VOLUME 28 / ISSUE 4 / FALL 2010 / INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS OF IOWA
105th President |convention highlights} ALSO FEATURED INSIDE: Several Goals Health Care Reform Meet Mark Currie IIAI 105th President Coverage Chaos for Bob the Builder 2010 Convention & Trade Show 2010 Hall of Fame The Last Page
Mark Currie Page 10
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EN UT T S TA B L E O
President’s Report Several Goals
Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa 4000 Westown Parkway West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 (515) 223-6060 • FAX (515) 222-0610 800-272-9312 (In-State only)
Advertising Editor Melissa Meiners
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
by Mark Currie, CIC, CPIA
28 AmTrust North America
33 Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies
National Directors Message
16 Bituminous 36 Burns & Wilcox 42 Celina Insurance Group
Health Care Reform
12 EMC Insurance Co.
“The continued creation and implementation of the new health insurance exchanges will now fall to each individual state to develop.”
16 First Western Insurance
Paul Pohlson - Grinnell
by Tom Richardson, CIC
38 Big I Professional Liability - IIAI
44 Big I Professional Liability - IIAI
In This Issue
2 The IMT Group
Mark Currie, CIC, CPIA - West Des Moines Brian Petersburg - Decorah
Tom Richardson, CIC - Keokuk Terry McDonald, CIC - Iowa City Scott Morningstar, CPCU - Lisbon Jerry Mease - Winterset Eldon Hunsicker - Ottumwa Terry Friedman, CPCU - Dubuque Tim English, CIC - Dyersville John Dalton - Council Bluffs Steve Madsen - Marshalltown David Rowley, CPCU, CIC, AU - Spirit Lake
Jeff Bohnenkamp, CIC - Spencer
Mark Currie Independent Insurance Agency of Iowa’s 105th President Page 10
Coverage Chaos for Bob the Builder
23 Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. 40 Big I Flood - IIAI
18 IMWCA Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association 9 Integrity Insurance 27 Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. 6 Irwin Siegel Agency Inc.
27 JM Wilson
Certificate of Insurance Update
43 LeMars Insurance Co.
23 Merchants Bonding Co.
2010 Convention & Trade Show
27 M.J. Kelly Company
6 Northern States Agency
2010 IIAI Presidential Citations Winners H.H. Red Nelson Agent of the Year Award C. Daniel Fulwider Young Agent of the Year
32 Pekin Insurance
Melissa Meiners email@example.com • Ext. 15
32 Ringwalt & Liesche Co.
2010 Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame Page 29
13 Rural Community Insurance Services
Technology & Communications Administrator
Chief Executive Officer Bob Skow, CPCU, CAE firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Operations Coordinator
IIAI OFFICE STAFF
“I believe we have the strongest state organization in the entire country. Our board and membership are working very hard to maintain that level.”
Jeanne Reynolds email@example.com • Ext. 17
Membership Services Coordinator Marilyn Paul, CPCU, AIT, AAM, CPIW firstname.lastname@example.org • Ext. 11
Membership Services Coordinator Brenda Kluger, MBA, CIC, CISR, CPIW email@example.com • Ext. 14
Membership Services Coordinator
Imagine… by Richard F. Lund, J.D. Page 37
Online Consumer Shopping for Auto Insurance Grows by Rog Berg Senior Technology Research Specialist Page 41
Should Agents Review Contracts for Insureds?
Marie Huggins firstname.lastname@example.org • Ext. 22
by Mike Edwards
The Last Page Planning for the Future
Cindy Grim email@example.com • Ext. 12 Viewpoint is a publication of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. Viewpoint is published quarterly: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Viewpoint is mailed to Iowa insurance agents, Iowa Home Office Executives, Affiliate members, and other state associations and organizations.
19 Progressive 22 Rain and Hail
4 SECURA Insurance Co. 20 Taylor Insurance Services 38 Truckers Insurance 39 Vertafore 30 West Bend We would like to thank our advertisers for their support. This magazine would not be possible without them. THANK YOU!
by Bob Skow, CPCU, CAE — Chief Executive Officer Page 46 MISSION STATEMENT: The Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa will be an unrelenting advocate of the business, professional and political interests of its members; doing so by working in the public’s best interest and with the highest ethical standards.
ÂŠ 2010 SECURA Insurance
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I have set several goals for my year as President. By Mark Currie, CIC, CPIA
|I wouldYou” to the memberlike to say “Thank
ship for electing me the 105th President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. It is an honor and I pledge to do my very best in the leadership role. We have just completed our annual Convention and it was a great success. A major “Thank You” goes out to our company sponsors and our industry vendors. Without their tremendous support it would not happen. Our Big “I” staff did a perfect job of organization and keeping the event running smoothly. Please join me in congratulating Jeff Bohnenkamp, CIC, our past president, for doing such a great job as our 104th President. Jeff showed great leadership through some tough political battles. His ongoing involvement in governmental affairs will continue to be a big positive for our board and membership.
I have set several goals for my year as President: 1. Revise and update our Strategic Plan 2. Continue the advertising campaign and raise awareness of Trusted Choice® branding. 3. Increase participation of our statewide agency force in committee support and involvement. 4. Remain a strong force in the state and national political arena. With regard to our planning, the board met two days this past summer reviewing our goals that were accomplished as well as old and new areas we can strengthen ourselves. It is so important for an organization to not set back and stay status
committee chairs, board members and leaders. We will continue our aggressive advertising campaign. Dr. Tom Davis has become a great spokesperson for Trusted Choice® and the independent agents of Iowa. Please utilize the advertising available as it is a very cost effective tool. Lastly, we have faced many difficult political battles these past years. I must say we don’t see it slowing down. With that said, it may sound like a broken record, but we need EVERYONE, yes I said everyone to support our state and national PACs. We also will need your grassroots call support many times these
“I believe we have the strongest state organization in the entire country. Our board and membership are working very hard to maintain that level.” quo. This board will not. I have asked all of our directors, committee chairs and committee members to bring in another agent to the committees we rely on for support, ideas and feedback. Currently we have over 100 agents that participate in our committees. That is a great number for any state but I would like to double it. We need input from as many members as possible to make a strong organization. It will also be important for our Young Agents group to strategize and help our organization. They will also be holding a planning session to help advance us. It is important to this board that we utilize their skills more as they are our future
upcoming months. Please don’t be afraid to contact your state or national representative. Let’s not forget, they are elected to serve us. The more enrollment we receive in all areas the stronger our Association becomes. Please don’t sit on the sidelines—get active—we need every agent to help. I believe we have the strongest state organization in the entire country. Our board and membership are working very hard to maintain that level. I look forward to my year as your president. Stay positive! Know that this state Association is here to serve you!
