WICKED SMART PROSPECTING
Making every contact count with focused leads
By Elisabeth Boone, CPCU
New England natives are familiar with the use of the word “wicked” to mean extreme, awesome, or superlative. It’s no surprise, then, that miEdge, based in Bedford, New Hampshire, offers tools to help producers become proficient at “Wicked Smart Insurance Prospecting.”
miEdge was established in 2011 as an aggregator of data sources that allow producers to view details of an employer’s insurance profile on a single platform. Last December it was acquired by Zywave and is being integrated into the Zywave Sales Cloud. Employees of miEdge will be key employees of Zywave and will continue to operate out of their current location. Zywave says it looks forward to continuing to invest in the miEdge platform and grow the data business as a key leg of the Zywave stool.
In addition to retail independent agents and brokers, miEdge serves carriers, wholesalers, MGAs, payroll firms, human resources, insurtech, bentech, and PEOs (Professional Employer Organizations). More than 80 of the top 100 U.S. insurance brokers use miEdge data, as do numerous national and regional carriers. Total users number in excess of 8,000.
How does it work?
“Our founder and CEO, Mark Smith, conceived the idea of creating a database of public information for the purpose of introducing some transparency into the insurance business and leveling the playing field so that any motivated insurance professional could compete and achieve success based on their effort and not necessarily on access,” explains Mary Weiss, miEdge’s chief marketing officer. “That’s where our tagline came from: The Ultimate Unfair Advantage.
“I think what differentiates miEdge from other firms that offer lead generation and prospecting platforms is that we’re insurance centric,” she continues. “We distill 28 million records into a usable 3 million that will give the producer current, accurate information about a company and all the filings it has made that have to do with property and casualty, such as OSHA, DOT, wage and hour, workers comp, COPE (Construction Occupancy Protection Exposure) data for property, hazards, and crime. We provide all the information a producer ordinarily would have to obtain from many different sources.”
Producers can find employers by industry segment or create their own target industry. Decision makers and centers of influence are identified, along with their email addresses. Street and satellite views of the prospect’s buildings and locations are provided. Producers can identify employers by size and category and identify prospects that fit self-funded or alternative markets.
For workers compensation, miEdge provides the prospect’s current carrier and broker, PEO, and expiration dates, as well as data on OSHA inspections, violations, and accidents.
miEdge offers both property and casualty and employee benefits data in three tiers. For each segment, the monthly cost of a subscription to data for small states is $34.95, for medium states $44.99, and for large states $59.99. Subscriptions require a 12-month commitment. Nationwide access and multi-state discounts are available.
According to a recent tweet from miEdge, the company’s mobile app, miEdge Prospector, “is now the number 13 approved app on the brand new Salesforce Lightning Data platform … this app is wicked cool!”
Prospecting is an essential activity for property/casualty agents and brokers, yet many of them seem to find it extremely challenging, if not downright painful. We asked Weiss what she thinks producers need to understand about effective prospecting.
“Over the years we’ve seen a paradigm shift,” she responds. “In the past, prospecting was based on relationships and referrals, and now to a great extent it’s become commoditized and is based on price, coverage, or service.
The channels that used to be sources of leads are no longer producing the quantity of prospects that producers need to grow their business or even stay in business,” Weiss observes. “By using our prospecting platform, producers are able to surgically identify their sweet spot, find the relevant data, and then research those prospects. They’ll see within a matter of minutes where they can help an employer with services, coverages, or cost reduction.”
When it’s time to make a submission, Weiss adds, “the producer will have the most current, accurate data on the applicant. Underwriters appreciate that, so the submission may end up on the top of the stack instead of somewhere near the bottom.”
The miEdge platform, Weiss says, “is designed to give the producer a magnifying glass to find the perfect prospect, research it quickly, and be confident in the data we provide.”
In addition to providing data that producers can use to identify viable prospects, miEdge hosts live interactive webinars on topics of interest to subscribers such as “miEdge Best Practices for Successful Prospecting” and “Leveraging miEdge Property & Casualty for Successful Prospecting.”
The webinars, Weiss explains, are designed to help subscribers take the next step. “Once a producer has used our data to identify solid prospects, he or she may want to know how best to use the information or how to make a cold call,” she says. “An example is fidelity bond compliance on pension filings. The bond is usually purchased through a P-C producer, and we can show a subscriber who is out of compliance and needs to obtain a bond. Professionals in our support center can explain how to make that first phone call. Everything we do is aimed at helping producers make it successfully through the sales process.”
Often, Weiss observes, “P-C producers are focused on one metric, such as the prospect’s workers compensation X-date. We try to expand their vision by explaining that we can provide the date, but there’s so much more beyond that. Using our data, the producer can talk intelligently with the prospect about building a more effective benefits or safety culture. Ultimately it’s all about working smarter, not harder.”
Kudos from users
What are producers telling miEdge about their experience with its platform?
“A young producer with a fairly large agency told us: ‘To find new accounts, all I use is miEdge. I don’t look just for the workers comp X-date;I look at the DOT and OSHA information as well as the COPE data.’ He had been with his agency for three months, had made four submissions and two sales, and he was going on two appointments a week. He said: ‘I don’t need to use anything else; I can find every-thing I need on miEdge.’
“For young producers who are coming into the business, it’s all new to them,” Weiss remarks. “As a result, they don’t have to relearn anything. They can get off to a good start by using our data as a powerful prospecting tool. It’s also a way for them to validate faster than they might if they had to spend a huge amount of time finding the data on their own.”
Looking ahead, what’s in store for miEdge as its platform becomes integrated with Zywave’s offering?
“We are really excited about becoming part of the Zywave Sales Cloud,” Weiss says. “miEdge will continue to be a stand-alone offering but can also be packaged with the other Zywave Cloud offerings.”
miEdge believes the future of the insurance front office is the power of data combined with relevant content delivered to the insurance producer in real time. For example, when an OSHA incident is reported, Zywave Content Cloud can deliver a white paper on how best to deal with an OSHA inspection. “Relevant content is the future,” Weiss asserts. “miEdge and Zywave are delivering the future now.”
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