INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS OF SOUTH DAKOTA
Farm and Small Town Conference February 15-16, 2012 Cedar Shores Resort & Hotel Chamberlain, SD Call for more information: (605) 734-6376
INSIDE: Executive V.P. Jerry Diamond- Pg 4 E &O Administrator-Carolyn Hofer- Pg 5 Div.of Ins. News & Views- Merle Schreiber- Pg 6 How to Protect Your Computer- Kayla Longbrake- Pg 7 A Tip of the CAP- Brad Smith- Pgs 12-13 Trusted Choice Pledge of Performance- Pg 19
Big “I” Markets
Partnership with Markel opens door to insuring sportsmen Big “I” Markets was created primarily to offer member agents access to specialty niche markets that they otherwise might not want, need, or could not find access to through a direct carrier appointment. The recent expansion of new markets fits that strategy perfectly. Big “I” Markets, in partnership with Markel Insurance Company, is pleased to introduce its new niche program for Outfitters & Guides, Rod & Gun Clubs (includes shooting clubs) and Hunting and Fishing Lodges & Plantations. Marketed through Big “I” Markets, this outdoor insurance program is available on a licensed and admitted basis in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.
Program Features and Coverage Highlights: o Liability limits available: $300,000 occurrence/$900,000 aggregate $500,000 occurrence/$l million aggregate $1 million occurrence/$3 million aggregate o Property insurance forms available are Basic, Broad, and Special. Deductibles start at $1,000. o Inland Marine coverage for insureds’ and customers’ personal property, equipment, etc. o Excess liability limits to $5 million, umbrella, business interruption, and equipment breakdown. o No liability deductibles.
October 2011 IIASD PO Box 327 Pierre SD 57501 www.iiasd.org
Jerry Diamond, Editor (605) 224-6234 Fax (605) 224-6235 e-mail: email@example.com
Despite National Recession, South Dakota Sees Growth Agriculture and manufacturing have spurred the South Dakota economy to moderate prosperity in the backwash of the national recession. Gains on the farm and in some factories have offset soft times in housing and the financial industry, resulting in almost uninterrupted growth for the state in the past decade. South Dakota’s gross domestic product, a measure of all dollars changing hands, reached $39.8 billion last year, up 4.3 percent from 2009, state officials said. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis shows a more modest 2.2 percent gain for South Dakota, but that is before allowing for inflation. Either measure indicates the state weathered the most severe elements of recession. “We really didn’t get the bubble, and we’re not getting the crash,” said Joe Mahon, regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The state’s economy takes less dramatic turns, because agriculture tends to run counter to other industries, Mahon said. World instability, including the financial crisis in Europe, might be pushing farm prices just as it drives up the value of gold and silver. But a bigger factor fueling farm commodities is world demand for food. “It’s an interesting question, whether in hard times people flee to something tangible and useful,” Mahon said. “But the ag economy is just on a different clock … and that helps smooth out the recession.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed farm income topping $2.58 billion in South Dakota last year, up 11 percent from $2.31 billion in 2009. South Dakota ranked No. 16 among states with $2.4 billion in ag exports in 2010. The strong farm numbers work in tandem with gains in other industries that have either weathered the recession or adapted to conditions it created. Showplace Wood Products, a cabinet maker with 380 employees in Harrisburg, Beresford and Sioux Falls, once had about 60 percent of its business go toward new housing. That now is almost totally reversed, to an 80-20 split in favor of remodeling over new construction. That change comes as the manufacturer has been able to expand its volume and place in the national market. “We’re up about 10 percent year to date this year compared to last,” said Emery Lee, chief financial officer at Showplace. “We strive to make a good product and get it shipped out on time. That’s paid off well for us.” Daktronics, a manufacturer of stadium scoreboards, billboards and other electronic equipment, ended fiscal 2010 with a net loss compared to 2009 and then showed a gain in revenue this year. Its work force of 2,600 includes 2,100 employees in Brookings and 250 in Sioux Falls.“South Dakota, in many regards, is better off than a lot of the other parts of the country,” said Jim Morgan, president and CEO. Daktronics benefits from the nation’s appetite for sports and high-tech stadiums. The manufacturer has outfitted four Sioux Falls football stadiums recently and did Target Field for the Minnesota Twins in 2010.“Long term, we expect to keep growing,” Morgan said. Kathy Reeves, a specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service in Rapid City, said the state’s economic growth reflects what has been a generally positive year.“Corn and the raw materials for ethanol are up. We’ve had good moisture and a pretty decent year. Any time prices are up, people feel good,” she said. She said problems ranging from national debt to financial chaos in Greece may have surprise consequences, but that self-reliance serves the state’s residents well. “If things get tough, you figure out a way to make things work,” she said. Information from: Insurance Journal
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TOM DIEFENDORF 605-763-8077 tdiefendorf@ unitedfiregroup.com
• No reduced number of days notice for nonpayment. The number of days for cancellation notification to parties of interest is the same, regardless of the cancellation reason. • We provide notice to parties of interest for insured-initiated cancellation as well as company-initiated cancellation. • For all requested lines of business, we will provide notice to parties of interest — this service is not limited to select lines of business only. • UW1730, Notification Endorsement for Cancellation, Non-Renewal or Material Change in Coverage is available to support your notification request.
