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50 REASONS Why Agents Choose MGAs

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STATE REGULATION WORKS Illinois’ McRaith Explains Why

SOCIAL NETWORKING In an Insurance World

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Inside This Issue May 4, 2009 • Vol. 87, No. 9 • Midwest Region


N12 SPECIAL REPORT: Salute to Super Regionals 2009 Super Regional P/C Insurers™ Leading Multi-State Carriers Revealed

NATIONAL COVERAGE N12 | SPECIAL REPORT: Salute to Super Regionals 2009 Super Regional P/C Insurers™ Leading Multi-State Carriers Revealed N18 | Risk Managers Report ‘Soft Landing’ for Market Pricing Survey Says Commercial Insurance MarketStill Overcapitalized N18 | Bad Economy Not Impacting Essential Insurance Coverages Industry Study Says Most Keep Auto, Homeowners Insurance N22 | Closer Look: Agency Technology Social Networking, Web 2.0 Changing the Way the Industry Does Business N26 | Special Report: AAMGA Issue Red Flags’ to Watch For When Choosing an MGA Partner


| Indiana Lawmakers Eye Excessive Fire Run Costs Billing Service Thought to Be Overcharging


| Wisconsin-based Broker Caught In Michigan Licensing Snafu


| AIG Transitioning P/C Units to AIU Holdings Special Purpose Vehicle Set Up for the Spin Off

6 Fire Run Costs in Indiana Lawmakers Take Aim at Excesses


| We’re in Good Hands with State Regulators Illinois’ Director of Insurance Explains Why

N1 | Don’t Expect Top Dollar if Your House Is in Chaos Keep Financials, Book of Business in Order N6 | Minding Your Business How to Improve Productivity in a New Economy N10 | Survey: Regional Carriers Agents, Rate Your Regional Carriers in a New IJ Sponsored Survey

9 State Regulation Works Illinois’ Director of Insurance Explains Why

N36 | Closing Quote Being Prepared: Don’t Lose Sight of the Greater Risks We Face

DEPARTMENTS 8 | People N24 | MyNewMarkets

N22 Social Networking In an Insurance World

N27 | Special Report: AAMGA Issue 50 Reasons Why Retail Agents Choose MGAs N30 | Spotlight: 2009 Premium Finance Directory


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Idea Exchange Opening Note

What Agents Want


oney is the lifeblood of any business. But when it comes to running insurance agencies, money isn’t the main thing that principals look for w hen they do business with a certain carrier. Claims handling, it turns out, is the truly coveted prize — at least that’s according to more than 450 agency owners and senior executives who were surveyed by a regional affiliate of the Professional Insurance Agents of America. Agents in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire participated in the survey. Respondents consistently ranked “adjust claims fairly” and “pays claims promptly” as the top two factors they look at when evaluating an insurer. Rounding out the top 10, in decreasing order of importance w ere: Communicates clearly, honestly; resolves issues quickly; underwriter knowledge, experience; listens, responds to agents; easy, intuitive technology; stable markets; consistent underwriting; and competitive pricing. Anecdotally, the comments from agents bore out the results of the survey. Ellen Kiehl, a senior research analyst for PIA, shared some of those comments with Insurance Journal. Some of the more poignant ones: “When it is hard to work with a company, we don’t use them a lot.” “A company can have bad enough service that no compensation will offset it.” “Perhaps insurance companies should concern themselves more with There’s customer service to their agencies. ... It is very frustrating to be unable to another reason speak with a person and solve a problem in a timely manner.” The agents’ answers very closely match a survey conducted the survey by Insurance Journal last September — “How Independent results are so Agents View Carriers” — that found that quality claims service is valued above all else. Given the ways the market has changed interesting: ensuing period of time — an extended economic crash, The absence of inthethecollapse of AIG, the persistent soft market, to name a few ‘compensation’ — one can infer that agents still place the highest premium on how their carriers will treat their customers. as a top-10 Although hinted at in some of the comments, there’ s another reason the survey results are so interesting: The item. absence of “compensation” as a top-10 item. Its conspicuous absence did not go unnoticed by the PIA, whose members — particularly in New York where agents’ pay is a heated issue — rightly or wrongly feel there is a perception in some parts of the country that agents’ sole area of concern is their paychecks. Or as Jim Pittz, business issues director for the four state associations, put it: “Quality of service clearly overrides the ‘profit-only’ motive that agents are falsely accused of being driven by.” If nothing else, the survey lends some scientific weight to the knowledge that anyone who has worked in this business has known for years: When it comes to dedication, independent agents’ biggest concern is that their clients are happy and well taken care of when they have a loss. Stephanie K. Jones Then again, the agents out there didn’t Interim Midwest Editor need a survey to tell them that. 4 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-MIDWEST REGION May 4, 2009

Publisher Mark Wells Chief Executive Officer Mitch Dunford

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Andrea Ortega-Wells | awells@insurancejournal V.P. Content/ and Interim Midwest/Southeast Editor Andrew Simpson | East Editor Kenneth J. St. Onge | South Central Editor Stephanie K. Jones | West Editor Patricia-Anne Tom | MyNewMarkets Associate Editor Chris Boggs | International Editor Charles E. Boyle | Columnists Catherine Oak, Bill Schoeffler Contributing Writers Michael T. McRaith, Daniel Price, Richard Ward, Nicole Bissett

SALES V.P., Sales & Marketing Julie Tinney (800) 897-9965 x148 West Dena Kaplan (800) 897-9965 x115 South Central Eric Jeter (281) 655-0234

Midwest Lauren Knapp (800) 897-9965 x161 Southeast Howard Simkin (800) 897-9965 x162 East Dave Molchan (800) 897-9965 x145

MARKETING Marketing Administrator Gayle Wells | Advertising Coordinator Erin Burns | (619) 584-1100 x120 New Markets Sales Manager Kristine Honey | Classified and Ancillary Sales Manager Nicola Coghill | (619) 584-1100 x125 New Media Producer Chad Reese |

DESIGN/WEB Vice President/Design Guy Boccia | Vice President/Technology Joshua Carlson | Graphic Designer Jamie Bethell | Web Developer Jeff Cardrant | Web Developer Chris Thompson |

A D M I N I ST R AT I O N Accounting Manager Megan Sinclair | Admin./ Marketing Asst. Kristina Delavega | Cover designed by: Guy Boccia

Insurance Journal, The National Property/Casualty Magazine (ISSN: 00204714) is published semi-monthly by Wells Publishing, Inc., 3570 Camino del Rio N orth, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92108-1747. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Diego, CA and at additional mailing offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $7.95 per copy, $12.95 per special issue cop y, $195 per y ear in the U .S., $295 per year all other co untries. DISCLAIMER: While the information in this p ublication is deriv ed from so urces believed reliable and is subject to reasonable care in preparation and editing, it is not intended to be legal, accounting, tax, technical or other professional advice. Readers are advised to consult competent professionals for application to their particular situation. Cop yright 2009 W ells Publishing, Inc. All Rights R eserved. Content ma y not be photocopied, reproduced or redistrib uted without written permission. Insurance J ournal is a p ublication of Wells Publishing, Inc. POSTMASTER: Send change of address form to Insurance Journal, Circulation Department, PO Box 9049, Maple Shade, NJ 08052 FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING SUBSCRIPTIONS: please call 856-380-417 6 or email You may subscribe or change your address online at ARTICLE REPRINTS: For reprints of articles in this issue, contact Rhonda Brown at 1-866-879-9144 ext. 194 or Visit for more information.

