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independent agent OCTOBER 2012

If it’s worth insuring , it’s worth insuring well. It!s important to prot ect the things your customers value. So it makes sense to in sure them with a compa ny that provides wha t they need. West Bend!s Home and Highway® polic y offers !"#$%&'"!$(%)!#*!&)+$ ,&!"$-.+/$0#+#1!23 $&+*456&+'7 – 8)9#%.'#$:)%$;52 !$.0)5!$#9#%/!"&+'$ !"#/$),+7$ ")-#3$*)+6)3$)%$%#+ !.4$5+&!3$.2$,#44$.2$*. %23$ !%5*<3$0).!3$-)!)%*/ *4#3$2+),-)0&4#3$;#, #4 %/3$ even umbrella liabi lity coverage ... all on one policy with one prem ium. – Guaranteed repl acement cost with no cap 2)$&:$!"#$")-#$&2$6#2 !%)/#6$0/$.$1%#$)%$. $ !)%+.6)3$,#=44$(./$, ".!$&!$*)2!2$!)$%#(4.* #$&!3$ even if it!s more than the policy!s limits. – Automatic covera ge for some of the costs !"#/$-./$&+*5%3$&+*4 56&+'$-)2!$9#!#%&+.% &.+$ #>(#+2#23$&:$.$0#4)9 #6$:.-&4/$(#!$&2$!"#$ victim of a covered accident. – Five percent of th e annual premium back – in cash – if they don!t have a claim all year.


independent agent Open Door Policy The Importance Of Navigator Oversight In Wisconsin . . . . . . . 4 Member Profile The Horton Group: Accountability & Collaboration Drive The Culture . . . . . . . . . 10 News From ACT An Agency Case Study In Implementing Real Time . . . . . . . . 14 Roundtable Panelists Address Health Care Reform. . . . . . . . 18 Commentary From Counsel Navigators: Unregulated Competition? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Marketing Minute 10 Ways To Fire Up Your Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Government Affairs GOP Positioned To Retain Assembly Majority . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin 725 John Nolen Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53713 Phone: (608) 256-4429 or (800) 362-7441 ■ Fax: (608) 256-0170 ■ Web: Executive Vice President - Matt Banaszynski 2012-2013 Executive Committee

2012-2013 Committee Chairs

President....................................................... Michael Froh P.O. Box 1320 Sheboygan, WI 53082-1320

Agency Operations....................................... Kim Dandrea 1300 South Green Bay Rd. #100, Racine, WI 53406

President-elect .............................................. Dave Dunker P.O. Box 443 Brookfield, WI 53008-0443

Automation/Technology ............... Cathleen Christensen P.O. Box 949, Fond du Lac, WI 54936-0949

Secretary-Treasurer .................................... John Wickhem P.O. Box 1500, Janesville, WI 53547-1500

Employee Benefits............................................. Tim Bever 555 Main St. #320, Racine, WI 53403

Chairman of the Board .....................................Mike Hierl P.O. Box 949 Fond du Lac, WI 54936-0949

Finance & Compensation ..............................Skip Hansen 100 North Corporate Drive #100 Brookfield, WI 53045

State National Director ................................ Linda Steiner 555 Main Street #320 Racine, WI 53403

Government Affairs .......................................Skip Hansen 100 North Corporate Drive #100 Brookfield, WI 53045

2012-2013 Board of Directors

Industry Relations ..............................................Ted Haase P.O Box 6, Seymour, WI 54165

Mike Ansay 101 East Grand Ave. #11, Port Washington, WI 53704

West Bend!s Home an

d Highway makes se

Because if it!s wor th insuring, it!s wor th insuring well.


Jason Bott 330 East Kilbourn Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53202 Thomas Holter P.O. Box 938, Beloit, WI 53512-0938 Lise Meyer Kobussen P.O. Box 633, Sauk City, WI 53583 Bruce Kommers P.O. Box 66, Antigo, WI 54409-0066

Membership Development ................................. Jeff Thiel P.O. Box 1610, Waukesha, WI 53187-1610 Smaller Agencies .................................... Michael Walston P.O. Box 236, Kewaunee, WI 54216-0236 Technical ......................................................Andy Burkart P.O. Box 1320, Sheboygan, WI 53081-1320 Young Agents .......................................... Derek Wickhem P.O. Box 1500, Janesville, WI 53547-1500

Eric Schwartz, Editor On The Cover… Wisconsin’s insurance industry is competitive and successful and this year’s convention theme reflects that. Winning In Wisconsin is an attitude that IIA of Wisconsin agency and company members live everyday with expertise and hard work. The 2012-13 Association year is underway — let’s take our success to the next level. It’s important that we recognize and show gratitude to our exclusive company sponsors, including our newest sponsors AAA and SFM. Their generous support makes it possible for the IIAW to continue offering high quality events throughout the year.

> OUR ADVERTISERS AAA ................................................................ 30 AAE Consulting Group .................................... 28 ACUITY Insurance ............................................ 31 Arthur J. Gallagher......................................... 25 Badger Mutual ................................................. 17 Big “I” Professional Liability.......................... 22 Burns & Wilcox ................................................. 8 IMT Insurance ................................................... 5 Insurance Associates of America ................... 23 Partners Mutual .............................................. 21 Pekin Insurance.............................................. 23 SECURA Insurance ............................................ 9 SFM .................................................................. 6

Jeff Rasmussen 525 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717

West Bend ........................................................ 2

Cap Wallrich P.O. Box 90, Shawano, WI 54166-0090

Western National Insurance ............................ 12

Matthew Weimer 100 North Corporate Drive #100, Brookfield, WI 53045

Wilson Mutual .................................................. 17

Donald Williams P.O. Box 595, Beaver Dam, WI 53916







THE IMPORTANCE OF NAVIGATOR OVERSIGHT IN WISCONSIN Over the course of the last few months your legal counsel, Josh Johanningmeier, and I have been poring over Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rules and other related documents to ensure we are familiar with what our state has control over regarding PPACA implementation. Here’s what we’ve learned and what we plan to do about it. Although Gov. Walker has indicated that Wisconsin has decided to take a wait and see approach to implementing federal health care reform and exchanges in Wisconsin until after the election, states will still need to institute their own navigator requirements regardless if the state establishes federally facilitated or state based exchanges. Depending on the election any number of scenarios could play out, some favorable to our positions and others not so much. As a result, we must work

Unlike agents, navigators can be compensated by grants from the exchange’s operational funds. No compensation from health insurance companies is allowed and no federal dollars can be used as compensation, but the exchange (through the state) could impose a premium tax on participating health plans as a means to cover operational costs as exchanges must be self-sustaining by law. This could be problematic for

k), Matt e agent in Tomahaw t for ependent insuranc en ev ind d ng an isi te dra ida fun nd a ca sembly district son in Merrill for Mary Czaja (35th As utive VP), and U.S. Senator Ron John Exec Banaszynski (IIAW eaker. n was the guest sp so hn Jo insurance agents as n. Czaja. Se the health insurance plans in an exchange may have to build in or account for those within the confines of what we know and what additional taxes to pay for the operational we can control at this point in time. costs of an exchange. You can easily see where Each exchange, whether it’s a state based (under this scenario) the consumer, based on exchange or a federally facilitated exchange cost, may gravitate towards using a navigator must establish a navigator program to help because agent originated plans could cost more facilitate the consumer with enrollment into because of the inclusion of both the built in an exchange. Why should we as independent operational costs and an agent’s compensation. insurance agents be concerned with the role of Still, much remains to be seen as to the the navigator in Wisconsin? Well, it’s simple. direction Wisconsin will take in regards to If we don’t work with our governor, insurance navigator compensation. commissioner, and legislators, the role of a Thankfully, states have the authority to navigator could manifest itself into taking the establish a licensing mechanism and licensing place of an insurance agent. Without proper requirements for navigators. The HHS has requirements, navigators would have an unfair recognized the ability of the states to do so and advantage in the marketplace. This could be has actually called on states to take such action. detrimental to the consumer.