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The Executive Corner Jerry Diamond, Exec VP I just returned from a 1 ½ day Trusted Choice school. The reason why I went was to learn more about the program. Wow! Was my eyes ever opened. If you’re not aware Trusted Choice is now our branded name and there is a big push to raise awareness with consumers. Hopefully you have seen the live ads on 2 television stations. We have worked closely with television stations to develop these live ads which can be run on other stations as well. Trust me, you will see many more. These television spots will be changing every 3 to 4 months using different agents from the state. If you would like to be considered for a television spot please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the surprise the cost over the next year is your time only. Yes I repeat your time only, No monetary cost to you. This will be limited to 24 to 30 agencies in South Dakota for 2012. We are also working on expanding this program throughout 2012. Television advertisement is only 1 of many types of cost sharing advertising done by Trusted Choice. Some Include: 1. Business Cards 2. Letterhead 3. Envelopes 4. Sales Promotions 5. Signage 6. Logo Plaques 7. Logo wear- shirts, jackets etc. 8. Co-branding of your website. Even better news- your Board of Directors have agreed to pay the $60.00 Trusted Choice Membership for 2011 and 2012. So what are you waiting or do you not like sharing your expenses or getting free advertisement.
• Ranked among the “Most Trustworthy Companies in America” by Audit Integrity and Forbes • Named a “Top 10 Ease of Doing Business Performer” by Deep Customer Connections Inc. (DCC) • Named a “Super Regional Property/Casualty Insurer” by Insurance Journal and Demotech Inc. • Rated “A” by A.M. Best
E&O EDGE – Carolyn Hofer, E&O Administrator WHEN THE SHOE FITS – WEAR IT!!! (EVEN IF IT IS A LITTLE BIG)
Technology is here to stay – it touches every person in one way or another. Even my 90-yr. old mother has a cell phone and has to call in once a month to have her pace maker calibrated via the telephone! We are texting, browsing, scanning bar codes we pull up in email on our cell phones – the capabilities are beyond this baby boomer’s comprehension! As long as we have power and connections, we can function at the highest level from anywhere! Along with all of the amazing technical wizards we use comes a great deal of power and responsibility – which many of us do not fully respect or understand. When using cell phones, email, websites, google searches, GPS systems – we are vulnerable and locatable and held accountable forever! I am sure you have all heard that if you have a copier/printer that has a memory – it retains copies of everything you scan and duplicate and is retrievable until the machine is destroyed. In the insurance industry, we are constantly being pushed into the world of technology because of its efficiencies in communicating, managing and documenting. Wow, that is a word you hear over and over every time we talk loss control – document, document, document! Consistently document document, document. WELL, NOW THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT!!!! Here at the Association Office, we have just spent one full week in training on our new association management system. We have been lagging a little behind the eight ball in technology and have made changes in the last six months that have definitely caused my hair to turn white!! I’ve always thought I was pretty open minded about moving forward with processes and procedures and as you all know, I spend a lot of time trying to convince others to use all the latest tools and techniques. Well, I did fine with the Management System but then we got into paperless filing and our consultant was relentless and unforgiving and incriminating. We all will admit that we have a lot of paper coming in by one form or another every day. The problem is, we like to print it all out – sometimes more than one copy so we can clutter someone else’s desk besides our own. Misery loves company, right? Well, when you see all those images in your Mailbox and you have to right click – drop and drag them into a limited number of files located somewhere in cyberspace on a server and then find them some day when you really do need to print them out for some unknown reason, resistance sets in! Our consultant assured us that typing in a couple of words on the “search function” will bring that document right in front of our eyes and I am sitting there wondering how I am every going to remember what name I gave a document a year from now! And this is supposed to make us more efficient and allow us to utilize data and information??
One thing I did learn, it is not a good idea to bring up reasons why you think certain documents should be kept in a paper file!! Leaders do not appreciate defectors. So, here I sit on Monday morning with images dropping into my All Mail faster than I can type (now totaling over 50) – trying to flip through my legal pad of notes to remember what to do next. Yes, it is uncomfortable and downright painful at the moment – but I am going to persevere. You are my witness – I will not surrender by adding to this unorganized heap of paper on my desk. So, even though these shoes feel a little big at the moment and I may develop a few blisters on the way, I know that once perfected, the organized records created will leave a permanent trail, backed up and recorded daily – stored on a postcard size external drive. Goodbye to the old Shaw Walker metal files!
Flood Webinar hosted by IIASD November 17th at 10:00AM. Register at: Don.Burke@selective.com
Division of Insurance News and Views We are pleased to bring you this new feature column with news and updates from our S D Division of Insurance.