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You take on the tough problems Let Rockwood manage your E&O

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Midwest Coverage Snapshot Indiana Lawmakers Eye Excess Fire Department Charges

Wisconsin-Based Broker Caught in Michigan Licensing Snafu



n amendment to Indiana House Bill 1447 would reduce the amount some citizens of that state would be billed by fire departments responding to emergencies. The insurance industry trade association, Insurance Institute of Indiana, says the amendment would rein in what the group calls excessive over-billing by Emergency Services Billing Corporation (ESBC), a company hired by fire departments to collect additional revenue for the departments. The amendment requires fire departments to comply with the Indiana Fire Marshal’s set fee schedule, which will result in fewer Hoosiers stuck with pricey bills for fire runs. Recently, Hoosiers have received bills ranging from a few thousands dollars to upwards of $20,000 from ESBC, the trade association said. Current Indiana law allows volunteer fire departments to charge fees for specified accidents and fire responses. However, fire

department charges must comply with the fee schedule published by the Indiana Fire Marshal. Many volunteer fire departments appear to be in violation of Indiana’s current law, the III said. Volunteer fire departments in Indiana are contracting with ESBC to collect for fire runs. ESBC touts that the payment for services is typically covered by the insured’s auto insurance policy, which many have found is untrue and are stuck with an expensive bill. Bills that were typically less than $500 in the past are now in excess of $5,000 and do not comply with the Fire Marshal’s fee schedule. Insurers have historically paid for volunteer fire department services, but coverage is typically limited to $500. This leaves affected citizens liable for the remainder of the bill. The insurance industry believes the charges are fraudulent and are defending their customers against attempts by ESBC to collect. However, those without insurance are left vulnerable. IJ

ichigan’s insurance regulator has ordered a Wisconsin-based managing general insurance agency, Vanguard Insurance Placement Inc., to stop doing business in Michigan. According to the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR), the agency violated the Michigan Insurance Code by selling insurance without a license. However, Vanguard says its brokers have been operating with individual licenses in Michigan for 10 years, just as

they have in Wisconsin, but only recently was the firm told that it needs an agency license for Michigan. Jill Stekel, a Vanguard underwriter, said the firm has submitted all the licensing paperwork and is waiting for OFIR to respond. “We’ve been in total contact with them,” Stekel told Insurance Journal. OFIR said failure to comply with OFIR’s order could subject Vanguard to civil penalties. Vanguard is located in Hillsboro, Wis. IJ

AIG Transitioning P/C Units to AIU Holdings


merican International Group Inc. (AIG) has begun the process of rebranding its insurance units as an independent entity, AIU Holdings, by transferring the company to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in preparation for the potential sale of a minority stake in the business. AIG previously announced AIU Holdings will have a board of directors, management team and brand distinct from AIG. Under the plan, AIU Holdings will serve

as the holding company for AIG’s Commercial Insurance, Foreign General Insurance and Private Client Group units. Under the SPV arrangement, AIG intends to contribute the equity of AIU Holdings into an SPV in exchange for preferred and common interests in the SPV. AIG plans to purchase from AIU Holdings its equity interests in International Lease Finance Corp., United Guaranty Corp. and Transatlantic Holdings Inc. IJ

It Figures



At the Reform Table

The highest per claim deductible being offered under a new Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation deductible program. The program will initially offer five deductible levels: from $500 per claim to up to $10,000 per claim. Priv ate employers have until May 31 to sign up for the program; it goes into effect July 1, 2009.

“There’s no signal. Republicans are at the table on health reform.” — A spokeswoman for the top Finance Committee Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, disputed suggestions that Republicans would not support health care reform judging from the committee vote on President Obama’s choice for health secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The Senate Finance Committee voted 15 to 8 in favor of sending Sebelius’ nomination to the full Senate. Just two of 10 committee Republicans joined majority Democrats in voting “yes.”


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Mike Davis Executive Vice President U.S. Risk Underwriters Skydiver General Star Broker

“Even with 250 successful jumps, there’s always a risk jumping out of airplanes. But with great training and the best equipment, I’m always confident of a safe landing. “I manage my clients’ risk the same way—nothing but the best. With an A++ rating and Berkshire Hathaway backing, there’s no stronger E&S market than General Star. “Whether I’m free falling at 10,000 feet or working on a challenging account, I’m always confident of a safe landing with General Star behind me and my clients.” To find the General Star broker nearest you, visit our website at © 2007 General Star Management Company, Stamford, Connecticut. Certain coverages may be written on a nonadmitted basis. Specialty underwriting through designated surplus lines brokers. Atlanta 404 239 6777 Chicago 312 267 8600 Los Angeles 213 630 1930 New York 212 341 8200 Stamford 203 328 5700

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Midwest Coverage People

Douglas L. Jackson

Gregory V. Grosfield

Joseph Tracy

Jay T. Campbell

William Krivoshik

The Professional Insurance Agents Association of Ohio Inc. (PIA) has selected Douglas L. Jackson to serve as director of education. Jackson, a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP), comes to PIA after working more than six years as director of recreation and parks for the city of Bexley recreation department. Jackson was responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating and directing administrative and operational functions within the department. Troy, Michigan-based InPro Insurance Group Inc. has hired Gregory V. Grosfield as a commercial insurance producer. Prior to joining InPro Insurance, Grosfield serv ed as an account executive for Baker-Hopp & Yee in Harper Woods, Mich., where he was responsible for generating new commercial insurance accounts. Earlier, he worked at Rock Financial as a senior mortgage banker. Joseph Tracy has been named president of Travelers Inland Marine business unit. Tracy, who joined Travelers in 2006, most recently served as chief underwriting officer for the Inland Marine business unit. Prior to joining Travelers, Tracy was the head of OneBeacon Insurance’s Inland Marine operations. He also has held positions with the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. and Kemper Insurance Cos. Tracy succeeds Richard Rowley, who founded Travelers Inland Marine in 1982. Rowley will continue as a senior adviser with the organization. Engle Martin & Associates Inc., a national insurance adjusting and claims administration firm, appointed Jay T. Campbell to serve in the newly created role of executive vice president of operations. Since 1993, Campbell has served in a variety of senior level positions with Crawford & Co., a global provider of claims management services. Most recently he was vice president and director of operations overseeing the Field Operations and Catastrophe Services divisions. Campbell also served Crawford in strategic planning, budgeting and financial analysis, organizational design, process improvement, and technology design and implementation. Campbell is the fifth member of Engle Martin’s executive management team, which includes Kevin L. Engle, CEO; John J. Quinn, president and chief operating officer; W. Todd Evans, executive vice president for Business Development; and Bob Gambell, executive vice president for Claims and Administration Services and Casualty Operations. New York-based brokerage Marsh & McLennan Cos. has named William Krivoshik as chief information officer and senior vice president for the firm. In the ne wly created position, Krivoshik will oversee MMC’s technology


strategy and architecture. Krivoshik most recently served as the chief technology officer at Thomson Financial, where he oversaw the company’s technology and information operations globally. He has also held senior technology positions with Citigro up, Travelers and American International Group, where he was chief information officer. Dan F. Agnew, president and CEO of Iowa-based Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co., will be inducted into the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame on May 21, 2009. The induction ceremony will take place at the Olmsted Center on the Drake University Campus in Des Moines, Iowa. Agnew served as a high school educator and coach before joining Grinnell Mutual as a marketing representative for northern Illinois in 1969. Agnew served in the marketing department for 18 years, becoming the vice president of marketing in 1985; senior vice president of membership development in 1987; vice president of so utheast operations in 1990 and was appointed president and CEO of Grinnell Mutual in 1991. Under Agnew’s leadership, Grinnell Mutual has grown into the largest reinsurer of farm mutual companies in the United States, securing over 52 percent of the market and is listed in the top 130 P/C companies in the nation. The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 to recognize outstanding contributions to the Iowa insurance industry. Portage, Mich.-based managing general insurance agency J.M. Wilson promoted Stacey Kiser to manager of Personal Lines and assistant manager of Property/Casualty. She will oversee the day-to-day activities of the Personal Lines department, serving customers in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and Pennsylvania. In addition, Kiser is assistant manager to the Michigan P/C department. Kiser has been with J.M. Wilson Corp. since 2005 and has held several positions in both the P/C and P ersonal Lines departments. She continues to underwrite P/C b usiness and helps oversee a team of eight underwriters. Michigan-based managing general agency J.M. Wilson added Debbie Martinez as Sales and Underwriting manager for its southern regional office in Charleston, S.C. Martinez will be responsible for developing relationships and growing J.M. Wilson’s presence in the South. With access to Colony and Northland Insurance Co. for commercial trucking, business auto and public auto accounts, she will help agents write business in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. Martinez joins J.M. Wilson with nearly 20 years in the insurance industry. She has worked as a commercial transportation underwriter for another MGA. IJ

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Idea Exchange State vs. Federal Regulation

