The Insurance Agency Trendsetters Podcast

Episode 042

Brad Ruben: Cybersecurity, DMARC, and How Agents are Using AI

Mar 5, 2024

Brad Ruben of Archway Computer joins us to talk about key IT issues in independent insurance agencies. Discover the steps he recommends every agent take now. 

Brad Ruben of Archway Computer joins us to talk about all things IT for independent agencies:

  • Cybersecurity and unusual requirements in carrier contracts
  • How DMARC impacts your agency emails and what you must do immediately
  • Why Multi-factor Authentication is so critical
  • One easy-to-use tech tool that customers love
  • How AI is being used in agencies today

Hosts & Guests

Charlotte Hicks

George Robertson

Brad Ruben

Full Transcript:

Note: This is an auto-generated transcript which may does contain errors.

Charlotte Hicks: Welcome, everyone. It’s great to be back, George. It’s great to see you and I hope you’re doing well. And things are warming up here. We’re getting closer to spring. So life is looking up.

George Robertson: Yeah, I love the springtime, Charlotte. I’m a beach person, so I love that time of year and being down at the beach.

And when the summer comes, I’ll give the summer to the to the tourists. But springtime,

I love. And today, we’re going to talk about it. Speaking of the sun, we talked about sunny California. We’re gonna talk about my friend, Brad Rubin with My Archway. And Brad’s been a good friend of mine for many years.

And I want to Just let you know he is a great person for IT and helping your agency out with cybersecurity. We’ll talk a little bit about DMARC today and what that means to the agency. Some agents may not know what that is. We’ll get Brad to define that. But Brad, it’s great to have you on, man.

And thanks for being with us today. And tell everybody here that’s in the listening audience a little bit about yourself and about the business. And then I’m going to get into how you got started.

Brad Ruben: Sure, sure. Thanks, George. Thanks, Charlotte. So let’s see. Archway we’re an IT support company that only works with independent insurance agents.

I always joke, we have no normal clients, only independent agents. And what we find is that the technological requirements, the cybersecurity requirements they’re different. For an independent agent and independent agents really rely on their computer systems so much more than other professions.

I would imagine, even though I’ve never worked with other professions, or I’ve worked very little with other professions. I know one thing, Brett, when the Internet goes down, we’re doomed. That’s true. That’s true. I once had somebody I was trying to convince somebody to go to the cloud and he said to me, what happens if the satellites go down?

And I said no, the stuff is not really in the cloud, right? That’s a term.

Charlotte Hicks: It doesn’t work on a sunny day, right?

George Robertson: Oh, that’s why the Internet goes down now. I know I got to figure it out now. I never thought of that.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, so yeah, so we support about 300 and I think last count 368 Independent agencies all over the country. Small, large, in between. I have a staff of close to 90 people

George Robertson: yeah, you got one of my favorite people there.

Sue Ann.

Brad Ruben: Oh, Sue Ann’s the best, the herder of cats. and yes. Yeah, she’s awesome. I, for many years I was I was. Calling on her to come work for us, back when we were really small and she basically said to me, Brad, I’ll come work to you free with you. If you stop calling me,

My mother has a black belt in Jewish nagging. So it’s hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Charlotte Hicks: So Brad, what are the some of the challenges that you see with these independent agency clients? What are some common challenges that you’ve run into with their IT that you’ve been able to help ’em with?

Brad Ruben: Yeah, one is just cybersecurity and cyber compliance. Part of that is checking the boxes. So making sure that you’ve got all the things in place, so that when you’re filling out your cyber forms for your state or for your insurance carrier, and no matter what an IT guy tells you, if you have to have cyber insurance, period, end of stop.

Um, nothing is 100 percent in security. We’ll get you close, right? But Chubb got hacked, CNA got hacked. These are big organizations with large IT departments and big security budgets.

George Robertson: Yeah. Brett, I’ve got a question real quick. Let’s talk about that for just a second. Some of these contracts we’re getting on the carrier side on the cyber, I don’t know if you’ve read some of these, but As I’ve reviewed these, some of the verbiage they’re putting in there that they’re holding the agent accountable for, I think it’s just virtually impossible for the agent to do.

How do we get around that? Because I know they probably got, they have attorneys that are writing these things and they get it out there, but I’ve had several come across my desk that I’ve seen and I’ve read the description of what they’re requiring the agent to do. And I’m just like, that’s,

we can’t do that.