The HHS in March 2012 stated that an individual or entity must, as a condition of operating as a navigator, “meet any licensing, certification or other standards prescribed by the state or exchange, if applicable.” In the preamble to the regulation (page 83), HHS also “encourages exchanges to conduct ongoing and recurring training for navigators” and notes “navigators must meet other training, conflict of interest, and privacy and security standards established by the exchange.” In addition, the guidance and requirements of the regulation act only as minimum standards and states retain the ability to establish greater accountability and more comprehensive protections. While PPACA requires navigators to perform certain activities, states retain extensive authority and discretion to define and limit the activities that navigators may engage in. The IIA of Wisconsin, with some help from Wes Bissett of the IIABA, has been hard at work drafting legislation as it relates to navigator requirements. Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has already indicated that they will preserve and promote the role of the agent over that of the navigator and after several meetings, it is apparent they share our concerns and are willing to work with us to create a framework of requirements for navigators. Our draft simply expands traditional state responsibility in licensing and regulating to anyone (i.e., navigators) who engages in consulting, placement, or enrollment of insurance. As with any other person who engages in such activities, our draft makes navigators subject to the oversight and regulation of state insurance departments and the > Matt Banaszynski is the state insurance code Executive Vice President including privacy, of the Independent market conduct, Insurance Agents of Wisconsin. Contact him and unfair trade at practices acts. State


officials would have the authority to conduct background screenings and hold the navigator accountable for the purpose of protecting the consumer. To ensure that consumers can be made whole when wrongful or negligent acts are committed, navigators will be required to provide a surety bond or other evidence of financial responsibility.

Supporting those that Support YOU and YOUR BUSINESS! It’s that time of the year again. And no, I am not talking about the start of football or hunting season. I’m referring to another type of season — campaign season. Politicians from across the state and the nation are jockeying for your vote and your money. For those of us in Wisconsin, campaign season seems to be year round these days. Many of us are tapped out and tired of all the political ads and requests for money.

Over the course of the next few months, I will continue to meet with OCI to gain their support of our draft legislation. From there the fight then goes to the state house where we will work with the governor and both houses of the legislator (both sides of the political aisle) to encourage them to support our position and legislation. We will engage other interested parties (associations) to build a coalition to amplify our message and strength. Instituting navigator requirements will be just one piece of a very large health care reform package that will be passed in Wisconsin next legislative session. We stand ready to fight on behalf of our members and work with the Legislature on enacting meaningful and targeted measures preserving and promoting the role of an agent. If navigators are to exist (barring a miracle, they will) and serve the consumer, they must obey by the same high standards and requirements agents abide by. It’s only fair to the consumer and the more than 100,000 insurance agents in Wisconsin. Fortunately, we have an administration and insurance commissioner committed to the same goal of protecting the consumer and promoting insurance agents.

It seems like all I do is write about the importance of contributing to our state and federal political action committees, Insuring Wisconsin and InsurPAC. Hopefully, the more I write about them the more of you will listen. A vast majority of our members have indicated in survey after survey that the government affairs program is one of top reason for being a member of the IIA of Wisconsin. All successful government affairs programs have a few components in common: 1. Large participation 2. Lots of $$$. It is vital that independent insurance agents be involved in the political

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process and makes their voices heard. Each of us can support candidates who share similar views on business issues. Individual contributions to a candidate can only do so much, but there is a way to increase the impact of your contribution. You can join forces with your colleagues, who share your interests, to maximize the opportunities to elect candidates who understand our profession and support our legislative goals. State legislators like Robin Vos, John Nygren, Luther Olsen, Lena Taylor and congressional representatives such as Sean Duffy and Ron Johnson are just a few that have strongly supported the insurance industry. Mary Czaja is an independent insurance agent running for Assembly and could be a huge advocate for the industry and she too needs our help. The Insuring Wisconsin PAC gives you a stronger voice in Madison, while the InsurPAC amplifies your muscle in Washington. The PAC is CONTINUED ON PAGE 23

FOUR KEYS TO BUILDING YOUR INSURANCE BUSINESS You are insurance professionals and successful in your own right. I know you have your own methods for conducting business but allow me the opportunity to review four activities that can spur business growth. FOUR BUSINESS BUILDING KEYS


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1) RETAIN CURRENT CUSTOMERS It takes five times as much time, money, effort and energy to get a new customer as it does to retain a current one. Your current customers are your foundation. To keep that foundation in place, you should be regularly communicating with them, delivering topnotch customer service, and making sure they are extremely happy with you and the service you are providing. On a regular basis, you should be asking your customers what they like and what they think you can improve upon. When you do speak with customers, let them know you appreciate their business. Never take customers for granted or let your service slip. Do what you can to build a personal connection with customers. Send thank you notes and cards on special occasions to add that personal touch and let customers know you care. We know that people do business with people they know, like and trust. In fact, studies show that 97 percent of people list that as the number one reason for doing business with a particular company. 2) REVIEW COVERAGE Not only is reviewing coverage on an annual basis the right thing to do for your customer, it can also provide the opportunity to increase coverage and, accordingly, more premium dollars. Of course, only suggest increasing coverage if it is the right thing to do for your valued customer. In addition to opportunities for more business, reviewing coverage helps





ensure that both the customer and you are covered in the case of a claim, as most complaints come from inadequate coverage and a lack of communication. 3) INQUIRE Studies show that the average policyholder has six to seven policies while each agency has only 1.5 of those policies. During your annual review and other conversations with the customer, inquire about other

other guy honest?” With one or two simple questions during each review, it’s entirely possible to double your business. 4) PURSUE NEW BUSINESS This one is pretty self-explanatory and should go without saying. In addition to adding new customers to your current base, you will occasionally have to replace customers that die, ones you decide to let go, or ones that leave for some other reason.

Start by deciding how many new customers that the ave you would like and rage policyholder then determine how has six to se ve n many prospects you policies whil e each agenc need and how you will y has only 1.5 of th get those prospects. Break ose policies. your annual goals down to monthly, weekly and daily activity and then get to work. These days, with the average agent and agency cutting back, it’s a great time to go get new, policies the customer might have competitive business. And remember, you’re that you can get. in sales and sales is a numbers game. While For over 20 years I had my auto policies with it’s true that you one agent, my homeowners with another, and need quality behind several other policies in other locations. This the numbers and the was due to several reasons, but it is clear that eventual relationships, I am more the rule than the exception. Not in order to get the once in that 20 year time frame was I asked relationships, you by any of my agents about other policies I need to talk to lots of had elsewhere. Not once. If they were trying people. It’s simple, the > John Chapin’s specialty to get rid of me, I would understand that. more people you talk is helping salespeople and sales teams double However, due to the fact that I have never had to the more business sales in 12 months. He a claim, pay my above-average premiums in you will do. If you is an award-winning full with the first invoice, and am otherwise talk to enough people sales speaker, trainer and a good customer, I can only assume that during the day, you coach, a number one sales rep in three industries, they are missing the boat. If someone has will eventually run and the primary author of a homeowners policy, there is a very good into someone who the gold-medal winning chance they at least have an auto policy or says, “I need what “Sales Encyclopedia”. two. It’s as simple as saying something along you have” or “I know In his 24 years of sales, the lines of, “By the way, if we bundle your someone who needs customer service and management experience, auto and homeowners I may be able to save what you have.” he has sold in some of you some money. Can I simply give you a the toughest markets and quote if for no other reason than to keep the Here’s to your success. economies.

Studies show



© 2011 SECURA Insurance





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Commercial Personal






ACCOUNTABILITY & COLLABORATION DRIVE THE CULTURE On June 28, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed constitutional muster, love it or hate it, this legislative juggernaut was moving forward. Health insurance companies and agents now live in a PPACA world. What does that world look like? For Rob McIntyre, branch president of The Horton Group in Pewaukee, it’s a world of opportunity. “We are not going away,” said McIntyre, who is critical of the health care reform law. “We intend to stay in the health care field because we see an enormous demand for our expertise. Whether it’s helping clients comply with the new regulations, or formulate a wellness plan, we intend to be there for them.” When it comes to the company’s business, as a rule, there is no compromise when it comes to the client. That is the main tenet of The Horton Group’s mission. “Our focus is to drive down the cost, workload and anxiety of our clients by applying a disciplined approach — we bring risk management expertise to clients that typically don’t have a risk manager on

Horton’s culture fosters collaboration, where communication between staff is essential. More ideas generate better solutions. 10

“Insurance is rarely a solution,” said Rob. “It can pay for some losses but we surprise people when we often don’t recommend buying another insurance policy. We want to avoid or transfer risks before they become a loss. Horton’s Best in Class safety, claims advocacy and legal professionals