FALL 2010 |
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HEALTH CARE REFORM}
The battle for health care reform and crop insurance is ongoing and very important to every agent in this state. By Tom Richardson, CIC
|It was you at the IIAI convengood to see many of
tion, this past September. If you missed the convention this year, you missed a great convention, and we hope to see you next year. Unfortunately my duties as national director required me to leave early on Thursday the 23rd, so I was only around to enjoy the Wednesday activities. However, other than getting to see and talk to old friends in the insurance business, the highlight of my Wednesday was to have the pleasure of playing golf with Dr. Tom Davis. As most of you know, Coach Davis is our spokesman for Iowa’s Trusted Choice® advertising campaign, and after 18 holes of golf, I can assure you we made the right decision. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t an Iowa or Drake fan, this guy is as genuine as it gets, and he is as nice a guy in person as he portrays on our commercials. He is the perfect fit to carry our Trusted Choice® message to the public. My other two able playing partners were Jeff Bohnenkamp, CIC, (IIAI immediate past president) and Larry Blixt, (IIAI lobbyist). We had a great day, and we all contributed to the team effort. But, at the end of the day, Coach Davis must have had a bad back from carrying us around the course. Not only is he a great spokesman for Trusted Choice®, he is also a VERY capable golfer. Thanks Coach Davis for a very enjoyable round of golf. Thursday morning early, it was off to San Francisco to attend the IIABA National Board Meeting and related activities. In addition to my duties of attending the national board meeting, national has also appointed me to be a member of the AAS Board, and to chair the IIABA Health Care Task Force. AAS stands for Agent Administrative Services, which over-
working with our IIABA legislative staff to get information out to each individual state association on how to continue to be a part of, and have a voice in the health care debate within each individual state. Iowa will also be represented by Eldon Hunsicker on the ACT Board, (Agents Council on Technology) and John Dalton, Crop Insurance Task Force. Both of these men put in a tremendous amount of volunteer time with their respective boards and task forces, and I would like to personally thank them for stepping up and giving of their time for the benefit of their fellow agents. Iowa is extremely fortunate to have willing and capable agents filling
“The continued creation and implementation of the new health insurance exchanges will now fall to each individual state to develop. One of our successes in the health care reform is that agents will be a part of the sales process in each individual state exchanges.” sees the for-profit programs that IIABA administers and makes available for its agent members, and the Health Care Task Force is comprised of agents from around the country that national uses as a sounding board to keep abreast of the ever changing health care reform legislation. The Health Care Task Force has been somewhat quiet since the passage of the health care reform legislation, however as much of the focus of the bill now moves into individual state’s domains, we see the task force getting active again
state and national boards and task forces. Many states have trouble finding enough volunteers, but not so Iowa, we continually have people stepping up to go to work for our association. Our National Board Meeting began with IIABA President/CEO Bob Rusboldt reviewing the previous year’s accomplishments and looking ahead to the coming year. One of the major emphasis of our National Association is to continually work with our legislators protecting and defending the role of agents in
FALL 2010 |
national director report
Washington DC, and around the nation. One major component of that success is our national PAC fund which many of you have donated to on an annual basis. President Rusboldt reported that for the first time in the history of the association INSURPAC reached the $1,000,000 mark for the 2009 year. That was a major accomplishment for our organization, and needless to say, we have needed the funds. (More on this at the end of the article’s) In addition to the PAC accomplishments, IIABA as an organization ended the year on solid financial footing, even though they have faced many economic hurdles, not unlike your agency or company. IIABA needed to make some tough decisions in order to keep the association on firm financial footing. By making staff, salary, and expense reductions IIABA appears to have weathered the financial downturn in the economy and the association remains on firm financial footing. Some other highlights of the past year include our success in keeping the regulation of insurance under each individual state’s control. This is a fight that will continue, but we appear to be in good shape going forward, in spite of our differences with many of the laws and regulations that come out of Washington, we have many key legislators on our side regarding the state’s ability to regulate insurance. Last year IIABA began the formulation of the Consumer Agent Portal (CAP). You have already heard about this initiative through my articles, and this past summers town hall meetings with IIAI. The CAP is still in development but it is on track to be up and running in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2011. If you ever wondered if anyone other than your state association was doing anything for you as an agent to help drive business to your front door, this is what CAP is trying to do. You will hear more about that at a later date, but as this unfolds keep in mind: CAP will only work for agents if they follow through with the lead generation and be committed to selling. It seems like none of my national reports can be written without some
| FALL 2010
mention or report on health care reform, and this one will be no different than the previous reports. I know most of you would rather just forget about health care reform, but that won’t happen, at least for now; there is a lot of work left to be done. One battle that was a partial victory, but still ongoing is keeping the agents role in the sale of health insurance in the new and ongoing health care reform legislation. To date, agents apparently will have a role in the sale of insurance coverage through insurance exchanges, but much of the rules remain to be written. This means that there needs to be a continued effort by our national and state associations, as well as agents, in working with our local and national legislators. Health care reform implementation is far from over, so the fight to keep agents as the major sales force will continue. You will continue to be updated by both the IIAI and IIABA on the status of the implementation of Health Care Reform. After an extremely busy 2009 working and lobbying on behalf of all Independent Agents, 2010 has been relatively quiet, at least from the agents standpoint. However, there will be a lot of opportunity in the next 2-3 years for agent input and individual lobbying. The continued creation and implementation of the new
health insurance exchanges will now fall to each individual state to develop. One of our successes in the health care reform is that agents will be a part of the sales process in each individual state exchanges. Therefore, our work is just beginning again!!! The challenge will now be to make certain that agents can be adequately complimented for the work they will do when selling and servicing insurance through the exchange. The upcoming elections will be very important from both a state and national perspective as to what happens in this implementation process. Make sure you continue to support candidates that understand the role of the agents in Health Care Reform. To close, I want to come back to the subject that I touched on earlier in this article. The battle for health care reform and crop insurance is ongoing and very important to every agent in this state. Both your national PAC, and your state PAC need your continued support. The national PAC, (InsurPAC) had a banner year last year, but they are behind this year. Our state PAC, (IIAI/PAC) needs your support also, so if you have not sent your checks in to both PACs, please do so, without your financial support we cannot continue the work we do on your behalf. Have a great fall everyone!
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Mark Currie Insurance Agents of Iowa
August 19, 2010 VP | Mark, tell us a little about your insurance career. MC | After I graduated from Simpson College in May of 1979, I started with Farm Bureau Insurance. I became the local agent for the Carlisle/Hartford area. I was with them for a little over 2 years. My father, Ed Currie, owned Hunter Insurance and was an independent agent. He gave me an opportunity to work with him at that point in the early 80’s.
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VP | After you joined your Father how did your career evolve? MC | I stayed with Hunter Insurance for 6-7 years and my Father had the opportunity to merge Hunter Insurance with a Savings & Loan/Real Estate organization which ultimately became First Insurance. Also, in the late 80’s the Savings & Loan Crisis arose and the group went through a break-up in the late 80’s. In 1989, I spun off and started my own agency from
scratch known as Insurance Associates of Iowa. VP | Insurance Associates of Iowa? MC | We started in the back room of one of my construction clients working out of paper boxes. It was truly a scratch agency. After 6 months I found some office space and kept growing with the addition of more clients. I was primarily focused on commercial lines insurance.
what they do in Nebraska over here in Iowa. They approached us in the summer of 2009 and after detailed discussions, we decided to merge with them and let us be their turnkey operation. I sold and merged to INSPRO in October of 2009. VP | Which companies are you utilizing for the bulk of your business? MC | Right know we are spread evenly with a lot of carriers. We have Selective, General Casualty, Allied, Employers Mutual, Accident Fund, Bituminous, Continental Western, Hartford, State Auto, Travelers, and United Fire & Casualty. Being involved with INSPRO now we have picked up another 20-30 companies that we are able to utilize and it then gives us a very effective tool for marketing. VP | Is your agency exclusively Property/Casualty? MC | Prior to the merger we were exclusively Property/Casualty. With the merger we have now picked up Life/Health, Specialty Departments, and Agriculture Departments. VP | Is the agency paperless? MC | Yes, we are. We are on Personal Lines and the Commercial side. Obviously, the scanning and attachment have become an important part of the agency philosophy. VP | What agency management system do you use? MC | Prior to the merger, we used Applied Systems. After the merger we went on a program called Sagitto.