From the Director â€“ Merle Schreiber
Want Speed to Market: Do Business in South Dakota There has been a major push for states to be more receptive to the needs of the insurance industry to get their products to market in an expeditious manner under the banner of speed to market. The insurance industry has had a legitimate concern about the length of time it takes for states to approve their products. This speed to market concern has led to the formation of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulatory Commission (Compact). In fact most states have now joined the Compact. I have opposed the idea of South Dakota entering into the Compact. One of the primary reasons I have opposed the Compact is that it would be a step backwards with respect to speed to market for our state. The Division currently acts upon rate and form filings within 3 days and completes the full review, including the response time for any correspondence between the Division and the insurer, and approves/disapproves rate and form filings on average in 5 days. Most filings are in fact done sooner than 5 days. On the other hand, the Compact takes, on average, 42 days to fully review filings. Another reason for keeping rate and form review here in South Dakota is that with the Compact the standards for review are set by the Commission and cannot be changed based upon any special or unique circumstances that may arise with a particular filing. Currently when special circumstances arise as Director I have the latitude to exercise some flexibility. Furthermore, when a statute or regulation unnecessarily prevents approval of a filing, we can often act quickly to make the necessary change in law or regulation. That type of regulatory flexibility is simply not present with the Compact. Furthermore, larger states who have majority representation in the Compact ultimately decide the approval standards for the Compact. Rate and form filings are not the only aspects of the Divisionâ€™s regulatory functions that have become more efficient and more streamlined. Agent licensing, appointments and continuing education have all benefitted from the new information systems we have put into place. The prompt delivery of high quality service to all of the Divisionâ€™s customers including consumers, agents, and insurers is a very high priority for the Division. While we have made strides in providing efficient services, we are always interested in knowing how we can improve. Please let us know if there are ways that you feel we can provide better service.
POSITIONS AVAILABLE Well established P&C agency in Sioux Falls area is looking for a licensed and experienced Commercial Lines CSR. Position would include both service and small commercial lines sales. Competitive compensation package. Excellent working environment. Inquiries will be confidential. Multiline agency in Sioux Falls is seeking a licensed Commercial Lines Sales Representative. Agency offers a competitive benefit and wage package with very pleasant working environment. All inquiries are kept confidential Send resume for job offerings to: IIASD, Box 327, Pierre, SD 57501
Kayla’s Computer Advice How to Protect Your Computer By: Kayla Longbrake Administrative Coordinator Most of you convention goers went to the seminar that was about Cyber Liability. Well, I am here to tell you some things that you might have and might not have known about how you can protect your computer. First thing, you should install and keep your operating system updated. Computers need to be periodically updated. This helps them stay in tune with the technology requirements they need and to fix any security holes that they may have in them. If your computer asks to run updates then you probably should because in the end it is more beneficial for you. Next, I will talk about a type of security on your computer that helps you protect yourself from hackers. This security is called a Firewall. It is important to keep your Firewall turned on so that it can keep hackers from accessing your computer to crash it or steal information off of it. If your Firewall is turned off, there is not much to stop anyone from accessing your information unless you get some type of antivirus for your computer. After you have a Firewall setup, there are some other things that you can purchase or download to protect your computer and your information even more. This is called an antivirus software. An antivirus software is designed to prevent malware from embedding itself onto your computer. The software detects malicious code, which could be a virus or a worm. The antivirus will either disarm or remove the malicious code before it can do serious damage to your computer. Also there is another type of software that can protect you when you are using the Internet and this is called an antispyware. An antispyware combats spyware which is installed on your computer to let others peer into your computer activities. Some spyware can collect information about you without even getting your consent or can produce unwanted pop-up ads while you are browsing websites online. When you purchase or download an antispyware this will ,combat intrusions that happen with your computer. Next you can also protect yourself and your computer by being careful of what you download onto your computer. For example, if you open unknown email attachments there could be viruses in them that can do a lot of damage to your computer. If you get e-mails forwarded to you be wary of opening them even people you do know, because sometimes there can be viruses attached without your friends or family even knowing it.
Lastly remember to turn off your computer. A lot of us leave our computers on 24/7, but I have found out that a computer that is on all the time is a lot more susceptible to getting spyware and viruses then a computer that is turned off. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed for fighting off unwanted attacks to your computer, if you remember to turn off your computer it will sever any connection that an attacker might have with your computer. So something as simple as turning off your computer can go a lot further then we could have ever thought. It can protect our information and our computers.
JUST FOR FUN 1. The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs and have fun finding them. 2. I’ve sure gotten old! I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But thank God, I still have my driver’s license. 3. My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. 4. Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.
ASSOCIATION EMAIL CHANGE:
Jerry Diamond: email@example.com Carolyn Hofer: firstname.lastname@example.org Kayla Longbrake: email@example.com Make This important change in your e-mail contact list.
Obituaries: We have been informed that Donald Kaberna of Wag ner has passed away on October 29, 2011. He was an Insurance Agent for over 31 years in Wagner, SD. He was a member and advocate of the Independent Insurance Agents of South Dakota. Our Prayers go out to his wife Carol and their family.
The celebration of life tribute service was held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at St. John Lutheran Church in Wagner, with burial in the ZCBJ Cemetery, rural Wagner.
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10 REASONS AMERICA NEEDS AGENTS-WE NEED TO TELL OUR STORY Despite popular opinion, there is one part of the health care system that isn’t broken. It’s the piece that provides consumers unbiased education on insurance plans and presents a range of options based on varying needs.And, it contributes to local economies and provides jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Unfortunately, it’s also the element that is most at risk of being eliminated by health care reform- a consumer’s access to be licensed, independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents perform an invaluable, irreplaceable service to Americans by providing trustworthy guidance on insurance purchases and acting on ongoing resource for service after the sale.