Risk management is the act or practice of controlling risk. This process includes identifying and tracking risk areas, developing risk mitigation plans as part of risk handling, monitoring risks and performing risk assessments to determine how risks have changed. Insurance is one source risk managers use to finance economic losses. The Horton Group specializes in systematic risk management solutions.

team concept. We take care of our people with good compensation and ownership opportunities.” Recruiting talent from other firms is also an option but it comes with a caveat. “The cultural fit has to be tight,” said Rob, who started his career with Wausau Insurance in 1984. “We’re developing a high performance sales team.” Rob acknowledges that the insurance

Horton’s Wisconsin office in Pewaukee. This 30,000 square ft. office was built in 2006.

staff,” said Rob. “Our brokers identify a client’s needs, execute a strategy and measure success. This is literally the foundation of our service platform.” Horton’s culture fosters collaboration, where communication between staff is essential. More ideas generate better solutions. Larger clients are handled by a producer and a client manager, in addition to normal support staff, to ensure all tasks are completed on time. “The execution of service schedules is what separates us from the competition,” said Rob. “We are systematic about it. Our service teams meet every two weeks to review each client’s service schedule. Everything we do from solicitation to servicing is team-based and measurable. Very few companies track results.” A portion of risk management involves insurance but it’s not a panacea.


are brought in to assist with the implementation of the plan. If we are successful, we reduce our client’s cost of risk and increase their profits.” This is a lofty objective and one Rob and other leaders at Horton take seriously. The collaborative culture mentioned previously requires a certain type of professional. They are called leaders. Horton has tapped the UW-Madison risk management program for intern candidates and the next generation of producers. The company has had success with recruiting because of its specific search criterion. “As a privately held company with a commitment to internal succession, we look for producer candidates that want to be owners and company leaders,” said Rob. “We look for insurance and non-insurance professionals with strong sales skills. New staff will work with experienced sales pros to speed learning and cultivate the


Rob McIntyre is the branch president of The Horton Group in Pewaukee. He has been president since 2005. “The execution of our risk management plan is what separates us from the competition, that’s the difference,” said Rob. “We are systematic about it. Everything we do from solicitation to servicing is team-based and measurable.”

industry needs to do a better job of attracting talent. Even with high national unemployment, quality candidates are not choosing to make this industry their life’s work. Horton’s recruiting success has given Rob a snapshot of how to appeal to the younger set. “The younger generation will do great things if they are able to work collaboratively but still maintain their freedom,” he said. “Let them develop a process to work with, and let them know how they are doing. Millennials actually want to be held accountable. If we can accomplish this, a career in risk management or insurance can become an extremely attractive opportunity.

We have to make the job desirable.” With a focused culture in place, financial strength, and a clear company vision, Rob is full speed ahead into a positive future. “We have ambitious plans for growth in Wisconsin, both by organic sales and by acquisition,” he said. “Horton brings an outside perspective to improve a given company. That’s what excites me about this business. We offer solutions that help companies survive and prosper.” The Horton Group is one of the largest, privately owned insurance brokers in the Midwest and is among the top 60 in the United States. Horton offers a comprehensive portfolio of risk management, insurance and employee benefits products and services for a widearray of industries and markets. Intellectual property, cyber liability and succession planning are also part of the mix. Find out more at

The corporate headquarters of The Horton Group in Orland Park, Illinois.

HORTON TIMELINE 1971 The Horton Group founded in Orland Park, Illinois. Horton began as a small, eight-person familyowned insurance agency specializing in auto and home insurance for individuals.



Horton evolves into a strong, diversified fullservice agency, offering products including business insurance and employee benefits programs.



Diversification continues as Horton pushes into Wisconsin and we expand client services to include in-house claims advocacy and paralegal work.

Horton opens office in Beijing, China. Horton is one of the first agencies to have a presence in China. Before this, commercial insurance was handled by the government.


Horton builds new corporate headquarters and formalize ownership and succession plans.


Horton builds new 30,000 square-foot facility in Waukesha.




Horton acquires operations in both Wisconsin and Arizona, broadening Horton’s offerings in each state.

Horton opens new office in Lisle, Illinois via an acquisition, establishing an expanded medical professional practice group.


Horton employs 250 professionals in six locations with $50 million in sales. Sales in Wisconsin top $10 million.





For an association as large and active as the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, the events coordinator is an integral part of the staff. It takes a skilled and organized person to make things happen.

Also in July, the IIA of Wisconsin welcomed Samantha Jefferson as its education coordinator.

Dana Pritchett has the necessary skills and experience needed to succeed in this role, and her personality is a match in the office. If you call the IIAW, more often than not, Dana will be the first voice you hear. “I love talking to the agents,” said Dana, who started at the IIAW on July 16. “They are interesting.”

Education — prelicensing and continuing education — is an important member benefit offered by the Association and Sam is ready to take on this role. “My biggest passion has always been the agent,” said Sam. “To stay involved in that side of it has been really fun.”

Dana worked for Rural Mutual Insurance Company in Middleton for 32 years. She assisted many new agents throughout the state with their contracts and OCI appointments. In her long career at Rural, she was a claims assistant, an aide to the sales director, the executive assistant to the VP of marketing, and a meeting and promotional assistant.

Before coming to the Big “I”, Sam was involved in “all things agent relations” at Insphere Insurance Solutions in Madison. Insphere is a full-service agency that serves small businesses and middle-income individuals and families throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

“All of these duties come into play as the events coordinator,” said Dana, who lives in Black Earth with her husband, Ted. “When planning the annual convention, board meetings or fall planning, it takes organizational, meeting and planning skills. I developed all of these while at Rural.”

“I was active in the recruiting, training and onboarding of new agents,” said Sam, who is engaged to Derek Czaikowski. They have a one-year old daughter, Zoelle. “I also handled all agency sales support for the state of Wisconsin. It was a big job.”

When she’s not at work, Dana enjoys camping, reading, riding her motorcycle with her husband, and spending time with her family and friends. Dana has four sisters and two brothers who all live within 30 minutes of where they grew up in Mazomanie.

This practical experience will pay dividends as she plans and implements the future of the Association’s educational offerings. It’s a challenge she relishes.

“I am excited to be with the IIAW even though I have to drive on the Beltline everyday,” said Dana laughing. “It’s a fun crew here.”


“I try to live by ‘Do what you love and love what you do,’” said Sam. “I really feel that I’ve found an awesome fit here. It’s like a family, team-centered and a lot of fun.”






I recently made a major conversion in my agency to Applied’s Epic management system, and as part of that hands-on process, had a great vantage point to see both the benefits of Real Time and to pick up some tips to help agencies in their real-time implementations. ®

I have also developed some recommendations to assist carriers and vendors in providing better support to their agencies going through this process. I believe the same lessons apply regarding real-time implementation, no matter what system you are currently on or installing, as long as the vendor has a strong commitment to incorporating the latest real-time functionality.

all lines of business needs to be a priority for every carrier, if agencies are to achieve the peak efficiency they need in this highly competitive environment.

Implementing Real Time

Preparing For Real Time I had implemented Real Time in my previous system, so I knew there were benefits to using Real Time. For several months, we were without Real Time, because we were focused on other aspects of our system conversion and frankly we missed it. I kept in mind the end goal, however, which was to implement a system incorporating the latest technology, in order to give our agency new and enhanced features that would allow us to become even more efficient. I was hoping that even my real-time transactions would be faster with the new system. We are a small agency and it took us several months to do the system conversion, learn all of the functionality and train our employees.

Immediate management intervention to resolve apparent problems establishes early confidence by the staff that Real Time is a real benefit to them that WORKS. In the final analysis, we received no current client policy information conversion, so we used an initial download from all of our download carriers and manually re-entered non-downloaded policy data, putting our multiple monitor environment to good use! Going through this process once again underscored for me the critical nature of the downloads that our carriers provide to us. Sending us complete, clean downloads for


After a several month conversion process, we were back in control with our new system ready to unleash the system’s horsepower by installing Real Time. My first step was to go to the www. portal which the industry has put together to assist agencies and carriers with the implementation of Real Time and download. Here you will find the Real Time Implementation Guide which will provide you with definitions, the types of transactions and helpful implementation tips. The site also provides links to both vendor and carrier realtime pages. I recommend that you start with your vendor’s real-time page and locate its chart that identifies the specific real-time functions that are available for each company for both personal and commercial lines. If you have trouble locating this chart, click here for the charts provided by several of the vendors. VENDOR TIP: These charts are a great resource, but they would be even more helpful if they provided an initial contact person for each carrier, where the agent could go for real-time implementation help. I then turned to the carriers’ real-time pages for each of my companies on the www. site. We found four companies that had real-time capability listed on our vendor’s chart which had NO presence in the carrier section of the site. Of the companies that were listed, a majority of them did not have any information providing the contact and phone number for agents to go to for implementation assistance. CARRIER TIP: Carriers should create a presence on’s carrier page and make it easy for agents to find initial contact


information for implementation assistance on their first landing page. Marketing reps for the carrier should also be familiar with the carrier’s real-time functionality and the person for the agent to contact if he or she needs implementation help.

