by Jon Spaugy, BIG CEO
BIG TIMES EDITORIAL MARCH 2018 As impossible as it may be, the first quarter of 2018 is coming to a close. I maybe showing my age, but it seems like the Great Y2K Panic was not that long ago – and yet it was nearly two decades ago. Of course, it also feels like our first BIG convention wasn’t that long ago – even as we get ready for our ninth annual event. I will tell you that planning for this year’s convention is a bit more complicated than our inaugural conference. What makes our convention a success every year is a microcosm of how BIG members benefit from our association. Team work makes the dream work. I don’t want to spout platitudes, but it’s true. Whether it’s our convention, member meetings, association events, or our e-magazine, we are all about working together. Some of us are competitors, but when we learn together and share our successes and failures; ultimately we are all better professionals and can provide the best service for our customers. This climate of cooperation is well illustrated by all the agent-only forums popping up around the state. Whether you have a ledger full of preferred appointments, are just beginning to develop business partnerships, or are somewhere in between, the BIG convention is your opportunity to network with colleagues -- cultivate new relationships and reinvigorate connections with old friends. BIG is the most active association in bringing insurance professionals together -- producers, company reps and executives, and vendors. I like telling people that I am an event planner as much as I am an association administrator. It’s not enough to talk a good
game. We’re not going to brag about how we are representing our members or speaking on behalf of our members. BIG is not a top-down organization, but a bottom-up partnership. We are just facilitators. If you haven’t already, make your reservation for BIG’s 9th annual convention. We believe our event strikes a balance between intimacy and accessibility. All the top companies and vendors will be represented and there will be plenty of opportunities for individual meetings. Used to talking business on the back nine? Our annual golf tournament is right up your alley, plus you will be contributing to a great cause. Need some CE credits? We’ll have our Day of Education on Friday. Trade show is on Saturday, followed by a Cinco de Mayo Party. Sunday morning’s legislative/legal/technology update will cap off an informative and productive weekend. If you have attended a BIG convention, you know exactly what I mean. If you are a newbie, come learn and enjoy. Check our website at www.BIGInsUSA.com to register and learn about any new developments. I’ll see you there!
Get Active, Get Involved, Get BIG!
Why a Big Ego Could Be Your Downfall (and Seven Tips to Help You Hone Your Humility)
By Professor Edward D. Hess, University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Not so long ago, our culture really (really) admired people with big egos. We called them rugged individualists, fearless leaders, MVPs, visionaries, and go-getters. We respected these confident and successful folks for (seemingly) having all the answers. They were all too happy to stand their ground and argue their point, and we saw this as a sign of strength and leadership. Now, everything has changed. Larger-than-life egos are fast becoming liabilities. Indeed, in what may first appear to be a paradox. Ego’s mortal enemy—humility—is one of the traits most likely to guarantee success in the 21st century workplace. In the tech tsunami of the next few decades, robots and smart machines are projected to take over more than half of U.S. jobs. The jobs that will still be “safe” involve higher-order cognitive and emotional skills that technology can’t replicate, like critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and emotionally engaging with other humans. All of those skills have one thing in common: They are enabled by humility. Skeptical? Ask yourself this: Have you ever met someone with a big ego who was really good at being open-minded? Really good at reflectively listening? At putting himself in another’s shoes? At playing well with others? At saying, “I don’t know,” “Your idea is better than mine,” or, “You’re right”? Didn’t think so. Clearly, if you want to be an effective leader (or even a successful employee) in our brave new workplace, you are going to have to rein in your ego and become more team-oriented. And make no mistake, it won’t be easy.