It’s impossible.

Brad Ruben: Like we’ll see an app that says, are you ISO 9000 compliant?

George Robertson: Exactly. That’s a great example.

Brad Ruben: They’re not, they didn’t spend several million dollars to become ISO 9000 compliant, but the answer to that question is no, but it’s no, but we’re using this service and this service to store our data and they are ISO 9000 compliant.

Microsoft 365 is. Many of the large agency management system vendors clubs are Citrix is, Amazon Web Services is, etc. It’s a no but answer to that question.

George Robertson: So when you’re talking to clients and they’re calling you up, What do you usually see in the independent agency world with their I.

T.? What kind of situations have you run into and what have you been able to help them out with?

Brad Ruben: So I think a big problem that we have in this industry is that we use some pretty specific software in terms of these agency management systems. Some of the newer ones were built. 15, 18 years ago, one agency management system was built before.

I like to joke Al Gore invented the internet, right? Yeah. And so they may is by the way. Yeah, and they made the, that agency management system internet able. That’s a word I invented, it’s like algorithm internet. Exactly. And so what we see is that a lot of IT firms that are more generalist.

They come in and they like apply patches that are going to break various agency management system vendors software. Because if you follow, in insurance at least, and that’s the only industry I know, but in insurance at least, if you follow Microsoft’s playbook, everything breaks. So you have to be selective about what you follow in Microsoft’s playbook.

And add other features to make a, an agency secure compliant.

George Robertson: Yeah, I think that’s what makes your group really special in, in the expertise in that arena, in the insurance world, because you’ve been dealing with these issues and you know what works and what doesn’t. Whereas the average agent’s not gonna know if they say, oh, new version of Microsoft, they’re gonna upload the the patch or the update and then all of a sudden something doesn’t work on the management system side and we have an issue.

Brad Ruben: Yeah I would say generally agencies were started by men that were salespeople and all they really want to do is go out and sell insurance and they get to a certain size where they need somebody to, we were talking about Sue Ann to be the herder of cats to collect all the nonsense that the salespeople are creating.

Right, and that’s usually a woman, and it’s usually their title first is operations manager, and then they go all the way up to CEO. Right there. There are far too few women owned independent agencies out there, but there are some and but anyway, that’s what I see is agencies want to service their clients and sell insurance.

And they want us, or their IT vendor, to handle all the mishigas, a Yiddish word there all the stuff, all the IT stuff, so they don’t have to deal with it.

George Robertson: Brett how did you get into this? How did your business start? Give us a little background there.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, so I was building computers in my garage 38 years ago in Reseda, California.

I think Tom Petty wrote about Reseda, California, not in an enthusiastic way. There’s a freeway running through the yard. It was like our, the garage I was working in. And my best friend’s father needed a computer and he happened to be an independent agent. And I went out there to install it. And I met the, one of the first comparative Raiders softwares where they’re like putting in the floppy disks and stuff like that to get to yeah.

And they had a problem in that their software. Was requiring, like a 4, 000, 5, 000 IBM PC, and my computers were cheaper because I built them myself. And so he put a couple in his trunk of his car, and he sold them the first day, and I was rich! And so anyway, that’s how I got into it.

George Robertson: Yeah. I’m talking with a friend of ours, Norma fields. She also kept pushing you to, to continue all down this path.

Brad Ruben: Yeah. So I sold my business in 2000 and she called me in 2009 and it said, Brad, I hear you’re back in the it business. I said, no, I’m not. And she said I need you to be, she had been referring business to somebody.

And anybody who knows Norma Fields knows it’s difficult to say no to that lady. You can’t say no to Norma. She’s going to talk you into it. That’s why she’s such a good salesperson. She’s a great salesperson and she taught me a lot. And, um, yeah, so I thought we have this little regional L. A. I. T.

organization. We had a clients and now we have, like I said, close to 370 all across the country. So crazy. Yeah, it is.

George Robertson: Now, one of the issues that we’re finding today, let’s talk about DMARC. Can you define for our listeners, what is DMARC? What are the issues there with email?

Brad Ruben: Look, I am the least technical person in my company, but DMARC is a system that the internet is using to make sure that an email is actually coming from you.

George Robertson: So that example, a lot of times you might get these fake emails coming in. It’s got your domain name on it, but it’s really not coming right. And it may say George at George’s domain. com, but it’s really not. I didn’t send it.

