POLICY Golf Champions
Interns: Future Employees in the Making
Dillingham Takes the Controls
IIAOâ€™s 111th chairman is already piloting IIAO toward a year of clear goals and objectives.
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Vol. 34, No. 1
EDITORIAL STAFF PUBLISHER EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSISTANT EDITOR PRODUCTION EDITOR
Dan Ramsey, CIC Kathy Rose, CPIW Kathryn Jenson White Sarah Cavanah Susan Titus, PMP
IIAO Chairman Jed Dillingham
PROFESSIONAL STAFF PRESIDENT/ CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dan Ramsey, CIC CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Susan J. Titus, PMP CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Malinda Day OKMAP ADMINISTRATOR Cindy Munden, CISR EDUCATION DIRECTOR Susie Current EDUCATION/MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Cathy Cinotto FARM/RLI PROGRAM MANAGER Cindy Munden, CISR E&O PROGRAM MANAGER Lyra Roberts
ON THE COVER IIAO’s new chairman Jed Dillingham shares his family’s passions for insurance and flying.
COLUMNS 2 4 6 8 10 12
CHAIRMAN Jed Dillingham EXTRA Dan Ramsey, CIC EDUCATION Susie Current YOUNG AGENTS COMMITTEE Ryan Bebee OKLAHOMA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER John Doak LEGAL ISSUES Tom Cooper
FEATURES 15 26 28 32
OkPAC and InsurPac Contributors and Form Teens on the Links Intern Initiative Cooking Up a Red Cross Donation
NEWSMAKERS 18 page
POLICY is the official publication of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma. POLICY is published quarterly and distributed to all member agencies and other interested parties in Oklahoma. Manuscripts and contributions are welcome, and will be considered for publication at the discretion of the IIAO Publications Committee. Correspondence and advertising inquiries may be addressed to IIAO, P.O. Box 13490, Oklahoma City, OK 73113. Ph: 405-840-4426 or 1-800-324-4426
The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma is the largest insurance trade association in Oklahoma. With more than 475 independent insurance agencies, we represent nearly 4,000 independent insurance agents and their employees. IIAO member agencies range in size from one person to some of the largest agencies in the region.
staff located in Oklahoma City. IIAO’s mission, shown below, is carried out through a variety of programs designed to enhance the business of independent insurance agencies.
Founded in 1906 as the Oklahoma Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents, IIAO is a result of the consolidation of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, Inc. (IIAO) and the Oklahoma Association of Professional Insurance Agents (OAPIA) on Jan. 1, 1992.
IIAO is affiliated at the national level with the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America with offices in Alexandria, Va., and Washington, D.C.
IIAO policy is set by a board of directors elected at the annual convention. Policy is implemented by a professional
IIAO MISSION STATEMENT
IIAO is an active advocate on behalf of independent agents before legislative, regulatory and judicial groups in Oklahoma and at the federal level.
IIAO is an excellent source of information through POLICY magazine, published quarterly, and the Oklahoma Agent, a monthly newsletter of time-sensitive material for its members.
The mission of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, working in the public’s best interests, through active member participation, is to be the unrelenting advocate of independent insurance agents and to fulfill the education, political and business needs of its members.
The Year Ahead IIAO offers many opportunities for independent agents to get involved and positively affect our industry. An easy option: Donate to one of our PACs to help support our legislative lobbying.
Jed Dillingham Dillingham Insurance, Enid CHAIRMAN
n July 7, it was my privilege to be installed as the 111th chairman of the Independent Agents Association of Oklahoma. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve our industry and our member agencies and
their staffs. Your association has much to be thankful for: We have talented people in all our association staff positions who provide member services second to none and a state-ofthe-art headquarters building in Oklahoma City. We are recognized as the go-to organization on insurance-related legislative issues, and we have critical mass with a membership of more than 500 agencies. To top off that impressive list, I am happy to say, we are financially sound. Dan Ramsey, our association’s president and chief executive officer, is recognized across the country as one of the best and most effective state association leaders. Dan has a unique background as a former independent insurance agent and legislator that helps him greatly in being a champion for the independent insurance agent. Whether your business is in Miami, Altus, Broken Bow or Boise City, Dan is your voice on insurance issues. Dan’s leadership skills have helped him attract a team any member agency, regardless of size, would be honored to have as a part of its staff. Your executive committee and board of directors could not function as efficiently as we do without the support of these talented people. IIAO staff, thank you for the support you give to our membership. Your association headquarters is a fantastic facility. I would encourage all members to make the time to stop by when your travels take you to Oklahoma City. Our agency has used the facilities for several educational workshops, and we get nothing but positive feedback from those attending. And you should keep in mind that we have an office for visiting agents to use while in Oklahoma City. Each fall your board of directors and the association staff participate in a two-day planning retreat. From that
Ed McGrath, CIC Wilcox & McGrath Insurance, OKC VICE CHAIRMAN
David Eaton, CIC Advantage Insurance Group, El Reno SECRETARY-TREASURER
Mark Carlin, CIC Cole Paine & Carlin, OKC STATE NATIONAL DIRECTOR
Vaughn Graham, CIC, CPCU, AFSB Rich & Cartmill, Tulsa IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN
Denise Johnson, CIC ECI Insurance, Piedmont
DIRECTORS Brad Berrong Berrong Insurance Agency, Weatherford
Tom Caraway Agar-Ford-Jarmon & Muldrow/INSURICA, Norman
Bruce Jordan, CIC Jordan Carris Agency, McAlester
Wes Magill, CIC
I know that I was a bit overwhelmed at the first few association activities I attended; however, I am glad I chose to get involved in this wonderful organization. I can honestly say that some of my closest friends are fellow agents. process, we get very focused on what we will work to accomplish in the upcoming year. This year’s meeting was Aug. 18-19, and many exciting ideas came from it. Our thanks to those of you who sent in ideas for discussion. IIAO is your association, and we want to work on the activities most meaningful to the membership. IIAO is the only insurance trade organization representing the interests of the independent insurance agent at the state Capitol. Dan is a registered lobbyist, and we also use the services of Jami Longacre, a contract lobbyist. Both Dan and Jami have worked hard to ensure that when it comes to insurance issues, legislators turn to us for insight and information. Nationally, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America represent you on issues directly ef-
Magill Insurance Agency, Weatherford
Mark Tedford, CIC Tedford Insurance, Jenks
RED CARPET- ZONE 1
GREAT PLAINS- ZONE 2
GREEN COUNTRYZONE 3
FRONTIER COUNTRYZONE 4
LAKE & TRAIL- ZONE 5
KIAMICHI- ZONE 6
Chris Torres, CIC
Phil Eitzen, CIC
Larry Neal, CIC, AAI, LUTCF
Donna Baker, CIC, CPIW
Mike Somers, CIC
Kelly Smith, CIC
Oklahoma Agents Alliance, OKC
Eitzen Agency, Fairview
J.T. Neal Agency, Lawton
Carl M. Leonard & Son, Tulsa
C.L. Frates & Co., OKC
Somers Insurance Agency, Lindsay
JWB Insurance, Holdenville
fecting independent agents and small business owners. Oklahomaâ€™s own Bobby Bramlett will be installed as the IIABA chairman in 2012. We could not do this important legislative work without the support of our state and national political action committees, OkPAC and InsurPac. Our budget for the upcoming fiscal year for both PACs will be close to $70,000. Without your generous support, we cannot continue to do the job we have been able to do so far. When Ed McGrath calls you to support these political action committees, I encourage you to support willingly. Our 500 member agencies represent more than 6,000 employees. Think about this: If each agency principal gave $15 to $20 dollars based upon her or his total staff, including producers, we would raise between $90,000 and $120,000. This would be a small price to help support the efforts to protect your livelihood. At our July Board of Directors meeting, we reviewed the year-end financial results for the association. I am pleased to report that we have once again exceeded our projections and ended the year with a small profit. Thanks to the hard work of Bruce Magill and others, we were able to pay off the note on our old headquarters in 2007. This coincided with the 100th birthday of the association. Soon after, Chesapeake Energy Real Estate Holdings purchased that location for a generous price. We were able to build the new headquarters building and furnish it with the latest technology. Better yet is that the IIAO Foundation has approximately $600,000 in its reserve fund to maintain the facility. I know I was a bit overwhelmed at the first few association activities I attended; however, I am glad I chose to get involved in this wonderful organization. I can honestly say that some of my closest friends are fellow agents. I may compete with them on a day-to-day basis, but that doesnâ€™t matter. What matters is that we come together united to represent the interests of our industry within this great state and nationally. Thank you again for allowing me to serve you as your chairman in the upcoming year.
