Insurance Markets for Your Clients

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  • Joe Vincent Management Seminar Preview: John Fear on Marketing to High-Net-Value Clients and Positioning Value in a Price-Driven Marketplace

    Nov 07, 2019

    For more than a half-century, the Joe Vincent Management Seminar has brought the most innovative and respected industry experts and top speakers to Austin. This year, attendees will hear from a handful of highly-regarded, forward-thinking industry experts and thought-leaders on how the insurance business is changing, how you can keep up and take advantage of new trends and technology to grow your business.

    As owner of Premier Business Consulting and National Director of Agency Development at Travelers, John Fear has worked with thousands of agents to understand their challenges. If there’s one thing he has discovered in his twenty years in the insurance industry, it’s that agents are not as efficient as they should be.

    John will be presenting two illuminating, sales-focused sessions at the Joe Vincent Management Seminar.

    Marketing to High-Net-Value Clients

    The allure of “saving 10% in 10 minutes” has little impact on clients with assets in the millions of dollars. Being able to first reach this market segment and then interact with them and eventually provide a level of service that will retain their business. In this session, John will identify those elements that will support both the development of this critical business segment and nurture the dynamic relationship of asset protection. By working with clients to develop a personal insurance protection plan, your business will enhance professional relationships with both current and prospective clients to attract and retain high net worth clients.

    Positioning Value in a Price-Driven Marketplace

    Regardless of the business you’re running, there are specific principles that are foundational to your success. Given the hyper-socialized marketplace vying for the attention of your current or potential clients, at a minimum your business needs to focus on the principles of agency branding, business operations and client experience. By examining each of these components for their individual contributions, as well as understanding their inter-contentedness, your agency will be able to develop standardize processes and procedures that will be foundational to the success of their business. Find out how at this session.

    Learn More and Register for the Joe Vincent Management Seminar

  • Are You Ready for New DOL Regulations?: Resources that Can Help

    Nov 07, 2019
    Big “I” members, along with other employers, must adhere to new regulations on overtime pay from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by Jan. 1, 2020. For most agencies, it will be a matter of adjusting to the new salary threshold levels. For others, it may be time to start documenting hours worked.

    A survey conducted before the 2016 overtime rule found that 39% of all salaried employees were not required to track and report their time. Of those employed by organizations that did not require time tracking, 77% of employees reported working outside of standard work hours, creating a potential wage and hour dispute.

    DOL estimates that 1.2 million additional workers will be entitled to overtime pay as a result of the increase to the standard salary level for “white collar" exemptions and an additional 101,800 workers will be entitled to overtime pay due to the increased threshold for “highly compensated employee" (HCE) remuneration.

    Big “I” staff created a three-page primer to help members prepare for the new overtime rules. It is important for every member agency, as well as state associations, to evaluate current employees to determine if they are eligible for overtime pay and work with local counsel to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws.   

    To learn more about the major regulatory change on overtime pay, watch a Big “I” webinar recording.  
  • Understanding the Winter Flood Risk

    Nov 06, 2019

    Much of the country already has experienced cold winter weather and snow this season. Take time to remind your clients of two things that put many homeowners at risk during the winter months. 

    First, the dangers of severe weather and related flooding do not end when colder weather begins. Floods are a year-round hazard, and they can be especially damaging during the winter due to heavy seasonal rains, melting snows, and other factors. 

    Second, most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Without the financial safety net that flood insurance provides, residents may be forced to cover thousands of dollars in damage on their own. 

    A number of factors can cause winter flooding throughout the country, including intense rainstorms caused by warmer air patterns and sudden drops in temperature. 

    There are simple steps property owners can take to prepare for seasonal winter flooding, and one of the most critical ways to protect homes and businesses is by obtaining flood insurance. Because flood policies typically take 30 days to become effective, residents should not wait for the next storm to take action — the time to get protected is now. 

    Learn more about IIAT Advantage flood programs available to IIAT members through Selective and Assurant.

    IIAT Advantage_Flood

     
  • The Text Trap: Why 160 Characters is Not Enough

    Nov 06, 2019
    Approximately, 40% of the U.S. population is under the age of 30, which means that a significant part of our workforce is composed of young people who bring new ideas and technology to the workplace. This is as true in insurance agencies as it is in any other business.