We’re in Good Hands With State Regulators McRaith

premium paid. Even if an insurer were insolvent — a Editor’s Note: The following commentary originalrarity — state receivership and guaranty ly was addressed to the New York Times in fund systems prioritize payouts to conresponse to a published opinion expressed by sumers over commercial creditors, a result Allstate CEO Tom Wilson advocating federal reguvastly different from bankruptcy. lation of insurance. Supervising over 7,000 insurers and the In a contributed column that ran in the New world’s most profitable insurance marketYork Times on April 16, Wilson suggested that place, state insurance regulators annually states are not equipped to effectively regulate insurreply to more than three million consumer ance companies, stating, inquiries, often when a “[I]nsurance companies are not regucompany fails to pay a lated by the federal government. claim. Certainly, we preBy remaining Instead, they are regulated by indifer that our elderly parlocal, state vidual states, which lack the expertents not encounter a fedise to properly oversee rapid innovainsurance reg- eral bureaucratic maze tion or systemic risks.” an insurer fails to ulation evolves when pay for a simple car a cciontributing to the without caving dent. current economic Despite the prodigious to the whimsi- incompetence volatility have been of its nonideologically driven insurance units, AIG cal profit faninitiatives not premised on operated 71 U.S.-based tasies that fact or consumer protection. insurers that continue to Financial institutions meet all obligations to drove AIG and pushed for deregulation to consumers. As the poster others to taxpromote “innovation” while child for regulatory fundamental consumer protecpayer support. reform, AIG underscores tions, like solvency, were diswhy state insurance regumissed as obstacles to profit. lators welcome collaboraWith this in mind, the myth-laden pleas tive integration with a federal financial of an otherwise prudent Tom Wilson, CEO systemic regulator. of Allstate, in search of federal regulatory By remaining local, state insurance regurelief should be viewed cynically. lation evolves without caving to the whimsical profit fantasies that drove AIG and States have always regulated insurance others to taxpayer support. companies. State regulators enforce rigorFederal bailouts and loans painfully ous solvency standards embedded for reveal the costly outcome of failing to put years with nationally stringent stress-tests consumers first. and capital requirements. Fortunately for Mr. Wilson’s industry deregulation ideal insurance customers — policyholders and is not viable. claimants — the U.S. insurance industry Families, small businesses and large has not suffered the collapses that resemployers — the engines of o ur economy onate through other sectors. — are, and must remain, priority one for State regulatory standards mean that insurance regulation. IJ families and businesses, having shifted risk to an insurer, retain the security that ea ch sought when a policy was chosen and McRaith is Illinois’ Director of Insurance. By Michael T. McRaith



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Idea Exchange Agency Management

Don’t Expect Top Dollar if Your House is in Chaos Get the Highest Bid When Selling Your Agency by Keeping Financials, Books in Order Price

By Daniel B. Price agreements that serve to protect business assets.


hether one is looking to sell, buy or grow organically, the preparation and organization of an agency’s financial, book of business and corporate information as if a sale is imminent should start today. In reality, a sale may not be in the cards right now. However, running the agency today as if it were going on the sales block will inevitably improve management practices and overall efficiency and effectiveness; thus translating into higher earnings and undoubtedly increasing long-term shareholder value. In short, the one surefire way to increase shareholder value is to get your house in order. This is something that can be started today that does not require selling a thing. Get your books and records in order. In an actual transaction, the amount and detail of information a particular a cquirer will request varies. But one thing is for sure — the quality of information a seller is able to provide goes directly to the overall quality of the agency itself and its management team. When it comes to the sale of

Financial Statements Historical financial statements are often one of the best indicators of future performance of a business. To these ends, buyers will put your financial information under a microscope. Audited financial statements provide the highest level of assurance that the financial picture of an agency is in fact as it has been presented to be. The greater reliability a buyer can place on the financial statements, the more lik ely it is that a seller will receiv e additional purchase consideration either through a higher overall price and/or through a more favorable transaction structure (i.e., more upfront or an earn out with lower performance metric thresholds). This is simply the an insurance agency, all things being equal, old risk/reward trade off: By having quality the higher the perceived quality of inforfinancial statements, you are helping to mation the higher the ultimate p urchase reduce the buyer’s perceived level of risk price and/or greater likelihood of improved and thus he or she is more lik ely to provide transaction terms. Buyers want to see that you with more return. a business is being run like a business.This It is a fact that historical financial statemeans mimicking professional standards ments of closely held businesses rarely often found within publically traded organreflect the true profitability izations and best practices industry leaders. The one sure-fire of the business without certain adjustments. Whether Such beneficial stanway to increase the adjustments would be dards and practices to eliminate owner perks include: shareholder such as country club dues • The routine developvalue is to get or personal automobiles, or ment of accurate and to remove one-time expenstimely financial stateyour house in es related to moving or ments complete with all order. sponsorship of a local charisupporting schedules ty event, it is of no matter. and documentation; The key to getting a buyer to sign-off on • Full implementation of a first class any suggested financial statement adjustclient management system that includes ment is the amount of tangible support drill down and custom query capabilities; and justification a seller can provide. • Thoughtfully developed business and Simply saying that 25 percent of this strategic plans, complete with budgets and expense line item and 50 percent of that management projections; and • In force and updated requisite legal continued on page N2 May 4, 2009 INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION | N1

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Idea Exchange Agency Management Chaos, continued from page N1

expense line item are “personal” and therefore these line items should be adjusted will not suffice. If a b uyer is expected to give “full credit” in the p urchase price for discretionary items, extensive and detailed records are required. Buyers will only recognize and pay for earnings that are easily discernable and clearly documented. On a related note, b uyers become more skeptical with each “normalizing” adjustment required to arrive at the true economic run rate of a b usiness. Bottom line: even if all of the supporting documentation is available, it does not always make sense to make adjustments for every little immaterial non-business item. Revenue adjustments are related but can also sometimes come under the guise of a slightly different animal. You may have the usual non-recurring agency and it is not req uired for ongoing revenue adjustments, such as a one-time operations, then mechanisms for removing gain from the sale of eq uipment, and these it from the balance sheet sho uld be considadjustments are understandable. However, what is clearly unacceptable to most buyers ered. An example of this type of a djustment is is revenue that has not been recorded on automobiles owned by the agency (includthe financial statements and tax returns. An unrecorded revenue adjustment is clear- ing the accompanying debt), that are in reality personal automobiles of the agency ly straddling the line between tax avoidowners. By cleaning up the balance sheet a ance, which is perfectly acceptable, and tax more accurate picture of the true financial evasion, which is obviously not acceptable. position of the agency is often revealed. This type of situation should be cleaned up Most likely a buyer is going long before contemplatto uncover the true finaning a sale, or do not Buyers will only cial picture of the agency expect a buyer to give recognize and pay at some point during his or you credit for this revher review, so you might as enue. for earnings that well approach it honestly Effectively, Uncle Sam are easily discern- right from the start. has already compensated you for this revenue able and clearly First Class Client through reduced taxes. If documented. Management System a buyer gets wind of this I cannot tell you the type of situation the deal number of times I have asked for something will likely be stopped in its tra cks as this as basic as a production report by line of type of a situation goes right to the integrity of management and the underlying quali- business and been looked at as if I w ere from another planet. If you cannot provide ty of the agency. reports that at least break do wn the book The removal of non-operating assets and of business by general and specific line of liabilities from the balance sheet is another business, producer and underwriting marimportant aspect of cleaning up financial ket, then you have substantial work to do. statements. Their presence will just comAt the same time, just because you can plicate and confuse matters if and w hen provide these basic reports does not mean you decide to sell. If an asset is not conthat they are accurate. Too often, records tributing to the earning power of the N2 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION May 4, 2009

in an agency’s client management system do not reconcile to what is presented by the financial statements or payroll reports. All accounting and agency management systems should be communicating and reflecting the same information. There is nothing more frustrating to perspective buyers than to be provided with numerous reports generated from varying systems and to have the reports not reconcile with each other. Business and Strategic Plans – Budgets and Projections You may have considered developing a business or strategic plan in the past b ut decided to hold off as it w as determined that such planning and strategizing w as unnecessary given the size of the agency and its relative level of complexity. To this I say no way — if for no other reason than the existence of a well-thought out business plan and a thorough strategic plan reflect well on an agency’s management. What are the short and long-term g oals for the agency? What are the tactics that are being employed to reach these goals? Acquirers want to know that there is a plan and that the agency is being proactively managed for future growth. Buyers almost always request budgets and management projections. Unfortunately, these continued on page N4