Today, we are 90% Commercial Lines and 10% Personal Lines. VP | You are located in West Des Moines, Iowa, and how many employees are here? MC | There are eleven in the agency (6 producers and 5 support staff). We have gone through a merger with INSPRO Insurance out of Nebraska. They have 6 locations in Nebraska and wanted to do
VP | Are you doing much Real Time in both Personal and Commercial Lines? MC | They are moving forward slowly like most agents, doing as much as we can. VP | As you look at the future of the business, where do you think we are headed? MC | I was joking with an agent yesterday about the olden days and the nice 3-part memos with carbon paper. Those days have changed. You could say I will
be back to you in a week or two, but people expect an immediate response today. Even the quoting process does not give you much time to spend and it is important to quick quote any type of account. Small commercial accounts should be quoted as soon as possible. So my answer is speedâ€Śwe must respond now is where we are headed. VP | What do you look for in a relationship with a client and with an insurance company you are placing business with? MC | We have grown well with companies where we have developed a very close personal relationship with the underwriting. There is a trust factor that develops back and forth. They know when they get a submission, we believe in integrity and it is true and clean. We always try to go to our underwriters with a story expressing our feel and discussion we had with the client. If it is a new piece of business we ask what we need to do to get this business and try to get the underwriter into a comfort zone so they can accurately get after it. A relationship with a customer or client is tough because some new clients come across as fairly closed and not opening up in original discussions. Over the years some of my best clients have been those who it was hard to break the ice with at the beginning. I do like to see a client that comes across organized and has a good handle on their business. The other side is their willingness to move the business if we do a good job. VP | As you create a partnership with a client, do you ever find yourself saying this is not the right fit for us? MC | Back in the 80â€™s my dad instilled in me that we should look at a $500 premium account just as strongly as we look at a $5,000 or $50,000 premium account. The reason being is that he professed that you never know when a $500 account could turn into a $50,000 account. I do have accounts that have been with me 17, 18, 20 years or so that started out as $500 accounts and now pays $200,000,
FALL 2010 |
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|MARK CURRIE Continued from page 11 105th President of IIAI
$300,000 in premium now. Loyalty back and forth that we can have honest discussions even when things might not be a positive on a claims situations or the market has been going up and premiums are increasing. Honesty and loyalty from them to me and me back to them. VP | What sets Insurance Associates apart from the competition in your mind? MC | One thing that sets us apart is we do work very hard on developing our relationship with our clients. We get to know our clients, what makes them tick, and to know their personal lives as well as business. A lot of the agents do this and do a great job. Besides the great relationship, we need to find service items that will set us apart from other agents. Whether it is helping them with items on a human resource basis i.e. employee manual development or providing computer software programs to help with record keeping for OSHA. For a lot of our clients we supply these different tools free of charge. VP | What philosophy do you utilize to manage? MC | Since the merger in October my role has become an account executive. Prior to that, I managed for 28-29 years. My main philosophy was that I would never
ask anyone to do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself. VP | You are a CIC? MC | Yes, I got my CIC in 1986, and it was a great tool because I was still young and wet behind the ears. The CIC program gives you such street wide knowledge that was perfect timing and educational for me over that 2-3 year period. VP | You have a very unique situation in the history of the Association that you are the first person to have been president of the PIA state organization and now president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. Tell us about your involvement with the PIA. MC | When I entered my Dad’s business back at Hunter Insurance, he was heavily involved in the PIA. If folks can recall back in the early 80’s there was a great competition from attendance and agent involvement between PIA and the Big “I”. Because of my dad’s involvement, I became involved. He became president of PIA and I followed in his footsteps to later become president of PIA as well back in 1997. VP | You were instrumental in the merger of the two organizations, the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa
and the Iowa PIA. MC | Once again it was this process of a merger and the idea that started evolving over many, many years. You go to your annual conventions, you go to winter meetings and you get feedback from the company representatives. Obviously, our Associations are strong because of strong Iowa company commitment which is instrumental. Over the years, I started seeing a winding down of PIA membership and an increase going to the Big “I” and so I was still a loyalist at that time to the PIA. We did everything we could to keep things running smoothly, but it became evident to me from feedback and carrier talk that they were funding this convention and that convention. When I became president I started floating ideas of a possible merger. From the company side they loved the idea because their thoughts were a merger would make the Big “I” a larger, more powerful agent organization that they could fund convention, education programs, and support one association. The companies did a great job obviously over the years trying to keep everyone happy so for the companies it was a good move. With regard to the membership you have to know that there are some true loyalists that worked very hard for the PIA. There was some disappointment in phone calls and conversations, but when
FALL 2010 |
|MARK CURRIE Continued from page 13 105th President of IIAI
I talked through the logic and the steps that were needed to keep the organization strong, ultimately, everybody came across and seemed to agree that it made sense to merge PIA with the Big “I” and have one strong agent association. VP | Now, 10 years later how did it turn out and how do you think agents are being represented? MC | I would say it became the perfect merger. The agents that had some reluctance soon became members of the Big “I” and the feedback I got over the last 5-10 years have been very positive. Ultimately it made sense and I believe it is the best thing we ever did. VP | Since that time you have been very active with the Big “I”, why? Why do you believe in agent trade associations? MC | Number one, in the merger we wanted to keep the spirit of PIA alive and so I was offered the opportunity to become a member of the Big “I” Board of Directors to continue carrying on all those folks who worked so hard with PIA such as past presidents. That was important for me to keep somewhat of a legacy of PIA going. The Big “I” couldn’t do enough to accommodate us in that situation. There is always a “giveback” to whatever job you are doing and the best giveback I can give with regard to the insurance industry is whatever I can put back into the Association. It might be serving on a committee, attending conventions, attending educations seminars, or being on the Board and helping to advance the association forward. The political side nowadays is very important. VP | As president, you have taken on an initiative to refocus the Association through revising our strategic plan. MC | While on the Board for 11-12 years we started a strategic plan that the Board worked very diligently to keep focusing, refocusing and working on those goals and we accomplished most of them. So, it was time to step back and not be stagnant. As any major corporation would say…we have
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Left to right sitting: Neil Trout, Mark Currie. Back row: Steve Webb, Val Sands, Sam DeHaai, Kirk Saddoris, Mary Grefe, Jill Shaffer.
to keep moving forward. I felt that it was important that we go back and re-strategize what is important to us. Ultimately after two days of a lot of discussion, the main focus came back to our membership from the one person shop to the 200 person shop. How do we support them, help them and how are we the advocate for them in this very difficult political and economic environment. How do we keep them apprised of the technical changes that are taking place and trying to save them money and time along those lines. VP | What keeps you awake at night when it comes to this business? MC | I have probably become too attached to my clients. I have great concern on the economics of what is happening around us. I have seen clients reduce their workforce in half to going out of business and it just breaks my heart. It is a struggle for everyone, it is not just a few…that keeps me awake at night. I always try to be positive, but it just seems the last 2-3 years we just keep getting bombarded with negatives. As a Board, as a person in leadership we need to do our very best to focus on the positives and how we can assist our clients and fellow agents.
VP | Tell us about your family. MC | I have been married to my wife, Rhonda, for 27 years. We have three children. Alex is 26, Tyler is 24 and my daughter Jacey is 22 and they are the loves of my life. I also have two grandchildren, Blake is 6 and Ava is 4 years old. My parents have been extremely supportive of my career; to my father, Ed Currie, stepmother, Betty and my mom, Jody. I am forever grateful for their love and support. Dad has been a great mentor. VP | You and your family are active in Taekwondo? MC | I started Taekwondo when I was in college, well over 30 years ago. I left it for a while and my first son became interested in it so I went back with him when he was about 3 ½ years old, and I got right back into it and loved it. For approximately 22-23 years now I have been involved in it. I have worked my way up over many, many years to obtain a master level. I am a fifth degree black belt and with age and time restrictions that is about as high as I can go right now. I have been an instructor, an official and have fought competitively right along when we went to tournaments with my children. All my children and my wife
trying to help coordinate funding for future needs. I have developed a great passion for folks in the area of disabilities. I feel very blessed that I have been so healthy; therefore, anything I can do to help enhance their life whether through fundraising or being a director to help advance the cause is what I want to be there for. Easter Seals in Iowa has been a key provider of services to Iowans with disabilities for 84 years.