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POLICY Fall 2011
Education in a Backpack The IIAO Board of Directors is endorsing the Food for Kids Backpack Program, which provides nutrition for low-income children on the weekends. Consider joining us in this important and effective program.
Dan Ramsey CIC
PRESIDENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
n summer 1957, I played shortstop for the Little League Dodger baseball team in Chickasha. As a matter of fact, I was the all-star shortstop and went on to play on a team that won a tournament in Paragould, Ark., but lost out in the final game of a regional tournament in Hot Springs a few weeks later. But that’s another story. One of my teammates was Raymond Williams, who happens to be Cindy Munden’s father. Cindy is our farm and ranch and RLI program manager. Another teammate was Rodney Bivens, who is the executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Several months ago I was watching the news on Channel 9 when I saw a feature story on a program the channel was sponsoring, Food for Kids Backpack Program. I was somewhat familiar with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma as Rodney was presented an award when I was a member of the Legislature, but I had not heard about this program. The more I heard, the more I thought that perhaps this was an organization IIAO should become involved with. It would be, I knew, a perfect match. The Food for Kids Backpack Program began in 2003 in response to requests from school officials who saw children digging in trash cans looking for extra food, rushing food lines and even passing out on Monday morning because they hadn’t eaten over the weekend away from the meals provided them in school. The program gives children who would otherwise have little or nothing to eat between school lunch on Friday and school breakfast on Monday a backpack filled with nutritious, kid-friendly food every weekend and holiday throughout the school year. The program reaches 546 school districts in the state and 17,645 children. As you can see, just as our membership reaches every corner of the state, so does the need for helping provide food for these children. I live in Chickasha in Grady County. Last year 243 students in seven schools in Grady County alone participated in the program. The IIAO Board of Directors has voted to endorse this program. It provides an outreach that will truly have the ability to change the lives of these young children. The initial commitment to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is to raise $25,000 from our members and associate members. The big picture goal, however, is for every agency to “adopt a child,” that is, to sponsor a child in the agency’s county or community. The cost to provide a backpack to a student for the school year is $200. IIAO has approximately 500 member agencies. If each member agency were to adopt a child, we would be able to provide $100,000 in critical funding for this organization.
POLICY Fall 2011
SURVEY RESULTS Teachers of Children Who Participated in the Food for Kids Backpack Program
saw fewer complaints about hunger by children
80.3% 74.9% 73.2%
said they had seen children pay better attention in class
o b s e r v e d fewer signs of chronic hunger by children on
observed an improvement in academic performance witnessed an improvement in school attendance
I urge every agency and all our associate members to sign on for this important and effective program. We are going to make your doing so as simple as possible. All you have to do is send a check for your $200 contribution payable to IIAO Insurance Foundation, P. O. Box 13490, Oklahoma City, OK 73113. This is a 501(c) (3) organization, so your contributions will be fully tax deductible. They may be individual or corporate contributions. We certainly welcome any and all donations for any amount from agencies, companies, and/or their employees. We in turn will make quarterly contributions to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma on behalf of the Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma and will designate the funds go to the community or county of the contributor. The Food for Kids Backpack Program is just one of many programs the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma sponsors. In future, we will ask you to contribute a small portion of your time to their worthy activities, if possible, by working at the center in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. By doing so you will fully appreciate the incredible work they are doing. Please send your contribution today. We would like to present a $25,000 check from the IIAO Insurance Foundation Oct. 1. Thank you in advance for what I know will be your generous support.
Teammates for Life The 1957 Chickasha Little League Dodger team includes Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (second row, second from left); Raymond Williams, father of IIAO’s Farm/RLI Program Manager Cindy Munden (first row, far left) and Dan Ramsey, IIAO president and chief executive officer (first row, second from left).
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POLICY Fall 2011
CRM for IIAO By taking just five courses, you can develop your expertise in managing risks, hazards and exposures. Susie Current
ere’s some good news: In 2012, the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma will begin holding Certified Risk Manager Institutes. The Certified Risk Managers International designation, CRM, tells all those who see it that you are knowledgeable in all areas of managing risks, hazards and exposures. The five courses required for certification provide you with an in-depth knowledge about today’s highest priorities — identifying, analyzing, controlling, financing and administering operational risks — as well as political risks, catastrophic loss exposures, third-party exposures, fiduciary exposures, employee injury exposures, juridical risks, legal risks and more — whether insurable or not. The skills you learn will make you more proactive and valuable to your organization in discovering how risks can interrupt the flow of earnings and show you how to protect against that possibility. Each of the five courses involves two and one-half days of instruction followed by an optional exam. Any eligible individual may attend classes without taking the examinations or working toward the designation. CRM courses cover all areas of risk management. They feature experienced instructors skilled at making sophisticated subjects interesting and directly applicable. They are based on curricula leading risk management practitioners have developed and recognized as the most practical in the
CRM COURSES Principles of Risk Management Analysis of Risk Control of Risk Financing of Risk Practice of Risk Management industry. They are created and overseen by curricula advisory committees made up of risk management professionals and educators who regularly review the course content to ensure the program’s ongoing integrity and practicality. To earn the designation, you must take all five CRM courses and pass all five within five calendar years after you complete your first. These courses are approved for 20 hours of CE in Oklahoma for agents and adjusters, including two hours of ethics and one hour of legislative credit. If you are working on your CIC designation, you can substitute one CRM course for a CIC institute to earn both designations by taking only nine courses instead of 10. If you do them individually, you take all five CRM courses and five CIC courses.