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Idea Exchange Agency Management Chaos, continued from page N2

requests tend to fall on deaf ears as most agencies do not prepare such information on a regular basis. When a b uyer requests reasonable information and the seller comes back with “we don’t prepare that,” the buyer gets an immediate window into the sophistication level of the seller’s management team and business acumen. Remember, more than likely the seller will be joining the acquirer for a period of time post transaction, so the entire selling process should be looked at as a prolonged job interview. Establish and Update Requisite Legal Agreements Time and time again, sellers present themselves to the market without having property leases, employment agreements, first updated their legal agreements and underwriting market contracts, confidenlicensing files. Frankly, it is a prerequisite tiality agreements, compensation discloto sale that can easily go overlooked. When sures, etc. It is also v ery important to codiis the last time you updated your articles of incorporation or operating agreement, or fy and formalize any relationships your agency has with external parties such as reviewed your “standard” restrictive cross referral agreements or third-party covenant agreements (e.g., non-solicits, non-competes, confidentiality) in regard to producer arrangements. If you take too long to gather requested current case law? Perhaps a previous shareinformation, or it is not available, the stage holder was bought out a few years ago and has been set for your corporate documents agency to be viewed as and the stock ledger If you take too long not well-organized and were never updated. not on top of its b usiWhatever it may be, to gather requested ness. Remember, a there is often a need information, or it is buyer has to factor in to update legal docuthe future costs of ments in the middle not available, the organizing your busiof a transaction, stage has been set ness if you have not which does two things. for your agency to be already done so. An investment in time and One, it slows down viewed as not welldiligence today making the process as an additional element is organized and not on sure your agency is well-organized and added to the overflowtop of its business. capable of providing ing pile of things to standard information is do. And two, it raises an investment in the future value of the a red flag to buyers with respect to the business. Planning and preparation sellers’ overall organization and business throughout all stages of ownership are acumen. essential if one is to realize an agency’s full All legal documentation should be value at the time of disposition. IJ reviewed to make sure they are available and in good order prior to speaking with any potential buyers. This includes articles Price is a vice president with Hales & Co., located in Hales’ of incorporation or operating agreements, Harrisburg, Pa., office. Email: Phone: corporate and individual producer licenses, 717-541-9300, ext. 102. Web site: N4 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION May 4, 2009

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Idea Exchange Minding Your Business

How to Improve Productivity in a New Economy Agencies Must Stop Money Wasting Financial Leaks By Bill Schoeffler and Catherine Oak


he economy is in the tank and so is the stock market. Thousands are unemployed and many people do not know where to turn. No one is setting up charities for insurance agents just yet, but the industry is at the end of the economic w ave. Even within the ranks of the agents there is a sliding scale of growth, profitability and future potential. Those that focus in certain niches, like construction are reeling and it seems that the smaller the ag ency, the tighter the financial squeeze. The long-term soft market has wreaked havoc for the typical agency owner. Commission dollars earned to sell and service accounts have dropped. The problem is the client and the companies expect more and more o ut of the agents for less and less. Typical agency profitability levels have dropped from 25 percent of revenue or more 20 years ago, to today’s typical profit margin range of just 15 percent to 25 percent. The growth in expenses has outpaced the growth in revenue. Personnel, the biggest single agency expense, typically costs 52 percent to 73 percent of re venue. In general, owner and producer compensation costs between 25 percent and 35 percent of revenue, while office staff compensation ranges from 20 percent to 28 percent of revenue, and benefits and taxes cost 7 percent to 10 percent of revenue. Automation did not turn out to be the productivity panacea that was expected. How many agencies have cut staffing after they bought a new computer system? Sometimes staff was increased to add on an automation person or data entry person. Besides, automation expenses did not exist 30 years ago. Other expenses are going up as well. Office rent has shot through the roof in many areas. Advertising, office supplies, travel and automobile expenses all have gone up.




How to Help So can anything be done to help the typical ag ency owner stop the erosion of profits? The answ er is yes. Plugging the financial leaks in an agency can add up to sizable savings. Performing an efficiency study is the first step to understanding where these leaks exist. The place to start is with the people doing the w ork. Employees know what works and what does not Plugging the work. Management’s role is to determine which is financial leaks the most cost effective in an agency solution, if any. To start, management should ask can add up to employees the following sizable savings. question: What three things can be done to make your job more efficient? Bring the staff together to discuss the suggestions. Brainstorm on the issues. Map out workflow on a wall chart. See if there are any roadblocks to getting the job done. Is the staff double entering data? Is the agency paperless? Is the layout of the office efficient? Does the staff ha ve to go long distances or are they impeded when retrieving commonly used files, copy or fax machines, etc. Is the office too small? Does the agency have enough properly functioning and up-to-date office equipment? Sometimes one extra fax machine or printer can make a big difference in productivity. Is the telephone system efficient? Delegate some of the problem solving to the staff and have follow-up meetings. The best suggestion should win a reward, perhaps $100 or more depending upon the sa vings. This process should be repeated annually. Other Areas to Review Next, the owners and management should explore other areas that might be causing financial leaks. Compare the agency’s productivity to peer groups using one of the published benchmark studies. Is the agency overstaffed or understaffed? If overstaffing exists, why and what can be done? Get rid of under-performing employees and reward the high performers. continued on page N8

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Idea Exchange Minding Your Business New Economy, continued from page N6

Has management provided the employees with a clear direction for the ag ency? Employees need to be pointed in the right direction and told what their purpose is. Having a purpose will prevent employees from getting bogged down in the minutia. How is employee morale? Any number of

things can cause poor morale. Often it is related to perceived unequal treatment. Make sure all employees are expected to meet the same high standards. Be consistent with your relationship. The annual performance review is the time to clearly communicate performance expectations

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Meet Shirley Yeung, President, and K.K. Yeung, Excess & Surplus Line Department Manager,d[JH6h^V>chjgVcXZHZgk^XZh!VLZhiZgc=Zg^iV\Z <ZcZgVa6\Zcih^cXZ'%%)#H]^gaZn[djcYZY]ZgXdbeVcn^c&..*VcY]Vh \gdlc]ZgWjh^cZhhl^i]VcjchideeVWaZZcigZegZcZjg^Vahe^g^i# ¹>kVajZi]ZhZXjg^ind[LZhiZgc=Zg^iV\Z¼h6 MKgVi^c\VcYWgdVYheZXigjbd[ egdYjXih#I]Z^gjcYZglg^i^c\Y^hX^ea^cZVcYadc\"iZgbXdbb^ibZcibV`Zdjg gZaVi^dch]^ehigdc\VcYkVajVWaZ#>VeegZX^ViZi]Z[VXii]ViLZhiZgc=Zg^iV\Z \VkZjhi]Zdeedgijc^inideVgicZgl^i]i]ZbVcYWZa^ZkZdjggZaVi^dch]^el^aa Xdci^cjZidi]g^kZ#º ¸H]^gaZnNZjc\ Western Heritage celebrates entrepreneurial spirit that is the foundation for loyal and dedicated partnerships. Western Heritage and design is a federally registered service mark of Scottsdale Insurance Company.


and past results. Is the staff properly trained? On the job training is convenient, but it perpetuates the same old inefficient ways of working. When possible, it is better to send the employees outside the agency for new ideas. Have the employee inform the rest of the staff on what they learned after they return from trainings. Does the agency cross-sell on its accounts? Relationships are strengthened when an agency sells more than one coverage to its clients. Efficiencies are g ained by earning more commission per account and spending less time generating the sale since they are already familiar with the firm. Does the agency have any program business? Selling a unique product that is slot rated can be an incredible income g enerator. Usually these sales require less work to sell and service. The similarity of the book of business can create high productivity. Do the producers pre-screen their prospects? Pre-screening will help eliminate business that the firm cannot write or sho uld not write. Know the price, product and politics needed to close the sale as soon as possible. It is best to find o ut the quality of the prospect in the phone call before the visit, than to find out during the marketing process. Summary Starting this process will take a commitment on the part of all o wners, managers and employees. Keep in mind the first step is the hardest. Sometimes it helps to bring in an outside partner to get the process started. Oak & Associates can assist an agency in performing a Management & Organizational Efficiency study. Small gains when compounded over time result in enormous savings. The goal is to work smarter not harder. Implementing the ideas that are laid out in this article will take some time, but will change the way you do business forever. IJ Oak and Schoeffler are partners at the international consulting firm Oak & Associates, providing services for mergers, acquisitions, management and financial consulting. Contact: 707-935-6565. E-mail: Web site:

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A Perfect Fit

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Farm & Ranch and more

Whether coverage is for motorcycle, agriculture, watercraft, or personal property, American Reliable Insurance Company, a member of Assurant Specialty Property has the programs and experience to be your insurance company of choice. Look to American Reliable Insurance Company for a perfect fit to all your specialty insurance product needs.