    People are growing up in a world where their primary forms of communication include texting, Snapchat and Instagram. Forget about emailing or calling someone on the phone. Our young employees want immediate responses, which is what they have come to expect from technology. I challenge you to find one person under 30 years old who does always not have a smartphone with them.

    Unfortunately, with these forms of communication, agencies open themselves up to significant potential exposures. Take the case of a 21-year-old producer who had just obtained his license and was starting out in the world of insurance. A longtime friend reached out to him to procure coverage for a newly purchased Dodge Charger. The friend had contacted the producer via text as that is how they always communicated.

    These texts, which were limited to 160 characters, included pertinent information about the car’s make and model, vehicle identification number, coverages and available limits. The producer didn't think there was anything unusual about getting information in this manner as that was how the pair always shared information.

    Once the producer received the initial quote, the key information was transmitted via text. Within that text, the producer indicated that he would be able to obtain better coverage but never explained what the better coverage included. In another text, the producer advised that there was an option for lesser coverage at a lower premium. Again, coverage differences were never explained to the client. Most significantly, the client rejected UM/UIM coverage via text and never actually signed the mandated rejection form because the producer never sent him an email or met him in person.

    You won’t be surprised to hear that the client was involved in an accident where the at-fault driver had the state-required minimum liability limits and the medical bills alone far exceeded those limits. A New-York minute later, a lawsuit was filed that named the producer and the agency as defendants.

    The plaintiff and former client will be able to submit all the text messages as evidence, which means they become public documents. In addition to the fact that the producer’s method of gathering information was inadequate, much of the language within the texts was very unprofessional, which will undoubtedly cast a poor light on the producer before a jury.

    As composer Libby Larsen observed, "The great myth of our times is that technology is communication." That's particularly true when you allow the means of communication to dictate your message instead of the reverse.

    An insurance producer must communicate fully with a client to accurately determine the client's needs and clarify what they are requesting from the agency. Texting does not lend itself to fulfilling the duties of an insurance agent. Moreover, by foregoing in-person, email and telephone communication, an agency opens itself up to error & omission claims.

    About the Author

    Barbara Rocco is an assistant vice president and claims specialist with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and works out of the Chicago office. Insurance products underwritten by Westport Insurance Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri, a member of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

    This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article.

    The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the Swiss Re Group ("Swiss Re") and/or its subsidiaries and/or management and/or shareholders. Copyright © 2018, Big “I” Advantage, Inc. and Westport Insurance Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be used or reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission from Big “I” Advantage. For permission or further information, contact Agency E&O Risk Manager, 127 South Peyton Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 or email at eo@iiaba.net.
  • Big ‘I’ Applauds House Financial Services Committee for TRIA Reauthorization

    Nov 05, 2019

    The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) thanks the House Financial Services Committee for unanimously passing H.R. 4634, the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act.”

    “The scheduled expiration of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIP) at the end of 2020 is quickly approaching, and the Big ‘I’ applauds the Committee for taking action to extend the program on a long-term basis well before the scheduled expiration,” says Charles Symington, Big “I" senior vice president of external, industry and government affairs. “The Big 'I' especially wants to thank Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) for recognizing the critical role that the program plays in the U.S. economy.”

    H.R. 4634 would provide for a seven-year reauthorization period, require a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on cyber terrorism risks, and require biennial Treasury reporting that includes disaggregated data on places of worship. Since its initial enactment, TRIP has undergone additional reauthorizations in 2005, 2007 and 2015, with many reforms to protect taxpayers and increase private sector involvement. There is still a very real need for the program, as the threat of terrorism is still ever-present, and the unique nature of this risk has not changed. The current authorization of the program is due to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

    “Following the bipartisan passage out of the Financial Services Committee, the Big ‘I’ urges the U.S. House of Representatives to pass this legislation well in advance of the program’s scheduled expiration," says Wyatt Stewart, Big “I” senior director, federal government affairs. “This legislation is vitally important to maintaining the strength of the commercial property-casualty insurance market and would provide much needed stability to the U.S economy.”

  • Can an admitted carrier short-rate a cancellation requested by the insured?

    Oct 24, 2019
    A company can use a short-rate cancellation if that is what they have filed with TDI. That applies to all lines of insurance except Workers Compensation which requires a pro-rata method be used.  View more information about policy cancellation and non-renewal rules
  • Joe Vincent Management Seminar Preview: The New Business Superpowers

    Oct 23, 2019

    Register now for the 57th Annual Joe Vincent Seminar,  January, 26-28, 2020, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Join the industry leaders of now and the future to connect with colleagues and gain new insights to navigate your agency into the future. 