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POLICY Fall 2011
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Helping Ourselves and Others The Young Agents Committee is a great gateway to becoming involved with IIAO and the networking and skill-cultivation activities the association provides, but we also focus on giving back to the community.
Ryan Bebee Cole Paine & Carlin
CHAIR, YOUNG AGENTS COMMITTEE
elp me, help you!” Do you remember that line from the movie “Jerry McGuire”? Agent Rob Tidwell (Cuba Gooding) said it to Jerry McGuire (Tom Cruise) during a key scene. Obviously, the line most will remember is “Show me the money,” which has become part of the pop culture vocabulary. However, this lesser-known line has more resonance for young agents and their insurance mentors. What does this line have to do with insurance? Well in some ways, a lot. Let me ask you some questions to show you what I mean: Where did you go for help when you were a young agent? Whom did you consider your mentor(s) as you began this wild ride? Then let me tell you that whether you do or don’t have a formal training program to help new producers in your agency, it is likely a new agent would
Guiding your new agents to participate in YAC through Lunch Bunch meetings, the Young Agents Leadership Conference or other activities makes you a mentor, not just a boss.
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POLICY Fall 2011
invite helpful suggestions on business growth and development. Sometimes, it might be the gentle steering away from a risk that might be a “dog with fleas.”Ask your new people to attend the Lunch Bunch meetings, ask them to attend the Young Agents Leadership Conference or guide them to participate in anything else the association or YAC offers for networking, training and development. If you do these things, you will be providing the kind of help that a mentor should. Networking with peers and company representatives is a great way to learn and bond. To change the line up a bit, “Help us, help hungry Oklahomans.” You can do so by playing golf on Sept. 27 at Winter Creek Golf & Country Club in Blanchard. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Your $75 per player entry fee includes range balls, green fees, cart, gourmet lunch and prizes. This year we are proud to team with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma by participating in its Food for Kids Backpack Program. The Oklahoma City Food Bank provides chronically hungry children with backpacks filled with nonperishable, kid-friendly food to eat on weekends and school holidays. The program was launched in 2003 with five Oklahoma City schools serving 180 children. It has grown significantly, and is now serving 374 elementary schools in 49 counties across Central and Western Oklahoma. The program is providing backpacks to more than 11,500 chronically hungry children each week, and it needs our help. All proceeds from this tournament will benefit this program and help fight hunger for Oklahoma children. The Oklahoma Regional Foodbank mission is to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. More than 600,000 Oklahomans will wake up today and wonder where their next meals will come from. Oklahoma ranks as the fifth hungriest state in the nation, but thanks to donors, volunteers and advocates, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is “Fighting Hunger… Feeding Hope.” (regionalfoodbank.org) For more information on Young Agents activities, visit our Facebook page at facebook. com/OKYAC.
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POLICY Fall 2011
Honoring our Best The OID is adding new faces to help represent the state and make us more attractive for business. We are also honoring those insurance professionals within the state who epitomize our values. John Doak
OKLAHOMA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
klahoma’s insurance industry is a multibillion-dollar enterprise, but anyone who has ever found success in the field understands one thing: Bottom-line, this business is about people. That’s why as Oklahoma insurance commissioner I have set out to do more than just educate and protect the consumers of this state, which is a primary purpose of a state insurance regulator. I have also deemed it important to single out for recognition those who do business “the right way” in Oklahoma’s insurance industry. And I have undertaken an effort to polish Oklahoma’s image in the eyes of those outside the state to attract competition and new insurance products that will benefit Oklahoma consumers. In July, the Insurance Department launched its Oklahoma Insurance Professional of the Month Award,
with Pepper Williams, a district manager for Farmers Insurance, selected as its first recipient. In August, we presented the award to Bev Binkowski, director of public affairs, community and corporation relations for BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma. Williams got his start with Farmers after the deadly Enid floods of 1973. He was working in health care, but the Enid tragedy — in which a number of his friends lost their possessions and even the hospital where he worked was insufficiently insured — showed Pepper the value of insurance. He went to work for Farmers and today is recognized as an innovator in the field of catastrophe response, a mentor to young employees in the area of customer service and an advocate for policyholders. Binkowski went to work for Blue Cross of Michigan straight out of college at the University of Central Michigan.
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I want to single out for recognition those who do business “the right way” in Oklahoma’s insurance industry as models for us all. From her early role in customer service, and with a move to our state in 1983, she went on to assist in product development for BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, obtained her Oklahoma producer’s license, worked with Medicare supplemental policies and marketing to small business and now is the company’s chief liaison in this state to the public, other corporations and government. Both recipients also are deeply involved in their communities, holding positions on the boards of charities and civic groups and volunteering for service projects that help their Oklahoma neighbors. These two talented individuals are worthy candidates who epitomize the professionalism, character and dedication to the industry and its consumers I hope to encourage in others who work in the insurance business in Oklahoma. We at the Oklahoma Insurance Department want to find and recognize many more insurance industry professionals who, like Williams and Binkowski, truly understand that this business first and foremost is about helping people. Be they local agents, adjusters, executives or individuals serving in some other capacity, consider who among your colleagues would be most deserving of this award. Then make a pitch for them to the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Nominations are accepted through our website at oid.ok.gov. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Insurance Department is prepared to make a pitch for this state to outside corporations and investors through the hiring of its first director of marketing. Keith Kelley joins OID with a solid list of credentials in marketing and health care. A Louisiana native, Kelley holds a master’s of business administration in healthcare administration and before joining us had worked for nearly a decade in several capacities for St. Francis Medical Center of Monroe, La. There, he took on the tasks of marketing, public relations and product development. He has also served as director of marketing for the NE LA Physician Hospital Organization, a managed care company with
oversight of eight hospitals and 250 physicians. He also spent 11 years as a hospital sales and marketing manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Kelley’s mission as OID’s marketing director will be to analyze Oklahoma’s insurance markets and identify unmet consumer needs. He will endeavor to retain Oklahoma’s current companies doing business in the insurance industry while serving as a liaison to new companies that might consider locating in Oklahoma, assuring that incoming firms are solvent and of high quality. Kelley will help heighten awareness of OID in general and, specifically, of how it facilitates a safe, competitive insurance market that benefits consumers, while he works to create new insurance jobs in Oklahoma. Through these initiatives and others, I intend to make Oklahoma the safest, fastest-growing, most solvent and most innovative insurance market in the country. I am proud to number the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma among the industry professionals who are already helping to make this state great.
POLICY Fall 2011
Know What You’re Promising You may write your online copy to attract business, but those little phrases might come back as legal promises to haunt you in the courtroom. Be careful about what you say about what you can do.
