Terry McDonald, CIC
FALL 2013 • VOLUME 31 • ISSUE 4 INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS OF IOWA
Meet Your 108th IIAI President
ARE YOU totally
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PRESIDENT’S REPORT Convention Results The Big “I” staff delivered on their promise to make the Convention a success. 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 President Terry McDonald, CIC - Iowa City
by Terry McDonald, CIC Page 5
NATIONAL DIRECTOR’S REPORT Top Five Value Areas The important first step was to survey members on what they thought important. The survey results show the top five “value areas” members want from the National Association. by Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU, ALCM Page 9
Scott Morningstar, CPCU - Lisbon
Treasurer Jerry Mease - Winterset
National Director Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU, ALCM West Des Moines
Directors 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 Scott Wirtz - Emmetsburg Jamie Krist, CIC, MBA - West Des Moines Luke Horak - Washington
Past President Paul Pohlson - Grinnell
IIAI OFFICE STAFF Chief Executive Officer Bob Skow, CPCU, CAE email@example.com
In This Issue Meet IIAI’s 108th President Terry McDonald, CIC Page 12
2013 IIAI Convention Trade Show and EXPO Page 22
2013 IIAI Trusted Choice® Junior Golf Tournament Page 25
2013 IIAI Convention Golf Tournament Page 25
E&O Considerations for the Automated Agent Page 27
2013 IIAIPAC Contributors
Membership Operations Coordinator
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2013 InsurPac Contributors
Technology & Communications Administrator Jeanne Reynolds email@example.com • Ext. 17
Membership Services Coordinator Marilyn Paul, CPCU, AIT, AAM, CPIW firstname.lastname@example.org • Ext. 11
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would like to begin my first article by thanking you, IIAI membership for electing me your 108th President. I am one of a list of eight state presidents that have served the Association from my agency. I do not take this duty lightly. Many of you already know, my job is made easy because of the wonderful staff Bob Skow, CPCU, CAE, CEO has assembled over the past several years and having a very involved National Director, Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU, ALCM. If fact, I would say, without reservation, that we have the BEST staff, CEO and National Director of all the state Associations of IIABA. Believe me that is saying a lot. I want to thank Paul Pohlson, immediate Past-President for his guidance and leadership over the past year. Through Paul’s leadership and help from the Board of Directors, we took a big risk this year by changing the Convention format. The membership asked that we include more educational breakout sessions on the Convention format and the Board responded and delivered. The Big “I” staff delivered on their promise to make the Convention a success. The following is a recap of changes implemented at the convention.
Convention Results Terry McDonald, CIC that didn’t to take a look at next year’s Convention, you may be surprised. The last item I want to bring to your attention is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that went into effect on October 1, 2013. In my office, I like to refer to this as Obamacare. And, not for the political reasons you may think. Obamacare to our agency means:
Opportunity By Agents Making Appointments
GOLF (New) Open trade show for all agents, not just registered attendees (New) Heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer during trade show (New) Attendees could choose from three educational tracks: 1. Agency Management Track a. Sales Success b. Agency Succession Planning c. Agency Tax Planning 2. Agency Technology Track a. Harnessing Social Media b. Email Marketing c. Future of Computing and Cloud Technology 3. Continuing Education Track a. Insurance Issues When Writing Accounts that do Business in other Countries b. Certificates of Insurance Update
c. Employment Practices Liability Issues 4. Optional Class a. Affordable Care Act Update The biggest complaint heard? Attendees could not attend two classes as once. We are working on a solution to this and maybe we could tape programs for availability on the Big “I” website. This format allowed attendees and company people the freedom to mingle in a great trade show atmosphere that was free to all agents, not just registered agents. Once the trade show ended, agents were free to go out to dinner with their company reps. I can’t wait to see the agenda for next year. I want to thank everybody that attended and encourage those people
If you choose to seize the opportunity presented by this sweeping historic event, it will pay dividends to you and your agency. Even if you do not sell health insurance, your customers are confused and want someone to help them with the basics of the new law. This legislation gives another reason to sit down and talk with clients, solidifying you and your agency as the go-to-place when insurance questions come up. If you do sell health insurance in your agency, a whole client base has opened up and is waiting for your expertise. If you do not answer their questions, I guarantee another agency will. In closing, I want to congratulate my personal friend and colleague, Hans Boehm, CPCU, from Boone, for being
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named the recipient of the H.H. Red Nelson Agent of the Year Award at the Convention. I know of no other agent that has given so much time and effort to the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa Association over the past several years. Congrats Hans! Also, congratulations to the C. Daniel Fulwider Young Agent Award winner, Jeremy Helmers, from Spirit Lake, IA. As a past award winner, I take pride in being involved with this award. Dan Fulwider was a personal friend of mine and I know he would take great pride in knowing Jeremy is this year’s recipient. I look forward to serving as your Association’s President and encourage anyone with questions or concerns to call me. I look forward to the challenges that lay head.
Terry McDonald, CIC IIAI 108th President
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our Association has a wide range of initiatives going on right now — it is an exciting time at the National level. But first a comment about your Association’s financial condition would be appropriate. I don’t know about you but I’ve always found financial statements to be rather boring; however, knowing where you are financially is absolutely critical to the successful operation of your agency. Of course, the same is true with our National Association. At the recently completed Fall Board meeting, we reviewed and approved a 137 page budget. I’m pleased to report that IIABA continues to be in excellent financial condition, as prudent financial management continues. The 2014 budget has no new programs or major initiatives, nor does it call for the elimination of any programs. It is important to note that part of the overall financial strategy for several years has been to de-emphasize the reliance on dues revenue in the operating budget. Only 27% of total operating revenue will come from member dues in 2014. In other words, IIABA currently receives approximately 73% of its operating revenues from non-dues sources. Our National Association is a complex organization, including numerous separate entities and committees necessary to conduct all of the business of a large Association. All of these various entities function for the benefit of you, the individual member, under one unifying mission: “To provide members with a sustainable competitive advantage.” In that regard, IIABA is currently engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process to reevaluate how to best and most effectively fulfill that mission. The important first step was to survey members on what they thought important. The survey results show that the top five “value areas” members want from the National Association are: • Markets and insurance products • Information, education and meetings • Advocacy • Agency operations and management • Branding With this information in hand, the
national director’s REPORT
Top Five Value Areas Dean Brooks, CPCU, CLU, ALCM This is especially true when it comes to advocacy for the independent agency system. For example, A.M Best recently released one of their “Trend Reviews” in which they analyze distribution trends in the private passenger auto market. The report is worth reading in its entirety but the summary is that Best is considering distribution management as an increasingly important component in its evaluation of a private passenger auto insurer’s business profile, a key rating differentiator at Best’s higher rating levels. Representatives from your National Association plan to meet with A.M. Best to be sure they understand the planning process is now moving to the significant value the independent next step which is to look at three straagency distribution channel brings to tegic areas that support and enhance the distribution of insurance in this what our members identified: 1) evalcountry. uation, development and delivery of Another example of National’s work products, programs behind the scenes and services; 2) relates to the “although the aca is law, a great deal of staff time currently is talent recruitment Affordable Care directed to the details of and development; Act. Although implementation, particularly in and 3) communicathe ACA is law, the regulation of navigators, tions. This step in a great deal of focusing on how to ensure consumer the process is just staff time curprotection and a level playing being formulated, rently is directed field for agents in the delivery of so there is nothing to the details of health insurance” yet to report. As implementation, this part of the particularly in the planning process is finalized, probably regulation of navigators, focusing on in the spring of next year, I will report how to ensure consumer protection back to you. and a level playing field for agents in Much of National’s work flies under the delivery of health insurance. the radar to one degree or another. Another example is NARAB II,
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the effort to streamline non-resident agency licensing. With NARAB, once you qualify in your home state, such things as non-resident licensing fees, CE requirements, and the burdensome corporate qualifications required in many states are eliminated. This results in a significant reduction in expense and administrative hassle for agencies licensed in multiple states. NARAB has passed the House overwhelmingly but one single member of the Senate is holding up consideration.