Thanking The Carriers The support I received from Applied Systems and each of my carriers was very helpful, once I got to the right people. I was very focused on thanking each of the companies for their commitment of time and resources to develop real-time capability and assured them we would both be frequent and consistent users. I also encouraged them to continue to enhance and extend their real-time capabilities. I let them know that Real Time is such a time saver for our CSRs – allowing us to provide faster and better service to our clients – that we will give carriers with real-time capability preference, when their pricing is close to the competition. The carriers were very glad to hear these comments and gave me the sense that most agents do not take the time to express their appreciation for the carrier’s investing in this improved agency functionality. Hearing from the agents is the best way to assure continued investments by the carriers in Real Time and other improved agent-carrier connectivity. AGENT TIP: My take-away from these conversations is that we agents need to express our appreciation more aggressively and consistently to those companies which have committed to Real Time and are continuing to commit resources to further expand and enhance the functionality.

Creating The Real-Time Habit By the end of the fourth business day, we had installed Real Time for eight of our ten companies. We have four staff members who have been with us less than a year and were never exposed to the limited realtime functionality in our old management system. The other five CSRs had had a five-


month lapse from Real Time, while we were undergoing our system conversion and had developed new “work-arounds” using the carrier Website to complete their daily work. We needed to develop a helpful tool to ensure rapid and consistent adoption of Real Time by both our experienced and new staff members. I recalled the industry’s 2011 Real Time 21 Day Challenge and realized we needed to establish Real Time as a habit with our staff. We did a one-on-one demonstration with each CSR covering the functionality for several different companies. Everyone was impressed with the improved speed of the real-time process which was running about sixteen seconds per transaction. To ensure that each of our staff would develop the real-time habit, we created a one page document that lists all of our carriers and the real-time transactions offered by each, with the notation of “(+C)” if the company provides the function in both personal lines and commercial lines. I provided each CSR with a laminated copy for his or her workstation. Finally, we informed them we would be generating weekly reports to monitor their use of Real Time to be sure there was consistent usage.

Agency Management Involvement It is especially important for agency management to be involved at the onset to track adoption by staff and to identify error messages. These error messages need to be quickly addressed so that staff is not discouraged from using Real Time. We had two examples where my early intervention was important. The first involved a CSR alleging a function didn’t work, only to realize later that the company being used did not offer the requested real-time function. The second example was an endorsement request that failed to execute properly. Applied Systems said the file name was too long because it exceeded a named insured character limit of 40 characters. The carrier downloaded the policy file successfully, so this did not seem to initially make sense. Further investigation identified that the carrier allowed up to 90 characters to complete a successful download match while Applied Systems only permits a maximum of 40 characters. This was not a big deal and we identified this client file as an exception not eligible for real-time endorsement processing. AGENCY TIP: Immediate management intervention to resolve apparent problems establishes early confidence by the staff that Real Time is a real benefit to them that WORKS.


Carrier Support With Implementation Of the ten carriers that now offer us Real Time, most are national carriers, but a couple are smaller regionals as well. I asked one of these small carriers, New York Central Mutual Insurance, why the company had taken a leadership role in providing Real Time, compared to its competitors of a similar size. The response was that the company really believes in the importance of Real Time to the future success of its agency plant. Moreover, the company monitors real-time usage and reaches out to agents who are not using particular functionality and offers to do on-site training for their staff for free. They

To ensure that each of our staff would develop the real-time habit, we created a one-page document that lists all of our carriers and the real-time transactions offered by each. also will help their agents install real-time functionality, not just for their company but for all of the companies the agency represents. This company knows that agencies are most likely to use Real Time when it is available from most of their carriers and they can implement a more consistent workflow. There are several additional carriers out there – large and small – which are strong believers in Real Time as well, offering hands-on implementation assistance to their agents. Agencies should take advantage of this assistance and thank the management of these companies for their strong support of this superior workflow for agencies.

Real Time Benefits Real Time through my new management system has provided our agency with a significant efficiency boost. Real-time transactions are averaging just sixteen seconds, with the logins, navigation and data flows back and forth all taking place automatically. During the week of August 6, 2012, for example, we had 108 real-time transactions agency wide. That’s up from 50 the week before and includes the full range of real-time inquiries, quotes and endorsements available. We calculate about a three-minute time savings for each transaction, saving our agency 324 minutes or over five hours in one week!


Recommendations Based on our experience, I would offer these recommendations: FOR AGENTS: !"Adopt every real-time capability your management system vendor offers. !"Take advantage of the implementation assistance your vendor, carriers and user group can provide you. There is a lot of willing help out there! !"Take advantage of the industry, vendor and carrier resources out there to assist you in your implementation. is a good place to start to access these resources. !"Thank each of your companies offering you the functionality for their commitment to your future. !"Urge your vendor and your carriers to continue to expand and enhance the real-time functions they provide, so that you can have consistent, fast workflows across all of your carriers. FOR COMPANIES: !"Agents that adopt Real Time are likely to be the leaders in selling your products in the future. Continue to help them build competitive advantage by expanding your real-time capabilities and continuing to enhance your speed and reduce errors. The Agency Real-Time “Best Practices” Workflows and Implementation Strategies Guide for Carriers & Vendors is a great resource for carriers to use in this regard. !"Be sure to register your realtime capabilities and your contact person for implementation assistance both with the real-time vendors and on your carrier page on the industry’s site. !"Ask your marketing reps to CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

> Ed Higgins is an agency principal of Thousand Islands Agency located in Clayton, New York. Ed is a former chairman of ACT and has held numerous positions in state and national agent associations and industry organizations over the years. Ed prepared this article for ACT and he can be reached at ed@ This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.





The direct writers continue to invest heavily in advertising to gain market share in our coveted personal auto market. Advertising in 2011 for the top two direct writers increased approximately 10 percent to over $1.5 billion, complemented by another year of impressive direct written premium growth. Overall property and casualty advertising increased 12 percent in 2011 to a record $5.7 billion. In the face of this threat, independent agencies need to recognize that we are abetting the success of our direct writer foes through the ongoing subsidization of our homeowner products. Independent agency share of the $165 billion personal auto market has remained essentially flat at 32 percent over the past ten years; direct writers have more than doubled their share to approximately 16.5 percent, primarily at the expense of the exclusive agency market. To protect, and eventually grow again, independent agency share of the personal auto market we must lead with the most competitive auto pricing we can offer. Since “saving money” is the focus of the vast majority of direct writer advertising, the independent agency distribution channel is literally handing direct writers quote opportunities when we inflate auto pricing to subsidize homeowner product losses. While independent agents can certainly attest that economic challenges have increased customer price sensitivity, the onslaught of

Independent agency share of the $165 billion personal auto market has remained essentially flat at 32 percent over the past ten years; direct writers have more than doubled their share to approximately 16.5 percent. price-focused advertising from the direct writers has reinforced the effect. Customer surveys continue to define price as the primary driver of personal lines purchasing behavior.