10 Reasons America Needs Agents:
1.Insurance Advocacy Agents work for you—not the insurance company. 2.Save Money Agents help you meet your budget by customizing and combining plans. 3.Save Time Agents resolve claims, enrollment, and other issues – without wasting your time. 4.Experience Agents have experience with almost every situation you may face involving insurance. 5.One Contact Make one call to your agent—and rest assured your concern is being addressed. 6.Carrier Relationships Agents have long-time relationships with carriers and can use those relationships to resolve problems. 7.Employer Assistance with Benefits Use agents to monitor your employee benefit program—and you can grow your business. 8.Comparison Data Market analyses can be educational for individuals and businesses. 9.Benefit Consultations Agents can consult on a variety of products and explain how they all work together. 10.Bolster the Local Economy Agents help your community create and keep jobs. IIASD is please to support the project of America Needs Agents a grassroots movement to gain support for America’s agents. Keep your access to local, independent insurance agents by visiting www.AmericaNeedsAgents.com. Sign and share the petition to preserve the vital role of independent agents play in our health care system.
Insuring the Midlands Since 1891 Les Hileman, CPCU, AIC Vice President of Agencies 800-742-7433 firstname.lastname@example.org
Agent & Customer Service Oriented
PROVIDING INSURANCE FOR 97 YEARS: Personal & Commercial Automobile
Homeowners & Mobilehome
Fire & Allied Lines
Personal & General Liability
Contact Mel Juran 605-775-2636
A Tip of the CAP Ladies and Gentlemen – Life as we know it is changing! Okay, I know that is pretty dramatic when writing an article about insurance. However, you all know that the way we communicate with our clients, the way we prospect for new clients, the way we market ourselves – all those things have been changing. That is not news to most of you. Also not news to most of you is that your national association has been working on the Consumer Agent Portal, LLC (CAP) to help all our members JOIN THE REVOLUTION. I just returned from 6 days of committee meetings, Education Convocation, ACT meetings and Big “I” Board of Director meetings. There were many things I heard, learned and saw last week that I could write about. Such as the installation of our new Chairman Mike Donohoe from Minnesota – what a great guy. But what I am most excited about and what I am extremely glad to tell you is that Project CAP is very close to being a reality. NOW READ THIS – Six of our industries leading insurance companies have put their money where their mouth is and have invested not only in Project Cap but in you! They collectively have invested $18 Million dollars in CAP. My friends – they have invested mightily in us – in our way of delivering the product to the consumer – or should I say in our ability to market to the consumer in a NEW WAY. Who are these companies whom in addition to what they provide for us every day have invested in CAP – a new way of doing business? I am pleased to tell you in no particular order that these new partners are: • Safeco Insurance • The Central Companies • The Main Street America Group • Selective Insurance Co. of America • State Auto Insurance Companies • Westfield Insurance If you represent these companies I would encourage you to take a minute and send a note of thanks to the management for their investment in our future, for supporting us and what we feel is important to our members, our industry and our clients. The investment by these 6 companies far exceeds the expectations of the CAP planning and there is still a few other companies who want to invest in this program in the very near future.
Let me quote Scott Deetz, CEO of CAP, “CAP is an industry initiative driven by the leadership vision of key insurance carriers, IIABA, along with Trusted Choice® and Big ‘I’ state associations. They all want to enable independent agencies, brokers and carriers around the country to unite with a common goal of expanding their market share in personal lines insurance.” CAP also will be delivering a consumer website in 2012 as a marketing resource to complement the industry services website. This portal will be the only online shopping solution to give consumers real-time comparisons from the largest selection of independent insurance carriers, as well as the ability to select local independent agents or brokers for service, customization of policies and advocacy.