are black belts. As a family we traveled throughout the U.S. for many years and we would compete in tournaments in New York, Florida, Texas, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. I instructed and took other students with us. I am very pleased to say all three of my children won National titles whether in forms or sparring. One of the neatest tournaments we were involved in was the Junior Pan American Games in Los Angeles. Both my boys competed in that and one won a silver medal and one won a bronze medal so I am very proud of them. I don’t worry about my daughter going on dates. She was a very good fighter—sparer and so I never let her compete in the girls division and I moved her into the boys division and so she won her first national title in New York in a boys division. The toughest fight she had was down in the Super Dome in New Orleans and she had about
130 boys in her division and she made it all the way to the top 16 before getting beat. It was cool. Through my years of teaching I started two different Taekwondo schools and I have taught over 2,000 students in the state of Iowa to get to various belt levels. I have 118 students who have made it to various black belt levels. Along the lines, because of so much competition going on, I became a referee and refereed on the national level circuit. VP | Your new found interest is flying? MC | My grandfather and my mother were pilots. I was at a point in my life a few years ago that I needed a new mental challenge and flying an airplane sounded mentally challenging. I have been working on it and I have approximately 85 hours flying time. I have not become certified or licensed as a private pilot yet, but that will happen. VP | You have been involved in other organizations? MC | Yes, I try to do everything to do the giveback. I have been on the board for Easter Seals of Iowa and helped at Camp Sunnyside here in the Des Moines area. I am a past president of their board and I am still active on it. I recently became a member of their foundation and I am
VP | Tell us about Camp Sunnyside. MC | Camp Sunnyside is an opportunity to kids and adults to come to camp for a week of fun. It might be horseback riding, swimming, or other activities. It also gives the other members of the family time to rest. It is for all persons with disabilities. One individual who has been in a wheelchair all of his life was able to use a special apparatus to ride a horse—that was so cool! We just did a fundraiser called Camp Sunnyside Regatta with many major corporations around the state. More than half of the kids that attend camp need scholarship money to attend. The fundraisers help pay scholarships so 40-50 more kids go to camp each summer. VP | Any parting words for our readers about Mark Currie as president of the Association and the coming year? MC | I am honored to be president of the Big “I”. This is big shoes to fill from prior presidents. One thing I need to note is that I have served on many, many boards at various organizations over the last 30 years, and I have never served on a board that works so well together. It is a group of folks that work solely for a common cause and I want to lead that to the point that it continues. It is important to me that we stay financially strong and we will. I want to find ways to aid and support our agency force whether is an agency of one or 500…we are there for everybody. VP | Thank you, Mark. We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming year.
FALL 2010 |
Coverage Chaos for Bob the Builder Writing general liability insurance for contractors has always been a challenging proposition, due to the nature of the construction business itself, and to the complicated coverage issues presented by the CGL policy. The challenge increases exponentially when an insurance company takes the position that a contractor’s faulty work is not an accident, and therefore not an “occurrence” as defined in the policy. Applying this theory, the company will deny property damage liability claims simply because coverage is not triggered. CGL Exclusion l, Damage to Your Work, including the all important subcontractor exception, never comes into play because coverage is not triggered. In simple terms, this “no occurrence” theory negates Broad Form Property Damage (BFPD) coverage, leaving insureds without a coverage the construction industry has relied on for over 40 years. By way of quick review, Exclusion l in the CGL policy does two things: In the first paragraph, it excludes coverage for property damage to “your work” arising out of “your work”. Then, in the second paragraph, it restores coverage for damage to “your work” if the damaged work or the work out of which the damage arises was performed on your behalf by subcontractors (the “subcontractor exception”). This important exception restores coverage for the following property dam-
By Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU
age liability claims that would otherwise be excluded by the first paragraph of Exclusion l: • Damage to the insured’s work caused by a sub’s work • Damage to a sub’s work caused by the insured’s work • Damage to a sub’s work caused by another sub’s work • Damage to a sub’s work caused by that sub’s work To use a very simple example, assume our insured is a general contractor (GC)
who builds an office building for the owner. All work is performed by our GC. Several months after completion, the building burns to the ground. Cause of the fire is determined to be faulty electrical wiring. The owner sues our GC for the loss of the building. The owner’s claim against our GC for damage to the building is not covered by the GC’s CGL policy because of the first paragraph of Exclusion l – damage to “your work” (the building) arising out of “your work” (the faulty wiring). Now change the scenario slightly. Our GC subs out several parts of the job, including the electrical work and the HVAC work. In this situation, the second paragraph of Exclusion l comes into play because the damage was caused by the electrical subcontractor’s work, so it is “work performed on your behalf by a subcontractor”. The entire loss, including the faulty wiring, now is covered by our insured’s CGL because of the “subcontractor exception”, or BFPD as it has been known. Unfortunately, those companies taking the position that faulty work is not an accident will deny coverage for this second loss scenario on the basis that there was no occurrence, so coverage is not triggered. Since coverage is not triggered, the subcontractor exception in Exclusion l never comes into play.
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|COVERAGE CHAOS Continued from page 17 For Bob the Builder
Equally problematic, there also are some companies doing business in Iowa who have eliminated BFPD coverage from their CGL policy. This typically is done in one of two ways. The first approach is to attach ISO endorsement CG 22 94 or an equivalent proprietary endorsement to the CGL. This endorsement removes the “subcontractor exception” (paragraph two) from Exclusion l, thus taking away BFPD coverage. The other approach a few companies use is to remove the subcontractor exception from Exclusion l in their proprietary CGL forms. Either way, the result is the same — a significant reduction in liability coverage for all contractors who utilize subcontractors. (Some companies do offer a “buy back” of coverage but these “buy back” endorsements may not fully reinstate BFPD coverage and should be carefully reviewed.) Obviously, the loss of BFPD coverage is a significant reduction in coverage
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for any contractor insured. It leaves insureds exposed to potentially devastating losses that previously were covered and it exposes you to an E&O claim. So how do you minimize the E&O exposure and customer ill-will associated with this problem? The first step is to ask your companies for a written response to these two specific questions: 1) Does their CGL policy provide full BFPD coverage? 2) Do they subscribe to the theory that faulty work is not an accident and therefore there is no occurrence to trigger coverage? Some companies may respond that each claim is unique and must be evaluated on its specific circumstances. This certainly is an understandable component of any response but it is a disclaimer, not an answer. Companies should be able to provide a clear answer to both questions, subject to the appropriate disclaimer that each claim presents
a unique set of circumstances. Some companies with significant construction premium in Iowa already have clarified in writing that they will continue to provide BFPD coverage as was always intended by the CGL policy and /or they will not apply the “no occurrence” theory to faulty work claims. Once you have this information in hand, you must evaluate all markets you use for construction related accounts. Companies that do not provide BFPD coverage or that subscribe to the theory that faulty work is not an occurrence should be carefully evaluated as a viable market for contractors, especially when there are markets in Iowa that continue to provide this coverage as intended. Questions or comments? Contact Dean Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bob Skow at the IIAI office at Bob@iiaiowa.org
SUMMER 2010 |
Certificate of Insurance Update By Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU
sole purpose of ACORD Certificates of Insurance is, and always has been, to provide only a snapshot of the insured’s policies and limits in effect at the time the Certificate is issued. Certificates are designed to be completed, not modified or edited. They are issued as a matter of information only and confer no rights upon the certificate holder. Simple enough in theory, but in practice third parties increasingly have tried to recast certificates into documents that modify insurance coverage, confer contractual rights that do not exist in the policy, or otherwise rewrite terms and conditions of the policies for their benefit. This abuse of certificates has become such a widespread problem that over half the states now expressly prohibit, via statutes or bulletins, the use of certificates to modify an insurance policy. To this end, the Iowa Insurance Division issued Bulletin 10 – 04, “Certificates of Insurance”, on July 13, 2010. This bulletin should be reviewed thoroughly by all agency staff who issue certificates. It can be found on the IID website www.iid.state.ia.us. Insurance agents must be very careful to follow these guidelines to the letter. In summary, the Bulletin does the following:
1) Reminds insurers and producers that certificates do not convey any contractual rights and cannot alter the terms or conditions of policies. 2) Warns that adding any incorrect information to a certificate that either states the existence of certain contractual rights or purports to amend, extend or alter coverage or notice provisions of an insurance policy could be found to be an unfair trade practice under Iowa insurance law. 3) Requires the approval of all certificate of insurance forms used in the state of Iowa before such forms may be used, beginning September 1, 2010. (ACORD and ISO certificate forms are approved in Iowa.) 4) States that any alteration to a form approved by IID negates that approval and subjects any person using the altered form to administrative penalties. In order to comply with this Bulletin and to practice good E&O certificate management, there are three fairly simple rules to follow: 1) Never indicate anything on the certificate that is not already included in the referenced policy.