Building Relationships. Celebrating Partnerships. For more information, call toll-free at 1-800-535-1333, or visit us online at

American Reliable Insurance Company is proud to be a member of: AR28432-1005 todl Š Assurant, Inc. 2005

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Idea Exchange Survey Regional Carriers

Agents, Rate Your Regional Carriers in a N ew Insurance Journal Sponsored Survey C

hannel Harvest Research and Insurance Journal have announced a major new study in the independent agency system that will probe agents’ attitudes toward carrier relationships and the insurance companies they represent — with a special focus on larger regional carriers, often called “Super Regionals.” The survey is designed for carriers seeking to understand in an unbiased fashion what agents look for from carriers, and ho w specific carriers and their competitors are rated b y agents. The survey will provide strategic, actionable information for: • Super-regional carriers (about their peer companies). • Smaller regionals (that are growing and/or competing with larger regionals). • National carriers competing head-to-head with regionals in certain areas of the co untry. The syndicated research — with multiple

subscribers sharing the cost — will pro vide an objective complement to any proprietary surveys carriers may do. This project will provide hard data and a strategic roa dmap for carriers looking to boost their b usiness in the challenging year ahead. The survey will address such key questions as: • What are the most important chara cteristics in agency benefits and service from carriers when agents choose those to place business with? • How do agents rate regional carriers they have worked with — on 20 different fa ctors? • How do agents rate specific carriers overall compared with the industry? • And many other important issues. To participate in this survey of independent insurance agents, sponsored by Insurance Journal, visit: The survey takes just 15 minutes to com-

Turnkey Reinsurance NAS provides full turnkey reinsurance of specialty products that includes underwriting, risk management, distribution alternatives, expert claims handling, risk transfer up to 100%, and marketing, sales and PR assistance. NAS delivers products on a reinsurance basis to insurers such as package carriers, specialty insurers and RRG’s. With NAS’ turnkey reinsurance, carriers can offer state-of-the-art products to their insureds and avoid the cost of research, development of human resources and risk of a new product. NAS Insurance Services is an independent Underwriting Manager with full binding authority to underwrite on behalf of highly rated carriers. For over 30 years, NAS has remained a product-oriented company, ever on the leading edge of innovation with a constant commitment to the development of specialty products.

To participate in a survey about agents’ attitudes toward regional carriers, which is sponsored by Insurance Journal, visit: carriersurvey2009. plete — and survey participants will receive a summary of the findings if an e-mail address is provided when taking the survey. All agent responses are anonymous to any carrier purchasing the report of survey findings. Data are reported only in the aggregate. The findings also will be released in a special report, “How Independent Insurance Agents View Business with Large Regional Carriers,” in an upcoming issue of Insurance Journal. For more information about the survey or Channel Harvest Research, go to IJ

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Special Report Salute to Super Regionals


he original criteria and objective definition for Super Regional P/C Insurersâ&#x201E;˘ were established in the Feb. 12, 2007 issue of Insurance Journal. Prior to the establishment of an industry-wide definition, a number of property/casualty insurers had referred to themselves as Super Regionals. Demotech Inc., the official research partner of Insurance Journal, has been called on to examine the criteria, make changes to the composition of that criteria and update the list of Super R egionals. To continue the discussion on the subject of what constitutes a Super Regional and to give definition to this important group of

insurers, Demotech, an actuarial services firm based in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed year-end 2008 data. This data was utilized to classify and stratify those insurers reporting data to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Company Classification System The experts at Demotech have refined their classification system for property/casualty insurance companies. The Demotech Company Classification System categorizes all property/casualty insurers into one of 11 categories based on an analysis of data reported by the companies to the NAIC.


The 11 categories that comprise the system are: Nationals, Near Nationals, Super Regionals, Regionals, State Specialists, Coverage Specialists, Strategic Subsidiaries, Risk Retention Groups, Surplus Lines Carriers, Reinsurers and companies with less than $1 million in direct written premium. A company cannot be assigned to more than one category. Therefore, a company not designated as a Super Regional is given another classification, perhaps Near National, Regional, or State Specialist. Super Regional Criteria and Thresholds To select the companies for the Super

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Regional Property/Casualty Insurer™ list, Demotech used these specific, objective qualifying criteria and thresholds: • Active, individual companies not under regulatory supervision at Dec. 31, 2008; • Reporting data to the NAIC using the property/casualty annual statement format; • At least $1 million of direct written premium in each of two to 34 states at Dec. 31, 2008; • Less than 90 percent of Dec. 31, 2008, direct written premium in any one state; • Less than 90 percent of Dec. 31, 2008 direct written premium in any one line of

business; • Policyholders surplus of at least $100 million at Dec. 31, 2008; • Net written premium of at least $ 50 million at Dec. 31, 2008; • Direct written premium of at least $ 25 million at Dec. 31, 2008.

2009 Property & Casualty Insurance Cos. Demotech Company Classifications Direct Premium Written Less than $1 million 5.2%

Nationals 1.6% Near Nationals 2.4%

Reinsurers 2.3%

Super Regionals 5.4% Surplus Lines Carriers 4.8% Risk Retention Groups 8.0%

In general, a Super Regional Property/ Casualty Insurer™ is an individual company writing multiple lines of insurance in multiple states. Risk retention groups, surplus lines insurers and reinsurers are not eligible for the Super Regional category.

Regionals 10.7%

Strategic Subsidiaries 15.9%

State Specialists 31.3%

Coverage Specialists 12.4%

continued on page N14

2009 Super Regional Property/Casualty Insurers™ Alphabetical Listing Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co. AIG Centennial Insurance Co. AIG Premier Insurance Co. AIU Insurance Co. Alaska National Insurance Co. All America Insurance Co. American Commerce Insurance Co. American Family Home Insurance Co. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co. American International Insurance Co. American Mercury Insurance Co. American Road Insurance Co. Amerisure Insurance Co. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. Atlantic States Insurance Co. Auto Club Insurance Assn. Auto Owners Insurance Co. Automobile Insurance Co of Hartford CT Bankers Standard Insurance Co. Berkley Regional Insurance Co. Bituminous Casualty Corp. Bituminous Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. Builders Mutual Insurance Co. California Casualty Indemnity Exchange Cambridge Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Canal Insurance Co. Capitol Indemnity Corp. Central Mutual Insurance Co. Century-National Insurance Co. Chicago Insurance Co. Citizens Insurance Co. of America Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Concord General Mutual Insurance Co. Cornhusker Casualty Co. Country Mutual Insurance Co. Courtesy Insurance Co. Cumberland Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Cypress Insurance Co. Daimlerchrysler Insurance Co. Darwin National Assurance Co. Delos Insurance Co. Donegal Mutual Insurance Co. Erie Insurance Co. Erie Insurance Exchange Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. Farm Family Casualty Insurance Co. Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Co.

Farmers Automobile Insurance Assn. Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of IA Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. of NE Farmington Casualty Co. Farmland Mutual Insurance Co. FCCI Insurance Co. Federated Service Insurance Co. Fidelity National Insurance Co. Fire Insurance Exchange First Colonial Insurance Co. Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Co. General Casualty Co. of WI General Fidelity Insurance Co. Grange Insurance Association Grange Mutual Casualty Co. Guideone Mutual Insurance Co. Harco National Insurance Co. Harford Mutual Insurance Co. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. Harleysville Preferred Insurance Co. Harleysville Worcester Insurance Co. Hartford Insurance Co. of IL Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. Hudson Insurance Co. IMT Insurance Co. Mutual Indiana Insurance Co. Insurance Co. of North America Insurance Co. of the West Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. Keystone Insurance Co. Lightning Rod Mutual Insurance Co. Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. Lyndon Property Insurance Co. Memberselect Insurance Co. Merchants Mutual Insurance Co. Mercury Casualty Co. Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co. MHA Insurance Co. Mid-Century Insurance Co. Mid-Continent Casualty Co. Middlesex Insurance Co. Milbank Insurance Co. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. of America Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. Motors Insurance Corp. Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Netherlands Insurance Co. New York Marine & General Insurance Co.