Brad Ruben: So they’re spoofing. Exactly. Yeah. So they’re doing what’s called spoofing.

And it’s very easy to do. I could create a email server and 10 clicks and say, I’m George at George’s domain. com and there’d be no way for the receiver to not know that it wasn’t coming from you. So what DMARC does is it sets up a check and balance so that if your email say is hosted on office 365, it says, look, unless this email comes from office 365.

It ain’t coming from George, so decline it. So there, there’s part of DMARC, which is security, right? But there’s another part, which is deliverability. Services like Gmail, Yahoo. I know Charlotte has an AOL account. We discovered that before this

call started. And Google,

and Gmail. Yeah, and and so they’re starting to reject those emails.

If you don’t have a DMARC set up, they’re starting to reject an email that comes from you unless you’ve got DMARC set up.

George Robertson: Now, do you have to set DMARC up on Office Office 365,

Brad Ruben: or is that already done?

No, so you set it up via your DNS. And we use some products that allow us to monitor that for our clients.

But if the agency takes away from this, hey, talk to your IT guy and say, do we have Dmar set up? And there’s a website called mx toolbox where you can go there. You can type in your domain name and do what’s called an MX lookup and an SPF lookup, and it’ll show you whether you’ve got DMARC set up or not.

Charlotte Hicks: Brad, when I first heard about this, it was for those that were sending bulk emails. Marketing companies that were sending a lot of emails. But from what you’re saying, this is important for everybody to do, even if they’re just sending individual emails to people.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, exactly. It started that way, Charlotte.

And now I was talking to an agency owner this weekend. Who didn’t know about this isn’t a client of ours and he said, Oh yeah, some people I’ve been sending Yahoo to Yahoo mail or receiving my emails. I was wondering why I said it must be a problem that they’re in. So yeah, it’s, they’re starting to enforce it big time and it’s good.

It’s good for the industry, right? No, nobody likes.

George Robertson: Yeah, so you would suggest that they go to that MX toolbox and check it there and then if they find out they don’t have it, what should they do next?

Brad Ruben: They should talk to their IT vendor, and they should also when they register their domain a million years ago, they should make sure that they know where they registered that domain MX Toolbox will tell them that, but it won’t tell them their credentials to log in and to make the changes that are necessary and it’s important if you’ve got an IT vendor or if you don’t, to know those credentials.

George Robertson: Because what sometimes happens is your DNS expires. Maybe they were sending the email to your ex IT guy or whatever. And then you don’t have any email. And your website doesn’t work. So make sure you’ve got your credentials to, it’s like register. com or GoDaddy or network solutions. Yeah. Or network solutions.

You could, if they don’t know where they’ve got it, they could type in who is, correct?

Brad Ruben: Yeah, they can, but the MX toolbox will tell them that as well. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So who is, I forget where you do that from, but you could do it from like network solutions and they’ll have a little pull down tab for who is, but MX toolbox is free.

George Robertson: And then you see, so let’s take that to another level because some of the things that I’ve heard from agents recently is having another domain or whatever, when you’re sending emails out, because you don’t want to get blacklisted or something for something going out. What are your thoughts there?

Brad Ruben: Okay, so. If you’re doing like a lot of email marketing you should be using a tool to do that email marketing, like MailChimp or constant contact, et cetera. And most of those tools will prevent you from getting what’s called blacklisted, getting known as a email spoofer, et cetera.

But if you’re just. I don’t know, doing them yourself or doing them through Gmail or something like that. Yeah, you’re going to get blacklisted and normal emails aren’t going to get through. The thing I the thing I would suggest, though, so let’s say we’ve got georgesdomain. com and georgesemaildomain.

com. You want to make sure that if somebody put, puts in www. georgesemaildomain. com, that it goes to their website. Because a lot of people like me assume your website is the same as your email address. And so that, and it’s very easy, again, this thing DNS, to be able to forward so that whenever a WWW request comes in for your email domain, then it automatically sends it over to that.

Now there’s some people that say, That it’s, I don’t know, more secure. You’re not going to get hacked as much, et cetera. If your email domain is different from your website domain, and there might be a itty bitty truth to that. But the thing that I tell people about their website. Is do not put your email address on your website, because, or any of your email addresses, unless it’s an info app, because what hackers do is they write these programs, these bots, we call them, where they look through a million websites and scrape or finding domain email addresses.