The Revolution is Coming
So what is the “Revolution” I mentioned earlier? We have the ability being set out before us to do 2 very unique things. Not only will CAP help agents move into the digital marketing world and to compete against the internet marketing of direct writers to take back market share – but we also have the vehicle in front of us to demonstrate the strength of our independence – by uniting together with Trusted Choice. My fellow agents please hear me loud and clear – you can co-brand your agency and connect to the Trusted Choice brand at the same time. If you elect not to do so then you are going to miss out on millions of investment dollars, hundreds of minutes of TV and radio ads and thousands of hits on the internet. These ads will be intended to celebrate our independence yet demonstrate the difference between us and insurance agents who cannot offer CHOICE – and that is where we must stand together to Join the Revolution and take back our share of the market. How does CAP and Trusted Choice work together? In a word – beautifully! Especially when the online quoting portal becomes live next summer. Trusted Choice will be the insurance brand name marketed to the world. Why wouldn’t you want to co-brand your agency with the power of 28,000 other member agency locations around the U.S.? You know the average consumer thinks an “independent agent” is the single direct writer’s office down the street from them. Since he is a small business like we are they often lump us all together – and we know that could not be further from the truth! We not only offer Choice – we are Trusted Advisers offering Choices! The guy down the street cannot be both, but we can. So, I encourage you to visit the program website at http:// www.projectCAP.info and watch for more information on CAP. Then take a moment to think about the branding power that exists through this new endeavor. I think and hope that you will Join the Revolution with the rest of us. Written By: Brad Smith from Tennessee
ASSOCIATION EMAIL CHANGE:
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Jerry Diamond: email@example.com Carolyn Hofer: firstname.lastname@example.org Kayla Longbrake email@example.com
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EN UT T S TA B L E O
10/26/11 2:37 PM
Credit or Insurance Scores
Insurance companies decide whether to insure a person and what they will pay for auto and homeowners insurance based on that person's risk of accidents and other losses. For many years insurers have used such factors as driving record, years of driving experience, age and condition of property to make these decisions. There is now an additional way of predicting risk: insurance scores based on credit information. Why Credit? Studies by regulators, insurance companies, universities and independent auditors show that credit history is an indisputable and strong indicator of how likely someone is to file a future claim. For most insurance consumers this qualifies them for lower rates. Insurance companies report that on average two-thirds of their customers have lower premiums due to a good insurance score. If companies can't use insurance scores, the best risk customers end up paying more for the higher risk customers. For example, it would be comparable to ignoring the different risks represented by age and charging a 45-year old driver the same price as a 16-year old. The National Outlook on Credit & Insurance In November 2002 the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) adopted a model act on credit scoring that protects consumers, addresses the needs of agents and preserves the benefits for consumers paying lower premiums when credit is used appropriately as an accurate underwriting tool. NCOIL reports that now 22 states have adopted laws that are either identical or similar to its model. Seven of the states, including Colorado, have newly adopted some version of NCOIL in 2004 alone. Credit Reports, Credit Scores and Insurance Scores Credit reports are not the same as credit scores. A credit report contains information that shows how quickly a debt is paid back. It also shows whether the person has had a bankruptcy or delinquent payments on a loan serious enough to trigger action by a debt collection agency. Common Q & A On Credit Scoring Q. Why do insurance companies use insurance scores? A. Insurance companies need to be able to predict risk accurately so that what consumers pay for insurance reflects its cost. Studies have found a very strong link between insurance scores and the likelihood of auto insurance losses. Insurance companies vary in their use of insurance scores. Some use them only when other factors suggest that the applicant is a poor risk -- in insurance terms, a person who is likely to file more claims. Others use insurance scores extensively, both in underwriting and in setting rates. All companies must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act and state laws that apply to the use of credit information. These measures ensure that there is confidentiality, accuracy and a legitimate
need for the information sought.
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Q. What advantages are there for consumers?
A. Most people have good credit histories so the use of insurance scoring may help them get insurance even if they have had to file claims for accidents, theft or other losses. For many people, the use of insurance scoring can mean lower rates.
Q. What if thereâ€™s been a mistake?
A. If a consumer is denied insurance because of information in their credit report, the insurance company is obliged to notify them. They have the right to dispute any information in their credit report. By law, the credit rating agency must provide them with a free copy of their credit report and must correct inaccurate or incomplete information at no charge to them.
Q. How can I get a copy of my credit report?
A. As of December 1, 2004, residents of Western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) may order free copies of their credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus annually through AnnualCreditReport.com. Midwesterners will be able to order their free reports March 1, 2005 , Southern state residents in June, and Eastern state and U.S. territory residents in September.
Q. How important is a good credit history?
A. There are many advantages to maintaining a good credit history -- getting a better price on insurance is just one of them. In todayâ€™s society good credit is more important than ever. A clean credit record will entitle a person to higher credit limits, lower interest rates on credit cards and more favorable interest rates on loans. Many landlords now perform credit checks before leasing an apartment and some employers investigate credit histories before making job offers. So whether buying a home, applying for a new job or looking for the best price on insurance, a good credit history will go a long way in helping a person realize their financial and personal goals.
Q. If a person has bad credit, is there anything they can do to lower their auto or homeowners insurance premium?
A. Insurance rates vary, depending on the insurance company, the coverage requested and whether the insurer uses insurance scoring (and to what extent). There are a number of things consumers can do to lower their insurance costs. â€˘ Comparison Shop . Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. â€˘ Ask for Higher Deductibles . Costs can be lowered substantially by requesting higher deductibles. â€˘ Clean up Credit . For the long term, the consumer needs to establish a plan to pay all of their bills on time -- and stick to it. Most people develop credit problems simply because their spending consistently exceeds their income. Of course, credit problems can develop quickly following the loss of a job, after an extended illness or injury that reduces income, or the death of a spouse. A number of nonprofit organizations are dedicated to helping people manage their debts including the Consumer Credit Counseling Services at 800-493-2222 or Debt Counselors of America, an online organization with a very informative web site: http//www.dca.org
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YOU ARE A TRUSTED CHOICE AGENCY
Sign the Pledge of Performance to Activate! Becoming a Trusted Choice Agency is as easy as requesting a Trusted Choice License Agreement to review and sign. In this agreement, you promise to maintain a current IIASD membership, follow the Pledge of Performance shown below and adhere to Trusted Choice Trademark rules. IIASD Board of Directors voted to pick up the firstyear cost of Trusted Choice membership for all IIASD members. All you have to do is agree to follow the pledge and trademark rules and sign the license agreement. Review the Pledge of Performance below and go to our website to download the Trusted Choice License agreement. Sign and return to us at IIASD, Box 327, Pierre, SD 57501 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Call if you have questions – 605-224-6234.