Tom Cooper Pignato, Cooper, Kolker & Roberson, P.C.
hen preparing for this article, I did not intend to write yet another piece discussing the content of websites and Internet advertisements or how statements made by agents can either lead to a lawsuit by a disgruntled customer or at least make it more difficult for your lawyer to obtain an early departure from a lawsuit. However, the advertising issue continues to show up on my radar through various means. For example, I receive periodic email updates from several different insurance-related blogs. The day before I sat down to write this, I received an email link to an article from a policyholder’s attorney in an adjacent state. He was, in essence, bragging about how he had just grilled an agent in an all-day deposition in an E&O case. He explained how the agent had been well prepared by his defense attorney
to explain how the agent is merely an “order-taker,” does not give at-risk management advice to the customer (but rather gives only information) and does not have a special or fiduciary relationship with the customer. The attorney then proceeded to beat the agent over the head with the following statements obtained from the agent’s website: “It is our business to know your business” and “We need to know your business so that we can customize solutions based on your specific requirements.” The attorney continued the barrage with testimonials from customers, which the agent had proudly displayed on his website. Here are some of the more impressive ones: “The agency provides an important part of the expert advice we rely on” and “The agency got to know my business so I would not have to learn insurance.” The attorney said he was confident he would at least
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POLICY Fall 2011
The plaintiff’s attorney was so proud of the statements made on the agency’s website that he recited portions in the petition. make it to trial against the agent — in other words, the case would not get thrown out early — because he would be able to show sufficient evidence — by way of the advertisements and statements — to support the argument that the agent assumed certain duties and obligations agents do not normally have. Another manner in which this issue has shown up on
my radar is in court filings, themselves. Earlier this week I received an assignment on a new case against an agency. The plaintiff’s attorney was so proud of the statements made on the agency’s website that he recited portions of the website in the petition. These events caused me to once again perform the type of Google search you have heard me talk about in previous articles or, perhaps, in one of my seminars. I entered “insurance agency, Oklahoma City” in my search engine and clicked on the first few hits. What I found might surprise you. Before I quote from the local websites, though, please note that I have slightly changed the language to protect the guilty. However, I think I have done so in a way that does not change the substance or tenor of the language. Here are some examples: “We want to build a relationship of trust with our customers, and we want to give you peace of mind by acting as your consultant,” “We have a basic responsibility to provide you with risk management advice” and “We concentrate on a simple principle – to Continued on Page 14
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POLICY Fall 2011
Continued from Page 13 advise you on insurance, not merely sell it.” I hope you can see how a plaintiff’s attorney would focus on statements such as this in the event of a lawsuit. Of course, it could be the case that the benefit from making statements such as these outweighs the potential downside. In other words, if making statements such as these truly distinguishes you from your competitors and leads to large revenues, then perhaps this is worth the comparatively small risk of having the statements used against you in the event of a lawsuit. After all, it is not illegal to make these types of statements; it is merely a practical risk to consider. If, however, an agency wishes to be somewhat preventive in its choice of advertising language, perhaps it could use something a little less extreme. And, indeed, I was pleased to find some good/positive examples when I performed the Google search for local companies. Here are some examples of better, safer statements: “We provide our clients with top quality products at competitive prices and do so in a way that has given us the reputation of honesty, dependability and integrity,” “As an independent insurance agency, we can offer the right coverages with the personal touch you
Take the time to know the content and consequences of your website. You could save yourself time, money and hassle. would expect from your neighborhood insurance agent” and “We look forward to helping families like yours protect the things that are important to you, like your home, car and more.” So here’s my final advice on this issue, for now at least: Take the time to know the content and consequences of your website. That knowledge could save you a lot of time, money and hassle.
Your agency. Your way. Your access to our strength. Call us today to find out how membership can add up to six figures to your bottom line this year.
Oklahoma Agents Alliance 866.841.6868 | oaaonline.net 14
POLICY Fall 2011
OkPAC is IIAO’s political action committee. It provides financial support for state elected officials who will provide support for or who have shown support of issues affecting the insurance industry and to those who share our business philosophies. Only individuals or partnerships can make contributions to OkPAC. Under Oklahoma law, OkPAC can accept no contributions from corporations.
Kristi Abdo Donna Baker Fred Barker John Battaliou Ryan Bebee Brad Berrong Bob Bramlett Todd Brandon Travis Brown Tom Caraway Mark Carlin Scott Cornelius Terry Cupp Malinda Day Jed Dillingham
David Eaton Phil Eitzen Stefanie Fields Ben Gorrell Vaughn Graham Vaughn Graham, Jr Raymond Hale III John Harper Rich Haverfield Mel Holt Erin Howell Jesse Hyde Jimmy Irwin Denise Johnson Kasey Jones
Bruce Jordan Theresa Kamler Thad Leonard Bill Livermon Michael Loftis Mark Long Bruce Magill Wesley R Magill Pat Mandeville Robert McKown Ed McGrath Cody McNeill Jonathan Molder Cindy Munden Larry Neal
Heidi Nease Daniel O’Neil Chris Paine Justin Peavler Rob Piearcy Steve Poleman Dan Ramsey Kathy Reeser Lyra Roberts Kathy Rose Michael Ross Traci Rowe Karl Seizinger Scott Selman Clark Smith
Kelly Smith Adriane Stachmus Dick Teubner Ryan Teubner Susan Titus Chris Torres Brad Warwick Travis Wiedemann Trent Willis Steve Wilson Jenny Wood Bailey Word
InsurPac Contributors InsurPac is IIABA’s political action committee. It pools the voluntary and individual financial contributions of thousands of independent insurance agents to help elect candidates to Congress who share IIABA’s business philosophies. InsurPac is the largest property-casualty insurance industry PAC in the country.
Kristi Abdo Donna Baker Neil Barfield Ryan Bebee Jake Bramlett Nanette Bramlett Robert Bramlett Travis Brown Kent Carlin Mark Carlin Jeff Clymer Earnie Cornelius Jim Couch Bill Cox Terry Cupp Gerald Dawkins
Jed Dillingham Tim Driskill David Eaton Phil Eitzen Ben Gorrell Vaughn Graham Vaughn Graham, Jr. Ray Hale John Harper Charles Harris Rich Haverfield Tim Hill Erin Howell Denise Johnson Kasey Jones Bruce Jordan
Thad Leonard Jill Lester Bill Livermon Mike Loftis Mark Long Bruce Magill Pat Mandeville Leslie McGahey Ed McGrath Cody McNeill Kelly Miller Jonathan Molder Jon Moon Duane Murray Larry Neal Heidi Nease
Jerry Oden Daniel O’Neil Chris Paine Allen Paine Steve Poleman Dan Ramsey Lyra Roberts Kathy Rose Will Rosebure Mike Ross Traci Rowe Jane Seals Karl Seizinger Scott Selman Clark Smith Dabney Smith
Kelly Smith Daniel Somers Mike Somers Joe Strunk Belynda Tayar Dick Teubner Susan Titus Brad Warwick Bill Wetzel Travis Wiedemann Trent Willis Jenny Wood Bailey Word Bernie Zalaznik
Is your name not on the list? Use the contributors statement on the back of this page to donate.