Independent agents have often debated whether in personal lines we should lead with auto or homeowners products. Despite strong arguments in favor of one line of business over another, the growing strength of the direct writers has settled the question for us: lead with auto. We simply must because the personal auto market is the clear target of the direct writers. Who recalls the last direct writer advertisement they saw that even mentioned homeowners? Direct writers are capitalizing on the strain adverse weather has had on our package-based business model. Mother Nature has been a determinant of the current subsidization that exists in homeowners. The number of natural disasters in the U.S. has increased dramatically to approximately 200 per year between 2007-2011, doubling relative to the prior five years. This escalation in weather-related catastrophe losses has eroded the limited margin that existed in homeowners, promoting insurers to raise rates. However, the rate of increase in homeowner’s premiums has not kept pace with loss trends. The industry homeowners combined ratio deteriorated by 11.5 points between 2007-2011 relative to the prior five year average. These unsustainable operating results have compelled some independent agency companies to seek greater margin in auto to offset homeowners losses. The byproduct of our higher auto premiums plays right into the hands of our direct writer competition. While the threat to our personal auto market share from direct writers remains a substantial challenge for our independent agencies to manage, our preservation of market share and recent studies confirm we are well positioned. The independent agency distribution channel will continue to address the challenge by investing in technology and adapting agency operations in ways that support our relationship-based value proposition. The Big I’s strategic investment in the Consumer Access Portal (CAP) complemented by Trusted Choice


encourage your agents to implement Real Time and to be familiar with the real-time functions the company has available. These reps should also know the contact person at the company to provide the agent in need of implementation assistance. !"Provide hands on or virtual assistance to your agents who want to implement Real Time.

marketing to drive Web traffic and search engine placement represents our most substantive market solution to address long term needs.

FOR VENDORS: !"Continue to enhance and extend the real-time capabilities you offer through your system to eliminate steps, improve speed and reduce errors. The Agency Real-Time “Best Practices” Workflows and Implementation Strategies Guide for Carriers & Vendors is a great resource for vendors to use in this regard.

Who recalls the last direct writer advertisement they saw that even mentioned homeowners? Direct writers are capitalizing on the strain adverse weather has had on our packagebased business model.

!"Be sure to register your real-time capabilities and contact person for implementation assistance on your vendor page on the industry’s site. !"Provide your agents with a chart that details the real-time functions provided by each carrier, along with the carrier contact person for implementation assistance. This chart should be in spreadsheet form, so that the agency can easily customize it to just their companies. Agencies, carriers, vendors all win by implementing real-time functionality. Real Time enables agencies to provide clients with more responsive service. It frees up agencies to produce more business for carriers. It positions vendors to provide their agency clients with state of the art connectivity with the carriers. But most important, Real

Time positions our distribution system to grow in the future, which will benefit us all.

Just as the independent agency distribution model effectively responded to the threat of increased pricing sophistication of direct writers, we’ll accommodate our customers growing preference to conduct research (and potentially purchase) using online technology. While our collective efforts will expectedly take some time to generate growth, we’ll continue to build our value proposition based on service, trust and relationship. Improving the competitiveness of personal auto by eliminating > DiMartino is president the pricing and CEO of Integrity distortion Insurance, a regional due to recent carrier headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin unfavorable offering auto, business weather trends and home insurance will strengthen exclusively through our ability to the best network of maintain market Independent agents in Wisconsin, Minnesota share and and Iowa. DiMartino can position us for be reached at jdimartino@ future growth.





ROUNDTABLE PANELISTS ADDRESS HEALTH CARE REFORM On June 28, the Supreme Court ruled PPACA constitutional. Now it’s time to delve into the law and get educated about what it means to you. On August 16, the IIA of Wisconsin, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and NFIB presented a Health Care Reform Roundtable in Pewaukee at the Country Springs Hotel. Two esteemed panels of

There was much more talked about at the event. To revisit the roundtable and hear what the panels had to say about this historic legislation, please visit the Wisconsin Eye Website at www. Wisconsin Eye video recorded the event for the IIA of Wisconsin. To watch the video, go to On the home page under Programming, click Video Archive. Under Events, click Forums, Conferences and Presentations. Scroll down the page to 08.16.12 | Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin: Healthcare Reform Forum to watch the video. For a great summary of the most common questions about PPACA, please go to biztimes. com. Executive editor Steve Jagler, a moderator at the roundtable, wrote the piece. The specific Web address is: www. MAGAZINE03/307239995/0/ magazine02 18

experts answered questions about PPACA in front of a packed room of 400 attendees. One big question is how the law will be paid for. “There’s no money to pay for the rollout,” said Catherine Jacobson, president of Froedtert Health, who cited the massive federal deficit as a concern. “Coverage expansion is important to providers but it brings uncertainty.” Even funding sources in the law are unknowns. Businesses with 50 or more full-time employees (30 hours or more a week) will be required to provide coverage to employees or face penalties. Employers may have something to say about this. “Many employers are actively working on reducing part-time workers to 25 hours per week so they don’t have to provide coverage,” said Gail Olsen, shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren. This is a big unintended consequence. (These part-time workers) will be driven to exchanges.” If this comes to fruition, there will be many more people covered and an even bigger financial burden. In the second half of the roundtable, the discussion moved from the federal impacts of the law to how it would affect this state. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance in Wisconsin is following Gov. Walker’s order to hold off on building an exchange here until after the November elections. The governor said he was hoping that the next president and Congress would repeal the law. According to Dan Schwartzer, deputy commissioner of the OCI, the Walker administration didn’t “like anything” about how the Doyle administration handled the law’s implementation, including creating exchanges and the role of navigators. To him, this law is “insurance reform” rather than health care reform. Schwartzer said the current administration “started from scratch” on work on the exchanges.


Whatever you want to call it, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), health care reform, insurance reform, or Obamacare, this huge piece of legislation is here to stay.

“The world will not come to an end (if exchanges are not created),” said Schwartzer. “Consumers will still be protected.” This comment was met with a round of applause. Schwartzer mentioned the Gruber-Gorman Report, a study started by the Doyle administration. The Walker administration used the report to get a best-case scenario of the law and how it could be implemented without negative effects. The report drew the following conclusions about PPACA:

Panel 1 focused on health reform on the national level. From left: Karen Timberlake, Moderator (Director of UW Population Health Institute); Kevin Kuhlman, Panelist (Manager, Legislative Affairs at NFIB); Gail Olsen, Panelist (Shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.); Mike Derdzinski, Panelist (Director of Employee Benefits and Life at Johnson Insurance); Catherine Jacobson, Panelist (President of Froedtert Health); and Dick Tillmar, Introductions (Tillmar Connect LLC).

!""Wisconsin’s traditional non-group market outside of the Exchange is expected to drastically shrink in size, from 180,000 individuals to 30,000 individuals. !"Federal and state dollars will go to cover individuals who are already covered. Based on DHS analysis, 46% of individuals who will receive public subsidies, either through Medicaid or new federal premium tax credits, are enrolled in coverage today. !"The majority of individuals in the nongroup market will pay more in premiums for health insurance in 2016 than they pay today.

The conference room at the Country Springs Hotel was filled with professionals looking for answers about PPACA.

!"There will be a significant disruption to employer sponsored insurance. It is estimated that 100,000 individuals will be dropped by their employer-sponsored insurance. !"The PPACA calls for a “hidden tax” where working-class and higher income families will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for low-income families. It means less choice, higher rates and a disruption to the insurance market, said Schwartzer. “Wisconsin has the most competitive insurance market in the industry,” he continued. “(Wisconsin) didn’t need the federal government to tell us how to conduct business.”

Panel 2 focused on health reform on the state level. From left: Steve Jagler, Moderator (Executive Editor of Biz Times); Larry Schreiber, Panelist (CEO of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield): Tom Wieland, Panelist (Partner at Reilly, Penner & Benton CPAs); Dick Tillmar; Steve Brenton, Panelist (CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association); and Dan Schwartzer, Panelist (Deputy Commissioner, Wisconsin OCI).

But even if the law is repealed — and that is unlikely — many of the popular reforms are more than likely here to stay. Some of these reforms include coverage of dependent children until age 26 and coverage of those with preexisting conditions.





S W E N E H T N I S R E B MEM ACUITY Earns A+/Stable Upgrade From Standard & Poor’s

Alleghany Corporation Named One Of Ward’s 50 Top Performing Insurers

On Aug. 14, ACUITY announced that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has reaffirmed the insurer’s financial strength rating of A+ and upgraded its outlook to Stable.

On Aug. 30, Capitol Insurance Companies (Capitol) is pleased to announce its parent company, Alleghany Corporation, has been recognized as one of the 2012 Ward’s 50 Benchmark Group of top performing property-casualty insurance companies in the United States. This is the third consecutive year that Alleghany Corporation has been named to this prestigious list.