First, know that you’ll have to work against your brain’s natural inclinations. Quieting our egos actually
goes against our very natures! Cognitively, we humans are wired to selectively process only information that is confirmatory—and selectively filter out information that contradicts what we “know” to be “right.” In addition, we’re lazy, self-serving, and emotionally defensive thinkers who are driven to protect our egos. Seek objective feedback about your ego. You can’t troubleshoot your ego if you don’t have an accurate picture of what it looks like. Since this isn’t an area in which you can trust your own judgment, have the courage to get people who know you well at work and in your personal life to fill out a 360-degree review about you—one that focuses on your emotional intelligence and your behaviors concerning open-mindedness, listening, empathy, humility, etc. Explain why you need honest answers. Emphasize how appreciative you will be if they are honest and that candor will not diminish the relationship. After receiving the data, evaluate it with a trusted other. Thank everyone who had the courage to give you honest feedback. Reflect on the picture you received and decide what you want to do with that data. Change your mental model of what “smart” looks like. In the past, “smartness” has been determined by the size of one’s body of knowledge. Not knowing the “right” answer was—and often still is—a big blow to the ego. But today we already have instant access to all the knowledge we want, thanks to “companions” like Google and Siri. The “new smart” means knowing what you don’t know and knowing how to learn it, being able to ask the right questions, and being able to examine the answers critically. Learn to put yourself in others’ shoes. Research says one way to become less self-absorbed and more open to the experiences of others is to actively work on being more empathetic and compassionate. Thinking of how others helped you and saying “thank you” on a daily basis is a positive way to begin the process. Reflecting on the people who add joy to your life helps too. Suspending judgment so that I can put myself in another person’s shoes has always been a particular challenge for me. My mind always wants to jump to a conclusion instead of really considering what the other
person is experiencing, thinking, or feeling. Active listening has been an important tool in helping me learn to set my ego aside. When I remind myself to focus all of my attention on what someone else is saying instead of on formulating my own response, I find that my understanding of the situation grows—and often, so does the amount of empathy I feel. Remember, you don’t have to fully agree with someone’s opinion or actions to still treat them with compassion. Disagreeing with humility still leaves the lines of communication open and allows teamwork to happen in the future. Quiet your mind to stay in the moment. Fully engaging with your current experience (as opposed to ruminating on the past or worrying about the future) enables you to maintain a balanced, healthy perspective. Staying in and responding to the present moment is also a powerful safeguard against ego-driven misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Stop letting fear drive your decisions. We often play it safe because we don’t want to look dumb, be wrong, or fail spectacularly in front of our friends and colleagues. In other words, we’re afraid of making mistakes and bruising our egos. Being okay with being wrong is a necessary and important part of developing humility. Grade yourself daily. There’s a reason why to-do lists are so popular: They work! Create a checklist of reminders about the need to be humble, open-minded, empathetic, a good listener, or any other ego-mitigating quality you wish to work on. Make the list as detailed as possible. Review it before every meeting and grade yourself at the end of each meeting. For example, if you want to work on being a better listener, your list might include the following tasks:
Ask questions to make sure you understand the other person. Ask if you can paraphrase what the other person said to make sure you heard them correctly. Really try to understand the reasons the other person believes what they believe. With humility comes more meaningful relationships, better opportunities, and of course, an increased chance of staying relevant and competitive in the Smart Machine Age. In that age, individualism and internal competition will be out, and teamwork will be in. Self-promotion will be out, and self-reflection will be in. Knowing it all will be out and being good at not knowing will be in. In short, humility will be needed to maximize one’s effectiveness at thinking, listening, relating, and collaborating. You will need others to help you outthink a smart machine! Work on yourself starting now, so they’ll want to engage with you tomorrow.. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Edward D. Hess is a professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and the author of 11 books, including Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization, by Columbia Business School Publishing.
Do not interrupt others. Really focus on understanding the other person. Suspend judgment. Do not think about your response while the other person is still talking. Do not automatically advocate your views in your first response.
Insurance Department recovers more than $81.3 million for California consumers in 2017 conduct examinations, resulting in more than $18.9 million in recovered claims or premiums being returned to consumers. Since Commissioner Jones took office in 2011, more than $469 million has been returned to consumers through the department’s direct intervention. Due to Proposition 103, in 2017 the department also saved consumers over $271 million in proposed insurance rate increases. Since 2003, $3.7 billion in proposed insurance rate increases has been saved by policyholders.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today the California Department of Insurance recovered more than $81.3 million for consumers during 2017 through consumer complaint investigations and market conduct examinations of insurance companies. “As insurance commissioner and the leader of the largest consumer protection agency in the state, my top priority is protecting consumers,” said Commissioner Jones. “Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated professionals and the authority given to me under Proposition 103, we succeeded in recovering over $81 million for California consumers.” Last year the department’s consumer hotline received over 147,000 calls for assistance. Through the department’s complaint handling efforts, staff recovered more than $62.4 million for consumers in 2017. Additionally, the department performed 125 market
Proposition 103, passed by California voters in November 1988, establishes the Insurance Commissioner’s authority to approve rates set by insurance companies. It requires the commissioner’s “prior approval” before insurance companies can implement property and casualty insurance rates. The ballot measure also required each insurer to roll back its rates 20 percent. From California Department of Insurance (www.insurance.ca.gov).