    For more than a half-century, the Joe Vincent Management Seminar has brought the most innovative and respected industry experts and top speakers to Austin. This year, attendees will hear from a handful of highly-regarded, forward-thinking industry experts and thought-leaders on how the insurance business is changing, how you can keep up and take advantage of new trends and technology to grow your business.

    A speaker we're especially exited to announce is Chris Riddell, an award-winning global futurist. Chris is a self-described global pattern hunter, discovering and identifying how humans are changing and adapting to high speed change, unlocking insights for businesses and leaders in today’s highly disrupted digital world.

    At the closing session for the seminar, The New Business Superpowers: How Emerging Technologies Will Transform the Industry,Chris will tell you why he believes we are set for a revolution like no other over the next five years thanks to new and emerging  technologies like AI, blockchain and machine learning.

    Topics Chris will cover include:

    • How AI is transforming the meaning of ‘personalization’ on mass
    • Blockchain technology is now transforming how and who we trust
    • Automation & Robotics is breaking down barriers of borders and time
    • What role humans have after tomorrow, and how to get ready today
    • Machine Learning is allowing business to ‘self-learn’ and grow
    • Businesses will be ‘superpowers’ with combined AI and Automation
    • Artificial Intelligence will alter power balance between large and small business

    Learn More and Register for the Joe Vincent Management Seminar



  • New DOL Overtime Rule: Attend a Free Webinar that Explains the Basics

    Oct 22, 2019

    Big “I" members, along with other employers, must adhere to new regulations on overtime pay from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by Jan. 1, 2020. For most agencies, it will be a matter of adjusting to the new salary threshold levels. But, for others, it may be time to start documenting hours worked.

    A survey conducted before the 2016 overtime rule found that 39% of all salaried employees were not required to track and report their time. Of those employed by organizations that did not require time tracking, 77% of employees reported working outside of standard work hours, creating a potential wage and hour dispute.

    DOL estimates that 1.3 million additional workers will be entitled to overtime pay as a result of the increase to the standard salary level for “white collar" exemptions, and an additional 101,800 workers will be entitled to overtime pay due to the increased threshold for “highly compensated employee" (HCE) remuneration.

    Big “I" staff created a three-page primer to help members prepare for the new overtime rules. It is important for every member agency, as well as state associations, to evaluate current employees to determine if they are eligible for overtime pay and work with local counsel to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws.  

    To learn more about the major regulatory change on overtime pay, register for a Big "I" webinar, to take place Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The one-hour session will be co-hosted by Affinity HR Group, a national HR consulting resource and Big “I" Hires partner. 
  • TWIA’S Actuarial & Underwriting Committee Meeting to Discuss Financial Stability

    Oct 22, 2019

    Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, known commonly a TWIA, is the focus of yet another round of intense interest in preparation for today’s Actuarial and Underwriting Committee Meeting. In a recent release, the Insurance Council of Texas strongly urged that dialogue based on facts and analysis be at the core of rhetoric among all parties, elected officials, civic, government and business leaders. These leaders have a crucial role to play ensuring the solvency and financial stability of TWIA and all insurance carriers so that when Texans are devastated by losses, the promise made by an insurance policy is fulfilled.

    Living in Texas means we are at high risk of severe weather. Hurricane, windstorms, tornadoes, hail, fires all impact our great state. Living on the coast means an increased risk of damage from wind due to hurricanes and tropical storms of all magnitudes impacting wide swaths of our coastline and miles inland. (See State of the Texas Property & Casualty Market)

    TWIA INFORMATION VERSUS MISINFORMATION

    TWIA, the insurer of last resort, is often a target of misinformation. For example, the zero rate increase made in August was a temporary decision conditional upon further review of the Actuarial Committee (those charged with analyzing TWIA’s current sustainability to pay future claims). Again, it was temporary not intended to close the door on further solvency discussions. Additionally, the Actuarial & Underwriting Committee is advisory and the only action that can result from Thursday’s meeting is a recommendation to the TWIA board.

    According to TWIA’s own internal assessment, with a 0% increase, only 30% of TWIA premiums collected will go toward paying claims. The other 70% goes to administrative costs, repaying debt from catastrophe bonds, agent commissions, and other expenses.

    RATE COMPARISON

    TWIA, rates are often a competitive, sometimes even an affordable option available to residents. Examples of pricing taken from www.Helpinsure.com, a site developed by the Texas Department of Insurance, shows this reality:

    twia chart

    *Helpinsure.com parameters include: zip code: 78410, $200,000 coverage, 1 loss, average credit

    **TWIA covers damage from windstorm often excluded in private homeowners insurance coverage. TWIA is available in the 14 counties along the coastal bend that are most significantly impacted by wind/hurricane damage.

    REALITY

    The private insurance market writes over $500 million in auto, residential, and commercial premiums along the Texas coast and is also committed to $1 billion each year for potential TWIA losses. That $1 billion is an assessment recovered from all Texans through their policy premiums.

    Now, with the depletion of TWIA's Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund (CRTF) after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a heavy debt load from catastrophe bonds issued to pay claims, and a slow rebuild of the CRTF from policyholder premiums, TWIA faces important questions: How will it build its reserves before the next storm hits? What if a second storm hits in the same season?

    TWIA has provided the public with various avenues to share their thoughts and will continue to welcome comments for today’s Actuarial and Underwriting Committee Meeting. It’s not likely that gas companies, building material suppliers, or farmers would welcome public comments when they are considering an increase in their prices, so we applaud TWIA for opening their lines. Conducting a thorough analysis of the issue and looking at statistics is critical to make sure all Texans are protected.

    For additional information,  ICT State of the Texas Property & Casualty Market (page 10) and ICT Protecting the Texas Coast discuss the challenges presented in TWIA’s current and future sustainability.

  • Blurred Lines: How Advances in Technology Impact Personal Lines Coverage

    Oct 22, 2019
    Have a plan in place when your business undergoes a transition.
     
    It shouldn’t be news to anyone that technological advancements are shaping the world around us. But because new technology change the way we live, work and play, independent agents need to keep up to date.
    Here are a three ways technological trends are impacting personal lines coverage:

    Cyber threats: From instant application approvals to auto-renewals, the use of technology is changing the insurance industry. With this changing environment come additional risks and new coverages, such as cyber or data breach coverage.

    Your clients use technology to make their lives easier, but it also puts them at greater risk of a cyberattack. Victims may find that they downloaded a document that contained ransomware that disabled their computer system, while others may unknowingly find themselves sent to a phishing website. Damages from these types of attacks can cost thousands of dollars. Are your clients covered for such perils?

    Also, in the event of a cyberattack, do your customers have adequate coverage and limits? Personal cyber coverage is becoming more common. But as it grows in popularity, it is also becoming common for cyber coverage to be excluded from standard homeowners policy and only available by endorsement or a standalone policy. Do the standard homeowners policies you write provide cyber coverage? If not, did you offer it?

    Teleworking: Another technological trends is telecommuting, which has become the standard operating mode for at least 50% of the U.S. population, according to Forbes. However, traditional homeowners policies contain broad exclusions for home business pursuits.

    Coverage for personal liability arising out of business pursuits is typically excluded, which prompts the question: Is your customer covered for business performed at home? Agencies should determine whether they have clients who telework or run businesses from home and offer endorsements to existing homeowners and renters policies to cover these pursuits.

    The Gig Economy: There are more than 1 million rideshare drivers working for companies like Uber and Lyft in the U.S. Meanwhile, HomeAway offers 2 million global home listings and Airbnb offers 500,000 in the U.S. alone. Other examples of the gig economy include ad hoc food delivery, package delivery and manual laborers.

    Do you know whether your clients are participating in the gig economy? If so, are they covered for property damage, personal liability, injuries requiring health care and loss of income? Agents should start asking these questions before a claim comes in.

    Recognizing and reacting to these trends will prepare you to satisfy your duties as a 21st-century personal lines agent or broker. Importantly, staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology leads to better agency achievement, and higher client satisfaction and retention. 


    About the Author
    Donna Asta is a vice president, claims expert with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and teleworks out of the office in Overland Park, Kansas. Insurance products underwritten by Westport Insurance Corporation, Overland Park, Kansas, a member of Swiss Re. 

    This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the Swiss Re Group ("Swiss Re") and/or its subsidiaries and/or management and/or shareholders. Copyright © 2018, Big “I” Advantage, Inc. and Westport Insurance Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be used or reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission from Big “I” Advantage. For permission or further information, contact Agency E&O Risk Manager, 127 South Peyton Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 or email at eo@iiaba.net
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