2) Never complete a manuscript or nonstandard certificate – use only ACORD or ISO certificate forms. If a certificate holder insists their own form must be used, send it to the insurance company for their review and completion. 3) Never alter any preprinted wording in a Certificate of Insurance form — just complete the blanks accurately. Once again, simple enough in theory but a potential challenge in practice when insureds or certificate holders attempt to bully you into doing something you shouldn’t just to serve their purposes. Many insureds and certificate holders
“This bulletin should be reviewed thoroughly by all agency staff who issue certificates.” do not understand the degree of forms regulation in insurance and think insurance policies can be readily modified to meet their needs. Others understand full well the limitations of policies and are
FALL 2010 |
|CERTIFICATE OF Continued from page 21 Insurance Update
trying a back door attempt to bring you into their scheme to rewrite coverage for their benefit. Either way, you can find yourself in a jam with you insured, your company, and the IID. Below are some significant yet common real — world requests from certificate holders you will need to evaluate, then develop an agency communication procedure with your clients before they become an E&O problem for you and your agency: • Request for 30 day notice of cancellation. You cannot do this unless your company has endorsed the policy with a proprietary notification endorsement. If so, attach a copy of the notification endorsement to the certificate. Do not just reference “30 day cancellation notice” somewhere on the certificate. Such a general phrase is too vague and ambiguous. • Request to use an older edition date of a particular policy form or endorsement, or use a prior version of a certificate. Do not do this – you can only use the forms currently filed by the company providing coverage. Check with your underwriter if you are unsure. Remember, beginning September
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1, you must use the new ACORD 25 Certificate with the revised CANCELLATION wording. • Confirm on the certificate that the CGL, and often times the auto and umbrella, are “primary and non-contributory”. Do not add this wording on the certificate unless the policies in question have been endorsed by the company with a proprietary endorsement that accomplishes both “primary” and “non-contributory”. The standard ISO forms do not address this request to the satisfaction of the Additional Insured. • Provide specific, detailed Additional Insured wording on the certificate itself. This is O.K. if the policy has been endorsed to read exactly the same as the certificate wording. Remember, the certificate holder wording and the Additional Insured wording are almost always different. Some Additional Insured requests are ridiculous in their detail, so be sure to confirm acceptability with the underwriter and endorse the policy before adding such wording on a certificate.
• Reference a specific contract on the certificate or insert specific indemnification wording to “guarantee” the insurance policy covers the liability assumed by the insured in the indemnification agreement included in the contract or lease. Do not do this — it is highly unlikely the insurance policy covers all the exposures assumed in the hold harmless or indemnification agreement. • Confirm on the certificate that “Broad Form Property Damage” (BFPD) is included. Do not add this wording to the certificate. Reference to BFPD was dropped from the ACORD 25 certificate with the advent of the 1986 CGL policy, so this request is roughly 25 years out of date. Also, the current legal climate in Iowa regarding faulty work as an occurrence makes it impossible to predict how a property damage liability claim historically covered by BFPD will be resolved. Further, some companies have their own proprietary CGL forms that do not provide BFPD coverage.
• You are asked to complete and sign some sort of coverage checklist or other written statement “certifying” that the insurance policies comply with all the terms of the contract signed by your insured. Never do this under any circumstances. If this becomes an irreconcible issue, refer the request to your underwriter to see if the company will sign the form.
“IIAI has a sample letter available that can be sent to certificate holders who make requests that cannot be met.” • You are asked to complete a “manuscript” certificate of insurance used by the certificate holder. Never complete a non-standard certificate form. Send these forms to the company for review and completion. It is highly unlikely these forms have been filed with and approved by IID, and if not they can’t be used in Iowa.
Tune up your business with our Auto Service & Repair Package
Grinnell Mutual’s new insurance package is designed for a variety of auto service businesses — including gas stations, quick lube shops, auto repair shops, car washes and tire dealers. It joins more than a dozen tailored commercial programs we offer. We are committed to help our agents expand their book of business.
A Policy of Working Together
There are many other coverage requests made by certificate holders. This list represents some of the more contentious examples that should be addressed in advance so as not to lose clients nor create significant E&O exposures for your agency. Proactive communication on this issue with your insureds is extremely important. IIAI has a sample letter available that can be sent to certificate holders who make requests that cannot be met. Also, additional resources are available at the Virtual University IIABA website. If you have specific questions or comments on certificates or coverages, feel free to send them to Dean Brooks at email@example.com (Please allow two weeks for shipping and handling.)
FALL 2010 |
convention & trade show}
This year’s Convention was FANTASTIC, featuring an all star line-up of speakers and a sold out exhibit hall. Deuces Wild — Dueling Pianos put on a great performance.
|2010 IIAI PRESIDENTIAL CITATIONS} Presented by Jeff Bohnenkamp, CIC 104th President
Ed Butler, CPCU, CAIP
Senator Mike Gronstal
|H.h. red nelson}
|C. daniel fulwider}
Mark Lyons, CPCU
agent of the year award
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young agent of the year
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West Bend spices up its
Zeal for additional restaurant opportunities! That’s what you’ll find with the new Enhanced Restaurant Program from West Bend. Just like adding your favorite spices and personal touches to a great family recipe -- making it just right -- we’ve expanded our restaurant appetite to meet your needs and our craving to grow this category of business. So give us a seat at your table! Send us your restaurant risks! You’ll find our appetite has grown and we have an expanding penchant for restaurants with the Enhanced Restaurant Program from West Bend!
IOWA INSURANCE HALL OF FAME
WILLIAM J. AMBRISCO, CPCU Retired independent agent Iowa city
2010 Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame Three members of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa were inducted into the Iowa Insurance
Ambrisco was the successful leader of the Welt Ambrisco Insurance Agency in Iowa City for many years until his retirement. At the same time, he was involved in local and national industry organizations and an active member of his community and church. Under his leadership, the Welt Ambrisco Agency grew to be one of the largest agencies in Johnson County and he was a top producer for numerous insurance companies. He is a role model and mentored many young insurance producers in the high standards of ethics that he lived by and that helped build the agency. In fact, three of the agents he mentored now are principals of the Welt Ambrisco agency. He served as President of the Johnson County and Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa and served as a Director of the Independent Insurance Agents of America, just a few of his activities in industry organizations. Mr. Ambrisco was a leader in the Iowa City community, serving on the City Council for ten years and Mayor of the city from 1986 to 1987. He was a member of numerous city commissions and involved
in many civic organizations. Mr. Ambrisco was the recipient of the Iowa City Sertoma Club’s “Person of the Year” Award, and Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa “Agent of the Year” Award and the General Will J. Hayek Award 1995 (Presented to a Military Veteran for Community Service.) He is an Army veteran of the Korean War. A couple of people who wrote letters of recommendation for Mr. Ambrisco mentioned two of his major accomplishments were helping to persuade Dr. Emmett Vaughan to remain at the University of Iowa when the University of Nabraska recruited him two years after his arrival at Iowa and hiring Larry VanderTuig as Executive Director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. Both of these gentlemen are prior Hall of Fame inductees so it appears he certainly had an eye for quality. Mr. Ambrisco and his wife, Carly, have three son: and five grandchildren.
Hall of Fame. Bill Ambrisco, CPCU of Welt — Ambrisco Insurance Agency in Iowa City; Bob Jester of Jester Insurance Services, Des Moines, and Bob Dee of Holmes Murphy, Des Moines. Joining Bill, Bob and Bob were Graham Cook who is the Chairman and President of Homesteaders Life Company and Williams Koch former President and Chairman of National Travelers Life.
Congratulations to all!
FALL 2010 |
one Dream enDs
“I thought I was having a dream, literally. We got a phone call from the emergency room... our daughter had been in a car accident...”