By Jon S.Heim, Attorney, Harper & Heim
CORPORATE OFFICE AND INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY
Many business owners and managers seem uncertain about the protection their business entities afford them as individuals. Such confusion is understandable, in part because the extent of protection varies with the field of law and with the participation, direction and knowledge of the officer in the events in question. Basically, in tort law corporate officers and directors, as well as lower-level corporate employees, are liable in tort for everything they do, even if they do it under the aegis of a business entity. However in contract law, the rule is essentially the opposite. The Court of Appeal neatly summarized the relevant tort law in a PMC, Inc. v. Kadisha (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th
1368. PMC happens to be a trade secret case, legally similar to one that might be fought between insurance producers over, say, a list of insurance consumers and insurance expiration dates. In PMC, individual corporate officers argued that they could not be held liable as such for their corporation’s misappropriation of trade secrets. The Court of Appeal held that the officers could be liable, depending on what they themselves did, authorized or knew. Corporate director or officer status neither immunizes a person from personal liability for tortious conduct nor subjects him or her to vicarious liability for such acts…. Directors or officers of a corporation do not incur personal liability for torts of the corporation merely by reason of their official position, unless they participate in the wrong or authorize or direct that it be done. They may be liable, under the rules of tort and agency, for tortious acts committed on behalf of the corporation….. It is well settled that corporate directors cannot be held vicariously liable for the corporation’s torts in which they do not participate. Their liability, if any, stems from their own tortious conduct, not from their status as directors or officers of the enterprise. An officer or director will not be liable for torts in which he does not personally participate, of which he has no knowledge, or to which he has not consented.... While the corporation itself may be liable for such acts, the individual officer or director will be immune unless he authorizes, directs, or in some meaningful sense actively participates in the wrongful conduct. Directors are jointly liable with the corporation and may be joined as defendants if they personally directed or participated in the tortious conduct. Directors are liable to third persons injured by their own tortious conduct regardless of whether they acted on behalf of the corporation and regardless of whether the corporation is also liable. This liability does not depend on the same grounds as ‘piercing the corporate veil,’ on account of inadequate capitalization for instance, but rather on the officer or director’s personal participation or specific authorization of the tortious act. Shareholders are likewise not normally liable for a corporation’s torts, but personal liability may attach to them ... when they specifically direct or authorize the wrongful acts.
A corporate director or officer’s participation in tortious conduct may be shown not solely by direct action but also by knowing consent to or approval of unlawful acts. To maintain a tort claim against a director in his or her personal capacity, a plaintiff must first show that the director specifically authorized, directed or participated in the allegedly tortious conduct; or that although they specifically knew or reasonably should have known that some hazardous condition or activity under their control could injure plaintiff, they negligently failed to take or order appropriate action to avoid the harm. The plaintiff must also allege and prove that an ordinary prudent person, knowing what the director knew at that time, would not have acted similarly under the circumstances. In Spahn v. Guild Industries Corp. [(1979)] 94 Cal.App.3d [143,] 157 and footnote 9, the Court of Appeal held officers and directors of a corporation were personally liable for fraud committed by a managerial employee because they knew about and allowed the tortious conduct to occur. In addition, corporate directors and officers may be held personally liable, as conspirators, for violating their own duties towards persons injured by the corporation’s tort. The legal fiction of the corporation as an independent entity was never intended to insulate officers and directors from liability for their own tortious conduct…. A corporate officer or director, like any other person, owes a duty to refrain from injuring others…. If a corporate officer or director were not liable for his or her own tortious conduct, he or she could inflict injuries upon others and then escape liability behind the shield of his or her representative character, even though the corporation might be insolvent or irresponsible.
ley (1966) 241 Cal.App.2d 376, 382) – unless the corporation is an alter ego of the officer and is disregarded under the law, a result commonly called “piercing the corporate veil.” In this regard, it is important to have corporate meetings and to maintain corporate records and accounts, among other required steps. At Harper & Heim, Lawyers, we frequently see small business corporations at risk of disregard or “veil-piercing” due to asset commingling or to inadequate meetings, records or formalities. If you own or manage a business entity and maintain it properly, it should shield you from individual liability on its contracts and from individual liability for acts of others which you do not intentionally or negligently direct, authorize, allow or somehow facilitate. However the entity will not protect you from liability in tort for what you personally do, direct or permit. The law of tort applies to every individual. Under it, everyone is responsible for whatever they do. So everyone must be careful. Call Jon Stanley Heim at (510) 725-7593, or e-mail him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(PMC, Inc. v. Kadisha, supra, 78 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1379-1380, citations and inner quotations omitted, citing, inter alia, Frances T. v. Village Green Owners Assn. (1986) 42 Cal.3d 490.) In contrast, in contract law a corporate officer’s execution of a contract expressly on behalf of a named business entity generally binds only the entity, not the officer (Filipo Industries, Inc. v. Sun Ins. Co. of New York (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 1429, 1442; Lippert v. Bai-
5 Steps To Unleash Innovation & Improve Work Culture Investing In People Yields Exponential Rewards
By Maxine Attong, Corporate Coach Getting your people to contribute more to your organization while simultaneously establishing stronger talent retention must cost a pretty penny, right? Not really. You don’t necessarily need to add expensive new ingredients to the stew, you just have to know how to use your ingredients better. A talented chef – or in this case, corporate or organizational leader – knows how to let an ingredient speak for itself, perhaps with just a touch of seasoning, or guidance. Most employees want to have more input. However, personal issues, fear of being laughed at or anxiety of not getting credit can stymie contributions from a leader’s staff. If a leader can engender a real sense of trust, the organization will benefit both from the individual and the team’s ingenuity. A reliable way of establishing a trusting climate is to make team members feel safe.
on the sanctions and steps necessary to assist the member in following the rules next time. Speakers are discouraged from using the word “you.” Instead, they use “I.” This simple yet effective practice encourages personal culpability and discourages blame. • Consistency: Teams need to consistently follow the agreed-upon rules as they set the boundaries and the tone for relationships. Following the rules makes the behavior in the space predictable, which limits uncertainty and increases feelings of safety. Consistent application of the rules helps the team to increase trust as behavior becomes prescriptive and members know more or less what will happen in the room and how they will be treated.