POLICY Fall 2011
Insure Your Future! InsurPac
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America c/o IIAO, PO Box 13490, OKC, OK 73113 P: 202/863-7000, F: 405/840-4450 InsurPac@iiaba.net
Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma IIAO, PO Box 13490, OKC, OK 73113 P: 405/840-4426; F: 405/840-4450 firstname.lastname@example.org
OkPac Contribution Yes, I want to INSURE MY FUTURE with a Personal Contribution to OkPac! (Check contribution below.)
$5000 Millenium $250 Pioneer
$2500 Platinum $150 Founders
$1000 Centennial $100 Young Agent
$500 Gold Other $_______
InsurPac Contribution Yes, I want to INSURE MY FUTURE with a Personal Contribution to InsurPac! (Check contribution below.)
$5000 Millenium $250 Pioneer
$2500 Platinum $150 Founders
$1000 Centennial $100 Young Agent
$500 Gold Other $_______
Contributor Information Name ____________________________________________________
Agency _____________________________________________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________________________________________ City _________________________________________ Phone _________________________________
Declaration: The contribution listed above was freely and voluntarily given by me from my personal property. I have not, directly or indirectly, been compensated or reimbursed for the contribution listed above. Signature ______________________________________________________________
(All contributions must be made by PERSONAL check or PERSONAL credit card.)
Personal Check – Separate personal checks made payable to InsurPac and OkPac. $____________ to InsurPac
$____________ to OkPac
Personal Credit Card – One-time personal credit card contribution. $____________ to InsurPac Credit card information:
$____________ to OkPac
Credit Card Number ________________________________________________
American Express Expiration Date ____________
Name as it appears on card _____________________________________________________________________ Contributions or gifts to InsurPac and OkPac are not deductible as charitable contributions for purposes of federal income tax. Federal and State law require us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual. Your contribution should be considered strictly voluntary. Any corporate contributions are prohibited.
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Oklahoma Agents Alliance Enters Nation’s Top Tier
Just 10 years after its founding, Oklahoma Agents Alliance is now one of the United States’ largest independent property/casualty insurance agencies, according to the August issue of Insurance Journal. OAA entered the list at No. 87 and is one of only three Oklahomabased companies named in the annual ranking. Insurance Journal bases the list on premiums written in the previous year, a standard benchmark for the insurance industry. “It’s happened so quickly that I think many people will be surprised to see us on the list,” President Chris Torres said. “We started in 2001 with just one member agency, but the success of our model has attracted more than 80 agencies from across the state to join us in creating a vibrant organization that allows our members to compete with even the largest national agencies.”
The Oklahoma Agents Alliance staff. Front row, from left: Amy Stewart, personal accounts manager; Pam Dowell, commercial accounts manager; Kelly McLemore, agency development; Melissa Marshall, senior personal accounts manager; Tony Caldwell, partner. Second row, from left: Chris Torres, president; Lance Singleton, chief financial officer; Daniel O’Neil, marketing recruiter; Chris Fisher, accountant; Ken Anderson, partner.
OAA’s mission is to establish a network of independent insurance agencies in Oklahoma owned in partnership with entrepreneurial-spirited individuals. Member agencies remain truly independent, making their own decisions and pursuing their own strategies. At the same time, OAA’s leadership forms relationships with national carriers, creating opportunities that were previously unachievable for most agencies in Oklahoma. OAA also provides member agencies advice and support and negotiates bonuses and profit-sharing with partner companies like Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco, MetLife and others. “Our growth rate has outstripped even our own optimistic early projections,” partner Tony Caldwell said. “We have enjoyed an average annual compound growth rate of 31 percent over 10 years, and that’s been through some of the hardest economic times the country has seen in recent memory.”
POLICY Fall 2011
OAA expects to exceed $142 million in premiums this year, and Torres said it expects to break the $250 million mark by 2015. “This achievement proves that the partnership model OAA uses is not only feasible but very successful for our member agencies, no matter their sizes or histories,” Torres said. “We are proud to represent Oklahoma on the national insurance scene.”
Oklahoma Agents Alliance is a growing network of independent insurance agencies in Oklahoma. OAA offers growth opportunities to agencies that want to remain independent while also being able to compete with larger regional agencies and clusters. OAA is a member of SIAA, a national organization that writes in excess of $6 billion in combined premium value. OAA is among the largest writers of insurance in Oklahoma. Find us on the Web at oaaonline.net.
Oklahoma Business Insurors Retains Status as One of Nation’s Best For the second year in a row, Oklahoma Business Insurors Agency has been included on a list of the best-run independent insurance agencies in the country, according to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Oklahoma Business Insurors has been selected to remain as part of an elite group participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America’s “Best Practices” Study Group. Each year since 1993, IIABA and Reagan Consulting, an Atlanta-based management consulting firm, have joined forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. The agencies composing the study groups are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process and awarded a “Best Practices Agency” designation. However, agencies do not automatically retain the honor of being included in the group. OBI proved it was deserving of continuing in the group by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review last year.
insurance in one business group, while a separate unit of professional insurance counselors focuses on employee benefit plans. OBI was founded in 1987 on the belief that customers deserve not only professional and courteous service, but also the lowest insurance rates possible. All OBI products come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. OBI serves clients in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Louisiana and Missouri from its headquarters in Oklahoma City. Website: obionline.com. Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance – property, casualty, life and health – as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Website: independentagents.com.
Tony Caldwell, agency principal, said OBI was able to keep the bestpractices status by remaining true to the agency’s primary focus: clients. “We are honored to be included in such a prestigious group, but we’ve gotten there by staying true to our core principles,” Caldwell said. “For us, the client comes first. We specialize in business insurance so that our clients can know we are experts in the field, who can help them avoid every pitfall and find every advantage. We’ve arranged our office into two separate units of business insurance and employee benefits because those are our clients’ two major needs. And we offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee because we think our clients deserve nothing less.” More than 1,200 independent agencies, out of more than 35,000 throughout the U.S., were nominated to take part in the study in 2010, but only 224 agencies qualified for the honor. To be chosen, the agency had to be among the 35- 40 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories.
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“There’s nothing more satisfying to us than knowing we can be successful and profitable by making sure our clients are successful and profitable,” Caldwell said. “The formula is simple: courteous service and the lowest insurance rates possible for the best policies.” The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual survey and study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.