And then they use that as part of their phishing campaigns. To go after people

George Robertson: that’s a great point, Brad. Matter of fact, that’s one of the things that we did. We took those off for the most part, there may be one or two still on there but you’re right because we’re getting all kinds of just junk mail coming in and that’s where they were scraping it off the website and pulling it and put it into some other list and sending those emails out.

And here again, a lot of phishing emails and those phishing emails are getting really good these days.

Brad Ruben: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And what I tell people is Office 365 is a great platform for your emails, for your files. You can make it very secure with the Microsoft Authenticator app, which is a great way to do that.

What you should be using to authenticate multifactor authentication, so that we assume as it people that you’re going to give up your password to somebody. MFA stops them from getting in, even if they’ve got your credentials and that’s that’s why that’s so important. And.

Microsoft, I believe in May is going to be requiring that you’ve got MFA. For all of your users and that you don’t allow those users to turn off MFA. Some people, yeah, go ahead.

George Robertson: Contracts are requiring you to have

MFA, so you bet

you’re out of compliance, right? So that’s, yeah.

Then I go back to agents all the time and I tell them when you get these updates that come over like in an email link and you click that for the, and you get this long list of attorney verbiage that you’ve got to read.

And then it’s four or five pages and it’s got a signature at the bottom. Just don’t go to the bottom and scroll to the east on it. You need to read it. Because. You need to be careful what you’re signing it really in any contract. But especially in those, because it’s really telling you that you’re agreeing to all this cyber security stuff that you, I’m sure you don’t even A, know what it is

and B, you haven’t done it.

Brad Ruben: There was a software as a service company. I don’t know who they were, but they put in their contract that we own your first born. And they said 99 points, some points, some percent had no objection or. Obviously didn’t read it. Yeah, read the fine. I, and in our agreement, I have jokes in it and they’re not good jokes, but I know people read it based on, oh, that was really a stupid joke, Brett.

Charlotte Hicks: And but you want ’em to read it. That’s it’s important. Of course, they know what the agreement is.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

George Robertson: Now, I think we had some recent news too about LockBit getting locked down from the federal government, the ransomware group. I think they were out of the They’re out of the russian territory if i’m not mistaken and the feds just got in there and locked down their site But it’s amazing these guys with the ransomware.

They’ve even got support systems and they tell you how to buy cryptocurrency And they walk in, they do negotiations on the ransom and there’s all kinds of crazy stuff going on in that world.

Brad Ruben: Yeah.

So we have a customer, we got the customer because they were ransomware and they reached out to us and we helped them and their cyber insurance could not pay the ransom because they were on the the ransomware group was on the terrorist watch list.

Oh, wow. So the FBI wouldn’t let them do it. The Homeland Security. Yep. The insurance wouldn’t do it because they were going to be breaking the law doing it. And yeah, it was, and

Charlotte Hicks: oddly enough, the people that do the ransomware are criminals, it turns out. It’s not too surprising that’s the way they raise money.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, no they’re criminals, but they’re also sometimes state sponsored organizations, but the other thing about these hacks is for an insurance agency that are only as good as your vendors. So we had this thing with SolarWinds where fortunately we weren’t a vendor SolarWinds wasn’t a vendor of ours, but basically SolarWinds is a product that managed service providers like us use to manage our clients computers.

And they’re a reputable company, et cetera. Somehow hackers got into their update service. So

if you were one of those it companies that was doing the right thing and updating your solar winds all the time, the updates were how to hack in them. So they were being able to hack through to solar winds clients.

So if you’re dealing with a rinky dink vendor, I see insurance agencies using their IT company to host their email. No, maybe because I’ve worked with agents for 38 years. Become that way and in my way of thinking, right? Everything’s about how do we avoid risk and there you want to you want to be able to tell your clients when Microsoft gets hacked That was Microsoft’s fault when Joe blow IT company gets hacked and your email gets hacked That’s your fault for choosing Joe blow IT company to host your email, right?

Anyway, I get off on a soapbox on this stuff.

Charlotte Hicks: Brad, I know sometimes agents are afraid to adopt new technology, and this is some of the stuff that scares them off. Um, maybe we can talk to them a little bit about how can they be more comfortable with adopting the new technology?