• Share responsibility; practice “I” statements: With openness, encourage interaction by having team members and leaders enforce the rules and monitor the use of common space. When members break the rules, the team discusses the problems and decides
• Judgment: The members must feel that they are not being judged. If someone says that an idea is bad, the speaker will shut down and feel embarrassed. In the future that speaker will hesitate to give ideas, since he feels his ideas may not be good enough for the team. Less confident team members may refrain from presenting ideas if they are uncertain of the quality of the ideas. However, many ideas that may seem strange or unorthodox at first can wind up being some of the best.
• Good intentions: Not all team members are effective communicators so it may be difficult for some people to frame and cogently express their thoughts. I assume all team members have good intentions and want a positive outcome. Even though what I am hearing may be contrary to that assumption, I hold on to the thought so that I am able to fully understand what the member is saying before I react. When listening this way, the leader delays having a reaction and has time to assess the situation before responding. When the leader has emotionally detached from the situation, he can then ask questions to clarify the situation. • Norming: By this point, team members seem to embrace each other and there is a spirit of togetherness. Do not be fooled by this. This doesn’t mean that your team has normed—that each team member makes decisions that advance the goals of the team. It means that the safe space concept has allowed them to see each other in a more neutral light and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Maxine Attong (www.MaxineAttong.com) has been leading small and large teams for the past two decades – both in organizational settings and in her private coaching and facilitation practice. She has helped organizations come to consensus, overcome the perils of ineffective leadership, redesign processes to suit changing environments, and manage the internal chaos inherent in strategy implementation. She has been trained as a Gestalt Organizational Development practitioner, a Certified Evidence-Based Coach, a Certified Professional Facilitator, a Certified Management Accountant and is a former Quality Manager. Attong is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, and divides her time between the Caribbean and the United States. Her latest book is “Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance By Providing A Safe Space For Employees.”
While the space may act as an accelerator or catalyst for the team to norm, it is not magic. It does not mean that whatever problems existed within the team before have miraculously disappeared. The leader still needs to pay attention and check the team temperature. Regular team meetings and team building sessions should still be conducted.
A FAMILIAR NAME THROWS HIS HAT IN THE RING FOR CA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER in 2010, when he was defeated in the Republican primary by former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who was later defeated by Democratic candidate Jerry Brown in the general election. As to why Poizner has decided to forsake the GOP, he says “the California Insurance Commissioner is a regulator requiring fierce independence from insurance companies and partisan party politics. I pledge to press the Legislature to make this office officially non-partisan, and I will refuse insurance industry contributions to my campaign like I did during my first term.”
They say everything old is new again. Apparently, that includes insurance commissioners. Former California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has declared his candidacy for this year’s upcoming elections in November. Serving as a Republican from 2008 to 2011, Poizner has opted to run as an independent candidate. The last time Poizner ran for statewide office was
As with most veteran politicians, Poizner is campaigning on his record. According to his campaign website, “We saved drivers and homeowners almost $2 billion in lower insurance rates; recovered $30 million for wildfire victims who were shortchanged by insurance companies; saved taxpayers $17 million by permanently cutting 13% of the budget; arrested over 2500 people for insurance fraud; and restored insurance for thousands of innocent consumers after health insurance companies illegally canceled policies.” Obviously, we will be hearing from many more candidates in the coming months, so stay tuned.
REATA HOLDINGS BRINGS SARA FOSS ON BOARD
Reata Holdings, Inc. of Laguna Niguel, Ca. is proud to welcome Sara Foss to its sales and marketing team. Ms. Foss will serve as Account Executive for both Reata Holdings companies: Cypress Premium Funding and Ironwood Brokers. Ms. Foss will be responsible for maintaining and growing existing relationships with independent brokers in Southern California. Ms. Foss comes with over 10 years of sales and commercial banking experience. She lives in Orange County with her daughter and two dogs. She enjoys traveling the world, meeting new people and is an avid runner. She attributes her success in her career to her passion for running. She laces up her shoes and tackles goals she never thought were possible. Sara Foss can be contacted at (949) 616-0310 or email@example.com www.reataholdings.netâ€‹
PRESS RELEASE FOR JIMMY TRUJILLO
Reata Holdings, Inc. of Laguna Niguel, Ca. is proud to welcome Jimmy Trujillo to its sales and marketing team. Mr. Trujillo will serve as Account Executive for both Reata Holdings companies: Cypress Premium Funding and Ironwood Brokers. Mr. Trujillo will be responsible for maintaining and growing existing relationships as well as organically growing his business within his Southern California territory.