Sara Bradshaw Ray www.synerdynamics.com
Oklahoma Business Insurors Agency serves clients’ needs for business
POLICY Fall 2011
TAKING OFF AS IIAO CHAIRMAN Third-generation agent and pilot Jed Dillingham takes the controls as IIAO’s 111th leader. a conversation with
KATHRYN JENSON WHITE managing editor
What are your thoughts as you embark on your year as chairman of IIAO? I guess my first response is what an awesome honor this is for me and a responsibility, of course, as well. IIAO has just over 500 members, and we represent close to 10,000 individuals, including all our agency employees. We’ve become the place to turn for insurance-related questions or concerns at the Capitol.
KJW JD KJW JD
What do you see as the primary focuses or goals of your year in office? Don’t screw up! Number one rule! Anything else?
As I’ve worked my way up through the positions to chair, I have learned that we work hard and will continue to work hard to represent small business, which is the category most of our members fall into. Our active concern legislatively is with not just those issues that directly affect our industry but also with those concerns that might have an impact on any small business. We have just finished our annual planning meeting at which all the directors met for two days and really looked at how we can better serve our membership and provide the training and education necessary for success in our industry today. As our world continues to get faster and time seems more compressed, we’re starting to offer some Internet-based continuing education. That said, many
of the programs we offer still require people to leave their office for a few days, but we appreciate the ability to network and communicate with other professionals those programs provide.
What are the strengths of the organization as you see them? We’ve got a great staff and are lucky to have a strong professional liability program many of our members participate in. And, of course, Dan is a wonderful leader. That makes saying yes to participating in the leadership of the association much easier. Our facility, which is available for our members to use and for educational opportunities, is wonderful. We don’t have any debt on that facility, and we have a significant endowment fund to maintain it for years to come. I’ve served on many non-profit organizations — membership organizations — that are not in the same financial condition and do not have the staff talent and longevity our staff has. Again, that makes serving in this position a pleasure rather than an undue burden.
So the situation you’re stepping into is a pretty stable and positive one? Absolutely. Denise Johnson did a great job before me and, given how much smaller her feet are than mine, I know I can never fill her shoes. And I never learned to walk in heels.
That would be a challenge, for sure. Continued on Page 22
POLICY Fall 2011
All in the Family From left, Chad, Jed and Dan Dillingham.
Continued from Page 21
Joking aside, Denise did a great job. We have a very close board. It’s fun to be able to come in sometimes as direct competitors, but working hard for the benefit of your industry leads to some close relationships with folks. We take our legislative trip to Washington, D.C, and we have legislative events at the Oklahoma Capitol, so we become a tight group. We work hard, and we play hard. It’s not only satisfying; it’s also a lot of fun.
Is there anything you’re especially excited about or interested in for this year, given your specific background? Well, one of the new things I know Denise talked about last year and that our national organization continues to develop is the consumer-agent portal. We hope that will be ready to roll out for our membership in the next couple of years. It will drive consumers of some of those commodity-based products like homeowner’s and auto coverage for individuals to the independent insurance agents, or the Trusted Choice agents as we’re all referred to now. It will allow us to compete with a lot of the direct writers that are spending millions upon millions of dollars in advertising.
Do you lose much sleep over the direct writers and all that advertising?
POLICY Fall 2011
I don’t. I think having an advocate for claims, for coverage, for the issues that come up routinely matters to insurance policy holders. The Trusted Choice agent does a great job of putting his or her client first. Of course, we’re solidly behind the Trusted Choice initiative, which now defines all the independent agents in Oklahoma and nationwide. We really are the trusted adviser that most people look to when questions come up. They don’t like to pick up a phone and be just a name and a number at a call center. The responses that Trusted Choice agents give when there are disasters like the tornados in Piedmont or the hail storms or ice storms or whatever are swift and effective. We help our customers deal with tragedies and crises with human caring and concern. Those are the kinds of people insurance policy holders want to deal with. The men and women who are independent agents are those serving on non-profit boards and being involved in their communities.
Right, the big box stores of insurance certainly don’t have that, no matter how cute Flo is in those Progressive ads or how clever the Geico gecko is. It’s just ingrained into us to provide service, and I know we do that well for all our customers.
So you’re heading into a year of building on the foundations. And speaking of foundations, how did your agency begin and when? My grandfather started it in 1927, and then my father and his brother and now one of my two brothers and I have been or are part of the agency. It’s fun to come in every day and work with family members. Dad’s been here for 53 years or so, and I’m approaching 28 years. My brother Chad is at about 22 years. It has been a great family heritage. Not many people get the opportunity to work with their father and their brother as closely as I do. I would like to thank both of them for allowing me to take the time to serve our industry.
Do have a fourth generation planning on coming into the agency? We’re hopeful that some of our children would want to come back into this industry at some point. We’re strong believers that our children, even if they are interested in insurance, should be outside of our business for a time dealing in some type of technical field or business-to-business area like customer relations or sales. Our organization would benefit from those outside experiences were they to join us. We’re hopeful some of
them will do just that.
How large is the agency and what are your primary focuses? We have 18 people in our Enid office, eight in Oklahoma City and one in Lenexa, Kan. Our team is made up of great individuals who are increadibly talented. This team and the fact that we tend to serve large businesses allow us to run an efficient operation. We are truly blessed. We have clients based in 39 states. We are very fortunate that much of our growth comes from client referrals. Some of our specialities include energy, trucking, agri-business, manufacturing, financial institutions, wholesale, retail and health care. We’re one of the top group-benefits organizations in the state. Our group-benefits division is in Oklahoma City.
Did you go directly into your agency? Was that going to be your career from the time you were a youngster? I graduated with a finance degree from OSU, and at that time they had an insurance option. I knew what I wanted to do. I was involved in a family Continued on Page 24
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POLICY Fall 2011
The Man and The Insurance Company New IIAO Chairman Jed Dillingham stands in front of the sign representing the company his grandfather created in 1927 and in which he, his father and his brother have invested themselves for decades.
Continued from Page 23 ranching operation when I graduated from college, but I have really worked at the agency since I’ve been out of school, and I graduated in 1983. My brother Chad was able to work for one of our insurance carriers in the Kansas City area for a while before joining the agency. We still have some outside business interests, but we have a very, very singular focus on our insurance agency operation.
Clearly the agency is an integral part of not just your revenues but of who the Dillinghams are. And I know IIAO is important to you. I’m the first family member to get really involved in association activities, and I have really enjoyed it. I’ve been involved on many non-profit boards, and they have all been great, but this is special because it focuses on our industry. I’m still serving on the Board of Trustees of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Enid and the Board of Trustees for Memorial Park Cemetery, also in Enid.
Did you come into this specificvolunteer organization as a young agent? Yes. That was my entry to the association, and I’ve been involved as a board member or on the executive board for many of the last 10 years.
POLICY Fall 2011
When you’re not doing insurance, you seem to spend a lot of time in the air. Is that also a family activity? All of us have flown. As my grandfather was starting the agency, he supplemented his income as a trouble-shooting casualty adjuster for St. Paul. He flew all over the country, adjusting casualty claims, trucking claims and other claims of that nature. We grew up around airplanes, and my brother Chad actually got his pilot’s license on his 16th birthday before he got his auto license. All three of the brothers and dad have all flown and continue to fly. It allows us to be more responsive with customers.