“Our S&P rating demonstrates that we have the financial strength and stability to continue our growth and success,” said Ben Salzmann, ACUITY President and CEO. “This strength provides a foundation that allows us to protect a growing number of individuals, families, and businesses and to provide rewarding jobs for an increasing number of employees throughout our operating region.” In its rating reaffirmation and outlook upgrade, S&P noted ACUITY’s “strong operating performance, strong liquidity due to positive underwriting and operating cash flows, and very strong capital.” S&P also cited ACUITY’s high customer retention rates, strong competitive position, and ability to achieve profitable pricing. S&P’s rating follows a reaffirmation by A.M. Best of its own A+ rating of ACUITY’s financial strength. ACUITY is the only regional carrier that offers independent agents the financial security of two superior ratings. “The combination of ACUITY’s A+ ratings from S&P and A.M. Best assures our agents and customers that they can depend on ACUITY to be there when they need us,” Salzmann said.

Murphy Insurance Expands Into Milwaukee Market On Aug. 23, the Murphy Insurance Group announced the opening of a new office location in Waukesha to serve Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin as part of their growth and geographic expansion initiative. As part of the expansion, Murphy welcomes Guy Couillard as the leader and partner in the new Waukesha office. Guy joins Murphy having a great deal of experience both on the agency and insurance company sides of the industry. Guy explains, “I’m thrilled to be joining a growing firm that delivers best-in-class customer service and innovative risk management solutions. We see a great opportunity to deliver a higher level of service to the Milwaukee marketplace. Our goal is to develop the Waukesha location into a leader in the Milwaukee area, and to have fun while doing it.” “We are very excited about having an individual of Guy’s caliber join our team,” said August Felker, Murphy’s CEO. “He brings a wealth of experience to the team and has a track record of delivering outstanding results for his clients.” Find Murphy Insurance on the Web at


The Ward Group selects 50 property-casualty insurance companies from a list of more than 3,000 insurers that surpass their peers in categories that include Five-Year Return on Average Equity, Five-Year Growth in Revenue and Five-Year Average Combined Ratio. Every insurer selected to represent Ward’s 50 must surpass a number of rigorous tests, which evaluate safety, consistency, and performance measurements. Additionally, the group’s performance is compared to the industry as a whole. These statistics serve as key benchmarks and act as a barometer of industry trends. Find Capitol Insurance on the Web at

S W E N E H T N MEMBERS I family actively involved in sales and leadership roles within the agency. Riesch-Knapp also has three years of commercial underwriting experience with West Bend Mutual, prior to joining R&R Insurance in 2008.

senior commercial field underwriter, Andrew Arentsen has been promoted to senior systems engineer, and Diane Navis has been promoted to senior programmer analyst.

Find R&R Insurance Services on the Web at

QBE Promotes Doll

Four years ago, West Bend rolled out its first, multi-state mass media campaign at a time when many businesses were beginning to feel the negative effects of the country’s worst recession in decades. The “silver lining” branding initiative was one of several corporate initiatives leading to recent success. In fact, West Bend has grown and increased its visibility.

ACUITY Honored For Agency Interface Technology

!"West Bend’s policy count grew 21 percent from Jan. 1, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2011.

On Aug. 30, ACUITY received the 2012 Interface Partnership Award from Applied Systems. The award recognizes ACUITY’s accomplishments in agency interface over the past year, including download, real-time inquiry, and real-time policy rating.

!"79 full-time jobs were added from Jan. 1, 2008 - July 31, 2012.

This is the 13th consecutive year that ACUITY has received awards from Applied Systems or ASCnet for helping agents implement cost-saving download and real-time transactions. Agents using Applied’s solutions can interface with ACUITY’s own policy, rating, claims, and billing systems directly from their desktops without needing to rekey any information. “In today’s competitive environment, independent agents need to partner with insurers that make it easy to do business with them. Our continued recognition by Applied Systems shows that ACUITY is delivering real-time solutions that allow agents to write more business,” said Neal Ruffalo, VP enterprise technology.

“Our messages really resonated with consumers during the recession,” said Kevin Steiner, president and CEO. “People found it reassuring to know that if things went awry, and if they needed to file an insurance claim, West Bend would be there to help them so they would have one less thing to worry about.” The company has earned more than two dozen awards from 2008-2012, including: !"Top Workplace Awards - 2010 and 2012, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

R&R Insurance Services’ Riesch-Knapp Transitions to Employee Benefits

!"Best Places to Work in Insurance - 2010, 1st place, and 2011, 2nd in large company category, Business Insurance magazine



!"#$%&"' Partners Mutual Insurance Company has been going strong and serving independent agents since 1931. We are proud of our history and looking forward to a very successful future.

!"Awareness of West Bend among business owners exceeded 75 percent since 2008, according to market research after the 2008 campaign launch.

!"Community Distinguished Award Performer - 2011, Deloitte

Riesch-Knapp has spent the last four years successfully servicing a commercial book of business with R&R Insurance as a commercial lines account executive. She is part of the third generation of the Riesch

Find QBE on the Web at

!"Company revenue increased by more than 12 percent this year - Jan. 1, 2012 through July 2012.

Find ACUITY on the Web at

On Sept. 6, R&R Insurance Services Inc., headquartered in Waukesha, Wis., announced the transition of Stephanie Riesch-Knapp from commercial lines to the firm’s employee benefits practice as an account executive.

QBE Regional Insurance has named Andy Doll the senior VP of its Midwest region. Previously, Andy worked as commercial lines senior vice president. Doll served as vice president and chief actuary of commercial insurance for Fireman’s Fund. Before that, he spent 11 years at General Casualty/Winterthur Insurance Group in several roles including assistant vice president of commercial lines and chief actuary.

West Bend’s Success During Recession Inspires 3rd Phase To Branding Initiative

The A.M. Best Company has assigned Partners Mutual an A- Excellent rating. On January 4, 2012 Partners Mutual increased that strength by forming an affiliation with Penn National Insurance of Harrisburg, PA adding combined services, geographic diversity, and much more.

Because of this success, West Bend leaders decided to create a third phase to their branding initiative. Find West Bend on the Web at

ACUITY Staff Promotions



On Sept. 10, ACUITY announced several promotions for staff located in Sheboygan at its corporate headquarters.

For information about becoming a Partners Mutual Insurance agent, please contact our marketing department at

Natalie Hollister, Jaisie Kleist, Kelly Jelinek, Alan Meyer, Melissa Meyer, Angela Miller, and Laura Wagner have been promoted to senior commercial underwriters. In addition, Gregory Jeffers has been named

20935 Swenson Drive!Waukesha, WI 53186! an affiliate of Penn National Insurance





OPEN DOOR POLICY Supporting those that Support YOU and YOUR BUSINESS!

E&O Loss Prevention Tip:


ALWAYS advise your clients of the inherent risks

of coverage through a non-admitted carrier. COACH SAYS:

Many states have passed statutes that hold the insurance professional strictly liable for any unpaid claims arising out of the insolvency of a non-admitted company. This is true regardless of the carrier being solvent when coverage is placed and even renewed several times.

elect representatives that see it our way. It’s a making a donation to Insuring Wisconsin the most effective tool to give you the sad11_9_11:AIA and unfortunate reality money talks 1:35and opportunity to express your concerns andPC BACK AIA Tired 02.10.10 PCbut BACK 11/16/11 PMInsurPAC. Page 1 Your future depends on it. in politics. Enclosed, please find both InsurPAC and ideas. Your contribution assists the IIAW Insuring Wisconsin PAC forms. in keeping like-minded individuals who During this campaign season, please consider understand our issues in our state and nation’s capital. That’s why your voluntary donations to this bipartisan, legal committee matter so much.

Tired of Walking Away from Business? We Can Help!

Your contribution to either of IIAW’s political action committees directly benefits you. It’s the one way to ensure that what is being legislated in Madison and Washington is productive to your business interests. This year issues such as health care reform and the role of agents and navigators will take front and center stage in Wisconsin and Washington as we continue to form the framework of our health insurance system. In order for the IIAW and IIABA to be an effective voice in the halls of your state and nation’s capital we need to help


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Now that the United States Supreme Court has blessed the bulk of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the only thing standing in the way of full implementation of PPACA is this November’s election, the outcome of which will go a long way toward determining the scope of PPACA’s impact on the health insurance marketplace. One of PPACA’s creations — the insurance navigator — may have a substantial impact on your business as an independent agent.