Trusted Choice Pledge of Performance Trusted Choice agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy. As a Trusted Choice agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy. This commitment means we shall:
• Work with you to identify the insurance and financial services that are right for you, your family or your business and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products. • Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim. Help you solve problems related to your coverage or account. • Explain the coverages and options available to you through our agency, at your request. • Return your phone calls and e-mails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner. • Provide 24/7 services for our customers, offering any or all of the following: emergency phone numbers,internet account access, e-mail and call center services. • Use our experience and multiple company relationships to customize your coverage in serving you. • Commit our staff to continuing education so they may be more knowledgeable in serving you. • Treat you with respect and courtesy. • Conduct our business in an ethical manner. We pledge this to you, our clients and ask that you let us know if we fail to meet our commitment, so we can take correction action.
Flood Webinar – November 17th – 10:00AM
Farm and Small Town February 15-16 Cedar Shores Hotel and Conference Center Chamberlain, South Dakota
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the Big I Flood Program through Selective Insurance. Register at: Don.Burke@selective.com or contact Carolyn Hofer at email@example.com.
E & O Loss Control Seminar June 4 - Rapid City, SD June 5- Pierre, SD June 6- Aberdeen, SD June 7- Sioux Falls, SD
September 9-11 Annual Convention The “Big Event” will be held at the Lodge in Deadwood, SD. For room reservations please call 605-584-4800 be sure to tell them you are with the IIASD as we have setup a block of rooms for the event.
Pre-Licensing Class Announcement IIASD and A.D. Banker of the Dakotas Have Partnered
We are excited to announce that IIASD and A.D. Banker of the Dakota have partnered to provide insurance and securities licensing preparation classes and materials at a 15% IIASD Member Discount. A.D. Banker offers Exam Prep classes each month in Sioux Falls and quarterly classes in Rapid City. Class schedules are listed at: www.adbanker.com/dakotas Self-study and online study options for Exam Prep are also available. Materials and classroom instruction have been very successful with an average of 95% of students taking their license exam passing on the first try! Sandy Kost is the Owner/Managing Director of A.D. Bankers of the Dakotas and has worked in the insurance and financial services industry since 1988. She has worked with insurance agents, investment reps, agencies and banks in SD, ND, NE, IA, MN and WI. She has provided training on various products and topics. To register for a class or to order materials, go to: www.adbanker.com/dakotas Call: 605-271-4440 or 877-317-3087. Be sure to use the IIASD Promo/Discount Code to receive your 15% Member Discount. Promo Code: 1594626 IIASD 2011 in color FINAL_Layout 1 10/27/2011 3:22 PM Page 1
WHOLESALE ACCESS to First Dakota Indemnity and Dakota Truck Underwriters,
known as the Dakota Group. The Dakota Group is the largest writers of workersâ€™ compenation business in South Dakota and a leading writer in the Midwest.
providing workersâ€™ compensation solutions
Austinâ€™s got you covered.
Protection you can count on. "VTUJO.VUVBMDBOQSPUFDUZPVSCVTJOFTTGSPNMJGFT QFSJMT8FLOPXUIBUBDPOTUBOUJOMJGFJTDIBOHF BOEZPVSCVTJOFTTJTOPEJĂFSFOU "VTUJOIBTCFFOBEBQUJOHUPDIBOHFGPSPWFS ZFBST3FTUBTTVSFEUIBUXFIBWFZPVDPWFSFE SFHBSEMFTTPGUIFDIBOHF MJGFUPTTFTZPVSXBZ
PO Box 89846 Sioux Falls, SDâ€ˆ57109-9846 P. 605.361.5705 or 866.440.1840 E. firstname.lastname@example.org
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FRAUD CONVICTIONS A vehicle covered by Travelers Insurance ran into a vehicle driven by Jennings Wilson. The North Myrtle, SC, man told Travelers that he and his two relatives were injured. Travelers paid each claimant $500 and sent Wilson $433 for the vehicle damage but a surveillance camera at a nearby CVS Pharmacy showed that the two relatives were not in the car. Jennings was arrested and tried to back his way out of the legal mess. He sent all three injury checks and the repair check back to Travelers â€” unopened. He still had to serve14 days in county jail and pay a fine.
Nothing funny about the comic-book murder.
Michael George was cheating on his wife Barbara and wanted her out of the way, so the Clinton Township, MI, man could collect about $130,000 in life-insurance money. George shot Barbara in the back of their comic-book store then made it look like a robbery. Comic books worth $30,000 were missing. George said he was napping at his motherâ€™s Hazel Park home at the time of the slaying but she stated her son was not at her home at 5:30 p.m. â€” about a half-hour before the murder. George was convicted Tuesday and will be sentenced November 21.