Please feel free to reach Jimmy at 949-415-9083 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.reataholdings.net www.cypressfunding.com www.ironwoodbrokers.com
With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Trujillo brings a wealth of financial services, insurance and premium finance knowledge and expertise to Reata Holdings. Most recently, In 2017, Mr. Trujillo served as President of PWI San Diego and has served on the board for several years. Mr. Trujillo grew up in Phoenix, Arizona but has called Southern California home for almost 18 years. Mr. Trujillo is a father to two amazing sons, Justin and Brayden. In his free time, Mr. Trujillo enjoys spending time with his sons, sporting events, the beach, surfing and exercising.
Jim Dougherty VP of Business Development, Infinity Insurance
By Don Lukenbill Like most other industries, the insurance business is littered with names that come and go. Reps that float from one company to another. Execs that do the same. There are people that bounce around and still stay on our radar. Familiar faces that we are used to working with whatever their business card reads. Then there are the stalwarts. People that are synonymous with a company. Whose reputation benefits their employer more than the other way around. Whose loyalty speaks volumes about who they represent. This writer has known Jim Dougherty throughout a number of tours in the insurance trade association world and has heard nothing but good things about his professionalism and character. BIG though it would be nice to give our readers a peek behind the curtain. BIG TIME MAGAZINE: Obviously, everyone knows “Jim from Infinity.” I want our readers to get to know Jim Dougherty the person. Hometown, family, anything you want to share? JIM DOUGHERTY: I grew up in Anaheim, CA but I was born in Mexico City, Mexico. My name does not ring of being Latino, but I am. The first language I spoke was Spanish and then learned English. Now my Spanish is so bad, it is embarrassing. BTM: Now to Jim the insurance professional. What started you on the roller-coaster ride that led you to AVP of Business Development at Infinity? JD: I started out in our claims department almost 22 years ago. I had the opportunity to visit with agents and brokers as part of a project we had in the claims department. I really enjoyed speaking to the agents and brokers about their dreams, issues, and needs. Even though I was in the claims department I felt that I could help them grow their business somehow.
Then a position in our Business Development department opened up and I leaped at the chance to change my career path. It was one of best decisions I have ever made in my life. I love my job, the company I work for, and the agents and brokers that I serve. I don’t mind staying the extra hours in the office if it means helping out any of our producers build their business. In the end, I feel that we are building our own business as well. BTM: Can you point to one event or experience that turned insurance from a job into a career? JD: It happened when I moved to the Business Development team at Infinity. Glen Godwin, my boss, was a great mentor (still is) and let me learn from working on projects that I would have probably never had the opportunity to work on. His trust in my abilities helped me discover my strengths (and weaknesses) and over that time my job became a career. BTM: If you weren’t an insurance executive, what do you think you would be doing for a living? JD: If I had been exposed to the insurance business, I probably would be in insurance anyway. Perhaps as an agency owner? Otherwise I really love music, so maybe some music industry executive? BTM: Would you recommend a career in insurance to a young person still deciding what they want to do? If so, how would you suggest they get started? JD: Certainly. The numbers are out there. Our industry is getting older and needs younger blood. We are going to be at a point where we are going to be desperate in replacing retiring insurance folks. It may not be so attractive to many at first glace but for many of us, we know this industry has provided us with oppor-
tunities and has fed and clothed our families. It is up to us to share the same passion with the younger generation and let them know that it is not a dry and boring business as they might think. I encourage our industry to do a better job reaching out to the younger people out there. Invite them to your work and show them what you do. At my office I have my door open to so many young people that work for us. I have sat with many telling them about opportunities in the industry that they never knew existed. It is exciting to see their wonder. Our younger generation is so tech savvy, and there are so many insurance careers that match well with technology, science, math backgrounds. Many of the young people don’t realize that there are the same opportunities in insurance as with other “traditional” tech companies. I’ve heard this many times from different carriers...”We are now becoming a tech company that sells insurance.” It is so much more true than ever. If anyone wants to get started, best place to start is looking to your local colleges. I know here locally Cal State Fullerton has an Insurance program. Also, if they know someone in the industry, maybe that person can take them to work one day and expose them to what opportunities exist. I know people who started in mail rooms of companies and worked their way up to be executives at insurance companies. It can be done if you want to make it happen. BTM: Infinity is well known for its support of independent agents. Why is this method optimum for distributing your products? JD: I think it is because independent agents know how to be efficient. If you ask an insurance carrier to do the things that an independent agent has to go through to open a retail space or an office, you would see more than 99% of the time the insurance carrier is going to overspend and make the process a bureaucratic nightmare. The expense of going through an independent agent is such an efficient way of getting to the customer. Sure, we can help make their inefficiencies better but it truly starts with them.