What’s the importance of being willing to adopt new technology for their business?

Brad Ruben: From a security point of view, I always say, raise your hand if you love TSA security, nobody likes it, right? But do you want everybody getting on the plane, walking straight on the airplane? I don’t. I know.

So your people and yourself that get annoyed. By having multi factor authentication and security awareness testing and training, I’m sorry, that’s non negotiable. You you have to deal with this, and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t work at this insurance agency, period and stop. Now, in terms of adoption of new technology, right?

And a new agency management system new software products that are out there, we don’t the good thing about us is we don’t sell hardware, software, internet or void. So if I’m making a recommendation to one of my clients, they know that it’s not because I’m ringing my cash registers in our company.

But. I do tell agents, if you like a double root canal, you’ll love switching agency management systems . So you have to be, you have to have a compelling reason to switch an agency management system. And sometimes there are compelling reasons to switch an agency management system.

But I would also say when you’re gonna add a software product, you need to, it doesn’t. It shouldn’t come as an edict from above, right? You shall use this product! It should You need to get by him prior to that product, get them on the demos, get them asking your people asking questions about the product before you just say, we’re going to be rolling out X agency management system on Thursday.

Here it is, and here’s your support numbers. That’s a way for a product to fail. I was at a, an ACT conference and this guy agency owner stood up and he’s yeah, we’ve tried eight different CRM products, customer relationship management products, and none of them have worked. I, somebody stood up.

I don’t think it was me and said it was a common denominator. No, there’s always, there’s only one con common denominator here, right? Lord. And we do see agencies collect software right in, in that and sign long-term commitments on these software products. Um. I always suggest, Hey, let’s get the most out of the products that you’ve got right now before we start adding another product in.

George Robertson: Yeah. I think Brad, to that degree, it, I’ve had, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had agents call up and say, yeah, I really think I need to move systems and all that, I’ll ask the question why, and don’t go down the. A couple of things and I think it will have you really looked into what you have.

And do you have all the updates to the current software package that you’re using or management system you’re using? And then once we go over the one that they have and we show it to them, they’re like I didn’t know those features were there because the release notes and what goes on. And here again, the vendors may not do a great job of, updating that to the clients and giving the information they need to check it.

But. But the owner the agency owner needs to take or somebody the agency needs to take responsibility for keeping up with those Software packages that they’re using and then you feature sets so that they know what they are.

Brad Ruben: Because just like you said, switching management systems that’s work.

George Robertson: That’s a lot of work. And there may be a need for it at some point in time, but before you do that, I would really say, Hey, take a look at what you have just to make sure you’re using that system. A hundred percent.

Brad Ruben: Yeah, a lot of these agency management systems that I don’t want to name names, but they’re like toolboxes.

You can create what I could create with very unhandy, a rickety shack that five mile an hour window blow down, or you can create the Taj Mahal with that, right? And so it’s really important that you’ve got either people within your organization that have the capability of improving that management system and automating with that management system, or that you.

You find a partner, I think like you guys to help the agency along because there, there are a lot of great software salespeople out there. They will not tell you these are the five things you’re gonna absolutely hate about our product. They’re gonna lead with that Brad

They don’t lead with that.

Charlotte Hicks: You know the saying, you’ve never seen a demo you didn’t love. ,

Brad Ruben: Software salespeople, what’s the difference between them and used car salespeople? The used car salespeople knows they’re selling you junk. The software salesperson might be selling you junk.

He just doesn’t, he or she just doesn’t know it.

George Robertson: There are a lot of good, there are a lot of good software packages out there. And going back to

The release notes and things in the old days, you’d have a document with everything in it and you’d have to read it, which was boring. But now one of the things I really love, and I’m not gonna mention names here, but some of the vendors are doing a great job of when they’re coming out with new releases and they’re doing a video.

They got a little video piece where they go over, Hey, in this new release, we’ve got coming out, we’ve got these, this feature set coming. We’re going to show it to you. They’ll show a demo on the screen of what it does. And they say, this is currently in beta. It’s going to be released in whatever date.

And if you’d like to see this, contact us, or we’ll be updating your system with such and such timeframe. And they do a great job of that. I love that. I think that is for me, I’m visual. I like seeing

that now I got a better idea of what that is. Yeah, I, one of the things we didn’t talk about and I’ll get to video, I promise is, we like to introduce our agencies to technology that can help them sell more insurance.

And most of these agency management systems, all they are back office systems. And one of the products we like to introduce our agencies to is like a product like Vidyard. Which allows them to create videos and embed them in their emails and in their messaging, et cetera, personalize those videos, et cetera, because you’re absolutely right.

Getting an email, everybody gets an email like getting a personalized message from the agency owner or the personal lines manager, et cetera, saying, Hey, I was thinking about you, et cetera, et cetera is really effective. Yeah.

I think to that point, we just implemented one agency and.

He did a welcome video. We put that in there. So new clients, he’s got this welcome video. He talks about a couple of things. And then it’s a series of videos actually. So first one goes out in the second and then the third. That’s awesome. And we ran it for 30 days. He called back and he said, George, that stuff is working.

Just, he said, we’re getting up calls from all kinds of people that we never even thought they’d call us. He said, man, I saw the video. That was great. I didn’t know you did this, or I want to ask you about this. Cause you mentioned this in the video and I’m thinking,

and they would have never read that email.

Yeah, exactly. He said it was in the email.

We’ve been doing

that all along, but he said, because we put the video in, he said, people

watched it and now they’re calling back. And I said they’re probably sitting there on their phone. They’ve got nothing to do. They’re sitting there watching the video.

Are you talking to them or are they’re at the gym on the treadmill and they’re getting it and they’re paying attention. It’s

just so much more personal, you really, it allows you to make a connection that you just can’t make with printed page. And

Charlotte, it goes back also, I think, to the sales process, right?

Because now we’ll talk about a product called Loon. You can put that on your browser and you can have the quote information on the screen and you can record that and be talking to the client and say, I want to go over this with you. And maybe it’s a business owner, they’ve got a couple of partners. And one, one partner saw it, but the others didn’t, then they could take that video and show it to the others and you don’t, it’s not lost in translation as you’re sharing it out.

And I think that really helps the sales process. And to that point, it’s personal.

You can make it personal. Yeah. And to go on the flip side of this and to talk about stuff that’s not personal, we should talk about chat GPT a little bit, I think. Yeah, great. Yeah. Steve Anderson I had him on my insurance hacks podcast and we were talking about AI and we were talking about chat GPT and he said it solves the blank page problem and I never heard it expressed that way, but that’s one of the big ways that we’re using AI is we need to write a statement of work.

A statement of work used to take me a day of brewing. Do that. That’s a good point, man. Yeah. And so you and we pay for the $20 version of it, et cetera. So it’s a little more current, I think. Then the chat GPT-3 0.5 but. Yeah, it’s it’s been very helpful in us writing content.

It’s not, you better read what it writes because some of the stuff it’s writes are, just wrong. But it’s, but it solves that blank page problem. And we’re a big user of HubSpot and we’ll record phone calls and things like that. And it has this AI summary. Of my phone calls. That’s pretty much better than what I could have typed.

To that point too, let’s talk about that for a second, Brad. To that point and we could even use this to date. I’ve seen a product called MeetGeek where you put it on there and what it does, it’ll take the call that we’re having today. And it’ll summarize that at the end of the call into a document that you can use for your notes.

The days, I remember, you remember the days of everybody’s unit committee and everybody’s around the table and somebody’s got to be the secretary. Nobody wants to be the secretary. So it comes down to vote on the secretary. Everybody puts their head down and they just don’t want it. And then somebody gets nominated because they left the room and they come back. Now they’re the note taker, right? So now. I’m like, okay, yeah, that’s fine. Let me put this microphone

up here and I’m gonna be the secretary. I’m gonna type in, put it in meet geek and I’m just gonna put it up here. And then at the end of the, at the end of the session, It’s all typed up and you send it out to everybody. They’re like, wow, how did he do that? Yeah. George is a genius. Yeah. No. Yeah. Yeah. And we, there’s just a lot out there, right? But if I were to tell the agents who are not really using AI or chat GPT, hey, when you’re trying to write something. And you don’t know how to get started on that, something chat GPT and, the iterative portion of chat GPT oh, at the customer is named this, and then can you please add that?

And so it’ll add that in and, oh, but I, you 7 days a week, not 5 days a week. Okay, it’ll regenerate based on that or make it more humorous or make it more tactical. It’s pretty incredible.