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Thomas Trucios’s scorched skin peeled off his flesh after he ignited a house fire to help his employer
recoup a $315,000 mortgage. Victor and Olga Barriere had financial problems and asked Trucio, who was their handyman, to torch an overpriced Long Beach home that was not selling in the California market. Trucios poured so much fuel on the property that the explosion jolted neighbors awake and left small canyons in the sidewalks. His family drove him to the hospital after the fire. “The windows in the car kept fogging up ... I could feel the heat ... I knew my dad was still burning inside,” his daughter said at the Barrieres’ trial. Trucios died from his burns at the hospital. The Barrieres pleaded that they did not intend for Trucios to be killed. Narrowly avoiding the death penalty, Victor received 14 years in prison and Olga six years. Trucios’ widow wept at the sentencing: “I have been sentenced for the rest of my life... when will I be able to [kiss] my husband ... When will my children be able to do that with their father?” David Ison shot his drug dealer, three of the dealer’s family members, and a neighbor after arguing over the price the dealer charged for the addictive painkiller oxycodone, Indiana state police say. The Glenwood man’s girlfriend says she drove him to a home to buy the drugs from dealer Roy Napier, then heard six or seven shots after he went inside. When she asked him about the shots, he allegedly replied, “What shots?” Apparently Napier tried to raise the drug price and would let Ison take only 30 pills instead of 50. Police found a .380-caliber handgun, like the one they believe was used in the killings, while searching Ison’s car. They also found Melissa Napier’s cellphone, a pair of tennis shoes that matched bloody footprints found at the crime scene, and a bloodstained T-shirt, the affidavit states. Bassey Monday Idiong billed Medicare for expensive “arthritis kits” that included orthotics and braces. The Humble, TX, man charged Medicare $4,000 per kit, then provided beneficiaries with different, less-expensive kits that were medically unneeded. Idiong billed for an arthritis kit with two knee braces — except for one problem: The beneficiary had only one leg. Idiong received 33 months in federal prison Tuesday.
Listed prices were 10-15 times higher than normal, officials say. The invoices then were submitted to auto insurers for payment. The insurance loot was laundered at a check-cashing firm. The Finkelshteyns face up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted. Police searched Tihawkmena Kamadev’s scorched apartment after a mysterious fire broke out inside. They found past-due bills and delinquency notices. The Pekin, IL, man’s financial problems were a tipoff for his alleged motive in setting fire to his rental unit. He had also bought a $50,000 renters policy just three days before the fire broke out. Kamadev claimed he did not know how the fire started, but guessed an electrical outlet was the culprit. He also claimed he had lost his keys, and someone else may have broken in and started the fire while he slept. Sorry but you had your chance. That was what the county judge told the attorney of convicted swindler Bridgette Buckner after she skipped out of her sentencing hearing. The Chicago-area woman was handed 10 years in the slammer in absentia. Buckner had filed for death benefit payouts while working as a customer service rep for a health-care administrator. She submitted bogus death certificates saying her daughter and husband had died. Buckner’s husband was an FBI agent shot in the line of duty, she lied. She jumped bail and soon was picked up. Buckner’s attorney asked the court to reconsider the 10-year sentence and let her address the court. No go, the judge said this week. Buckner gave up her right to address the court when she skipped bail. Gabriel Gonzalez died when he was sucked into a wood chipper. The owner of the California tree-trimming firm then filed a workers’ comp claim to get benefits for the grieving family but that claim led to an investigation that revealed firm owner Jose Luis Guerrero had underreported his payroll to the state by more than $2 million to lower his comp premiums, Orange County prosecutors allege. Guerrero also collected on insurance claims for employees he never paid premiums to cover, including one hurt seriously in a work-related car crash in May 2007, prosecutors say.
A pair of Brooklyn wise guys bilked no-fault auto insurers out of millions of dollars with fake invoices listing inflated prices for phantom durable medical equipment, prosecutors charge. Alexander and Robert Finkelshteyn allegedly formed 11 companies purporting to be wholesalers of wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen tents, and other equipment. The Finkelshteyns then bought invoices from a crony, specifying info to be printed on the forms.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH – PERSONAL TRAILERS TOWED BY BUSINESSOWNED VEHICLES Question - If an individually owned trailer is towed by a vehicle owned by a business, does the personal auto policy cover the individual’s liability in the case of an accident? Does the business auto policy cover the business? Answer - The ISO personal auto policies provide liability coverage for the ownership, maintenance or use of any trailer owned by the named insured, even if it is not scheduled in the declarations. There are some exclusions that should be noted, however. One exclusion precludes coverage for a trailer being used to carry property for a fee, or while rented or leased to another. Another excludes a trailer being used for business purposes unless it is being towed by a private passenger auto, pickup or van. Yet another excludes a trailer owned by a family member unless it is scheduled in the declarations. If the company vehicle is furnished or available for the individual’s regular use, exclusion could complicate matters considerably in the event of an accident. We suggest you consider attaching the extended non-owned coverage endorsement – PP 03 06 (ISO PAP) – to properly cover the individual. The company business auto policy (ISO) covers a nonowned trailer if Symbol 1 or 7 is used. If Sympbol 7 applies, the trailer must be pulled by a vehicle scheduled on the policy.
Why American West Insurance? • Local company with over 60 years agriculture insurance experience • Quality products • Competitive pricing • Expert claims and underwriting services
Be Protected. Be Sure®. yourawi.com To learn more about AWI contact Bruce Meyer at email@example.com or call 605-929-2782.
