Our Agent Spotlight for March is a foray into personal lines! Danielle Dauzat with Accessible Insurance Agency in New Orleans offers her perspective on why insurance experts need to place a premium on trust and educating their clients.
Comp Blog: What is your family background (where you were born/grew up; spouse; children; any interesting details)?
Dauzat: I was born and raised in New Orleans and attended St. Mary’s Dominican High School. I received my Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. I am married to Clinton Dauzat and we have two children: Dane Dauzat, who is 10 years old and Bailey Dauzat, who is four. I also recently received my CPIA designation in 2013.
Comp Blog: What is your agency or firm and your role within it?
Dauzat: Our agency is a local P&C agency specializing in personal lines. My position in the agency is one of many responsibilities. I am both an owner and P&C agent. Beyond being an agent, I also am responsible for the daily operations and transactions between the companies we represent and our agents, plus, our agents and their clients. My main focus is developing long-term industry relationships outside of the agency and maintaining high retention within the agency.
Comp Blog: What are your areas of expertise in the insurance industry here in Louisiana?
Dauzat: We specialize in the personal lines of the Property & Casualty side. With the continuous addition of new companies into the industry and relentless flood changes, my agency has chosen to specialize in personal lines so we can give our clients the most informed and competitive options available.
At Accessible Insurance, we concentrate on being knowledgeable regarding all company underwriting guidelines, allowing us to place our clients with the best suited company. In doing so, we are able to maintain strong relationships with our companies by placing good risks “where the shoe fits” for all parties.
Comp Blog: How did you get into the insurance industry and why did you choose it?
Dauzat: Over the years prior to getting licensed, I worked for seven years in Property Management and Commercial Construction which introduced me to the insurance world. In addition, my husband and business partner had previous experience in the mortgage industry, which also gave him a glimpse of insurance requirements.
As a result of Katrina and the devastating effects it had on local insurance agents’ offices, we decided as a team to venture into the insurance realm and open our own agency: “Accessible” Insurance Agency. Our motto has always been, “Making your insurance needs accessible!” Residents were rebuilding their homes and were unable to obtain insurance due to the scarcity of agents back in town. We developed relationships with local banks and realtors and relied on them for referrals. To this day, those relationships that were built in 2007 still remain strong.
Comp Blog: What are your main recommendations/key considerations for clients as they shop for their coverage?
Dauzat: My main recommendations for my clients is to be sure the coverage is right! We try to ensure this by educating our clients. On numerous occasions, we have been told, “Thank you for explaining it all!” Although time is crucial, our team does take the extra moment to explain and further dissect the policy coverages for our insured. We explain why things are the way they are!
Comp Blog: What should a client look for in their agent?
Dauzat: A client should be able to trust their agent. Trust that they are placing them with a good carrier, with good coverage, and the ability to service the insured well.
Comp Blog: How do you differentiate yourself in service to your clients? What makes you unique?
Dauzat: My goal in our agency is retention. It is my responsibility to review every renewal in our agency every year. My goal is to have a retention rate of 95 percent or higher. I strive to shop [the client’s risk] prior to them having to shop their own renewal policy. The market is very volatile and with the rates as high as they are, many insureds only consider the bottom line number. I try and reach out to all of our clients to either ensure that the renewal coverage is right or suggest making changes, whether to amend coverages or completely change carriers.
Comp Blog: Finally, what is your favorite thing about Louisiana (can be related or unrelated to insurance)?
Dauzat: Culture, Culture, Culture! Louisiana has a sense of culture like no other place. The meaning of family is extended to your neighbor and even tourists to our area. Friendliness and a welcoming attitude is common in New Orleans. Not only do we strive to make everyone feel like they’re at home, but we also strive to spread this same outlook beyond our state borders.