The law requires each state to create an exchange to facilitate the purchase of health insurance and meet minimum requirements by January 1, 2014. One requirement is that each exchange establish a navigator program to conduct public education activities, provide information, and assist consumers regarding the exchange and available Qualified Health

Navigator Eligibility PPACA and its regulations require that an exchange select a community or consumer focused nonprofit group, in addition to at least one of the following types of entities to serve as navigators: !"Trade, industry, and professional associations; !"Commercial fishing industry organizations, ranching and farming organizations; !"Chambers of commerce; !"Unions;

States have flexibility in designing standards for navigators, including licensing, which some have already begun to establish. Plans (QHP). The scope of the navigator’s duties may be very broad, as the states are empowered to assign other responsibilities as well. Under federal law, only certain individuals and entities are eligible to serve as navigators, and they must meet minimum standards of expertise and training, privacy and security, and conflicts-of-interest. While an insurance agent or broker could also be a navigator (subject to compensation and other restrictions imposed by the federal navigator regime), a state may not require navigators to hold an agent or broker license. Navigators are funded from exchanges’ general operational revenue, or by grants. States have flexibility in designing standards for navigators, including licensing, which some have already begun to establish.


!"Resource partners of the Small Business Administration; !"Licensed agents and brokers; and !"Public or private entities such as Indian tribes, state or local service agencies or others that meet the requirements of the law. To be eligible to serve as a navigator, an entity must demonstrate to the exchange that it has or could readily establish relationships with employers, employees, consumers, or self-employed individuals likely to be qualified to enroll in a health plan. Several entities are prohibited from serving as navigators. The law does not allow: (1) a health insurer or subsidiary; (2) an association that lobbies for or has members of the insurance industry; or (3) an entity or individual that receives consideration directly or indirectly for enrolling individuals in a particular insurance plan.

Regulation of Navigators A navigator (entity or individual) must comply with privacy and security requirements, and training, licensing, and conflict-of-interest standards set by the exchange. While each exchange is responsible for establishing the training


and eligibility standards, an exchange may not require that a navigator hold a license as an insurance agent or broker, nor may it mandate that a navigator carry errors and omissions coverage.

While each exchange is responsible for establishing the training and eligibility standards, an exchange may not require that a navigator hold a license as an insurance agent or broker, nor may it mandate that a navigator carry errors and omissions coverage. That does not, however, prevent state insurance regulators from establishing licensing and financial responsibility requirements for navigators — a step already taken in Iowa and one that the IIAW supports here in Wisconsin, if PPACA exchange and navigator systems are implemented. The IIAW is working with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, members of the legislature and other stakeholders to establish robust navigator licensing requirements to protect consumers and ensure as level a playing field as possible for agents who will be competing > Josh Johanningmeier in the marketplace is the IIAW’s General with navigators if the Counsel. Call the Legal full exchange system Services Hotline at (877) 236-1669. is implemented.


Expand Your Reach by Merging With Gallagher To support your professional advancement, Gallagher offers career paths for merger partners and their employees. As a result, many merger partners move up steadily into our executive ranks and their employees gain access to a full range of education and training programs—all aimed at career advancement and maximum earning potential. “After owning an agency for 16 years, our firm merged with Gallagher. Since joining, Gallagher has continued to provide me with opportunities to grow personally and professionally by allowing me to lead the Energy Practice, and most recently, to assume the regional leadership role for the South Central territory. Selling our company was a very emotional event for my family, partners and employees. My personal and professional expectations have been exceeded by the Gallagher team.” — Mike Henthorn, South Central Regional Manager

When you’re part of Gallagher, your business grows.

For more information, contact: Dave Koberstein Managing Director Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc. 18000 W. Sarah Lane, Suite 100 Brookfield, WI 53045-5840 262.792.2202



TEN WAYS TO FIRE UP YOUR BUSINESS THAT WORK In high school, we learned Shakespeare’s indelible words, “What’s past is prologue.” But that’s where we stopped, missing the key part of the bard’s advice: “Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come, in your and my discharge.” It’s a clear message: don’t depend on what’s happened so far; it’s all in your hands now. If that’s true, then don’t waste time on gimmicks that sound great but fizzle faster than fireworks in San Diego bay on the Fourth of July or putting the blame on “changing business conditions.” Unload all the “prologue” stuff and make the moves that make a difference today. With that guidance, here are 10 ways to fire up a business: 1. GET THE MESSAGING RIGHT. When someone says, “The ultimate driving machine,” there’s no need to say more. It’s BMW. Most businesses fail to take advantage of effective messaging by sending conflicting messages or focusing on themselves and meaningless peripheral junk rather than the customer. The place to start is to make sure every employee is trained and then held accountable for delivering the same compelling customer-focused message, day in and day out.

3. MAKE IT EASY FOR EMPLOYEES TO WORK. There’s an abysmal mount of ancient MS Office software in use every day, along with an array of other outdated stuff. Old, slow printers are everywhere, wasting hours of time every month. Desktop computers are manacles, tethering employees to their desks. Every salesperson should have an iPad, as well as anyone who must get up and check on anything. It’s strange. When a business executive wants something, it’s called a “wise and necessary investment.” But when an employee makes a similar request, the boss labels it an expense that’s “not in the budget.”

public university to offer one-year online “certificate” programs” for retiring Boomers at $10,000 a shot. If that’s not nonsense, it’s close to it. What will those who plunk down their retirement funds to pay the tuition have at the end of 12 months? A job or a certificate to hang on the wall? The major problem facing businesses is finding employees who know how to think inductively and deductively, who understand what they’re asked to do and why, who evaluate accurately, recognize problems before they occur, offer creative solutions, see the big picture and communicate clearly. Anyone with these “skill sets” can easily adapt to changing requirements and move into new situations easily and successfully.

4. FIGURE OUT THE FUTURE. Five of Fiat’s plants in Italy produced 650,000 cars with 22,000 workers in 2009, while one plant in Poland turned out 600,000 vehicles with only 6,100 workers, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Dramatic changes are on the way if businesses are to survive, and no one who receives a paycheck is exempt. It’s taken a long time to figure out that “creative destruction” is a fact, and not a textbook term. By the way, change is on the way at Italy’s Fiat plants.

6. ALIGN MARKETING AND SALES. This is no job for wimps. It’s tough but worthwhile. If too many marketers are prima donnas, too many salespeople are hopelessly narcissistic, which makes it nearly impossible to get them aligned successfully. Even so, marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin: marketing creates customers and sales gets the orders. Not too complicated. Believe it or not, no company can thrive today if one or both act as if the other doesn’t or shouldn’t exist. If marketing fails to cultivate customers continuously, it’s failing to do the job and so is sales, when it fails to meet the numbers. Alignment’s a necessity, not an option.

U.S. Army general and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was asked to name the book that made him want to a writer. “My checkbook,” he replied. The motivation was simple: he needed money. If you want to be trusted, tell it like it is.

2. TELL IT LIKE IT IS. U.S. Army general and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was asked to name the book that made him want to a writer. “My checkbook,” he replied, pointing out that his 38 years in the military limited his income. He needed to improve his finances, particularly after putting three kids through college. There was none of the often-heard blathering about “having a life-long dream of being a writer.” The motivation was simple: he needed money. If you want to be trusted, tell it like it is.


5. HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE. The current accent on employees “having the right skillsets” is a “red herring.” The concept, fostered by for-profit and public schools and colleges, aided and abetted by politicians and eagerly espoused by employers. One outfit is partnering with a top


sounds more like a commercial than an act of generosity. It may be that the best form of giving is delivering on our promises so that our customers receive what they expect. It’s an unusual gift, to be sure, and one that creates respect, satisfaction and loyalty.

9. DROP THE GOBBLYGOOK. There’s a bizarre belief that just about any business communication will be viewed with authority by using the right words. They range from scalable, silo, core competency, actionable, robust, bulk up, space, foot print, game changer, view from 30,000 feet, think outside the box, low hanging fruit, strategic business plan, to drill down and ROI — as well as a hundred more. Their appeal is that they sound so compellingly “corporate.”

The major problem facing businesses is finding employees who know how to think inductively and deductively, who understand what they’re asked to do and why, who evaluate accurately, recognize problems before they occur, offer creative solutions, see the big picture and communicate clearly.