Is flying what you enjoy most when you’re not working on insurance or doing the service work you do for your community and, now, for IIAO? I really enjoy the outdoors. I enjoy hunting. Quail hunting may be my favorite, but quail populations have continued to move west, and they’ve really had a tough go the last five or six years. We hope they come back because there’s nothing more fun than to watch bird dogs working the quail, working out in the field. They better come back because we’re sure feeding a lot of bird dogs. But I also deer hunt and duck hunt and big game hunt. I have been to Argentina several times dove hunting. But, I have to say, my new favorite pastime is my granddaughter,
The Original Tom G. Dillingham, founder of Dillingham Insurance, passed down the business and a love of flying to future generations.
Payton, who is now three months old. In fact, we’re getting ready to go to Texas while her parents leave her for the first time since she was born. My wife, Cathy, and I are really looking forward to that. She has been incredibly supportive of the children as well as of me. We started dating in the 9th grade, so we’ve been together a long time.
KJW JD KJW JD
Congratulations So what’s the last anniversary you celebrated? That’s a good question. Not knowing that could get me in trouble. It was our 28th.
I guess we can safely say that you are kind of a committed guy. You seem to go into things and stay in them, don’t you? I do. Family is the most important thing to me. We’ve been blessed in that both Cathy’s parents and my parents are still living and they live in Enid. As I said, both my brothers also live here. We have two sisters, one of whom is in Edmond and one just north of Houston. We have three children. Payton’s mother is our older daughter, and she lives in Trophy Club, Texas. Our 24-year-old daughter lives in Oklahoma City, where she is a nurse at OU Health Science Center. And our youngest, our son, is 22 and a senior at OSU this year.
Any final comments as we close this interview?
The main point I would like to stress is that IIAO has member agencies of all different sizes, longevities, structures, etc., and I want everyone to know that I, as chairman, and the entire board want to be accessible to all. We want to help all our members. We’ve had a lot of membership growth among those coming from the direct writer world or captive situation. Suddenly, they have to start thinking and behaving as a small business in addition to working with customers and their needs. We really want to be open to those new members, to help them make that transition. And with our larger agency members with different needs, we want to be equally responsive. I think everyone left our planning session with a clear picture of what our plans are for the year, and we look forward to implementing them. One of the best of our plans this year is support the Food for Kids Backpack Program of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. I think Dan talks about it in his column this issue, so I just want to say how important an initiative this is. Something that really touched me was a statement made by one of the principals in the program: “When hunger ends, learning begins.” It’s nice that we all have philanthropy projects individually, but it’s fun to come together as a larger organization and really make an impact with a great organization like the Regional Food Bank. We can do a lot of good, and I’m excited about that.
POLICY Fall 2011
Teens On the Links Dave Kimball Communications Manager Trusted Choice® Big “I” National Championship
lly McDonald of Fulton, Miss., and J.T. Poston of Hickory, N.C., have won the girls and boys divisions, respectively, at the recent 43rd Annual Trusted Choice® Big “I” National Championship in Madison, Miss. Oklahoma was represented by five golfers: Cullen Stahl, Lawton; Eric Klein, Ponca City; Garrison Mendoza, Clinton; Anna Kim, Broken Arrow; and June Tigert, Yukon. The tournament featured 159 players from 36 states, all girls and boys under the age of 19. It was played at Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, Miss. The boys division was played at par 72 and 7,100 yards, while the
girls played the course at par 72 and 6,000 yards. Each summer, more than 2,500 junior boys and girls nationally vie to earn a place in the final tournament. Approximately 100 state and local qualifying events determine the final roster. “The annual Trusted Choice® Big ‘I’ National Championship tournament provides teen golfers with an excellent opportunity to compete at a national level in an atmosphere that cultivates sportsmanship,” Big “I” chairman Mike Miley said. “We congratulate Ally, J.T., the finalists and the thousands of boys and girls across the country who participated in the local and state tournaments this year.”
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POLICY Fall 2011
Oklahoma’s Finest Cullen Stahl of Lawton and Anna Kim of Broken Arrow accept the Oklahoma champion’s trophies from IIAO Director Chris Torres of Oklahoma Agents Alliance. Stahl and Kim went on to represent Oklahoma at the national tournament in August, along with Eric Klein of Ponca City, Garrison Mendoza of Clinton and June Tigert of Yukon.
McDonald shot a score of 284, four under par, to claim the girls division title and best the closest competitor by nine strokes. McDonald was last year’s second place winner. Poston won first place in the boys division by shooting a score of 282, six under par and besting the second place winner by one stroke. In the girls division, Taylor Totland of Tinton Falls, N.J., placed second with a 5-over-par 293 and Emily Haas of Nicholasville, Ky. placed second with a 10-over-par 298. In the boys division, Austin Smotherman of Loomis, Calif. came in second place at five-under-par 283 and Trevor Cone of Concord, N.C. placed third at a threeunder-par 285. The Trusted Choice® Big “I” National Championship has proven to be a critical test for many of today’s golf professionals. PGA and LPGA fields include numerous past champions and participants, including Billy Andrade, David Duval, Charles Howell III, Cristie Kerr, Candie
Kung, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park, Craig Stadler, Bob Tway, Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods and Fuzzy Zoeller. Trusted Choice® sponsors and supports the annual tournament, which began in 1969. Every year, more than 400 agents help organize and administer the qualifying tournaments that lead to the national finals. Independent agents donate valuable time, effort and, in many cases, personal resources to conduct successful local events. For more information, visit bigigolf.com. Trusted Choice® educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support. Trusted Choice® is the consumer marketing identity for than 13,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and 61 leading insurance companies. For more information, go to TrustedChoice.com.
POLICY Fall 2011
Intern Initiative Diane Mattis, CPCU, AFIS, AIAM
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR InVEST ASSOCIATE V.P. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & ONLINE RESOURCES Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
Hiring interns allows you to learn about a new customer base, as well as pick up some new skills and test out possible hires for the future.