BTM: What are you looking for in a potential agent partner? Conversely, what can they expect from Infinity? JD: Honestly, I personally look for the hungry individual. The one who is passionate about their business and their customers. I recently was traveling in Tucson, AZ visiting producers. I visited with a small producer who has been on his own for just about three years now. The first part of our visit together was about him telling me the history of his agency, the genesis of his agency’s name, how he takes the time to develop and train his agent (he called her his partner in the business even though she was an employee) and stories about how he has been able to help his customers. All I saw was passion in his discussions with me. At no point did we ever talk about how much money he was making, or how much he needed to be paid in commission. I could tell that he knew if he did the right things for his customers and had a good reputation, that the success would come. I could already see it just alone with the success he has had with our company over the past two years. I know that he will be very successful. That is the type of individual that I would bend over backwards to help if I can. Before I left, I offered him whatever we could provide him for his disposal. It is easy for us to invest in people like him, because it comes back to us in numbers. Our Business Development team was renamed from “Marketing Department” to “Business Development”, because we feel so strongly that our folks are there to help the independent producer develop their business. We are partners in this together. BTM: Speaking of independent insurance agents, Infinity – and you personally – have been staunch supporters of BIG for many years. The benefits to the association are obvious, but how does this relationship help business for Infinity? JD: I get asked this question a lot, especially from other carriers that don’t participate. They complain that
they don’t get anything out of it and it is worthless to them. Well I say to them, you get out of something what you put into it. Yes we have been supporters of BIG, both financially through our memberships and sponsorships, but also figuratively as well. However, the organization has given back to us as well. Where else is there a place to meet and have discourse about our needs in the industry? It is like a family. We celebrate together, we mourn those we have lost together, but most of all we support each other. Certainly there is the social aspect about BIG, but there is a business aspect of it as well. We have met some wonderful business partners through BIG and have had opportunities to tell our story to others who have never been exposed to Infinity. I personally have learned things because of BIG. I remember putting a presentation together at (BIG CEO) Jon (Spaugy)’s request on a subject matter that I was light on. I did some research and presented my research to members at a few meetings. I hope I was able to help our producers but I know I helped myself learn about an area that now I could speak confidently on going forward. BTM: What about agents? What reasons would you give for agents to join BIG? JD: I would say the same thing as I just said before. I would also add that it is a great sounding board. If an agent has and issue or a problem, there is another member that has had the same issue or problem and can give them good advice. There is no reason why anyone should go at this alone, there are people to support you. BIG will help you. Certainly there are other trade groups that can help as well. At very least make a commitment to be a member of something. BTM: The annual BIG Convention is coming up in May. Is the Infinity exhibit booked? JD: Yes, we are booked and look forward to meeting new prospective producers, saying hello and thank you to our faithful current producers, and also to enjoy our industry together.
BTM: I’ll give you a little room to brag. What’s on the horizon for Infinity? JD: A lot of exciting things. It’s no secret, we want to bring more products, beyond private passenger auto, to our producers to help them be successful. It may not even be our own product but the access to products that they otherwise would not be able to procure on their own. We have already begun to offer some fantastic companies to our producers and they are loving it. For any producer of Infinity reading this and wondering, ask your local BDR about what we have to offer. BTM: Let’s end on a philosophical note. If you could travel back ten years and talk to Jim Dougherty in 2008, what advice would you give him? JD: Take the time to enjoy life, friends, and family more. You are only here on this planet for a short time, don’t take your relationships for granted. Make sure to make time with them. BTM: Now forward to 2028, what would you like Future Jim to tell you? JD: Buy Bitcoin. LOL! BTM: Any final thoughts? JD: I would just say that it is an honor to be asked to speak with you and the readers about myself. However, what makes me successful are all the people I work with at Infinity that never get the accolades because they are not out in the public eye. I have to thank my team, they are what makes our business tick, day in and day out. I need to thank the leadership at Infinity, for believing in the people that work for you and giving them the guidance and leadership that is worth coming to work for. Most of all, I want to thank the producers that have made the Infinity story possible. Without your lasting support and trust, we would be a very, very small company, and I mean that beyond size but metaphorically as well.
WHAT TO DO IN PALM SPRINGS
Now that you have made your plans to reap the rewards of BIG’s annual convention this May, you may be deciding whether to stay for a few days or make it a real vacation. There will be some BIG events, of course, but what about before and after the convention. Better yet, what can the family do while you are honing your professional skills and building your business? Obviously, the greater Palm Springs area offers worldclass golfing, including two courses right next to the Renaissance Esmeralda. There are also many other opportunities to relax and enjoy your little getaway. According to the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Bureau (www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com), A trip to Greater Palm Springs isn’t complete without exploring the natural beauty of the oasis, whether at a national park, natural preserve or even a zoo. Another uniquely Greater Palm Springs experience is a visit to a date farm—especially when paired with a date shake, a local favorite. Don’t forget about the world-famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car— travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your approximately ten-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. Once you reach the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet—enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails. The many museums of Greater Palm Springs offer a look at everything from historic airplanes to contemporary art. Active travelers can enjoy recreation options including ice skating, baseball and swimming.