Our National staff is working hard to get the bill moving in the Senate at this time. These are but a few of the many examples of all the great “behind the scenes” work done by our Washington staff to ensure our continued livelihood as independent agents. Don’t forget: An important component of our continued success in Washington is our InsurPac. Through early September, InsurPac has raised over $700,000 toward the goal of becoming a one
million dollar PAC again. PLEASE: if you haven’t invested in this important effort yet this year, contact the Iowa Big “I” office and they will help you. It is an investment in your future. In closing, I would encourage you to drop me a note or call if you have any thoughts about how our Association can better serve you. I can be reached at Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency, direct line: 515-868-0484 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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108TH PRESIDENT TERRY MCDONALD, CIC VIEWPOINT: We are in Iowa City, Iowa visiting with the 108th President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa, Terry McDonald, CIC, of A.W. Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. Terry, tell us about growing up in Iowa.
TERRY: I was born in Clinton, Iowa in 1958. When I was 12 years old, my dad was killed in a car accident and my mom remarried my current stepdad, a farmer from West Liberty, Iowa. Consequently, I moved to West Liberty and graduated from West Liberty high school.
VIEWPOINT: When you were growing up in West Liberty, what did you do for fun?
TERRY: Being a city kid put on a farm was a little bit of a culture shock at first. Growing up in Clinton, a river town, there was the river and neighborhoods with something to do every day. When I moved to the farm, there was work to be done every day but also forced you be creative for your entertainment. So, as I look back on my days on farm, that is where my work ethic came from. Instead of going out to play with the local kids in the hood, I was helping out with baling hay, doing field work and farm chores.
VIEWPOINT: Were you involved in 4H? TERRY: Yes, I was in 4H and FFA. I started raising and showing cattle, which I really enjoyed. You could say I became somewhat of a “steer jock”. I showed steers at the Muscatine County Fair and the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. VIEWPOINT: What sports did you participate in? TERRY: I was involved in all sports – football, basketball, track and baseball. In our household if you were out for sports you didn’t have to be home doing chores. So, it was kind of a tradeoff. I saw sports as a lot more fun than doing chores to tell you the truth. Basketball and baseball were my favorite, but I enjoyed all sports. West Liberty was a small, 2A school, so you pretty much had to play all sports. VIEWPOINT: I understand baseball became your sport of choice and when you left high school you went to rookie league?
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TERRY: I ran it for two years and it became evident to me
“I AM A BIG HAWKEYE FAN AND IT IS THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN. I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE THAT I LIVE IN THE “BELLY OF THE BEAST.” EVERYTHING AROUND HERE CENTERS ON UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND THE HAWKEYES. IT IS A SMALL COMMUNITY YET IT HAS A HUGE UNIVERSITY WITH NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS”
TERRY: Yes, I moved down to Corpus Christi, Texas and they had a rookie league, semi-pro team, called the Corpus Christi Cardinals. I went to the tryouts and actually made the team; playing in that league for two years. I enjoyed baseball and I had the passion to go on to play baseball at a higher level, but I soon found out that I was at the highest level for my skills. Reality hit me and I moved back to Iowa with my wife and went back to school.
VIEWPOINT: We understand your insurance career started while you were in college.
TERRY: Yes, I was attending Kirkwood College and the Johnson County Farm Bureau agency manager, Earl Phillips contacted me about selling insurance. Earl gave me the opportunity to get into insurance even though I was going to school and doing other things at the time. He said that was okay and if I could balance it all, Farm Bureau would work around my schedules. I told Earl that was great and I would give it a shot. It was something I was always interested in and growing up in West Liberty, I looked up to Bob Fulwider, Past President and agency owner from West Liberty. The Insurance Industry intrigued me and it was something that I thought I would like to do someday when I was older. I worked for Farm Bureau for three years and at that point I figured out there was more to the insurance business being an independent agent. With Farm Bureau you worked as a “captive” agent so to speak and I wanted more. I left and formed my own agency in West Liberty and became an independent agent from scratch.
VIEWPOINT: How long did you run your own agency in West Liberty?
that Iowa City was where I would rather be. The opportunities for me in West Liberty weren’t quite what I was looking for since Bob Fulwider and Jack Martin already had long time established agencies in West Liberty. I went to Iowa City and started working for another small agency called Eden Smothers.
VIEWPOINT: What was the transition in your career from Eden Smothers?
TERRY: When I was working for Eden Smothers I was writing a lot of homeowners, auto and small commercial lines, but I really wanted to do bigger things. I started to truly understand insurance, and I wanted to be involved in Independent Agents of Iowa especially the Young Agents. I remember, at that time, the owners came to me and told me they wished I wouldn’t spend so much time going to the Young Agents and the Big “I” and wanted me to spend more time on the agency side. I felt I was really getting my professional development from the Independent Agents and the Young Agents so; I went across town and talked to Bill Ambrisco from the Welt Ambrisco Insurance Agency. I spoke with Bill and told him I wanted to work for a company that embraces involvement in the Big “I” and he said by all means he would encourage my participation. I started with the Welt Ambrisco agency in August 1989.
VIEWPOINT: From 1989 to the current time you have been part of the Welt Ambrisco agency, and somewhere in history there was a merger with the A.W., Alderman and Wilson, side of the agency, correct?
TERRY: Yes, Bob Alderman had retired from the agency, and Ed Wilson, Carlton Johnson and Don Flack were the agency principals of the AW Group. We were talking one day, comparing strengths/weaknesses and noticed we could bring a lot to the table for each other and have a synergy built if we sat down and talked. That meeting led us to contact Carol Hammes to help us complete an assessment of the agencies and determine if it was a feasible merger and what would be the next step in our new found agency. Carol finished her assessment and said by all means this would be one of the best mergers she could remember putting together. I do remember a profound statement she made at the document signing ceremony. She told us to look around the room and remember how happy we were to complete this merger, because this will be the best you guys will get along from here on out. Carol could not have been more wrong.
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Eric Upchurch, Brenda Pryz, RHU Financial Services Manager - Financial Services.
VIEWPOINT: When the merger took place both agencies had their own offices, what did you do?
TERRY: We decided we should be in one location in a neutral spot between Coralville and Iowa City off Highway 1 and 218. We met with my wife and her employer Chuck Bruggeman to design us a building specifically for an insurance office. They did a great job and have since designed additional offices for other insurance agencies.
VIEWPOINT: Tell us what the agency looks like today. TERRY: Since the merger the insurance agency has doubled in revenue size. We have 35 employees. The merger itself actually was exactly what Carol thought it would be and helped both agencies put resources together to really make a stronger and larger agency. The agency is made up of 10 producers counting myself; Dave Winegarden, CPCU; Craig Welt, CPCU, CWCA; Joe Campanelli, LUTCF; CLTC, REBC; Joe Wegman, CPCU, CWCA, LUTCF; Craig Schroeder, CIC, CWCA; Scott Enyart, AIC; Eric Upchurch; Brian McConnell; Mike Sabers, FIC; and Michelle Wolter, CWS. We have P&C agents that concentrate on auto, home and small commercial and large commercial. Our financial services department has one person who does life insurance and three people that do health insurance, Medicare supplements, disability and maybe long-term care.
VIEWPOINT: What is the agency business profile? TERRY: Today, it is 60% Commercial Lines, 21% Personal Lines and 19% Life & Health.
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Terry McDonald CIC, Craig Schroeder CIC, CWCA Joe Wegman CPCU, CWCA LUTCF and Dave Winegarden CPCU - Agency Principals. Not pictured Craig Welt CPCU, CWCA and Scott Enyart CIC AIC.
VIEWPOINT: What is your market territory? TERRY: Mainly Iowa. Johnson and Linn Counties provide the bulk of our business. We are licensed in almost every state, but that is because we have a few customers that have operations all over the country and overseas.
VIEWPOINT: What is the agency sweet business spot? TERRY: Our strengths lie in the middle market. Accounts anywhere from $2,000 to $70,000/$80,000 are probably where we shine the best. The bulk of our business, the bread-and-butter is in the Commercial lines category. The Iowa City Corridor is a very close-knit community and customers like to deal locally with us as long as we can provide them with the products and services they expect.
VIEWPOINT: How many partners are in the agency? TERRY: Six currently. VIEWPOINT: How do you split the management duties up between the partners?
TERRY: Again, Carol Hammes helped us put this together. Every one of us has a different area that we are responsible for at the monthly board meetings. My responsibilities are the building operations and IT items. Another partner is responsible for the Personal and Commercial Lines Departments. They have monthly departmental meetings with the managers to discuss what is going on. We delegate a lot of authority to the managers and
Johanna Laing, Personal Lines Manager and Michelle Steckly CISR Personal Lines CSA.
employees as a whole. They develop policies and procedures to handle problems before escalating to the Board of Directors. Very seldom do problems get escalated to our Board of Directors, because the problems get taken care of promptly by a well trained and experienced staff. One of the partners is our CFO and he is in charge of bringing financial statements to the monthly meeting. The CFO also keeps track of loss ratios, reserves and company volume commitments. Then, of course, we have the President, who oversees everyone. You could say the partners are the chapters and the President is the binder who is charged with keeping everyone together. We have another partner that is in charge of Marketing, Advertising and Sales. This would be anything to do with the Producers â€“ their sales, commitments and what they are doing. This person is in charge of a marketing person that handles community-wide advertising or marketing that we do within the community. We have a Chairman of the Board that does a lot of public relations items at community events. Last, but certainly not least, a partner that is in charge of our Financial Services Department. This partner keeps us updated with all items from Obamacare to Long Term Care.
VIEWPOINT: You have an agency plan called AW360, what is that?
TERRY: AW360 has been in the works for many years, but we perfected it in the last 3-5 years. The staff and principals met and went through a book titled Good to Great by Jim Collins. Within the book it gives a roadmap of the charac-
Beth Ambrisco, CIC, CISR, Nicci Keck, CISR Commercial Lines Accounts Manager, Kristi Nielson CIC, CISR, Commercial Lines Manager.
teristics of the companies that went from good to great also the characteristics of companies that failed. Through that exercise we developed a strategic game plan called AW360. It has to do with the 4-Câ€™s: Community, Customers, Clients, and Co-workers. Then we split our employees up into these four groups forming subcommittees. Each subcommittee is charged with developing plans to enhance our agency value in their particular area. For example, the Community subcommittee concentrates on how our staff can volunteer for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, or making donations to charities with agency wide fundraiser. The Clients subcommittee focuses on what we are doing for our clients and makes sure we are responding to their needs. The Company subcommittee helps builds on relationships with current carriers. We do not take on a new company unless we discuss our plan to fill a niche with our current companies. Also, we try to recognize underwriters that go above and beyond the call of duty. Last, but not least, the co-worker subcommittee comes up with fun things. It might be a bowling party or a meetand-greet. Once our subcommittees were developed it was a clear picture of what were are all about; not just servicing insurance policies.
VIEWPOINT: We understand the agency has used outside experts, why?
TERRY: We brought in Chris Burand of Burand and Associates approximately four years ago to examine our entire operation. He spent time with employees, looked at
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Terry explains the agency’s AW360 program.
our companies, reviewed our agency financials and prepared a detailed report defining what we were doing right and where we needed improvement. This report really made us a stronger agency today.
VIEWPOINT: Would you recommend using consultants to other agencies?
TERRY: I would highly recommend every agency hire a consultant to come in and give you advice about how your agency compares to other agencies in your category. You can look at the Best Practices numbers to help compare benchmarks, but we felt it didn’t really give us areas we needed to work on in our entire agency operation. If you hire a consultant, such as Chris Burand or Dirk Nohre, you can really open up some inefficiencies within your organization. You don’t have to take all the advice and some things you will disagree with, but this is okay. You know what does and does not work in your community. For instance, the consultant may advise you to quit writing commercial business with premium under $3,000. That does not work for us because we continue to be a “neighborhood” agency catering to all clients. It might cost us a little bit more money to service those clients, but those people depend on us and are referred to us by our other customers. If we start turning them away then our other customers are going to really look at us and ask themselves if we are an agency they want to deal with. It works for us, we do lose money on these small accounts, but we’re okay with it.
VIEWPOINT: Tell us about the companies that you have in the agency.
The agency’s very first company contract with Employers Liability Assurance Corp. dated December, 1912.
TERRY: The companies in our office would be Cincinnati; United Fire; West Bend; NSI; Travelers; IMT; Pekin; Westfield; Selective; EMC; Allied; Continental Western; Western National; Society and Grinnell Mutual. We have some monoline workers’ compensation companies like Accident Fund & United Heartland, Argent and SFM. On the Health Insurance side we deal 90% of the time with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but do have some other contracts.
VIEWPOINT: What agency management system do you use?
TERRY: We are on what they call Applied’s TAM® Online. Everything is done online and is done through the Cloud. Several years ago we made the commitment to make Personal Lines paperless, followed by Commercial Lines. We brought Carlton Johnson dragging and kicking with us, but he agreed to it. Today, we are paperless on all lines of insurance.
VIEWPOINT: What are the keys to the agency’s success here at A.W. Welt Ambrisco?
TERRY: Our staff. We feel we have the best staff in Iowa if not the nation for our size of agency. Many of our CSA’s have designations such as CIC and CISR. Education is a key factor with our employees. The other key to success is our commitment to AW360, which is the four C’s – Community, Customers, Clients and Co-workers. It is making sure we are paying attention to all areas of agency operation.
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VIEWPOINT: Can you tell us about your agency’s customer service goals?
TERRY: Our mission statement is: To protect our clients and professionally service their needs beyond expectations. We help businesses and individuals manage risk through precise strategies tailored to fit their unique needs. We realize that home, life, health, business and auto insurance needs are ever-changing. What works for someone today may not work as well tomorrow. With our attentive staff giving personalized service, we can monitor and adjust the risk management program as the family and/or business evolves and grows. We are here to help each step of the way. VIEWPOINT: Give us an example of things you do in the agency to service your customers.
TERRY: We segment clients by several criteria. One criteria is for personal lines is rate the account as A, B or C. This gives us an opportunity to see which accounts are stable, which accounts are a revolving door and which accounts we want to focus our time and energy towards too build a relationship of longevity. In Commercial lines, we have a Small Business Unit, Middle Market Unit and Large accounts Unit. This is something new that has evolved from staff recommendations on how best to service clients. Another important item is the implementation of CSR/24, a 24-hour answering service that has access to client information. Whenever a live person cannot answer the phone because we are closed, a representative from CSR/24 is there to help. CSR/24 has all of our client information through uploading of computer files. If there is a claim that comes in after 5 p.m. we give them an on-call list of producers to help. No matter what time of day or night something happens with an insured a producer will get a call.
VIEWPOINT: Why did you get involved with the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa?
TERRY: My first experience with the Big “I” was the involvement in the Young Agents. I didn’t really know at the time what the Big “I” was all about until I went to work a small agency in Iowa City. I still remember to this day signing up for the YAC and being asked to serve as a committee member. Sure enough I got on the committee. I went to Des Moines and met with all these young agents in the same
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situation I was in and they were struggling with the same issues that I was dealing with. This committee really helped me learn to navigate the waters of the insurance industry. Then I attended National Young Agent Conferences and was lucky enough to be chosen to serve on the Young Agents National Committee. As I look back through years being an agent, that was a very important part of my career development. I look at any producer’s career as a 3-legged stool: education, sales, and professional development. Today, I feel the clear choice for professional development is through the Big “I”.
VIEWPOINT: Insurance education has always been important to you, why?
TERRY: Insurance education is very important since insurance changes so much and it opens up opportunities. You hear people say just wait five minutes and the insurance industry will change and it may, but every time it does change, it opens up more opportunities and reasons to go out and talk to people. The flavor of the day now is Cyber Liability. This was relatively unheard of five years ago for small to medium size business. The threat total is very real for even your smallest customer.
VIEWPOINT: The agency has a rich tradition of being involved with the Association and as President you will be the 8th from your agency, correct?
TERRY: Yes, I will be the 8th person in the history of our agency to be President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa Association. Starting with S.T. Morrison (founder of the agency in 1879) Lyle Jones, Clark Caldwell, Bob Alderman, Bill Ambrisco, Ed Wilson, and Carlton Johnson are all Past Presidents.
VIEWPOINT: If you could give advice to someone new getting into the business, what would it be?
TERRY: My advice would be to be a producer your work day is not 8 to 5 or a 5-day workweek. If you are really committed, not just involved and you want to work at it, you have to spend the hours needed to make yourself successful. The difference of being between involved and committed is like having ham and eggs for breakfast. To make this breakfast possible, the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed. I have always said insurance is the worst paying, easy job in the world, but it is the highest paid,
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hardworking job. You’ll never find a job that’ll pay you more if you put the time and effort in.
VIEWPOINT: As you look at the insurance business what worries you most about the future as an independent agent?
TERRY: First, internet sales could be a huge competitor for the independent agent as we move down the road. We need to be prepared for this and I think CAP may be our best opportunity to address this concern. Secondly, Cyber Liability in our own offices. Finally, government action would be the third item. This may be proven by the implementation of the ACA.
VIEWPOINT: As an agency owner what keeps you awake at night?
TERRY: Government policies and procedures. Obamacare is a prime example.
VIEWPOINT: Tell us about your family. TERRY: I have been married for 36 years to my wife Sandy, and we have 3 children: Tyson (32); Trey (17) who is a senior at West High School in Iowa City; and a daughter Tannor (15), a sophomore at West High. (Also, a very close foreign exchange student, Aliou Keita, who we treat like a son, is 32.)
TERRY: I helped a foreign exchange student from Dakar, Sengal (Africa) come over and attend high school in the U.S. The way this came about was after Dr. Tom Davis was fired as the coach at Iowa his assistant coach, Gary Close became the basketball coach at Regina High School. Coach Close came to me with the idea of hosting this student named Aliou Keita. I did not have enough room to have Aliou stay with us, but I had a friend that agreed to take Aliou in. Aliou arrived in Iowa City in the middle of the winter with no coat and only the clothes on his back. So my friend, Dan Ahrens, went to Brad Lohaus, who was playing for the Boston Celtics, and was able to get some much need clothing for Aliou. Aliou practically lived at my place on the weekends since he became best friends with my son. After high school graduation, Aliou received a full ride scholarship from the University of Tulsa. After one year, we brought him back to Iowa and with the help of Mark Egly and Dr. Tom Davis, Aliou enrolled at Drake University where he graduated and with degrees in MIS, IT and Finance. He still works and resides in West Des Moines today.
VIEWPOINT: Are you an Iowa Hawkeye fan? TERRY: I am a big Hawkeye fan and it is that time of the
year again. I always tell people that I live in the “belly of the beast.” Everything around here centers on University of Iowa and the Hawkeyes. It is a small community yet it has a huge university with national implications. Now, as everybody knows, some years the Hawkeyes are very good and some years they are not, but you have to remember students are revolving through here at a very rapid pace.
TERRY: I like to go golfing and fishing in northern lakes.
VIEWPOINT: Who influenced you the most in your insur-
VIEWPOINT: What do you like to do when you are not
VIEWPOINT: One of the things we know about you is that you have taken some of the athletic skills you have learned and helped others by coaching. Tell us about that.
TERRY: After I played rookie baseball in Texas and came back, I kept playing softball, competing in district, state and national events. When my oldest son, Tyson was nine, I stopped playing myself and I committed to coach his teams. It is most rewarding thing done in my life. I went from coaching little league teams to travel teams playing in several different states. By the time Tyson was 13 or 14 years old we were attending national competitions in the AAU. We won the Creighton Cardinal Classic held in Omaha during the College World Series, edging out a team from Little Rock Arkansas in the finals. That year we went on to the National AAU tournament in Oklahoma, ending up 14th in the nation. When my younger son Trey was 10 years old, I coached his team as well. By the time he was 13 years old, his team won the Class A 13U USSSA World Series in Kansas City, Missouri. It has been a rewarding experience for me, both teaching the kids and also watching their success.
VIEWPOINT: What other ways have you assisted?
TERRY: Bill Ambrisco and Bob Fulwider. I really respected and looked up to these individuals as my insurance career evolved. I think their integrity is beyond reproach and that is a great quality in any person.
VIEWPOINT: What is your favorite food and restaurant? TERRY: Growing up on the farm leads me to say steak is my favorite food. But my favorite restaurant is the Wig and Pen Pizza restaurant.
VIEWPOINT: As President this next year is there a message you would like to send to fellow agents?
TERRY: Get involved in the Big “I” and in the political process, because your livelihood really depends on it. If we are not acting as advocates for our clients then nobody else will. It is a huge responsibility to put on Independent Agents, but it is a challenge that we embrace and can go forward with.
VIEWPOINT: Thank you for your time and we look forward to your leadership over the next year.
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2013 IIAI CONVENTION
The 107th Annual Convention was the place to be last September! A huge crowd of agents and company partners filled the West Des Moines Sheraton Hotel. Jam-packed with great speakers, a fantastic golf outing and our largest ever trade show made the 2013 Conventional a success.
Cloud Technology was the topic of discussion by automation expert Doug Mitchell.
Always a favorite – CPA Tom Ahlers and partner Mike Collins provided attendees with an “Agency Tax Planning” session that had everyone talking.
Presidential Citation being presented to Tim English of Dyersville, Iowa.
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Attorney James Gilliam conducted an Employment Practices Liability Session.
2013 H.H. Red Nelson Agent of the Year is Hans Boehm, CPCU of Boone.
Bryan Tilden, CIC, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, ARM, ALCM, of North Carolina conducted Workers’ Compensation and Writing International Insurance Workshops.
Todd Standtlander of Manning Insurance Agency is recognized for his work on IIAI Education Programs.
Bill Perkins received rave reviews for his Ethics Seminar and Certificates of Insurance Update.
The Affordable Care Act Update by Brian Gillette was a huge hit with attendees.
Internet marketing Guru from Albany, NY, Ryan Hanley packed his two workshops with agents looking for great ideas.
Larry Jansen, President and CEO of Grinnell Mutual, makes a point during the Industry Leadership Panel.
Continental Westernâ€™s new President Mike Connor discussing an answer to a question from the audience.
Insurance Commissioner, Nick Gerhart on left and John Bykowski, President and CEO of Secura on right.
IMTâ€™s CEO, Richard Keith, receives a Presidential Citation for his year of support and work with independent agents.
Alan Richardson of Transition Point Business Advisors discussed succession planning.
2013 C. Daniel Fulwider Young Agent of the Year recipient Jeremy Helmers of Spirit Lake.
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Big insurance coverages for small business customers.
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2013 IIAI TRUSTED CHOICE® JUNIOR GOLF TOURNAMENT Almost 100 Junior Golfers participated in the 2013 State Tournament. A special thank you to Allied Insurance for sponsoring the tournament.
Tournament workers and winners. Pictured left to right – Agent Dustin Smith, Runner up Jeff Swegle of West Des Moines, winner Grant Smith of West Des Moines, IIAI President Paul Pohlson, Tournament Director and agent Tim English, CIC.
IIAI President Paul Pohlson presenting the 2013 Trusted Choice® Big “I” Golf Tournament winner Grant Smith of Johnson his trophy.
Our 2013 female winner is Emily Snelling of Clear Lake pictured in the middle.
2013 IIAI CONVENTION
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We make things easy for you. So you can make things easy for them. For more about how Integrity can help you help your customers contact: Cathy Beaudin at 920.968.8326 or email@example.com integrityinsurance.com
E&O CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE AUTOMATED AGENT by Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham, LLP
echnology is providing agents and brokers (“agents”) today with several tools to increase sales and profitability, as well as to provide better customer service. Automation is also helping many agencies manage their E&O risks more effectively, because of its capabilities to retain accurate data, foster consistent processes, document transactions and conversations and generate reports to monitor adherence to agency procedures. However, if the agency does not implement its technology in a disciplined way, this same technology can be used against the agency in connection with an E&O claim or lawsuit. ACT requested the law firm, Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham, to provide this overview of E&O considerations agents should keep in mind when using technology, given the firm’s expertise in defending agents in E&O lawsuits.
Electronic Delivery of Insurance Policies It is crucial in defending many E&O claims and lawsuits that the agency be able to demonstrate that it delivered the insurance policy to the customer. Without this evidence, we are unable to raise one of our most valuable defenses – the “Duty to Read” defense. However, many agencies are now delivering insurance policies and other insurance documents to customers in
electronic form rather than in paper form. Providing insurance documents to customers in this way can help save both time and money and also allows the agency to provide a higher level of customer service. Any agency that is contemplating the delivery of electronic copies of insurance documents to customers should follow a few simple steps in order to better serve the customer and help protect against an E&O claim or
lawsuit. First, the agency should make certain that the customer consents to electronic delivery and understands that going forward, until such time as he or she indicates otherwise, he or she will only receive electronic copies of insurance documents and will not receive paper copies. The best practice for the agency to follow is to have the customer sign a letter acknowledging his or her acceptance of this practice. If policies are being emailed to customers, the agency should not rely upon automatic receipts, since sometimes they can be falsely generated by the recipient’s antivirus software. Instead, the agency should request that a customer who is sent a policy by email affirmatively respond that he or she has, in fact, received the email and attachment. If the customer does not affirmatively respond, the agency should be sure to call the customer to confirm receipt, and then be sure to make a note of that conversation in the agency management system. If a customer is being provided with an electronic copy of his or her insurance policy that is contained on a CD, the agency should be sure to send or hand deliver that CD along with a letter stating that the electronic document is the policy and that the customer should be sure to review the policy carefully and advise the agency of any questions he or she may have or changes that need to be made. In addition to email or delivering a copy of the insurance policy on a CD, there is also an electronic system whereby an agency sends an email to the insured with a link to a standalone secure server where the client can obtain a copy of his or her policy. If the insured retrieves an electronic copy of his or her policy, the agency management system is documented to show that it was retrieved, by whom it was retrieved and when it was retrieved. However, if the insured does not retrieve the electronic copy of his or her policy, an email is sent to
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the agent to advise that the policy has not been retrieved. The agency can then either send the customer another email reminding him or her to access the policy through the secure portal or print the policy out and send it the old fashion way via the mail.
Notes of Discussions with Insureds and Insurers The rule within every agency should be that all employees must consistently make notes within the agency management system of any discussions with insureds, insurers or anyone else that concern in any way issues related to coverage or claims. The agency management system notes the date and time for any such notes which are entered. These notes can be very powerful proof if needed to defend the agency against an E&O claim or lawsuit. There are five important aspects to documenting any communications, and they are as follows: • Note the date, time and duration of the conversation; • Note the name and title of the individual that your agency is communicating with; • Note how the conference took place, such as office conference, telephone conference and/or cell phone conference; • Note the salient points of the conversation; and, • If possible, follow-up with the insured in writing to confirm the conversation. While this seems extremely basic, you would be amazed at how many times we open an agency’s file and the notes are missing such details as whom they spoke with, or where the conversation took place, or even the issues that were discussed. Without some, or all, of this basic information, it may be more difficult or even impossible to defend an agent in an E & O claim properly.
Activities Noted in the Agency Management System Activities that are created within the agency management system are a great way for employees to diary matters for follow-up. No matter what
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agency management system you are utilizing, the first and most important thing to confirm is that any activity performed is reflected by an activity within your system. For example, if your agency creates a certificate of insurance for a customer, your agency management system should create an activity in the activity log that corresponds to the creation of the certificate of insurance. This would likewise apply to any other type of task, such as the completion of applications, change endorsements, performing a function on the carrier website, etc. The second most important thing to keep in mind is that the activities that are created should always be closed when the activity has been completed. A very powerful piece of evidence in defending E&O claims and lawsuits is to demonstrate that an activity was opened, handled and then closed when completed. Conversely, it can be very damaging for an agency to have activities within its agency management system that have never been followed up on; or if they have been followed up on, they have not been closed. Accordingly, every agency should make certain that all employees are creating, following up and then closing all activities within the agency management system.
Voice Mail Messages and Disclaimers Voice mail messages are regularly left by customers on the voice mail system of agencies, asking questions on coverage, reporting claims, and requesting changes in coverage. For this reason, it is recommended that a voice mail disclaimer be used on both the message for every employee and also on the main message for the agency. This disclaimer should state that coverage cannot be bound or modified, nor can a claim be reported, by use of the voice mail system. In addition, it is a good practice for an agency to consider adopting a procedure whereby voice mail messages are retained either in the original recorded form or in written form. Some agency management systems are compatible with phone systems to
allow a copy of voice mail messages to be attached to an insured’s electronic file. There are also programs that exist where you can have a written version of your voice mail messages sent to you by email and then retain that written version of the message.
Disclaimers for E-mail, Websites and Social Media Sites In addition to a disclaimer on voice mail, it is also important for every agency to have similar disclaimers on their email transmissions, websites and social media sites. Some agencies advise us that they like to use email for their customers to report claims. For those agencies, the disclaimer might state as follows: “Please note that an email will not be effective to report a claim or request a coverage change until such time as you receive a confirmation from us that the claim submitted or change requested has been processed.” Additionally, some agencies have interactive websites that allow customers to report claims or request policy changes. A similar type of disclaimer should be used for those interactive web sites as well. Where an agency or brokerage is utilizing a social media site like Facebook or Twitter, the agency should use a disclaimer similar to that mentioned above with the addition of advising that these vehicles should not be used to communicate client specific information to the agency, any content the customer provides becomes the property of the agency and the agency is at liberty to add, modify or delete any content that is not acceptable.
Certificates of Insurance Certificates of insurance are still one of the largest sources of E&O claims and lawsuits. As such, it is important for every agency to have good documentation concerning how certificates were issued in the event an issue arises related to a certificate. The agency should be sure to retain, either in paper form or electronically, a copy of
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every certificate of insurance issued. While agency management systems will automatically save a copy of the certificates on the system, one problem we have encountered is that many of those systems will only print out the current date (not the date that the actual certificate was issued). Because of the importance of having an exact copy of the actual certificate that is issued (including the exact date it was issued), agents should make certain that if they are saving the copies of certificates electronically, and not in a paper form, that their agency management system will either: • print out the date that the certificate was actually issued if the certificate is printed at a later date; or • scan a copy of the certificate that is actually issued by the system and maintain an electronic copy of it within the respective insured’s file.
ACORD Forms It is equally important that every agency use the most current and up-todate ACORD forms in connection with its daily operations. Doing so will help protect the agency from potential E&O claims and lawsuits and will often also help better serve your customers. For example, the ACORD 80 Homeowners Application was revised in October 2009, but some agencies appear to still be using the earlier versions of the application. The new ACORD Homeowners Application now contains five pages and it is akin to a checklist of coverages and exposures which is one of the best means to dispute a claim by a customer that coverages were never reviewed. Reviewing the completed application with customers will help protect the agency from claims that the agency did not review a particular type of coverage with the customer or ask about a certain exposure that may exist. Another form that is often not used by agencies in its most current ver-
sion is the ACORD 25 Certificate of Insurance. The most recent version of the ACORD 25 is the May 2010 edition. As mentioned above, because certificates of insurance are involved in a great many E&O claims and lawsuits, it is of the utmost importance that agencies use the most recent version of the ACORD 25 Certificate of Insurance.
Downloads and Uploads Another area we would like to address is the agency’s uploading and downloading documents and information from the insurers with whom they do business. While we understand that uploading and downloading has become a major tool to increase agency efficiency, there are several points to keep in mind: 1. Confirm that your agency management system is not allowing your agency’s downloads to change the applications from insureds unless it creates a new version. 2. Downloads can greatly enhance the accuracy of the agency’s data which is essential when counseling insureds, but it is important to audit these downloads regularly to make sure they are accurate and that the agency’s database contains good data overall. Critical to all of these recommendations is that the agency incorporate them into its written procedures, train its employees on them and require that they be followed, as well as audit the agency’s systems regularly to make sure the procedures are being followed. This overview is not meant to be an exhaustive list of potential E&O issues that you may face when you examine the electronic side of your business. Agencies should always keep in mind all of the other E&O risk management principles that they have learned and how the technology they are using might impact them.
Editor’s Note: Additional ACT articles on agency E&O and risk management issues are available on the ACT website, such as “Don’t Get Caught in the Web” (agency website exposures); “Agency E&O Considerations When Using Social Media”; “Creating a Social Web Policy for Your Independent Agency” (comprehensive checklist); and “ACT Prototype Agency Information Security Plan” (tool to build your agency’s written information security plan). All of these tools are available at the “Websites & Social Media” Quick Link in the gray shaded portion on the left of the ACT home page (www.iiaba.net/act), except the prototype agency information security plan is at the “Security & Privacy” Quick Link. This article was prepared for ACT by Jim Keidel, Chris Weldon and Darren Renner of Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham, LLP, a law firm located in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, concentrating its practice in the defense of insurance agent and broker E&O claims and litigation, loss control and education, as well as insurance coverage analysis and litigation and insurance regulatory matters for insurance agents and brokers. Jim or Chris can be reached at 914-948-7000 or by email a firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. This article reflects the views of the authors and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.
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2013 IIAIPAC CONTRIBUTORS October 16, 2013
**Leadership Circle Contributors
Abens, Maury Allerman, Jeff Allison, Barb Ambrisco, Bill ** Anderson, Brian ** Andreasen, Phil Andrews, Robert Austen, Kyle Axman, Terry Banyas, Steve Barnes, Robert Baughman, Lori Beert, Robin Bernhard, Linda Bernhardt, David Bernhardt, Jeanne ** Bernhardt, Julie Bilbrey, Ken Bilbrey, Val ** Block, Jerry Boeckman, Larry Boehm, David Boehm, Hans ** Bohnenkamp, Jeff Brasel, Mark Bright, Drew ** Brooks, Dean ** Brown, Martin Bushman, Tom Butler, Ed ** Byl, Michael Callanan, Casey Campanelli, Joe Campbell, Chad Campbell, Delman Carter, Dennis Childs, Quentin Christensen, Diane L Christophersen, Scott Conroy, Robert ** Coppock, Loren Cunning, Dan Currie, Mark Dahms, Debb
** Dalton, John Davis, Justin Dencklau, John ** DeSousa, Scott Dierks, Daniel Dix, Mark ** Dolan, Pat Dolezal, Fred Donhowe, Mark ** Donnelly, Dennis Douglas, Tom ** Doyle, Patrick Draper, Scott Elliott, Luann ** English, Tim Fisher, Gary Fitzsimmons, Marian Follmann, Doug Foltz, David Fox, Jim Franzen, Matt ** Friedman, Richard ** Friedman, Terry ** Fullenkamp, Ron Fulwider, Bob Fulwider, Jan ** Gamrath, Tom Garms, Bill Garms, Kristy Gasperi, Bill Gentry, Chris Gentry, Glenda ** Gifford, Tom Greteman, David M. Greteman, James J. Greteman, Matthew P. Greteman, Michael V. Gruca, John Grundman, Adam ** Hagge, Jason ** Hagge, Jeff Haines, Lee Hallett, Trese Haman, Dave
Hansen, Clay Hardie, Hugh Hardt, Chris ** Harris, Kipp ** Harrison, Michael Harrison, Tim Hayes, Curtis Heckart, Benjamin ** Heitmann, Mike Helmers, Jason Hoff, John ** Hoffman, Clarence ** Hollrah, Kent Hoogendoorn, Teresa Hopkins, Lori ** Huisenga, Kirk ** Hummel, Kevin ** Hunsicker, Eldon Jacobson, Gaylen G. ** Jester, Robert Johnson, Bob Juffer, Ronald Junk, Steve Karns, Carol ** Kimble, Ty Klever, Mark Klobassa, Gary Kluger, Brenda Koehler, Kasi ** Koele, Marlys Krall, Mike Kramer, Ron Krier, Mary ** Krist, James Kruckman, Tamman ** Lane Jr, Jim Lanik, Bruce Lenz, Ray Lerdal, Scott Lillis, Dan Lillis, John ** Lorber, Paul ** Ludovissy, Dave Lussem, Ted
Lyons, Mark Madsen, Steve Manary, June K Martin, Doug Mayhall, Jair McArtor, Larry McCoy, William ** McDonald, Terry McInnis, Greg McKay, Dan Mease, Jerry Merrill, David Middendorf, James Miller, Doug Miller, Jeff Miller, Lottie Mills, Lynn ** Miltner, Mike Moran, John ** Morningstar, Scott Nelsen, Craig R Nelson, Gregory Nelson, John P Nelson, Mike Nelson, Scott Neppl, Jean ** Nielsen, Norm Niermeyer, Robert ** Norton, Tom Omdahl, Howard ** Ouren, Thomas ** Owens, Jay Pearson, Bill ** Pertzborn, Mike ** Petersburg, Brian Petersen, Kenneth L ** Petersen, Lloyd Peyton, Larry Pippett, Marty ** Pohlson, Paul Power, Jerry Power, Judy ** Powers, Tom A Price, Dick
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Puetz, Joseph Quam, Gordon Ramundt, Dana Rasmussen, Richard Ratcliff, Margaret Reimers, Tim ** Rensink, Ron Reynolds, Jeanne ** Richardson, Tom Rohde, Mark Root, John ** Rowley, David ** Samuelson, Dennis Saunders, Robert ** Schaefer, Gene Schneidermann, Craig Schnittjer, Staci ** Schnobrich, Forrest Schonhorst, Doug Schroeder, Keith ** Schultz, Bruce Schwenk, Larry Scott, Marsha
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Scott, O. Ray Shellhammer, Keith Sheridan, Vincent Sieperda, David Sieperda, Scott ** Silhanek, Carlene Sinnott, Steve Sjulin, Bill ** Skow, Bob Smith, Duane Smith, Dustin Soma, Steve ** Sporer, Russ Springer, Steve St Clair, Joan Stadtlander, Todd ** Stauter, Renee ** Stayner, Dixie Struchen, Mary Suiter, Steve Sump, Scott Sundet, Bruce Taylor, Rick
Thompson, Bill Thompson, Lorrie Treimer, Bill Treimer, David Triplett, Rory ** Trost, Nicki Ulfers, Marilyn Ulfers, Milton Van Diest, Bob ** Van Roekel, Gerald VanEngelenhoven, Ben ** VanGorp, Dennis Vermedahl, Dave Vogel, Kurt ** Vogel, Matt ** Vollstedt, Steven Vreugdenhil, Valerie ** Waddell, Joyce ** Walsh, John Watson, Jeri ** Weers, Gary ** Wegman, Joe ** Weinman, Joe
Weinstein, Frank ** Welch, Floyd ** Welt, Craig Westrum, Bob ** White, Willene Whitinger, Jarvis Whitinger, Joe Wilcke, Randy Willis II, Joe Wilson, Constance Winegarden, Dave ** Wirtz, Jim ** Wirtz, Scott Woodard, Dick Wooge, Gaylord Wooldridge, Jeff Wooldridge, Neal Worthington, Mike Woythaler, Lenny Youngdale, Reta Yount, William Zimmerman, Shelly
2013 INSURPAC CONTRIBUTORS October 16, 2013
**Leadership Circle Contributors
Allerman, Jeff Allison, Barb ** Anderson, Brian ** Andreasen, Phil Andrews, Robert Axman, Terry Banyas, Steve Beert, Robin Bernhardt, David Bernhardt, Jeanne ** Bernhardt, Julie ** Block, Jerry Boeckman, Larry Boehm, Hans ** Bohnenkamp, Jeff ** Brooks, Dean ** Brown, Martin Bushman, Tom Butler, Ed ** Byl, Michael Campbell, Delman Carter, Dennis Childs, Quentin Christophersen, Scott Conroy, Robert ** Coppock, Loren Currie, Mark ** Dalton, John Davis, Justin ** DeSousa, Scott Dolan, John ** Dolan, Pat ** Donnelly, Dennis ** Doyle, Patrick Draper, Scott Eikamp, Kevin Elgin, Betty ** English, Tim Fisher, Gary Follmann, Doug ** Friedman, Richard ** Friedman, Terry ** Fullenkamp, Ron ** Gamrath, Tom Garms, Bill Garms, Kristy Gasperi, Bill Gentry, Chris Gettler, Judy ** Gifford, Tom Greteman, David M. Greteman, James J. Greteman, Matthew P.
Greteman, Michael V. ** Hagge, Jason ** Hagge, Jeff Haines, Lee Haman, Dave Hardie, Hugh Hardt, Chris ** Harris, Kipp ** Harrison, Michael Harrison, Tim Hayes, Curtis Heard, Tom ** Heitmann, Mike Helmers, Jason Helmle, Jodi Hoff, John ** Hoffman, Clarence ** Hollrah, Kent Hoogendoorn, Teresa ** Huisenga, Kirk ** Hummel, Kevin ** Hunsicker, Eldon ** Jester, Robert Karns, Chris ** Kimble, Ty King, Tom Klein, Mark Klever, Mark Klobassa, Gary Kluger, Brenda ** Koele, Marlys Kramer, Ron Kreimeyer, Bob ** Krist, James ** Lane Jr, Jim Lanik, Bruce Lau, Kevin Lenz, Ray Lerdal, Scott Lillis, Dan Lillis, John ** Lorber, Paul Lovelace, Mark ** Ludovissy, Dave Lussem, Ted Lyons, Mark Machande, Jennifer Madsen, Steve Maki, Dale Mayhall, Jair McArtor, Larry McClintock, Tim McCoy, William
** McDonald, Terry McInnis, Greg Mease, Jerry Meirick, Charlene Merrill, David Middendorf, James Miller, Doug Miller, Jeff Miller, Lottie ** Miltner, Mike ** Morningstar, Scott Nelson, John P Nelson, Scott ** Nielsen, Norm Niermeyer, Robert Nissen, Chris ** Norton, Tom ** Ouren, Thomas ** Owens, Jay Pearson, Bill Peiffer, Greg ** Pertzborn, Mike ** Petersburg, Brian Petersen, Kenneth L ** Petersen, Lloyd Peyton, Larry Pippett, Marty ** Pohlson, Paul Potratz, Robert Power, Jerry ** Powers, Tom A Price, Dick Quam, Gordon Ramundt, Dana Ratcliff, Margaret ** Rensink, Ron ** Richardson, Tom Rohde, Mark Root, John ** Rowley, David Ruffcorn, Ryan ** Samuelson, Dennis Saunders, Robert ** Schaefer, Gene Schneidermann, Craig ** Schnobrich, Forrest ** Schultz, Bruce Scott, Marsha Scott, O. Ray Sheridan, Vincent ** Silhanek, Carlene Sinnott, Dan ** Skow, Bob
Smith, Duane Smith, Ted ** Sporer, Russ Springer, Steve ** Stauter, Renee ** Stayner, Dixie Stille, Steven Struchen, Mary Sump, Scott Sundet, Bruce Taylor, Rick Thompson, Bill Treimer, Bill Treimer, David Triplett, Rory ** Trost, Nicki Tyler, Phil Van Diest, Bob ** Van Roekel, Gerald ** VanGorp, Dennis Vens, Michael Vermedahl, Dave Vogel, Kurt ** Vogel, Matt ** Vollstedt, Steven ** Waddell, Joyce Walhovd, Jodie Wall, Terry ** Walsh, John Watson, Jeri Wedemeyer, Bret ** Weers, Gary ** Wegman, Joe ** Weinman, Joe ** Welch, Floyd ** Welt, Craig Westrum, Bob ** White, Willene Whitinger, Jarvis Whitinger, Joe Wilcke, Randy Wilson, Constance Wilson, Sue Winegarden, Dave ** Wirtz, Jim ** Wirtz, Scott Wooldridge, Jeff Worthington, Mike Yount, William
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50 AWESOME SOCIAL MEDIA IDEAS FOR INSURANCE AGENCIES
Social media is a good marketing tool when used wisely. Today’s agencies are creating interaction among fans while developing promotions that generate revenue. The following includes 50 marketing ideas that agencies can use with social media. 1.
Be personable. If posts on social media are too sales-y, it will be difficult to get and engage with followers. To many consumers, a hard sell on social media is a turn off. Balance self-promotional posts with post that are informational, posts that are personable and post that are helpful. Write regular posts as least once a week, but two to three times a week is even better. Write social media posts on ideas for home improvement, car care and businesses tips.
Keep customers engaged.
Create fun contests for fans with Facebook. Give prizes, like a gift card, to winners.
Post a fact, story or comment relevant to a particular insurance
product or market and end the post with a question.
13. Share pictures of the agency’s
Use blog posts to share content and drive traffic to the agency’s website (also helps with search engine optimization) and on social media profiles.
14. Incorporate what agency fans and
Sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.
Like the page and write I love ABC Agency’ on the Wall.
10. Give away a free car wash for
every person who requests an auto insurance quote on Facebook or Twitter.
11. Profile agency employees and post a photo of them.
12. Post information about community events and news.
followers say about the agency, owners or employees in social media in other marketing. For example, use positive reviews that people post on Facebook in direct or email marketing.
15. Identify the agency employee
who is most passionate about social media and put that person in charge of the agency’s social media marketing.
16. Host live Twitter chats so people
can ask questions and a dialogue is started. It doesn’t always have to be about insurance. Invite different subject matter experts to answer questions about a variety of topics.
17. Create boards for each line of
business on Pinterest and pin
FALL 2013 |
pictures and articles about the topics. For example, if Agency ABC writes motorcycle and boat insurance, they might have a board for motorcycles and a board for boats. They could pin pictures of motorcycles, tips on taking care of a boat, great places for a motorcycle ride, etc.
18. Create boards on Pinterest for
what the agency is all about. If it’s a family-oriented agency, share fun stuff and ideas for family activities, recipes for family dinners, etc. If it’s more business-oriented, pin inspiring business quotes, good books on business, technology for businesses, etc.
19. Promote the agency’s referral program.
20. Run a promotion to increase
Facebook fans by donating a dollar to local charity for every new fan on Facebook.
21. Use your mobile website to promote social media profiles.
22. Recognize a fan or follower of the
week on the agency’s Facebook or Twitter profiles as a way to say thank you.
23. When the agency gets a new follower on Twitter, @ the follower, and say thanks for the follow.
24. Spend one hour a week looking
for five articles to share. They can be about insurance, community news and events, general interest articles about the lines of business the agency writes, e.g., home improvement, car care tips etc. Schedule the posts for each day of the week using a service like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
25. Schedule posts for Saturday and
Sunday and after hours. Just because the office is closed, doesn’t mean the agency’s followers aren’t reading social media.
| FALL 2013
26. Start a community group on
LinkedIn and every day suggest topics for discussion.
27. Talk about events and holidays
and share articles or information that discusses risks associated with those.
28. Post information on education and training events for a particular industry. They do not have to be related to insurance but could be geared toward the agency’s specialty business.
29. Create polls and surveys for
followers and fans on current events, community news, industry trends and customer services.
30. Post videos and audio periodically on an agency blog, YouTube, Facebook, and agency website.
31. Display the social media channel links on the agency’s website.
32. Integrate the agency’s Twitter
account with its LinkedIn account. Find out how in the LinkedIn Learning Center.
33. Create a schedule for checking
social media and content postings; don’t leave it unscheduled.
34. Don’t just retweet and link to the work of others.
35. Employ a multi-tweet campaign to plant doubt in the minds of potential buyers. Begin each tweet off with the phrase “When was the last time your family (or business) insurance agent…” Then complete it with a positive action such as…” contacted you with a money-savings idea?” Include a link to a landing page on the agency’s site to convert the person’s doubt into a sales lead.
36 Buy an ad through Facebook
that will go out on the agency’s network.
37. Don’t ask followers or friends for favors.
38. Keep posting fresh and timely. 39. Be a participant via sharing, liking and voting; don’t just sit there.
40. Have employees participate in the agency’s social media campaign.
41. Include social media addresses on business cards and email signatures.
42. Target “influencers” including
editors, bloggers, consultants and PR pros in the agency’s target markets.
43. Use Google to identify major
trends in the agency’s target markets and tailor comments and questions to those trends.
44. Ask for recommendations from
LinkedIn contacts to some of their contacts.
45. Avoid number envy – the quality
of contacts is more important than the number of contacts.
46. Create and share holiday cards with social media contacts.
47. Don’t be negative or defensive on responding; stay positive.
48. Keep up with changes in social media platforms.
49. Make the agency’s Facebook wall different. Focus on the visual by attaching videos, colorful large print flyers on various insurance topics (formatted as pictures), creative postings designed to elicit comments from fans, such as “Hit Our Facebook Wall with the Cause of Your Worst Car Accident” and other interesting, visual content.
50. Let customers say whatever they want.
You’re an independent agent.
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Winter 2013 - Volume 31 - Issue 4