NGM Insurance Co. North River Insurance Co. North Star Mutual Insurance Co. Occidental Fire & Casualty Co. of NC Old Republic General Insurance Corp. Old United Casualty Co. OneBeacon Insurance Co. Owners Insurance Co. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co. Peerless Insurance Co. Penn National Security Insurance Co. Pennsylvania General Insurance Co. Pennsylvania Manufacturers Assn. Insurance Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. Preferred Professional Insurance Co. Progressive Gulf Insurance Co. Progressive Northwestern Insurance Co. Protective Insurance Co. Public Service Mutual Insurance Co. Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Republic Indemnity Co. of America Republic Underwriters Insurance Co. Safeco Insurance Co. of IL Secura Insurance a Mutual Co. Selective Insurance Co. of America Selective Way Insurance Co. Seneca Insurance Co. Inc Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. Sompo Japan Insurance Co. of America State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Co. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co. Stonebridge Casualty Insurance Co. Technology Insurance Co. Inc. Tower Insurance Co. of NY Toyota Motor Insurance Co. Trinity Universal Insurance Co. Triton Insurance Co. Unigard Insurance Co. United Fire & Casualty Co. Utica Mutual Insurance Co. Vanliner Insurance Co. Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. Virginia Surety Co. Inc. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. Western National Mutual Insurance Co. Westfield Insurance Co. Westfield National Insurance Co. Yosemite Insurance Co.


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Special Report Salute to Super Regionals Super Regionals, continued from page N13

The 2009 Super Regional Property/Casualty Insurers™ Utilizing these quantitative criteria, Demotech identified 149 Super Regional Property/Casualty Insurers™ for 2009, based upon year-end 2008 annual statement data. They are presented in this exclusive Insurance Journal Special Report both alphabetically and by size as ranked by direct premiums written as of Dec. 31, 2008. Also included in this special report are the 14 companies that are new to the Super Regional list, as well as 17 insurers that are no longer classified as Super Regionals, but have been reclassified into another one of Demotech’s categories based on year-end 2008 information. “Super Regional insurers are critically important to the insurance industry and to

their agents, producers and insureds,” said Joseph Petrelli, president, Demotech. “These companies are strong, stable markets that have been working hard for their agents and insureds. This is why Insurance Journal initially expressed interest in quantifying and identifying what criteria can be used to define an insurer as a Super Regional.” Insurance Journal and Demotech want this year’s report to continue the discussion on the role of Super Regionals, as well as the definition and criteria used in determining the classification, so that future reports can continue to refine an industry definition of Super Regional Property/Casualty Insurers™. “Insurers and interested readers are encouraged to examine the selection crite-

NEW 2009 Super Regionals Company Name All America Insurance Co. American Road Insurance Co. Auto Club Insurance Assn. Bankers Standard Insurance Co. Canal Insurance Co. Daimlerchrysler Insurance Co. Occidental Fire & Casualty Co. of NC Republic Indemnity Co. of America Tower Insurance Co. of NY Toyota Motor Insurance Co. Triton Insurance Co. Netherlands Insurance Co. Safeco Insurance Co. of IL Westfield Insurance Co.

2009 Demotech Company Classification

2008 Demotech Company Classification

Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional

Regional Coverage Specialist Coverage Specialist Strategic Subsidiary Near National Coverage Specialist Regional Coverage Specialist State Specialist Regional Coverage Specialist Strategic Subsidiary Coverage Specialist Near National

ria and thresholds used to determine the list of 2009 Super Regionals. Our selection criteria are quantitative and transparent. We remain committed to setting benchmarks at levels that accurately categorize the industry,” said Barry J Koestler II, CFA, senior financial analyst and chief ratings officer, Demotech. The authors stress that this is an o bjective stratification of the companies that comprise the industry, not ratings of the individual insurers. Inclusion on the list of Super Regionals is not meant to suggest that a company is superior to companies not categorized as Super Regionals. Future issues of Insurance Journal will report on State Specialists, Coverage Specialists, Regionals and other classifications created and defined by Demotech. Since 1985, Demotech Inc. has been providing independent Financial Stability Ratings® of property/casualty insurers and title 2007 Demotech insurance underwriters. Its services Company Classification also include statements of actuarial Regional opinion and pricing assistance. For Coverage Specialist Coverage Specialist more information, visit Strategic Subsidiary Near National Coverage Specialist Please send suggestions, comSuper Regional ments and criticisms to Joseph Coverage Specialist Petrelli at e-mail: State Specialist Regional, or Andrew Coverage Specialist Simpson, vice president of editorial Strategic Subsidiary Coverage Specialist for Insurance Journal at e-mail: Super Regional IJ

RECLASSIFIED 2008 Super Regionals Company Name Alfa Insurance Corp. Central States Indemnity Co. of Omaha EMCASCO Insurance Co. Everest National Insurance Co. Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co. Lumbermens Underwriting Alliance Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co. National Farmers Union Property & Casualty National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. Navigators Insurance Co. OneBeacon America Insurance Co. Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Travelers Casualty Insurance Co. of America Truck Insurance Exchange Trumbull Insurance Co. US Fidelity & Guaranty Co.

2009 Demotech Company Classification

2008 Demotech Company Classification

2007 Demotech Company Classification

Reason Not 2009 Super Regional

Strategic Subsidiary Regional Regional Near National Coverage Specialist Regional Regional Regional Near National Near National Near National Regional Regional Near National Near National Regional Coverage Specialist

Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional

Super Regional Super Regional Regional Super Regional Near National Regional Super Regional Regional Super Regional Super Regional Super Regional Regional Regional Coverage Specialist Super Regional Super Regional Near National

PHS, NPW NPW PHS States > 34 LOB > 90% PHS PHS PHS States > 34 States > 34 States > 34 PHS PHS States > 34 States > 34 PHS LOB > 90%

PHS = Policyholders’ Surplus; LOB = Line of Business; NPW = N et Premium Written N14 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION May 4, 2009

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2009 Super Regional P/C Insurers


As Developed by Demotech Inc. for Insurance Journal, Ranked by Direct Written Premium as of 12/31/08. Company

12/31/08 DPW 000’s omitted

Group Name


American Family Mutual Insurance Co.


American Family


2 3

Erie Insurance Exchange AIU Insurance Co.

3,146,696 2,770,742

Erie American International



Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co.





Mid-Century Insurance Co.





Auto Owners Insurance Co.


Auto Owners


7 8

Fire Insurance Exchange Westfield Insurance Co.

1,686,491 1,460,344

Zurich Westfield



Safeco Insurance Co. of IL


Liberty Mutual



Owners Insurance Co.


Auto Owners


11 12

Country Mutual Insurance Co. Peerless Insurance Co.

1,146,917 1,073,459

Country Ins./Financial Liberty Mutual


13 14 15

Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. Citizens Insurance Co. of America Netherlands Insurance Co.

931,235 927,098 790,738

Shelter The Hanover Liberty Mutual


16 17 18 19 20 21

Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co. Mercury Casualty Co. Grange Mutual Casualty Co. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. Automobile Insurance Co. of Hartford CT

787,823 783,483 756,465 704,217 668,505 636,607

Iowa Farm Bureau N/A Mercury General Grange Mutual Casualty West Bend Mutual Travelers


22 23

NGM Insurance Co. State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Co.

623,471 612,395

Main Street Amer State Auto Mutual


24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of IA Central Mutual Insurance Co. Progressive Northwestern Insurance Co. Selective Way Insurance Co. Tower Insurance Co. of NY Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Ins. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co.

555,396 525,862 507,064 505,944 469,578 462,920 433,462

Farmers Mut Hail Central Mutual Progressive Selective Tower Pennsylvania National Harleysville



State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co.


State Auto Mutual


32 33

Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. American International Insurance Co.

413,035 412,201

Motorists Mutual American International


34 35 36 37

Erie Insurance Co. Selective Insurance Co. of America Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Co. General Casualty Co. of WI

407,630 407,016 399,711 399,301

Erie Selective Frankenmuth Mutual QBE



Virginia Surety Co. Inc.




39 40 41 42

Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. Memberselect Insurance Co. Farm Family Casualty Insurance Co. Technology Insurance Co. Inc.

398,301 389,425 380,728 359,553

Amerisure Automobile Club MI American Natl. Financial Amtrust



Bituminous Casualty Corp.


Old Republic


State of Domicile



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Special Report Salute to Super Regionals Company

12/31/08 DPW 000’s omitted

Group Name


Pennsylvania Manufacturers Assn. Ins.


PA Manufacturers



Delos Insurance Co.


Lightyear Delos


46 47 48 49

Auto Club Insurance Assn. Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co. Indiana Insurance Co. United Fire & Casualty Co.

302,054 300,844 298,040 297,973

Automobile Club MI Mutual of Enumclaw Liberty Mutual United Fire & Casualty



Motors Insurance Corp.


GMAC Insurance Holding


51 52

Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. Guideone Mutual Insurance Co.

291,534 286,655

N/A Guideone


53 54

Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Hudson Insurance Co.

286,580 269,567

Andover Fairfax Financial


55 56 57 58

Progressive Gulf Insurance Co. Harleysville Worcester Insurance Co. Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Farmington Casualty Co.

269,379 264,127 263,152 261,958

Progressive Harleysville Quincy Mutual Travelers


59 60 61

Insurance Co. of the West Westfield National Insurance Co. Old Republic General Insurance Corp.

258,771 257,473 257,086

ICW Westfield Old Republic



California Casualty Indemnity Exchange


California Cas Mgmt


63 64 65 66

Companion Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Unigard Insurance Co. Secura Insurance a Mutual Co. Triton Insurance Co.

252,624 252,292 239,263 231,299

BCBS of SC QBE Secura Citigroup


67 68

FCCI Insurance Co. Utica Mutual Insurance Co.

228,471 227,234

FCCI Mutual Utica


69 70 71

Amerisure Insurance Co. Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. AIG Centennial Insurance Co.

225,241 215,176 212,890

Amerisure Vermont Mutual American International


72 73 74 75 76

Mid-Continent Casualty Co. Western National Mutual Insurance Co. Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. Farmers Automobile Insurance Assn. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co.

211,459 211,280 208,502 208,013 207,725

American Financial Western National N/A Pekin N/A


77 78 79

Donegal Mutual Insurance Co. Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. of NE American Road Insurance Co.

207,332 204,169 199,326

Donegal N/A American Road


80 81

Alaska National Insurance Co. Canal Insurance Co.

196,913 196,538

N/A Canal



American Family Home Insurance Co.


Munich Re



Courtesy Insurance Co.


JM Family



Sompo Japan Insurance Co. of America


Sompo Japan



Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. of America


Mitsui Sumitomo



North River Insurance Co.


Fairfax Financial


87 88

American Commerce Insurance Co. Stonebridge Casualty Insurance Co.

179,965 179,672

Commerce Aegon US Holding


89 90

North Star Mutual Insurance Co. Vanliner Insurance Co.

175,720 172,041

North Star N/A



New York Marine & General Insurance Co.


New York Marine & General NY


Lyndon Property Insurance Co.


Protective Life


State of Domicile



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12/31/08 DPW 000â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s omitted

Group Name

State of Domicile

93 94 95 96

Century-National Insurance Co. Concord General Mutual Insurance Co. Trinity Universal Insurance Co. OneBeacon Insurance Co.

161,406 159,637 156,401 153,157

N/A Concord Unitrin White Mountain



Protective Insurance Co.


Baldwin & Lyons


98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105

Hartford Insurance Co. of IL Fidelity National Insurance Co. Cypress Insurance Co. Merchants Mutual Insurance Co. Builders Mutual Insurance Co. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co. Public Service Mutual Insurance Co. First Colonial Insurance Co.

144,298 142,296 139,637 138,021 136,928 135,050 130,126 118,390

Hartford Fire & Casualty Fidelity Natl. Financial Berkshire Hathaway Merchants Mutual Builders Western Service Contract Public Service Allstate


106 Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co.




107 108 109 110 111

116,609 116,545 115,768 114,174 111,596

American Financial Mercury General N/A Andover N/A


112 Harleysville Preferred Insurance Co 113 Grange Insurance Association 114 Preferred Professional Insurance Co

110,041 109,540 108,894

Harleysville Grange N/A


115 Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Co. 116 Chicago Insurance Co.

105,693 103,396

Alliance Allianz


117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124

101,957 101,255 100,747 99,651 96,326 93,110 92,474 90,926

Donegal Fairfax Financial Van Enterprises Cumberland IAT Reins Columbia Fincor Holdings Federated Mutual


125 Toyota Motor Insurance Co.




126 IMT Insurance Co. Mutual 127 Harco National Insurance Co.

89,804 88,967

IMT Mutual Holding IAT Reins


128 Darwin National Assurance Co.


Allied World Assur. Holding DE

129 Middlesex Insurance Co. 130 AIG Premier Insurance Co. 131 American Hardware Mutual Insurance Co.

84,259 83,715 83,062

Sentry American International Motorists Mutual


132 Harford Mutual Insurance Co. 133 Farmland Mutual Insurance Co.

77,359 74,882

Harford Nationwide


134 Capitol Indemnity Corp.




135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149

72,396 72,194 70,472 68,797 62,652 57,090 56,782 56,231 53,558 43,608 41,419 39,350 38,521 31,353 29,209

Ace Ltd. White Mountain State Auto Mutual Western Reserve AAA Mid Atlantic Pennsylvania National Central Mutual WR Berkley Lititz Mutual Berkshire Hathaway American International Delek Old Republic Ace Ltd Bankamerica


Republic Indemnity Co. of America American Mercury Insurance Co. Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Ins. Co. Cambridge Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Daimlerchrysler Insurance Co.

Atlantic States Insurance Co. Seneca Insurance Co. Inc. Old United Casualty Co. Cumberland Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Occidental Fire & Casualty Co. of NC Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. MHA Insurance Co. Federated Service Insurance Co.

Insurance Co. of North America Pennsylvania General Insurance Co. Milbank Insurance Co. Lightning Rod Mutual Insurance Co. Keystone Insurance Co. Penn National Security Insurance Co. All America Insurance Co. Berkley Regional Insurance Co. Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. Cornhusker Casualty Co. Yosemite Insurance Co. Republic Underwriters Insurance Co. Bituminous Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Bankers Standard Insurance Co. General Fidelity Insurance Co.


Data Source: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., by permission. Information derived from a Highline Data product. The NAIC and Highline Data do not endorse any analysis or conclusion based upon the use of its data.


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National Coverage News & Markets Risk Managers Report ‘Soft Landing’ for Market Pricing


nsurance premiums for businesses continued to slide towards a “soft landing” rather than an abrupt reversal resulting in rate increases, according to risk managers. While banks and other financial institutions bought directors and officers (D&O) insurance at substantially higher rates, the rest of the commercial insurance market in the first three months of 2009 saw a continuing trend of little or no change in rates, according to RIMS Benchmark Survey, a survey of policy renewal prices as reported by North American corporate risk managers. General liability premiums fell 3.8 percent for policies renewing during the first quarter of 2009, as compared to a 5.9 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2008, risk managers reported. The average workers’ compensation premium fell 2.5 percent, which is similar to price decreases in the past several quarters. The average property renewal was flat for the first quarter as compared to a decline of

3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the survey revealed. Also noted was a wide range of changes in recent renewal premiums for individual property risks: Premium changes ranged from a decrease of 11 percent to an increase of 14 percent. Risk managers said the D&O market continued to be split between financial institution (FI) risks and all other (commercial) risks. Overall, the average D&O premium increased by 3 percent, but the increase was driven entirely by financial companies. Excluding FI firms, the average renewal was down 3 percent, the survey found. Higher FI premiums are the outcome of massive losses from the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market and the ensuing credit crisis. By comparison, overall D&O rates fell 1.2 percent in the fo urth quarter of 2008 and fell 4.5 percent during that period excluding FI firms. “Even though the credit crisis and the


continued on page N20

Bad Economy Not Impacting Essential Insurance Coverages


any Americans have taken steps to reduce personal insurance costs in response to the economic downturn, but a new industry study suggests that maintaining essential auto and homeowners coverage remains a priority for the most consumers. Twenty-eight percent of those with auto insurance coverage surveyed by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) reported shopping for lower rates when they normally would not have done so. Among those with auto or homeowners insurance, 15 percent said they had increased their insurance deductibles or reduced the amount of coverage to reduce premium costs. Most Americans, however, have maintained essential homeowners and auto insurance coverage despite the challenges posed by the ecocontinued on the bottom of page N20

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National Coverage News & Markets Risk Managers, continued from page N18

global recession have had a negative impact on insurers’ top and bottom lines, so far financial institution D&O is the only segment tracked by RIMS Benchmark Survey to respond with higher premiums,” said Dave Bradford, Advisen’s executive vice president and editor-in-chief of RIMS Benchmark Survey. “Insurers struggle against falling rates, increased losses in some lines, and sharply lower investment income due to the credit crisis, but the commercial insurance industry is still overcapitalized.” RIMS Benchmark Survey is produced by Advisen Ltd., which collects and analyzes the data and provides the technology infrastructure for the survey’s online services. IJ

Bad Economy, continued from page N18

nomic downturn, according to the study. Nine percent of those with at least one ho usehold vehicle reported canceling or not renewing coverage for a household vehicle in response to the economic downturn. However, almost one-third (31 percent) of those canceling auto insurance coverage also reported selling a vehicle as a way to save money, so many of those vehicles for which insurance coverage was canceled were also likely sold. Five percent of homeowners and 14 percent of renters reported canceling homeowners or renters insurance coverage. The study also reported on the frequency with which consumers have taken other steps in response to the downturn. For example, 65 percent reported greatly reducing their expenditures on entertainment. Thirty-seven percent reported postponing the purchase of a major household appliance. “These findings confirm that most Americans recognize the importance of maintaining essential insurance coverage on their homes and cars,” said Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC. “But they also show that Americans are willing to shop and reevaluate their insurance needs in order to reduce insurance costs.” The results of the IRC’s report, “Public Attitude Monitor 2009, Consumer Response to the Economic Downturn,” are based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted with adults age 18 and older in December 2008 by GfK Custom Research North America. Copies of the study are available for $65 each in the U.S. at: IJ

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Closer Look Agency Technology

Social Networking in an Insurance World Web 2.0 Tools Enhance the Face-to-Face Interactions in the Industry By Nicole Bissett


nsurance firms that have used the tools with their agents and prospective clients. of Web 2.0 appear to be won over for They are experimenting with Twitter to keep good, and have little to say that is negatheir agents up-to-date with what’s happentive. ing in the markets. Snyder says social McAuley, Woods & Associates, a privately networking tools held boutique wholesale brokerage based in only enhance facePalm Beach, Fla., is one company that has to-face interaction benefitted. McAuley, Woods & Associates, between customers. which uses a select group of retail agents “You can start a conthroughout the United States, began using a versation and relawiki, a internal collection of Web pages that tionship in person allows anyone in the company to contribute and then continue it content,just nine months ago. in the community So far reviews from the McAuley, Woods & getting input from Associates’ employees are positive. everyone,” he said. Jim Snyder, a property/casualty broker who heads up marketing efforts for McAuley, Community Woods & Associates says, the brokerage is Benefits currently putting all of its corporate knowlMike Wise, the edge into the wiki. “We have our corporate vice president of IdeaStar, also believes agents processes there as well as training videos and will benefit from these tools. marketing information for all of our carriers,” “My opinion is the social web is really putSnyder says. The wiki, Snyder says, can be ting the agents back in the driver’s seat after updated by anyone in the company. Everyone being sort of disenfranchised a little bit o ver contributes by entering their knowledge in to the past few years because of search engines,” the firm’s wiki. Wise said. “Everybody’s focused on going and Their main use for it is to mark et, and to doing a search on a particular insurance share their success stories. They also receive product or need. The big direct consumer updates from underwriters on a daily basis marketers were dominating the search concerning their appetites and where they are results and the agents were open and closed. The brokerkind of left out when it came age also uses the wiki for ‘The social web to all that traffic.” forums and blogs to share IdeaStar, based in information with each other. is really putting Cleveland, Ohio, provides Snyder says it is now faster the agents back Web-based software applicaand easier to access informations to help customers create tion when answering quesin the driver’s online initiatives. Wise says tions over the phone. “We can seat ...’ Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, look into the wiki and see blogs, podcasting, videocastwhat we’ve done in the past,” ing, YouTube, and others, are excellent from a he said. “It helps us market faster and give prospecting standpoint. them answers quicker.” These tools are appreciated by other Snyder believes the wiki will be an excelexperts in the field of technology as w ell. lent teaching tool for new employees. He also Rick Morgan, a board member for the believes the firm’s underwriting guides will Agents Council for Technology (ACT), who become more robust as they build the library has four decades of experience in technology, of risks and how to place them. marketing, and publishing in the independThe firm also uses LinkedIn to keep up N22 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION May 4, 2009

ent insurance agency system, says these tools are easy to use, and very inexpensive. He believes in the concept of social networking, not just because the tools are inexpensive. “When you engage in the social networking world, you build relationships, and relationships are important,” Morgan said. “In the agency world of sales, service, and marketing, what they do in small, home-town, Main Street businesses, is they depend a great deal on relationships and on trust. P art of what social networking does is help in that area. It enables, in a digital way, relationship.” Morgan’s message is that social networking is not a fad; it is a way of tapping in to a core, human desire to belong to a community. Downsides So with all the benefits of Web 2.0, is there a downside? As with anything, Snyder believes there are some concerns. Loss of control and mis-information are always possible contingencies. “For our internal wiki, if you have rogue employees that deliberately want to try and put false information in, they can certainly do it,” he said. Future revenue possibilities can’t yet be determined from the use of these tools. E ven so, Snyder believes they increase the company’s marketing efficiency. “We’re looking for ways to open this up to o ur retailers and underwriters so we can all communicate as one team in the future,” he said. “This is a bit far off since there are many issues to consider, but it is my vision to help make our business more transparent to our customers.” IJ

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New Markets The following markets were selected from the MyNewMarkets database of 25,000 coverages and programs. To find additional markets, or to submit markets, go to

Products Liability for Roller Coasters and Rides Market Detail: MarketScout ( offers agents access to products and completed operations coverage for amusement ride manufacturers and importers. In addition to general liability, the insured can purchase protection for discontinued products, excess liability and workers’ compensation. Minimum premiums begin at $20,000 and the insured can apply as high as $10,000 SIR’ s. Available Limits: $1 million to $5 million. Carriers: Unable to disclose. “A++” rated by A.M. Best. Non-admitted. States: All. Contact: John Gaskill at 972-934-4212 or e-mail

Workers’ Comp Programs Market Detail: Chamber Insurance Agency Services ( makes it easier for agents to find workers’ compensation coverage for hard-to-place risks. This featured program provides access to coverage for accounts with high experience modification factors, multi-state operations and what are usually considered difficult risks. Available Limits: As needed. Carriers: Various carriers. Ratings not provided. Admitted. States: All except where not allowed. Contact: John P. Ferreira at 973-669-2309 or e-mail

offered for claims in connection with professional and pollution liability; 4) Coverage for independent contractors; 5) A worldwide coverage territory; 6) “Innocent insured” and mediation credit coverage offered; 7) The availability of an aggregate deductible endorsement; and 8) An available blanket waiver of subrogation. Minimum premiums begin at $2,500 and deductibles begin at $2,500. Available Limits: $500,000 to $10 million. Carriers: Ace, Admiral, AIG, Beazley, CNA, Hiscox, Houston Casualty, Lloyds

rated by A.M. Best. Admitted and nonadmitted. States: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Texas, Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W. Va., Wis. and Wyo. Contact: Josh Hancock at 800-977-9884 or email

Bringing Market Seekers and Market Providers Together

Market Detail: Professional Program Insurance Brokerage ( offers professional liability coverage to interpreters and translators. Coverage is offered on a claims made basis and protects against claims alleging errors, omissions or negligent acts arising out of professional interpreting or translating services. Coverage can be included for the applicant, applicants owned company, employees and contractors. The option to include general liability protection is also available. Applications, quotes and purchase requests can all be done online. Minimum premium begins at $275. Available Limits: $250,000 to $1 million. Carriers: Lloyds of London. “A” rated by A.M. Best. Non-admitted. States: All except Alaska and Mississippi. Contact: Susan Preston at 415-475-4300 or e-mail

• Find markets in our database • Promote your markets on our site • Join our community forums • Membership is free! and Navigators. “A” rated by A.M. Best. Admitted and non-admitted. States: All. Contact: Robert J. McIntyre at 610-3373200 or e-mail

Architects & Engineers Market Detail: Apogee Insurance Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Co. (www.apogeeins offers a broad architects and engineers program with the following coverage features: 1) Definition of professional service includes engineering, architecture, construction management and environmental consulting; 2) Offerings can include cyber liability, pollution liability and an option for first dollar defense; 3) Bodil y injury and property damage coverage

Interpreters and Translators Professional Liability

Household Goods Truck Cargo

Mortgage Broker/Banker Professional Liability

Market Detail: Transportation Risk Underwriters Inc. (www.transportation brings agents a cargo market for all household goods movers. Less than two years experience, no problem. Insureds can also get contingent auto liability, contingent cargo, and commercial general liability for brokers. Deductibles begin at $1,000. Available Limits: $25,000 to $100,000. Carriers: Multiple carriers. “A-” to “A+”

Market Detail: Gresham & Associates ( has facilities for mortgage broker/banker professional liability which includes sub-prime loans and prior acts coverage. Investor required errors and omissions coverage is also available through a Special Mortgage Bankers Bond naming the investor as the loss payee. Minimum premiums begin at $2,500. Available Limits: $1 million to $5 million.


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Carriers: Unable to disclose. “A” rated by A.M. Best. