s really bringing back what the core of the business is. And I think that there are I mean, there are going to be other competitors to neon And that can only mean the betterment of the insurance industry for everyone. I mean, it is going to be a different mindset. But it’s going to lead for better experiences for our customers and for other independent agencies who are going to be able to strengthen relationships with, with, with customers and with carriers.

Syd Roe 22:22

Yeah. I love that you keyed in on the collaborative aspect, because that’s, to me, that’s one of the harder parts of this whole thing working. You know, not just taking a piece of tech into your business, but being willing to share the insights from that tech. You know, and really, the tech is just the host. They’re really your insights, being willing to share that with other agencies. I mean, do you feel like there’s been a because I feel like for so long it’s been No, no, no, like, I’m going to keep the other agencies at arm’s length. Do you think the shift was generational? like MIT like people? I mean, when you talk to other young insurance professionals who are up and coming, do you think that they’re more likely to behave and think as you do? Or is it really just like what’s what was the shift was a trigger? Was it an age thing? Is it a? Is it just a? Is it an environmental thing? Like, you’re so frustrated with the current environment that you’re, you know, and you want to improve? And this is the only way to go about that. Like, any thoughts on that?

Kirt Trimble 23:36

Sure. Absolutely. I, I don’t know if it’s so much of an inch thing as it is the environment. They look back on the relationships that our families built in my father’s bill. A lot of those relationships are other agents. I mean, I remember going on company trips and becoming very close friends with other agents, children. And every single carrier meeting we go to, I’m talking more to agents than I actually am to carrier partners. Most of the time, just because we’re similar, we go through the same struggles. But there’s never really been a way to come together to collaborate and to learn how to use each other to scale in a way that makes sense. And I think, I think it’s part of the environment. And I also believe that he just started fed up with agents fed up with the current environment and the restrictions and the reactive nature that were dealt to deal with on a daily basis. To have to wait on carriers too, to process renewals for us to understand what’s going on. I mean, to make a change and then to wait to get the download the next day, it feels like we are consistently being reactive to the problems with our carriers and with our customers. And I just think that that’s not a true partnership. And we need we’re fed up with dealing with that and we want to find a way to move that relationship forward. And it’s just the right environment. We have the right technology, we have the right people in place and except solid, he took an opportunity to seize that and he had the guts to move forward with it. And it’s been something that I’ve really caught my attention I’ve been fully on board with ever since.

Syd Roe 25:55

Dude, I liked it. You see Right, the right technology, and the right people, you have to have both. Right? It’s not just about, again, going back to technology doesn’t solve problems. It’s just a tool. It’s like, we’re going to give you a screwdriver instead of a hammer, but you still have to be the carpenter. Like, you know what I mean? I mean, it’s absolutely, and the carrier partners that I think are on board, the agents who are on board, even now we’re starting to get some tech vendors like Tomica, who’s a commercial Raider mobile app companies that are now sort of looking in it’s they’re not in it for just to make a bunch of money. Right? And that’s, that’s got to be the key is, this is so much bigger than a paycheck, right? This is really re-envisioning how we do business in the insurance channel. And that’s what makes it so exciting. Like I get up every day and it’s like, wow, I mean, this is not just okay, you know, let’s think about the agency and how we can make the agency better. It’s empowering the agent to make the channel better. And

Kirt Trimble 27:22

That’s powerful, that is just music to my ears because that is truly what the heart is. This is not about trying to fleece the pot you fleece our pockets with money, it’s, it’s more about how do we make a change moving forward? That’s better for the overall collective and better for the agents better for the customers. And I’m just being a relationship guy, that’s why we do it over here.

Syd Roe 27:56

Yeah, yeah. Well, dude, I appreciate it. Was there anything we missed that you feel like we should have covered? Anything that you’re like I said, you didn’t ask me that. And now I’m gonna get off this phone call. And I’m gonna regret not saying that in front of, actually, we had 1000 listens in November, so Oh, just over 1000. So anything you want to share with, with people?

Kirt Trimble 28:20

I would, man, when I start talking about neon, and I just started getting some notes about it down for this podcast and I filled up, you know, two pages were the notes, I just go in a million in a million directions. But I encourage other agents out there who are kind of wondering what this is, and wondering where this is going to, to reach out to me to reach out to you to, to just get involved and, and have the guts to defeat to learn about it and to figure out how to Can you make your agency better? and ask yourself the tough questions because we didn’t say anything? Are you providing the best customer experience with your tools in your agency at this moment? And do you feel like there is a better way? You might be I mean, there are agents out there that I’d say we’re doing things just exactly where we should. And it’s, there’s, there’s no better way out there. And that’s great because neons are not meant for everyone. But there’s a group of us out here that, that really, really believe that we can make this industry better. And we’re looking for those agents who want to feel the same way and want to move forward with us. So

Kirt Trimble 29:47

yeah, talk to me. I would love to talk to you