Insurance Markets for Your Clients

Texas-Agent
  • Register for the Next Mornings With Marit: Agency Compensation Plans

    Aug 05, 2020

    Agency Compensation Plans: Finding the Right Balance Between Revenue and Benefits

    Thursday, Aug. 13200x200px Mornings with Marit RGB
    10-11 a.m.
    FREE 

    Compensation is a major factor to consider when you are hiring, recruiting & retaining top talent. Knowing how the compensation structure that you adopt can impact your agency performance is also vitally important.

    Join Marit Peters, IntellAgents' Carey Wallace, and Business Strategist Kathleen Ranahan, as they discuss industry trends, compensation philosophies, compensation statistics, transitioning from one plan to another and more! Now is the time to complete IIAT’s compensation survey and help us provide the most meaningful information possible. 

    REGISTER

    Join the conversation on Facebook
    Join the Mornings with Marit Facebook Group.
  • The Clock is Ticking: Make Your Voice Heard and Influence Felt!

    Aug 05, 2020

    As the leading advocate for independent insurance agents in Texas, we know insurance laws inside and out—and we know who writes and enforces them. That’s why we have built long-lasting, ethical relationships with the policymakers, regulators, and political influencers whose opinions can sway our industry. And because we’re an organization for Texans by Texans, we’re able to talk about our state’s unique needs.  

    Legislators and policymakers continually consider changing how our industry is regulated. Because of IMPACT, every legislator and policymaker in Texas recognizes and values the importance of independent insurance agents to the Texas economy. 

    We can't do it alone! You can help strengthen our influence by contributing to IMPACT, IIAT's political action committee. Your IMPACT contribution will help us defeat harmful bills and pass bills into law that benefit independent agents. Learn more.

    Help us strengthen the voice of independent agents.
    The deadline to contribute is August 31, 2020

    Contribute to IMPACT!


    "Independent agents understand first-hand the insurance needs of Texas consumers and their own communities. As a state legislator, I value the expertise and appreciate the feedback of IIAT’s members when making policy decisions.”  

    Sen. Larry Taylor, Senate District 11


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  • Texas Mutual Named to Ward's 50 List of Top Performers ​

    Aug 04, 2020

    IIAT's exclusive strategic partner, Texas Mutual, has been recognized for the eighth year in a row as one of the 50 best performing insurance companies out of nearly 2,900 U.S.-based property casualty insurers. As IIAT's workers' compensation carrier of choice, this recognition affirms Texas Mutual’s financial strength and dedication to providing their customers with best-in-class service.

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  • IIAT Advantage Market Spotlight: Assurant Flood

    Aug 04, 2020

    After Hurricane Hanna touched down in Padre Island on July 25, thousand in South Texas have been grappling with how to deal with the damage caused by strong winds and heavy rain. According to reports, Hanna unleashed more than 15 inches of rain in parts of South Texas, resulting in serious flash flooding. IIAT agency members have been working hard, providing quality insurance solutions and trustworthy guidance, to help their clients impacted by the storm’s damage. 

    IIAT Advantage is proud to endorse and offer member agents access to a premier flood market – Assurant.

    Why use Assurant Flood?
    Assurant Flood Solutions is a trusted provider of Private Flood insurance in addition to being among the largest “Write Your Own” (WYO) companies for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

    Assurant provides innovative tools backed by a team of flood experts that underwrite and service policies in-house, providing superior customer experience to help homeowners, businesses and agents protect precious life and property.

    Assurant’s latest innovation is their Automated Loss Draft Endorsement process.
    This new process streamlines the claims process by automating the lender’s endorsement of the claims check for customers. The process decreases the time it takes for some policyholders to receive their claim payments.


    Get access to Assurant flood’s innovated resources today thru the IIAT Advantage program!

    For more information about an Assurant Flood appointment and how your clients can benefit with Assurant’s Automated Loss Draft Endorsement, contact IIAT Advantage Program Director Lisa Webb at lwebb@iiat.org or Donna Biles, Advantage Markets at dbiles@iiat.org today!


    Remember, it doesn’t have to be a hurricane event or summer storm to cause flooding – Flooding can happen anywhere, at any time. Poor drainage systems, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can all result in flooding.

    IIAT Advantage_FloodBe prepared to talk to your clients about flood coverage! 

    Here are a few facts you may want to use in conversations with your clients:

    • Just a few inches of floodwater can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
    • More often many flood claims occur in low-to moderate-risk areas.
    • In the past five years, all 50 states have experienced a flood or flash flooding event.
    Don’t wait! Implement best practices today! Consider partnering with a premier flood resource – Assurant Flood!