8. STOP KIDDING OURSELVES. A company president picked up a consultant in his new Mercedes convertible. After talking about it, he said, “It really pleases me that our employees are so happy that I got it.” Self-delusion tops the list of all executive errors. How long did RIM and Kodak fantasize about the viability of their respective companies? The RIM folks couldn’t tolerate the idea that their beloved Blackberrys were history, while the Kodak execs couldn’t conceive of a world without film, until it was too late. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that our picture of reality is real, even though all the signs point their fallacy.

If the truth be told, instead of making those who use them sound smart, gobblygook sends the opposite message. The more they say, the more they make it clear to everyone that don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about. The best solution is to avoid all the gobblygook and put it all in your own words.

10. WORK. It seems as if the people who really do the work in most businesses are at the bottom of the personnel charts and the closer you get to the top, the > John Graham of concept of work GrahamComm is tends to be more a marketing and sales consultant and than a bit fuzzy. business writer. He Change is in the publishes a monthly air these days, so a eNewsletter, “No good place to begin Nonsense Marketing & Sales.” Contact him is by trashing the at, high-back leather 617.774.9759 or chair and the “see how important I am” door-sized desk. Those with such trappings, among others, view themselves as invaluable “executives” and the hardest workers of all, who often believe they should be accorded special benefits and privileges. All that should have gone years ago. They cause people to view themselves as important; they have a right to come in late, leave early, fly first-class and be unaccountable. If you want to improve productivity, stop hiring consultants and come to work on time and stay all day. It works wonders. When it comes right down to it, having put all the excuses aside, the firing up of a business is up to us.

7. GIVE, NOT GIVE BACK. Yes, there’s a difference — a big one. “Giving back” lets CEOs get all puffed up and ponderous, making certain everyone knows how generous, caring and wonderful they are. Giving’s different. It’s an act of concern and commitment and it’s also mostly low-key and done simply and quietly. Apple’s image isn’t harmed because the company doesn’t proclaim its charitable giving from the rooftops. When giving is loud and ostentatious, it







GOP IN POSITION TO RETAIN ASSEMBLY MAJORITY NEW LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS FAVORABLE TO REPUBLICANS Wisconsin continues to be front and center on the national political stage. Paul Ryan’s selection as the Republican Party’s Vice Presidential nominee has made Wisconsin a key battleground state in the contest for the White House.

An IIA of Wisconsin meeting from 1969 or 1970. Check out the pipes and full ashtrays on the table. The location is unknown but there is a map of Chicagoland on the wall. From left: George Nicoud, William

While presidential politics generate excitement, they can also overshadow races further down the ticket. However, the IIAW is not taking its eye off the other election contests, especially those that will impact political control of the Wisconsin Legislature. Last month, the Wisconsin Independent Agent provided an overview of key state Senate races and how legislative redistricting has put Republicans in a strong position to regain control of the Senate. Every ten years the Legislature is required to redraw legislative and congressional districts based upon population changes identified by the federal census.

McIlveen, Eugene Gallagher, IIAW President Robert Grady, IIAW Executive VP Paul Mast, Sidney Wentz, L.P. Stoik, Jack Deveau, Nat Stiglitz, Don Ball, Jack Butterick, William Mundus and Robert Braman.

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population changes identified by the federal census. z Under the new district maps, which will be in place for the November elections, the GOP is also well positioned in the state Assembly. In fact, political insiders believe the new maps could potentially set the stage for a decade of Republican dominance. The GOP currently controls the 99seat Assembly with a 59-39-1 majority. While Republicans could lose seats in the

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legislative and congressional



upcoming November elections, redistricting has created more “safe” Republican seats, which gives the GOP a significant electoral advantage. Prior to redistricting, of the 99 legislative districts that make up the Assembly, 27 seats were considered safe Republican districts and 13 seats were considered significant GOP-leans. The remainder were Democraticleaning or competitive swing seats. Under the new Assembly maps, 38 seats are now considered safe Republican districts and 14 are considered GOP-leans. That means if Republicans simply win all of the safe GOP and GOP-leaning seats this fall – as expected – they will capture 52 seats and maintain their control of the Assembly. In addition to the 52 seats that many assume will fall in the Republican column, there are roughly 10 competitive swing districts that are “up-for-grabs” that could pad a potential GOP majority heading into the 2013-14 legislative session. While GOP leadership is primarily concerned with protecting their incumbents and winning open seats that lean heavily Republican, they are also focused on picking up three seats currently held by Democrats: 70TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT This seat, located in central Wisconsin, is currently held by veteran Democratic state Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink. Although Vruwink has held the seat for a decade, due to redistricting, the district now leans 50.7% Republican. Vruwink is being challenged by businesswoman Nancy VanderMeer (R). 85TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT This open seat is being vacated by Rep. Donna Seidel


(D-Wausau), who has held the seat since 2004. The seat leans 52% Democrat, but the GOP is hopeful local conservative talk radio personality Pat Snyder (R) can defeat the Democratic candidate, Mandy Wright. 94TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT Incumbent state Rep. Steve Doyle (D) won this La Crossearea seat in a 2011 special election. However, the seat, which was previously held by a Republican since 1995, leans 51% GOP. Doyle is being challenged by Republican candidate Bruce Evers, a financial planner and former banker. Despite the conventional wisdom and various political forecasts that the GOP will win control of the Legislature this November – both in the Assembly and Senate – political predictions are slightly less reliable than tea leaves. After a careful analysis, the IIAW Government Affairs team believes Republicans will retain control of the Assembly this fall, but if there is one consistent rule in politics, it is that you should be very careful about making predictions about the future. With that in mind, the Big “I” will continue > Tim Hoven is the to work with founder of Hoven candidates on Consulting in Madison, both sides of the Wisconsin. Tim also political aisle on served in the Legislature from 1994 to 2002. issues important Hoven Consulting is the to Association Government Affairs team members. for the IIA of Wisconsin.


Food for Thought

!"#$%& '"()"*+,-*.,/!*0$12& !"#! China’s population is 1.4 billion, or about 20% of the world’s population. It is huge and it’s growing. Consider the following: ! By 2025, China will build 10 New York-sized cities. Source: McKinsey ! By 2030, China will add more new citydwellers than the entire U.S. population. That’s about 350 million people. Source: McKinsey ! China already consumes twice as much steel as the US, Europe and Japan combined. Source:

HOW MUCH TO ADD A 3-SEASON PORCH? On Oct. 13, 1792, George Washington set the cornerstone of the White ! If the Chinese, one day, use as much oil per House. The building is three stories tall with over 100 rooms, and person as Americans, then the world will need seven more Saudi Arabias to meet their demand. was designed by James Hoban. It took eight years to build and cost $232,371.83. In 1800, Pres. John Adams and his family moved in. The Source: CIA World Factbook Congressional Financial Services and General Government Appropriations ! There are already more Christians in China Act of 2008 indicates that the yearly operating expense of the White than Italy, and China is on track to become House was $12,814,000, or, about $35,106 a day. To keep the Executive the largest center of Christianity in the world. Office of the U.S. running which is more than just a building (Air Force One, Sources: Varied security details, intelligence services, etc.), the amount is approximately Source: Business Insider $1.5 billion annually, $4,364,041/day.

Business Insider

Sources: Gary Walters, The Intrepid and The Brookings Institution

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‘Real Time. Join the industry movement.’

Jeff Yates Executive Director, IIABA’s Agents Council for Technology

“The industry has joined together to advance Real Time, because it offers agents a faster, more consistent workflow when working with multiple companies—in both personal and commercial lines. This advanced workflow is offered on most agency management systems and comparative raters— usually at no additional cost to the agency. “The good news is that most agencies now are using Real Time for billing, policy view and other servicing transactions. Over 200 carrier groups are offering Real Time. We encourage more companies to come on board and to extend the numbers of transactions and lines of business where they offer the functionality. Real-time quoting and rating are growing rapidly because they eliminate multiple data entry. “Expect real-time transactions to become even faster and more reliable, as carriers and tech providers continue to hone their offerings. Agents, you play a critical role in driving more adoption and in recommending improvements—make sure you get on board by adopting Real Time wherever you can! Start at

For a fun way to make Real Time a habit in your agency, visit! This message brought to you by the Real-Time/Download Campaign, which is dedicated to improving the competitiveness of the independent agency distribution channel. Participants include independent agencies and brokers, carriers, technology providers, user groups, and agent and industry associations.

October 2012 IIAW Magazine  
October 2012 IIAW Magazine  

This is the October 2012 edition of Wisconsin Independent Agent magazine.