Yeah, and it really is. It’s just the next step. And what all of technology was supposed to do, which is to allow us to do things more quickly and to take the burden of doing things off of us having to do the manually and allow them to be done.

Yeah. I may be on the wrong side of most techies, but this stuff terrifies me because we are just looking at the very tip of the iceberg. We’re going to have a zoom call like this someday and it’s going to be our holograms. How do you know it’s not now?

Exactly. Exactly.

Yeah. Yeah, there’s absolutely technology out there that can create a video of you talking. That’s not create that already. But, the truth is that any media can be used for good purposes or nefarious purposes. Sure. But just to try to avoid it all is really not a good decision.

And, and honestly, I think the key is to not feel like as an insurance agent, you’ve got to be the I. T. expert, there, I think it’s really, this is an area that I encourage people to outsource often because they just can’t maintain the expertise. That someone,

yeah, so George knows this, but 6 years ago, my home burned down in a wildfire out in Southern California.

And fortunately, I had an agent, an independent agent. And I was always complaining to him, my rates go up every year. I’ve never had a claim. This is ridiculous. I want cheaper insurance. No, you don’t. No, you don’t would be his answer. And then when I called him he saw my caller ID says C.

That’s the way he answered the phone. He knew he knew the area. And meanwhile, all my neighbors are fighting with their insurance. And we were well taken care of. And it was all because of our independent agent and me outsourcing my insurance. And my finance, I’d be in a corner over here in the fetal position asking for my mommy right now if it wasn’t for my insurance through that whole thing, I told I tell people this just just so to remind them of what a great job, a great service independent insurance agents. Absolutely. I am. I am a fan, not only because, they provide an income to me, but because they provide a valuable service and they don’t get told this enough.

Yeah, Brad, that’s, that was a difficult time for you but I say this, that would make a great, that would make another great Podcast session, just talking about the process of what happened and how you went through that and what the independent agent did and how the community helped out.

That was

yeah I’ll tell you what happened was we had an internet provider, I won’t name their name and they kept billing me for internet service at the house and I kept. Calling them and sending them letters that we don’t need internet at the house. It’s not, doesn’t exist anymore. And then they took me to collections.

And so I called like NBC is on your side. And they’re like, they didn’t believe me at first. And I had all my records cause we put everything out in the cloud. So I did was a bit of data and they said, Hey, can you come by your property on Tuesday at 3 PM? Sure. So I go and there’s a camera crew waiting for me.

And they put me on like NBC is on your side and stuff like that. And immediately I’m getting gift cards from this internet service provider. They’re, sending me chocolates and stuff.

Yeah, I’ll tell you that, that’d make it, that’d make a good discussion, Brad. And even to that degree

when people sit back and think about, what did you have in the house and do we have a record of it? And you got to get through all that. There’s. When that event happens, that’s a major


It’s pretty amazing when you wake up one day, George, and you’ve got three pairs of pants. No, I had three t shirts and a pair of pants. My laptop. Wow, it’s pretty crazy.

Brad, as you said, obviously a lot of professionals depend on independent insurance agents and independent insurance agents need to depend on expertise in the I.

T. world. How would they get in touch with you if this is something that they have a need for and would like to talk to you about taking over their I. T.

Yeah, they don’t need to talk to us about taking over their IT, I find every conversation with an independent agent, I learn as much from them as they learn from me but my mobile number is 805 469 4510 and my email, brad at myarchway.

com, of course you can visit our website and there is a little place for you to schedule a call with me as well. Excellent. Brad,

It’s been a pleasure, man. We greatly appreciate you being honest. It’s always great talking to you.

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a, it’s been a blast.

Absolutely. Tell

Suanne I said hello.

I shall. And we’ll probably see you at the next convention, whatever that

may be. Yeah, she’ll be at NetView. I’ll be at Hugg. Hugg’s our user group. So we’ll be out on Tuesday. Yeah. I think they cross over this year. Yeah. Yeah, they do. They do. And Carl SP’s a lot closer than new Orleans for me.

True. . All right guys. Thank you so much. Great. Thanks a lot, Brad. Have a great day.

Thank you so much for being here, and hope everybody

enjoyed this time with my buddy Brad Ruben.

Thanks for joining us on the Insurance Agency Trendsetters podcast. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, please leave a review on iTunes and be sure to click subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. You can find show notes for each episode at, as well as links to contact Charlotte and George.

We’ll see you next time on the podcast.


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