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Give yourself a competitive edge in Human Services

January 13, 2021

The human services field presents unique needs and challenges but also offers strong growth potential for committed insurance agents. The nonprofit sector alone contributed an estimated $1 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016.

To protect such organizations, agents need to not only be experts in insurance, but also the operational, legal and regulatory concerns of the human services and nonprofit fields.

To help provide that knowledge and training to independent agents, Nationwide began the Human Services Agent Certification Program. Established in 2019, the program consists of a series of training sessions that address important risks, solutions and trends in the industry, and seeks to provide selected agents with new knowledge, sales tactics and collaboration opportunities to help grow their business with human services clients.

As Mark Berven, Nationwide’s Property & Casualty president and COO, explains. “We designed the program based on agent feedback, and by combining loss control, claims, marketing and underwriting in one program, we’re able to deliver content independent agents need to meet the unique needs of their customers.”

Ed Barclay, Ward Insurance VP, and his company have been serving nonprofit clients in Eugene, Oregon for over 25 years.

“We have a team dedicated to working with nonprofit and human services clients. That’s all they do,” said Barclay. “Anybody can quote a policy, but are they familiar with your processes like intaking or transporting patients, the associated exposures, and the combination of products and loss prevention services to help address them?”

“Nationwide takes a holistic approach with this program, beginning with shared expertise to help agents better understand human services clients and speak the lingo, followed by important knowledge on the right products and how they fit,” said Barclay. “The advice for packaging those core components hand in hand with topnotch servicing has proven invaluable.”

The Results

One year after the 2019 pilot, early results demonstrate elevating technical expertise and specialized knowledge can translate to sales growth as 54% of the agents who completed the program saw a 99% increase in new direct written premium1 for Nationwide.

Due to COVID-19, we are conducting the program for the human services certificate online, but the change has also made it more accessible to busy agents. Enthusiasm for the program continues to grow and Nationwide offers the classes to agents free of charge.

“The Human Services certification is one of many ways we continue to focus on our agents’ growth,” said Berven. “We’re committed to agents’ ongoing success.”

You can learn more about this unique industry and our human services program online by visiting Nationwide’s new Commercial Insight Center.


  • 1

    Based on an analysis of new direct written premium, for Nationwide among Human Services Certified Agents between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019