– Policyholder since 2004
HEALTH See Doug’s entire story at
Going beyond the expected in rebuilding lives. And dreams. it’s what we do. In calm times. In times of distress. Count on Pekin Insurance™ to go the extra mile. Our policyholders appreciate that. As do our agents. From providing outstanding products at competitive rates to high-tech solutions that streamline business, we do whatever it takes to help our agents build their business…and customers like Doug build – or rebuild – their dreams. Going Beyond the expected.™ That’s what you can expect. From Pekin Insurance. Become a part of it. Call Pekin Insurance today at 800-322-0160, Extension 2662. Or visit pekininsurance.com
IOWA INSURANCE HALL OF FAME
graham j. cook
president and ceo homesteaders life company
advance funeral planning, the advancement of the funeral profession, the protection and security of funeral consumers, and ardent support of allied suppliers and funeral service philanthropies. As chairman of the Funeral Service Foundation he presided over a national campaign to establish a $5 million endowment to support career and professional development in funeral service. Mr. Cook is committed to the arts and cultural diversity, giving of his time and financial resources. He also serves as a member of the Board for Hospice of Central Iowa Foundation. To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, Mr. Cook approved the plan for Homesteaders to host the Healing Field of Central Iowa, a ten-day event that gained national media attention, attracted more than 15,000 visitors and raised $100,000 for charity.
â€œTo commemorate the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, Homesteaders hosted the Healing Field of Central Iowaâ€? Recently, Mr. Cook was involved with the establishment of the sculpture, Shattering Silence, honoring (human rights, freedom, justice and accomplishments) that have furthered humankind. He worked with the artist, peer executives, state government officials and community leaders to help this important symbol become reality. You may see it at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building across from the State Capitol. Mr. Cook lives in Des Moines with his wife, Catherine Bennett.
44 years ago when Graham Cook was a student at Drake University, he got a job working part-time in the Homesteaders Life Company print shop. After graduation, he saw a great career opportunity and used his creativity and energy to continue to increase his responsibilities resulting in his election to President in 1995 and Chairman of the Board in 1999. Since he took the helm, Homesteaders has more than quadrupled its assets along with creating and sustaining jobs for Iowans and representatives across the country. In 2009 Homesteaders became the market-leading pre-need funeral insurance company in America. Mr. Cook is a fellow in the Life Management Institute and has served as President of the National Alliance of Life Companies and President of the Federation of Iowa Insurers. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Council of Life Insurers Forum 500. He is highly respected in the funeral industry because of his dedication to
FALL 2010 |
IOWA INSURANCE HALL OF FAME
pride in the past…legacy for the future! From humble beginnings nearly 160 years ago, Iowa’s insurance operations have grown to become a leading force within the industry - impacting financial service organizations around the globe. The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame was created to celebrate this proud heritage and recognize its leaders. Their outstanding individual contributions and exemplary leadership form the backbone of
robert a. dee
former chairman/ceo holmes murphy and associates
Iowa’s insurance industry, preserve
and success of the next generation
Dee began his career with Holmes Murphy and Associates, Inc. in 1960 as an account executive. He led the bond department at the agency for many years and became president of the company in 1978 following the untimely death of Ray Murphy. He served as president until 1990, at which time he became Chairman/CEO until his retirement in 1993. During his tenure as president, he added additional offices of Holmes Murphy, including the Texas office. Under Mr. Dee’s guidance, Holmes Murphy became a leader in insurance and Surety Bonds for the construction business and provided these services for many contractors in Des Moines, Iowa, and beyond. He was active in Bonding Associations nationwide, serving as president of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers. Mr. Dee worked to provide continuity to the agency by designing programs of ownership and management succession that encourage retention of a team of experienced agents.
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its present integrity, and provide inspiration for the vision, goals, of insurance professionals.
Mr. Dee has been deeply involved in the community, serving on numerous boards and committees of not-for profit agencies like United Way of Central Iowa and the Civic Center, both of which he served as Chairman. He was president of the Greater Des Moines Chamber and is presently a Member Emeritus of the Board of the Greater Des Moines Charitable Foundation. He has also been active in the Catholic community of Des Moines, chairing fundraisers for his Parish, the Diocese of Des Moines, Dowling Catholic High School and Bishop Drumm Retirement Community. Mr. Dee was honored as the recipient of the National Conference of Christians and Jews 1986 Brotherhood Award. Mr. Dee and his wife, Sharon, have four children and fourteen grandchildren. They split their time between Florida and Des Moines.
robert e. jester
independent agent jester insurance services
Jester began his insurance career in 1964 at Jester & Sons Real Estate and Insurance, the family business founded by his greatgrandfather, Joshua in 1897. In the early 1970’s, he learned of an idea being presented by the Insurance Company of North America (INA) that involved taking a group of identical organizations and putting them in a safety group. He thought the idea might work well in Iowa so he contacted EMC companies about providing insurance to governmental entities in the State of Iowa using this approach. He began in 1974 with the Iowa Association of School Boards which sponsored a Safety Group Program for schools and now includes almost all public school entities in Iowa. He continued this concept in 1982 with The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and has since added programs for churches, museums and historical societies and local Iowa telephone companies. The plans provided comprehensive coverage at a competitive price and allowed any agent chosen by the entity to
Recognizing the various chairs who have guided the planning for this important Iowa event since its inception. 1994-1997 Susan Roberts 1998-1999 Alton “Jeff” Jeffus 2000-2002 Elisabeth “Lis” Spoerl 2003-2004 Dean Brooks 2005-2006 Karey Meek-Anderson 2007-2008 Pat Knueven 2009-2010 Ellen Corwin
be the local agent for their school or city/ utility. These programs also introduced the concept of an All Lines Dividend Plan that allows excess premiums to be returned to the Safety Groups. The final piece that Mr. Jester felt strongly about is an emphasis on safety. He believed that with an emphasis on loss control, these various entities would become safer workplaces for Iowans and everyone would benefit by keeping costs down. Mr. Jester gives much of his time serving as an instructor to organizations in Iowa like the Municipal Clerks School, Iowa Association of School Boards, other education groups and city/utility entities. He develops educational programs for insurance agents and school personnel each spring and organizes a city educational program for agents and municipal employees each winter as well as a series of meetings for schools. Mr. Jester and his family strongly believe that land needs to be protected for future generations. To that end, he has purchased several parcels of land in Iowa and Washington and donates it in such a way that it will remain undeveloped land. He has served on many boards of not-forprofit organizations such as the Terrace Hill Society, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Iowa Public Television. Mr. Jester is married to Patti and enjoys traveling and sailing in North America.
chairman, national travelers life (1931-1956)
Koch’s insurance career began in 1905 when he was named as a director of American Yeoman Insurance Company in order to secure its debt to Koch Brothers Printing Co. From this unusual beginning, Mr. Koch went on to become president of that company, vice president of Royal Union Life and president of State Life Insurance. He completed his insurance career by serving as president and eventually chairman emeritus of National Travelers Life from 1931 through 1956. During his years with these companies, he also found time to serve as director of Town Mutual Fire Insurance and Allied Mutual Casualty Co. While being deeply involved in insurance, he continued to serve as president of Koch Brothers until his death in 1964. Mr. Koch was elected president of the East Des Moines school board in the early 1900’s. You may not know there were two school districts in Des Moines at that time, East Des Moines and Des Moines. Mr. Koch was instrumental in negotiating the consolidation of the two school
districts in 1907. It is apparent that Mr. Koch had an interest and commitment to education and, in spite of having only a high school diploma, Mr. Koch also served as Trustee of Drake University for many years. Mr, Koch was a founding member and president of the Des Moines Pioneer Club and Hyperion Field Club and was a charter member of the Des Moines Club. Mr. Koch was very active in all aspects of Masonry and was serving in a national capacity at the time of his death. What a testament to a gentleman born in Ontario, Canada who emigrated to the Amana Colonies before settling in Des Moines and beginning his business career as a printer.
FALL 2010 |
Want Vacant Property coverage your clients will flip over? Partner with Burns & Wilcox and you partner with a national network of brokers and underwriters with unparalleled access to the leading markets for Vacant Properties. Plus, full brokerage capabilities and large limits in protection against vandalism, fire and other unforeseen claims. So, for the best Vacant Property coverage across the board, turn to Burns & Wilcox, North Americaâ€™s largest specialty insurance MGA/wholesaler. St. Paul, Minnesota
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Imagine… Reality… By Richard F. Lund, J.D.
magine you have a long time friend and customer…let’s call her Mary. Imagine you have written insurance for her businesses for more than 20 years. Imagine Mary calls you and tells you she is staging a new business and needs to get her BOP/CGL, workers’ compensation, and all the other usual coverages for this new business. Imagine you think you know everything about her and her businesses. Imagine you get some basic information from her and then complete the applications for her. Imagine Mary comes to your office to sign the applications, but because she’s in a hurry to go talk to her banker, she tells you she’s sure everything is fine and she doesn’t read or review the applications, she signs them and leaves. Imagine you didn’t insist that she review the applications. Imagine you send them to the carriers, the policies are issued and all is well. Just imagine… Imagine six months later Mary calls you and tells you that one of the employees
of this new business has severely injured their back and she needs you to contact the workers’ compensation carrier to report the claim. Imagine you ask her where the employee was injured and she tells you it was while he was working in the neighboring state. Imagine your surprise when you hear the words “neighboring state’’ because remember, you know everything about Mary’s business, except that she had employees working in a neighboring state. Imagine, because you never considered she would do that because she never had before. Imagine, because you didn’t include “all states’’ coverage on the workers’ compensation policy. Imagine, the carrier denies the workers’ compensation claim because coverage is limited only to the home state. Imagine the claim is a minimum of $500,000. Imagine the next call you make is to your E&O carrier.
The reality is that this story happens. Maybe not exactly like this, but it happens. It may not be a business customer but it happens with homeowners or personal auto policies or visually every other type of policy available. Regularly. So what can you do about it? Simple: don’t complete applications for your customers. “But that’s not good customer service.’’ Actually, it is because having your customer complete the application gives them an opportunity to really look at what they do and what they want insured. Who knows this better than themselves? Regardless of how well you think you know your customer, things change. What was true yesterday, may not be true today. Does that mean you can’t help them if they have questions? Of course not. That is exactly what customer service is all about. But the responsibility to provide accurate information belongs to your customer. If the information on the application is not correct and they filled it out, then they are responsible. lf the information on the application is not correct and YOU filled it out, then YOU may be responsible especially if you did not have them review the application. It’s as simple as that. So imagine your longtime friend and customer Mary calls you and tells you she has a new business. Imagine you send her the insurance applications. Imagine…
FALL 2010 |
Steady and true Insurance coverage for the transportation industry can sometimes be unknown territory. But a partnership with Truckers Insurance Associates provides clear direction. Truckers Insurance is solely focused on transportation insurance — and has been for over 65 years — so we know every turn, every twist and every hard-to-see pothole. Whether your clients include a single owner-operator or a full-fledged fleet, Truckers Insurance will deliver the right coverage at the right price. With knowledgeable service and innovative solutions from Northland, Carolina Casualty, Zurich, Maxum, The Hartford, and Dakota Truck, working with Truckers Insurance can make for a very smooth ride. Call Truckers Insurance at 800.652.9515 for a quote today.
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ComScore’s latest assessment of the online auto insurance landscape reflects continued growth in quoting and purchasing auto insurance online. Most consumers still buy offline, however, and want to deal with a person. Independent agents can continue to succeed in this new environment if they build their own online presence with an engaging website; use social media to develop “fans”; incorporate online consumer quoting, coupled with rapid follow-up; and demonstrate they add value to the process. It is important for independent agents to be fully aware of the trends revealed in comScore’s latest research as they develop their online strategies. The 58-page report covers trends regarding online quoting and purchasing, information about customer preferences, agent versus direct-channel purchasing, and aspects of customer self-service and loyalty. For this survey, comScore relied on input from 1 million U.S.-based consumers, as well as insights from a panel of more than 2,000 U.S. online consumers.
Online quoting Online quoting continues to be the first stop for consumers researching auto insurance. Online quoting increased 21 percent from the previous year’s survey to a total of 38.8 million quotes submitted online. In 2009, 54% of all consumers went online to get auto insurance quotes, and 72% have gone online to find auto insurance information at some point in their lives. The economy continues to be a driver in shopping around for insurance. We see this play out online with the majority
Online consumer shopping for auto insurance grows By Ron Berg
Senior Technology Research Specialist MetLife Auto & Home
(83%) going directly to insurer websites, versus only 17% going to aggregators and online agencies such as Insurance.com or NetQuote. Of the quotes done on carrier sites, the usual direct-writer suspects lead the pack: GEICO (28.8% of all quotes), Progressive Direct (28%) and Esurance (13.8%). Independent agents have a say in all this, as a full 22% of consumers went to a multiple-carrier agent. This is a decrease of 3% from the previous year, so the focus on improving agent website functionality becomes critical — with the inclusion of website comparative rating tools, as well as direct-to-carrier quoting links offered by carriers as agency website add-ons. When it comes to consumer attitudes on purchasing, independent agents still have an edge.
A record 2.8 million policies were purchased online in 2009 — an increase of 22% from the previous year. For some perspective, only 700,000 policies were purchased online in 2004. The opportunity for independent agents lies with assisting the consumer in understanding his or her insurance needs. The majority of consumers, 78%, are still purchasing offline, and 71% listed the desire to speak with someone who can guide them as their primary reason for purchasing offline. The key is making it easy for the consumer to find agents on the Web, as well as connecting the consumer to the agency via technology tools like online quoting on the agency website, live chat, online forms requesting agent call-back and social media. Additionally, more consumers are able to sign all needed policy documents online. A full 82% reported using online tools such as electronic signature in 2009. Overall, consumers are expecting easy-to-use functionality and rapid service. Agency carriers are producing better long term retention. In 2009, 39% of all shoppers switched their auto insurance. However, State Farm and Nationwide had the highest retention of those consumers staying with their insurer five years or more. GEICO and Progressive had the lowest five-year retention. While price was the biggest driver for switching insurers (49%), having a real person with whom the insured can visit was third at 13%, after “protecting my assets/possessions.’’
Self-servicing Retaining customers is crucial for both agents and insurers. One of the most important aspects is payments. While a little over one-quarter of all customers pay their premiums in full up front to obtain discounts, there is a large opportunity to provide ease of use functionality to the 55% of customers who make monthly payments by providing this function through the agent’s website (as well as at the carrier’s site). This will also help to keep the agent’s website in the forefront of the customer’s mind.
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Consumer Shopping for Auto Insurance Grows
Many carriers provide eService links that can be placed on their agency’s website, allowing clients to go the agency website first and then link to the carrier’s sign-in page and make a payment. In total, 34% of customers pay their bills online, either at the insurance carrier’s eService website or by online banking.
Online activity varies with age The biggest increases for those shopping online for auto insurance were between ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34. All age ranges over 35 decreased: 18-24: 23% 25-34: 21% 35-44: 18% 45-54: 15% 55+: 9% Conversely, the percentage of those purchasing through an agent rises from 6O-70% as age ranges increase.
Buying with or without an agent The top four reasons consumers gave to use an agent include: wanted real person to visit with or call (38%); have always used an agent (34%); wanted local agentfrom one company who could help with all insurance needs (26%); agent quoted best price (25%). The top four reasons consumers chose not to go through an agent were: more convenient to use website or 24-hour, toll-free number (27%); faster to purchase online or through toll-free number (23%); got a quote with a toll-free number and decided to purchase (23%); prefer website or toll-free number (16%). Agents can employ available technology tools to offer the same convenience and speed as the direct carriers but add on top of that the personal advice and local presence they offer.