You can also find the latest video slots and favorite table games like poker, blackjack and craps at several casinos in Greater Palm Springs. Or go beyond the gaming to enjoy fine dining and buffet favorites, dancing at casino nightclubs and live entertainment with A-list performers at some of Greater Palm Springs’ top entertainment venues. Whether you love shopping unique local boutiques, designer shops, vintage finds or your favorite retailers, Greater Palm Springs has plenty of shopping options. From outlet malls to street fairs, chic boutiques to independently owned galleries, you’re sure to find just what you’re shopping for. Discover locally crafted souvenirs, retro-fabulous vintage clothing, high-fashion resort wear and just about everything in-between while shopping in Greater Palm Springs. Don’t forget what’s available at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort. Explore their array of on-site restaurants, spoil yourself with a day of pampering at the hotel spa, or just relax at the sandy beach pool. The Renaissance also offers a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor pool, whirlpool, bike rentals, jogging/fitness trails, sauna, and outdoor lighted tennis courts. There is an all-day Camp Oasis (for children 4-13 years old), and a weekend Crafts Zone. Contact the hotel for details. You will not be lacking for fun activities in Palm Springs and right out your hotel door. Plan around the convention and make your experience an even more memorable one.
Stop Trying to Shortcut the Hiring Process By Dana Borowka, Lighthouse Consulting
Party listened to some hucksters on the trail who had an idea of a straighter route to try. The problem was that the shortcut went over the Wasatch Mountains and through the Great Salt Lake desert; however, these two barriers meant that straighter was not really shorter. The three-week delay led to disaster. The Donner party was not a military expedition, band of gold seekers, or a group of explorers. These were ordinary people trying to find a better life. The tragic mistake was being duped into believing there was an easy shortcut. Beware of Shortcut Hiring Hucksters Today Not to alarm you, but don’t take choosing a personality test lightly. There are many services that boast a quick and easy way to profile a job candidate with personality testing. Taking these shortcuts can result in bad hires that have a negative impact on your bottom line and that won’t benefit you or your workforce.
If they hadn’t gone on a “shortcut,” the world probably wouldn’t know who the Donner party is today. There is a lesson in this infamous tragedy for all hiring managers. For the wagons of the Donner party, a group of 81 westward-bound pioneers who were stopped by a blizzard at the gateway to California in the fall of 1846, getting over the Sierra covered wagonsummit proved to be an insurmountable obstacle. In a 2008 book, Desperate Passage: The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West, journalist Ethan Rarick chronicled the misadventures of the infamous group. Rarick argues because of an ill-advised decision to take an untested shortcut earlier that summer—the wagon train, named after its leader, George Donner, was trapped by a severe fall storm. When their food ran out, they roasted shoestrings and ate animal hides to stay alive. Finally, snowbound, with little hope of rescue, they started to eat those who died by starvation. The 45 survivors were rescued in February of 1847. But why did it happen? The members of the Donner
According to the research in my book, Cracking the Personality Code, today there are around 2,500 cognitive and personality tests on the market. So how do you decide which one to use? An organization risks lawsuits if it fails to do proper due diligence in test selection. That’s because there are a multitude of assessments available out there and the industry is totally unregulated. Five decades of research findings has served as the framework for constructing a number of derivative personality inventories. This is a topic that’s been researched extensively by the field of industrial and organizational psychology. Some clear dictates of what to do and what not to do have emerged. Five Dos and Don’ts Some personality testing services simply deliver a test score and guidelines. Others provide a superficial level of analysis that is not much to go on. What hiring managers really need is an in-depth analysis of the test in the context of the job description and the candidate’s resume.
Here are my top five shortcut don’ts: • Don’t use a basic personality screening that takes 20 minutes or less as a final screening tool. • Don’t skip a phone interview. • Don’t try to shorten multiple face-to-face interviews. • Don’t skip background and reference checks, and never skip financial background checks when appropriate for the position. • Don’t skip giving someone homework during the interviewing process. Here are five dos: • Do use an in-depth work style and personality assessment. • Do look for red flags in the results concerning behavioral issues. • Do use testing to identify how team members are likely to interact. • Do use testing to ensure you have the right people in the right positions. • Do use a trained professional to review the testing results with you – they should have a copy of the candidate’s resume and job description for the debrief discussion. The testing procedure that a company follows can send a message to candidates that the company leaders are serious about who they hire. Successful people want to work with other successful people. In many cases, the candidate may accept a position from the organization they perceive to be more thoughtful during the hiring process.
program. Armed with accurate and quantifiable data from an in-depth personality assessment, the interview process becomes much more reliable. When it comes to limiting the potential for wrong hiring decisions, there really is no shortcut. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com. If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, email@example.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
Conclusion The astounding thing is how many companies undertake such huge investments in hiring and do not pay attention to what is known about using personality assessments to pick out the people who are going to be the best. An in-depth assessment is only one component needed for a successful recruitment and hiring
Property & Casualty Insurers That Most Satisfy Independent Agents Have Best Overall Financial Performance and Profitability, J.D. Power Finds
Despite the growth of both technology-based and direct-to-customer sales channels in the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry, independent agents still control the lion’s share of P&C premiums and represent a significant growth engine for insurers that get the independent agent satisfaction formula right. That’s the key finding of the inaugural J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study,SM released today. The new study, which was developed in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), evaluates the independent P&C insurance agent’s business outlook, management strategy and overall satisfaction with personal lines and commercial lines insurers in the United States.
“Independent agents have continually found ways to stay relevant to customers in spite of the push toward digital and direct channel solutions,” said Tom Super, Director, Property & Casualty Insurance Practice at J.D. Power. “Insurers that embrace the critical role independent agents play and work to find ways to partner with them have a significant opportunity to increase overall sales volume through improved customer acquisition and retention.”
Following are key findings of the study: Independent agents are trusted advisors of insurance customers yet face difficulty working with P&C insurers: Independent agents are the largest and most preferred channel for consumers, writing 35.5% of all personal P&C premiums and 83% of all commercial premiums, according to IIABA, yet many insurers miss the mark when it comes to delivering for this key constituency. Among agents, overall satisfaction with insurers is just 696 (on a 1,000-point scale) for personal lines and 686 for commercial lines, which are among the lowest scores for business-to-business relationships in J.D. Power satisfaction studies. Independent agents looking for P&C insurers with broader risk appetite: When it comes to policy coverage options, agent satisfaction is lowest when an insurer only offers standard options for policies (643 for personal lines and 634 for commercial lines). When insurers offer standard coverage but also accommodate specialty and unusual risks, overall satisfaction jumps to 756 for personal lines and 708 for commercial lines. Huge cross-sell opportunities exist for insurers that get agency formula right: Agents have an average of
8 different carrier relationships for personal lines and 11 relationships for commercial lines and indicate being able to provide bundled policies often to customers just 44% of the time for personal lines and 37% of the time for commercial lines. That missed bundling opportunity represents an enormous untapped premium opportunity for insurers. Personal lines insurers with highest commission ratios also have highest satisfaction among independent agents and maintain the most profitable operating ratios: Personal lines insurers that provide the most satisfying experience for agents, in addition to the most competitive compensation, are able to achieve the highest profitability levels. Fostering a trusted advisor relationship between agents and carriers leads to carriers gaining a relationship with the agent’s most valued customers and potential customers. Study Rankings
tisfaction score of 714, followed by The Hartford with 710 and Travelers with 705. The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Independent Insurance Agent Satisfaction Study was conducted in alliance with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. The study surveyed 1,380 P&C insurance independent agents for a total of 1,424 evaluations of personal lines insurers and 1,217 evaluations of commercial lines insurers that they had placed policies with in the prior 12 months. The study was fielded from September through November 2017. J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
Auto-Owners Insurance earns the top score among personal lines, with an overall satisfaction score of 795. Auto-Owners Insurance is followed by Safeco (742) and Travelers (700). Liberty Mutual performs highest among commercial lines, with an overall sa-
St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts Ah, yes. March 17th – the day most of the drinking world celebrates its Irish heritage (real or imagined) and we all tip a few pints in honor of St. Patrick. In the midst of stuffing our faces with corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and a river of Guiness Stout (or whatever is on hand), we can also interject some interesting non-alcoholic tidbits about one of the great March holidays.
- How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick? According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
- One of the sayings you see and hear during the day is “Erin Go Bragh.” For your information, the phrase is a corruption an Americanization of the Irish “Éirinn go Brách,” which means roughly “Ireland Forever.”
- At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.
- Following a long-standing tradition of male dominance and misogyny, you will not find any female leprechauns. In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns, only little guys. - Ever wonder why it is called “corned beef?” In the curing process, large-grained salt, also known as “corns,” is used. Speaking of corned beef and cabbage, that particular meal is traditionally consumed on St. Patrick’s Day – In America and not Ireland. - Does celebrating St. Maewyn’s Day sound weird? According to Irish legend, Saint Patrick wasn’t originally called Patrick. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest. - Would you believe St. Patrick was not Irish? Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century. - Can’t imagine toasting St. Patrick with club soda? For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.
- Many people believe St. Patrick was born on March 17th. Actually, his holy day is the day of his death on March 17, 461 AD.
- According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, “toads,” out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians. Thanks to Mental Floss (www.mentalfloss.com) and Catholic Online (www.catholic.com) for the great information.