his year, the oldest of the baby boomers turns 65. Each day, 10,000 Americans reach this milestone. What impact is this going to have on the aging insurance workforce â€” and what are you doing to recruit the next generation? How can you develop an on-boarding campaign for your agency? It starts by changing the hiring mindset. For years, independent agency principals have said they wanted to hire only experienced insurance professionals. This philosophy resulted in the escalation of wages and created a situation in which CSRs and producers began hopping from one agency to the next. In many instances, agencies were hiring only someone elseâ€™s problem. Then the economy took a turn for the worse, and significant lay-offs resulted in experienced people out of a job. But now, as the economy starts to improve and you consider hiring again or replacing retired workers, think about bringing a young
POLICY Fall 2011
person on board who can lay a foundation for the future. A recent survey of Best Practice agencies indicates that 40 percent of those are offering internships, and many are developing close relationships with their local college or university. Two advantages of hiring a younger, less-experienced worker are that she or he is likely to be very good at multitasking and very tech-savvy. Millennials, those born between, approximately, 1982 and 2001, can be quick learners. And with the right guidance, they can be cheerleaders for your agency. Millennials want a rewarding position also connected with the community. Insurance agencies and companies are a perfect fit. Internships are a perfect way to build a presence at your local high school or college and give a young person an opportunity to see the insurance industry as a possible career choice. One of the benefits of an internship program is that the agency can use it as a trial run. Your staff can get to know
GET GOING WITH InVEST InVEST, a school-to-work insurance program, teams with high school and college educators to provide a useful insurance curriculum for students. With the help of InVEST liaisons (insurance professionals), students could have the opportunity for job shadow days, internships or even careers after graduating from InVEST. InVEST provides all materials necessary to launch your first InVEST program, specifically created to appeal to the millennial generation, including lesson plans, textbooks, activities and more. Best of all, itâ€™s totally free. For more information visit investprogram.org IIAO Half page ad:Layout 1
students before thinking about hiring them as full-time employees. You have a chance to see whether they are a good fit for your agencyâ€™s culture. And you can also benefit from their new ideas and meaningful work contributions to your agency. Imagine an intern helping with the marketing of your agency through the eyes of a young consumer and providing assistance with establishing a social media presence. One agency assigned an intern to visit the homes in the agencyâ€™s personal lines book that had not been visited recently. The intern drove to the homes, took photos and found exposures that had been added to the home since it was first written. An intern could do this process online without ever leaving the office, but what a good customer outreach to send someone. Another agency had students work with the marketing manager to handle applications to carriers and respond to carrier requests for additional information. This agency trained some specifically to spot missing or questionable information Page 1 Continued on Page 30
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Continued from Page 29 on applications. Working with colleges and high schools teaching insurance in their classrooms can make it even easier to bring an intern onboard. InVEST helps educators incorporate insurance curriculum into existing classes and expose the students to insurance concepts and terminology. These students are perfect candidates for internships because they already understand insurance basics. Some have gone on to two- or four-year colleges to continue their studies. With a reduced industry learning curve, they can assist with entry-level tasks and quickly bring value to the agency or company. In addition, internships can serve as a powerful recruiting tool. A survey on internships by Dryden Mutual Insurance Co. from 1995-2008 revealed that giving young people a chance to perform in a live job setting gave the
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POLICY Fall 2011
interns a chance to impress a potential employer. Most of those young people who were actually offered jobs in the insurance industry jumped at the chance. This study also revealed that combining internships with the InVEST program resulted in better-prepared students. Students coming from non-InVEST sources experienced a job offer rate of only 9 percent (3 out of 34), whereas students coming from InVEST classes experienced a job offer rate of 49 percent (21 out of 43). There is very strong evidence that when InVEST classes are the source of internships, InVEST is a significantly more productive recruiting force. How can your agency get started? First, visit InVEST’s website, investprogram.org, to view the internship guide under the Career Center tab. The guide will walk you through the mechanics of setting up an internship program. The guide covers basics such as developing a job description, establishing a mentoring program and conducting evaluations. You will also find suggested job descriptions, timelines and responsibilities. When setting up your program, don’t forget the evaluation piece. Evaluations are crucial to young people as they provide guidance on skill sets they can work on along with the attributes that can make them successful. Once you have established the intern’s proposed duties, post your position on the Insurance Career Center at insurancecareercenter.org. Internship postings are free, and once an opportunity is posted, InVEST notifies area schools with insurance, risk, or finance programs. Another way to start on the path to recruiting the next generation of workers is to get involved with a local InVEST program, introducing you to high school or college students. By volunteering to guest speak, being part of a career panel or attending a career fair, you will be helping students learn about the opportunities within the insurance industry as well as the advantages of working for an independent insurance agency. In most cases, students have no idea of the various types of jobs within the insurance industry and the many benefits that come from being in a dynamic, changing, but steady industry. Some will say there is plenty of time for industry perpetuation and recruiting the next generation of workers. But with our rapidly aging insurance industry workforce, we can’t afford to wait any longer. Put a succession plan in place now for your agency. Tomorrow will be here before we know it.
Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma
E A G L E A G E N C Y
Independent Insurance Agents Association of OKC
Platinum Gold Taber Brokerage Services Patriot National Underwriters Inc./Old Glory Insurance Company
EMC Insurance Companies Columbia Insurance Group Midlands Management Corporation Chubb Group of Insurance Companies Premium Financing Specialists National American Insurance Company M.J. Kelly Company Specialty Insurance Managers of Oklahoma Cornerstone National Insurance Company Farmers Alliance Insurance Companies AMERISAFE Risk Placement Services, Inc. CNA Insurance
Chartis Insurance Safeco Insurance Republic Group of Insurance Companies Union Mutual Insurance Company Hartford Insurance Group Great American Insurance Company Equity Insurance Company Swett & Crawford of Texas Westphalen Insurance Services Acton Inc. Graham-Rogers Triangle Insurance Company First Guaranty Insurance Company
Cooking Up a Red Cross Donation Kansas-based Farmers Alliance developed a cookbook filled with insurance agents and employee’s favorite recipes specifically to raise money for disaster relief. Many Oklahomans’ recipes are included.
armers Alliance President Keith Birkhead recently presented the company’s $10,000 contribution to American Red Cross representative Beverly Morlan, executive director for the Midway-Kansas Chapter. Birkhead, representing the company’s employees and independent insurance agents, passed along the proceeds of the company’s 2010 cookbook, “Hometown Favorites,” which was created as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. “Our Farmers Alliance family is much like any other family: We like to enjoy fun, food and fellowship, but we also like to make a difference in our communities,” Birkhead said. “Through this cookbook project we’ve had the opportunity to share lots of fun and food, and by contributing the proceeds to the Disaster Relief Fund, we know we are helping to make a difference in communities all across the country. “It’s also appropriate that we support the Red Cross in this way, since our company was founded more than a
POLICY Fall 2011
century ago on the principles of neighbors helping neighbors. We work every day to help our policyholders protect their properties and their financial stability, and then we work to restore those if there’s been a loss. The mission of the Red Cross is very similar, and we’re happy to support their efforts with this contribution.” The “Hometown Favorites” cookbook features recipes from insurance agents and employees across Farmers Alliance’s eight-state region. With nearly 850 family favorites in the book, this is a great collection of tried-and-true meals. A very limited number of books remain. For more information, call Farmers Alliance at 800.362.1075, ext. 1103. The Farmers Alliance Companies provide property and casualty insurance through independent agents in an eight-state region. For additional information about the company, write to Farmers Alliance Companies, PO Box 1401, McPherson, KA 67460, call 800.362.1075, or visit the website, fami.com.
Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma
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PO Box 13490 Oklahoma City, OK 73113
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