    Contact IIAT Advantage Program Director Lisa Webb at lwebb@iiat.org or Donna Biles, Advantage Markets at dbiles@iiat.org today!

    Additional Sources:

  • TWIA: How Agents Can Help Clients Prepare for Height of Hurricane Season

    Jul 31, 2020

    Hurricane Hanna reminded us that hurricane season is here. With that in mind as we enter the height of hurricane season in August and September, TWIA urges agents to prepare their clients for future storms now to help improve their claims experience later.

    According to TWIA, here are three things you can do to make sure your clients will be ready to recover after a storm.

    1. Verify Policyholder Contact Information in Policy Center
    Why is this important? Before and after a storm hits, communication with policyholders by phone and email has proven essential. Make sure we have your clients' correct contact information in advance. This ensures we can send them timely updates with important information about the claims process.

    2. Make Sure the Insured Property Information Is Correct
    Why is this important? Most inaccuracies cannot be changed after a claim has been filed. Incorrect information can potentially affect your client's claim payment.

    • Make sure the insured location address is right.
    • Confirm residential property is properly classified as a primary or secondary residence.
    • Verify the policy declarations page reflects the correct information.

    3. Review Coverage with Clients and Adjust as Needed Now
    Why is this important? Once a hurricane enters the Gulf, it may be too late to get a new policy or make changes to an existing policy.

    • Confirm with them that they have enough and the right coverage.
      • Remind them that TWIA policies only cover damage caused by wind and hail.
      • Encourage them to purchase flood insurance before the height of hurricane season.
    • Do this now, before a hurricane enters the Gulf.
      • TWIA stops processing new business and increase coverage requests under certain circumstances.
      • Once enacted, a moratorium remains in effect until the TWIA General Manager determines the storm no longer poses a threat to the TWIA coverage area.

    For more resources for agents, please visit www.twia.org/agents/resources or contact TWIA's Agent Services team at agentservices@twia.org.

  • ACT Releases Cyber Guide 3.0

    Jul 28, 2020

    The Big “I" Agents Council for Technology (ACT) has released an updated version of the free Agency Cyber Guide. This guide helps independent agents understand and comply with the cyber regulations that help protect agencies and customers.

    The Agency Cyber Guide 3.0 includes streamlined navigation and provides an excellent user experience. Updated resources are available, including an expanded cybersecurity provider guide.   

    The free guide is housed on a new home page, with dedicated webpages for regulations and descriptions, costs and penalties, a 12-step compliance roadmap, examples of real-world breaches, and the cybersecurity provider guide.

    The Agency Cyber Guide has been one of ACT's most popular and well-used independent agent resources since its inception in July 2017.

    State associations should make sure the updated guide is reflected on their websites. Please replace any instances of the Agency Cyber Guide 2.0 with the 3.0 name, URL and logo. The logo can be downloaded here.

    Please contact ACT staff with any questions. 

  • Trusted Choice® Goes Primetime

    Jul 28, 2020

    Stay tuned this August for the Trusted Choice® brand as it goes primetime once again on CNBC with four consumer-focused segments, “30 Seconds to Know Insurance." These will focus on two personal lines and two commercial lines areas that are hot topics for consumers, highlighting why they should contact their local Trusted Choice independent insurance agents who can help them.

    1) Online stores.Operating an online store is one of the fastest growing business trends in the country currently. But while businesses are increasing online revenue, they may not understand the risks involved.

    2) Remote workforce. Many businesses are transitioning to have a larger remote workforce presence. But are business owners aware of the new risks with these realities? Challenges range from having staff working from other states to understanding cyber risks resulting from a worker's personal equipment they use to conduct business.

    3) Do-it-Yourself home projects.Many consumers, while having more time on their hands at home, have been thinking about DIY projects to spruce up their house. But before they pick up that hammer, they need to understand the potential risk.

    4) Summer RV travelAs many consumers try to make the most of this summer, they are exploring new ways to travel and one of the latest trends is RVs. But before hitting the open road, consumers need to make sure they are protected. Whether they are using a mobile home for a vacation or a more permanent living situation, many factors will impact insurance coverage needs.

    Check out these videos here. Catch them during CNBC's Mad Money, Fast Money, Squawk Alley, Power Lunch, The Exchange and more.

    As more Americans are watching TV and streaming media, the Trusted Choice brand will also be making its debut on Hulu this August with our new campaign “You do You," highlighting agents as the hero in consumers' busy lives. The campaign will run through the fall and also appear on YouTube and social media sites for a wide net targeting families and small business audiences.

    Agents can also utilize the collection of materials Trusted Choice created to help them adjust to the new marketplace. 

    Visit the Trusted Choice® member resource website to view all our resources. 

    You must sign-in to the Trusted Choice website to view all the available resources. Your Trusted Choice sign-in information is not the same as your IIAT log-in. If you do not know your Trusted Choice sign-in info, click here.
  • Insurance Premiums Considered ‘Essential’ in Small Business Comeback Act

    Jul 27, 2020

    Recently, Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) introduced the "Small Business Comeback Act." This legislation would create the Small Business Recovery Fund. The America's Recovery Fund Coalition, which the Big “I” is a member of, supports this legislation.

    The Small Business Recovery Fund would provide federal grants for operational expenses to help businesses reopen and stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund would be operated within the Treasury Department by a special administrator. Businesses would apply for a grant online through an easy-to-access form, entering data on operating costs and revenue.

    An applicant's grant would be based on the average monthly expense payments by the applicant during the year prior to the date on which an application is made and could cover up to four months of expenses. The decision would be made almost instantly, and money would be distributed quickly, helping businesses recoup lost revenue due to social distancing and forced shutdowns.

    Funds would help cover essential operating expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, insurance premiums and state and local taxes to give businesses financial certainty and confidence to reopen. The Big “I” pushed to make sure that insurance premiums were considered an essential operating cost for businesses.

    Importantly for Big “I” state and local associations, 501(c)6 organizations such as trade associations would be eligible to participate in the small business recovery fund. The Big “I" has consistently advocated for trade associations to have access to any COVID-19 relief funds that are made available to businesses.

    Wyatt Stewart is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.

  • Big ‘I’ Secures Exemption for Agents from New Burdensome Federal Reporting Requirement

    Jul 27, 2020

    The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the “FY21 National Defense Authorization Act" (NDAA) which included an amendment that would create a burdensome new federal reporting requirement for many small businesses. However, the Big “I" was successful in securing a full exemption for independent insurance agents and brokers. 

    The amendment was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) and is similar to legislation that passed the House in October—in which the Big “I" also secured an exemption for independent insurance agents and brokers.

    The amendment would require nearly every small business with fewer than 20 employees to file new reports on their beneficial ownership with the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). All businesses would have to comply with the new requirement annually starting within two years of the law's enactment for existing businesses or upon the incorporation of a new business.

    FinCEN would require the disclosure of any individual who “receives substantial economic benefits from the assets" of a business. The legislation defers to regulators at the Treasury to define “substantial economic benefits." The penalties for failure to comply with these reporting requirements are quite severe with civil penalties of up to $10,000 and criminal penalties of up to three years in prison.

    Throughout the legislative process, the Big “I" was the only producer group that advocated on behalf of agents and brokers in an attempt to exclude them from this new onerous requirement. The Big “I" was successful in including a full exemption for agents and brokers in the amendment by showing that insurance producers already provide beneficial ownership information to state regulators and that the additional burden of providing it to FinCen would be duplicative and unnecessary.

    On the U.S. Senate side, there was also a discussion of including a similar amendment in the Senate NDAA bill but that did not progress. The Big “I" is actively engaged with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on the possibility of the amendment being included in any next COVID-19 relief legislation being discussed. The Big “I" will remain vigilant to ensure that the agent and broker exemption is included in any Senate proposal. 

    Joseph Cortina is Big “I" director, federal government affairs.

  • Senate Republicans Plan New COVID-19 Relief Package

    Jul 27, 2020

    Last week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives returned to Washington, D.C. and began serious discussions on the next COVID-19 relief package.

    With House Democrats having already passed their preferred COVID-19 package, the “Heroes Act," back in May, discussions between Senate Republicans and the White House took center stage as congressional Republicans formulate their latest response to the pandemic.

    It is important to note that this Senate GOP plan will be a starting point in negotiations with Democrats and that a final relief package may take weeks to negotiate.

    As of press time, the Senate GOP package was expected to include a number of provisions including additional direct payments to Americans; additional funding for Paycheck Protection Program loans, which the Big “I" supports; more money for states to improve COVID-19 testing capacity; more than $100 billion to help schools reopen; liability protection for businesses and schools, which the Big “I" also supports; and additional flexibility for states to use the money they were given in previous COVID-19 relief packages.

    Among other things, the Senate GOP plan could also include measures that would improve transparency about the cost of medical care. Additionally, the White House has pushed to include a payroll tax cut in the package but it has been met with resistance within the Senate GOP and is not expected to be in the legislation. The package is also likely to include an employee retention tax credit as well as some form of unemployment extension.

    As negotiations on this relief package continue in the coming weeks, the Big “I" will provide updates on important developments in the News & Views e-newsletter.