Where are the opportunities? The majority of consumers are going online to research auto insurance premiums. Agent websites can attract a larger portion of those by improving site functionality with quoting and by making their
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site easy to find with social networking and search engine optimization. Of those in the comScore survey, 22% went to local agents to get quotes, and 26% looked online for a local agent, either on a search site or on a carrier’s website. Agents can continue to provide a crucial link in helping shoppers find a great price matched with the coverage they need. While the direct giants like GEICO and Progressive Direct still get the most online quotes, the agent-based insurers have the lead in total premiums written and the best retention. With 25% of respondents having individual auto and homeowners or renters insurance with different carriers and 54% having additional insurance policies outside of auto and homeowners (primarily life), there is a significant opportunity for the agent to attract more consumers to educate them on the price and flexibility advantages of writing all of their insurance needs with one carrier. Links to carriers’ eService sites are one way to keep the clients who pay their bills online in touch with agency websites. In addition, 82% of online purchasers were able to sign all policy documents online at the time of purchase, which is up from 76% in 2009. Carriers and agents should work together to offer this same eSignature capability for online forms. While the clear trend is toward more online activity without the savvy agents can start to divert a lot of this business by using Internet tools to
duplicate the speed and convenience the direct carriers are providing. Agents can now optimize their websites with online quoting and eServicing capabilities and links, as well as attract more traffic with social networking. Including customer self-service functions on agency websites not only provides more customer preference options but also keeps the agency website in the customer’s field of view. Ron Berg can be reached at rberg1@ metlife.com. Berg produced this article for ACT. This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT, nor or MetLife Auto & Home’s endorsement of comScore or the report.
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should agents review contracts for insureds? By: Mike Edwards
t is very common for insureds to ask agents to review the insurance requirements of contracts to determine if the insured is in compliance with them. However, to what extent should agents engage in this practice? Is there a danger that the agent could be perceived to be practicing law without a license? Does this practice increase exposure to E&O claims? Recently, the VU “Ask the Expert” service received the question below. Following that are some responses from the VU faculty. “I am looking for some input from you please. This relates to an operational issue that I am sure many agencies face. I recently reviewed an agency that issues a fair amount of certificates of insurance. In reviewing the process I found that about 75% of the requests for certificates included something that needed the okay of the underwriter or even an endorsement to the policy and in many cases these are money bearing endorsements. “My questions are two-fold. First, is this true in most agencies? Second, many of the contractors have contracts or agreements that they send to the agency for an interpretation on what is required on the certificate of insurance. Do most agencies have the producer review the contract or the CSRs? Yes, this is pretty much an everyday occurrence in agencies across the country, particularly in those that write a lot of contractor accounts. Of particular concern is the issue of reviewing contracts for insureds. Below are some observations of the VU faculty.
Faculty Response: Our agency permits insureds to send in copies of the contract or at least the insurance portion (I feel better looking at the whole contract.) We will then review the insurance requirements and give our insured a faxed list of the insurance deficiencies of the current coverage (if no
contract is received, we tell the insured that we have no idea if they have the proper coverage.) Some can be remedied by buying coverage. Some are beyond what the insurance company is willing to do. Some are beyond what the insurance industry is willing to do. We explain that. If the insured wants a certificate with just the current coverage, we explain that the certificate may not be reviewed before the work is done, we cannot get retroactive insurance and they may not be paid for the work. We also stamp each certificate with the following: “This certificate of insurance represents coverage currently in effect and may or may not be in compliance with any written contract.” As a matter of fact, no insurance policy or collections of insurance policies will completely cover most insureds’ indemnification promises.
Faculty Reponses: A brilliant question. The answer is difficult. First, an agency or brokerage that issues a certificate without the permission, and often without the knowledge, of the insurer is in trouble and should immediately notify its E&O insurer of multiple potential claims. If the brokers are taking on the obligation of reading and understanding a construction contract to determine what additional insureds or just certificate holders, they should seek legal advice and consider making a report to their E&O insurer because the broker may not have the legal training and skill to interpret a contract that could be 200 pages long. This is even more dangerous if a CSR reviews the document. A lawyer will tell you that a construction contract is more complicated and harder to understand than an insurance contract. I would like to see the statistics gathered since the practice described, which I think is widespread, is very dangerous. Contracts should be analyzed and interpreted by lawyers, not producers or CSRs.
Faculty Response: I think certificates are a problem for most agencies. The professional agencies usually review contracts for insurance requirements. The problem is that they get the contracts after they are signed and the agents are often being asked to certify coverage the insured doesn’t have. The trend in risk management is to try to transfer all liability whether insurable or not. To compound the problem, many insurers have told agents they don’t want to see copies of certificates. I always caution agents about putting any additional wording on the certificates (e.g., advance notice of cancellation, wording from the contract, reference to specific coverage, etc.) I recommend these requests be sent to the insurer for issuance. There are some other excellent articles on this issue in the VU library. Also, many contracts require the completion of nonstandard certificates that do not contain the typical disclaimers contained in the standard ACORD certificate. The agent is in a “catch-22” situation. If he doesn’t issue the certificate requested, the contractor doesn’t get paid. If he does issue the certificate, he might be extending or implying non-existent coverage. In Alabama they have a regulation (Regulation #62, Section 3) that states “no licensed agent may issue a certificate of insurance which either affirmatively or negatively amends, extends, or alters the coverage provided.” The agent is subject to a $10,000 civil fine for issuing such a document. This problem seems to be epidemic in the industry. There is no need for legislation to address this problem. (The VU has several articles dealing with the certificates that include references from other states regarding modifying certificates.)
Faculty Response: Business contract can be very complicated. Construction contracts, in particular, can be huge and complex. Too often, I think these agreements are reviewed by individuals who do not have the experience or qualifications to do so. Only a highly experienced and skilled person should be reviewing the insurance provisions of such contracts.
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Planning for the Future
By Bob Skow, CPCU, CAE — Chief Executive Officer
ollectively each year IIAI Board of Directors, our standing committees and staff spend many days devoted to planning for the needs of Iowa’s independent agents. In June each year close to 120 agents gather for a one-day planning session focusing on items like agency management and technology needs, ways we can promote the value you bring to consumers as part of the public relations committee, your education needs, governmental and regulatory issues, topics important to our Rural and Small Town agencies, technical and industry issues and more. Our Young Agents committee, for example, is made up of 24 agents from around the state who are under the age of 40. This group literally is our future; it is so important that we do take time to plan not only for their future…but for the whole independent agent community. After the day-long planning meeting the IIAI Board of Directors spends two more days each summer pouring over the committee suggestions, the Association finances, and develops a budget and a strategic plan. The strategic plan is continually updated, and becomes an important road map for our future. Within this plan are 6 primary goals: 1. Focus Association efforts on how to build market share for our members; 2. Improve member competencies to improve their value with clients; 3. Increase the level of member involvement in Association activities;
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4. Operate a political advocacy program that is a respected resource at all levels of government dealing with insurance issues in Iowa; 5. Create an effective two-way communication system with membership; and 6. Maintain a strong, viable Association. Each of these goals is centered around you the member. We know Iowa’s agents ability to remain strong and viable is the key to our collective future. Each of these goals has a series of focus points with strategies and persons or groups of people who are assigned the responsibility to carry out these missions. Timelines with specific targets all are part of our strategic plan. We take carrying out this game plan very serious. We specifically this past year have brought in an Association planning expert from Minneapolis who has met with the Board of Directors, and recently spent a day with our young agents committee. He facilitated our brainstorming session. Everyone knows how important planning is, and the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa is focusing on developing viable goals to improve market share for our members. It is very interesting to see how a facilitator meets with a group of seasoned veterans like our Board, and then with a group of young and excited agents all focused on one mission — planning the future of our industry. I’m convinced this was time well spent.
I personally am very excited about all the new ideas your Association is championing like Trusted Choice, the TV advertising program, working on ways to improve work load through Real Time, and building upon our powerful lobbying reputation. These moves come with some risk, and we know not everyone will agree with everything we are attempting to do. But, it can’t be said we aren’t trying. For it is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all! The future looks bright; our commitment to working for Iowa’s independent agents has never been stronger. It is clear that
“We know Iowa’s agents ability to remain strong and viable is the key to our collective future.” together we make a difference! We hope you do agree that IIAI is trying as hard as we can to help you thrive, and our planning is helping you. If you would like to get more involved in the Association let me know and we will be sure to get you engaged with one of our committees. One of our goals for 2011 is to double the number of agents serving on our committees; we hope you will give consideration to participating.
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Published on Nov 15, 2010