Agribusiness • Farm & Ranch • Farm & Ranch Auto • Personal Auto Excess Liability • Watercraft • Crop-Hail • Multi-Peril
THE CROP COMMISSION CAP IS HURTING AGENCIES – IS FARM CREDIT LOOKING TO EXPAND ITS INSURANCE AUTHORITY?!? The Independent Insurance Agents have been receiving documented reports of significant cuts to the income rural agencies that sell crop insurance. These agencies employ countless staff and play a critical role in the economies of rural communities across the country. The cuts are a result of the Administration’s decision to cap agent compensation at 80% of the administrative and operating reimbursement limit. This cap has led some small business owners in the state to eliminate crucial staff members who play critical roles in supporting farmers and ranchers. Big "I" members across the state are reporting on the devastating effects the commission caps are having on the Midwest. With the 2012 Farm Bill in the midst of heavy debate in Washington, DC it is critical that we keep the repeal of the agent commission cap a front burner issue. Farm Credit was established in 1916 by Congress and was initially funded by the Federal Government. It is now a Government Sponsored Enterprise and it competes directly with local insurance agents who sell crop insurance, as well as community owned banks who lend farmers money. We are very concerned that the Farm Credit System is attempting to seek legislation to expand their insurance authority. Today Farm Credit System can only sell crop insurance (no other insurance products). We believe that Farm Credit has a government provided unfair advantage when competing in this arena against local agents and banks because of the tax breaks and other resources available to them. We need agents to ask their members of Congress to oppose any expansion of the Farm Credit System into other lines of insurance. If you are concerned about the impact this potential legislation will have on our industry then it would be appropriate for you to also reach out to your carriers and ask them for their support and their views on these issues. Last week IIAI sent out a “grassroots action alert” requesting that agents across the state voice their opposition to the commission caps and their opposition to the possible expansion of Farm Credit Services into other lines of insurance. The Farm Credit System by law enjoys two major tax breaks that together are reported to exceed $500 million annually. First, the FCS's real estate or Title I lenders are exempt from all corporate income taxes; this tax break costs the federal government and the states approximately $400 million annually. These lenders include the six farm credit banks, 32 federal land bank associations, and 40 federal land credit associations. The FCS's 63 production credit associations and 52 agricultural credit associations are subject to corporate income taxation. However, some of these associations distribute a portion of their income as tax-deductible patronage refunds, thereby reducing their income tax liability as a percentage of their income before taxes and patronage refunds. FCS's second tax break is the exemption of interest paid on FCS obligations from state and local income taxation; this break is estimated to have reduced the tax burden on the FCS debt being used to fund loans to farmers by at least $100 million annually. WHERE DO THE CROP COMPANIES STAND ON THESE ISSUES? This is a great question, but the answer is still unclear. It is our hope that the crop insurance companies will support the independent agent community on both of these critical issues. The cap on agent commissions is the single most important issue for crop agents. The effects of the cap are devastating to rural communities and job opportunities across the country. IIASD feels strongly that company support is vital to helping us accomplish our goal of repealing the cap and restoring strength to rural economies. While many crop insurers utilize Farm Credit as a key component in the delivery of crop insurance, we would hope that they understand the reasons why we oppose its expansion into other lines of insurance. We hope that member agents will discuss these important legislative issues with their crop companies and their members of Congress.
DON’T GET BITTEN BY AN E&O CLAIM YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED.
Big “I” Risk Management Website
www.independentagent.com/EOHappens Big “I” members whose agency E&O insurance is written by Swiss Re through the Big “I” Professional Liability Program have access to an exclusive risk management web site.
DON’T BE ON THE HOOK FOR: Failing to procure coverage requested by the client Not adequately identifying client exposures Failing to provide timely notice of a claim to the carrier
Log on today to fish for E&O claims frequency data, real-life case studies and analysis, sample client letters, sample agency procedures, agency E&O self assessments, podcasts on important E&O topics, and much more.
Misrepresenting or not explaining policy provisions Providing inaccurate information to carriers Failing to properly add additional insureds or loss payees
If you don’t have a direct appointment with Travelers commercial, but think you would benefit from having online access to its Select Accounts products, then keep reading!
There are dozens of classes that qualify including accountants, dentists, lawyers and…insurance offices!
Big “I” Markets and Travelers Select Accounts are partnering to provide you a complete range of coverage solutions, services, competitive products and pricing that offer your insureds and you both value and flexibility. You can now write the Master Pac SM Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) starting with Office PacSM and soon to be expanded to more than a dozen segments of the commercial marketplace.
As a registered user of Big “I” Markets you have access to Office Pac right now!
Office Pac is designed for a variety of firms providing including insurance offices, medical, legal, financial or other professional services for their clientele. Travelers’ proprietary BOP product, Master Pac, includes a broad array of industry-specific coverage options and coverage extensions that can be tailored to your clients’ needs.
To review a complete listing of eligible classes or to retrieve your Big “I” Markets password, please visit www.bigimarkets.com. P.S. Why not quote your own agency and see if you can save some money on your own business insurance while paying yourself commission to do so!
Travelers’ exposure-based definition makes it easy for you to prequalify a risk, saving you time and increasing your revenue. Simply review the industry-specific exposure guidelines in the Product Resources section of the Office Pac product on Big “I” Markets to quickly determine accounts that are eligible for Master Pac. The time you save by pre-qualifying accounts can be allocated towards growing your business and servicing larger clients.
POWER IN PARTNERS
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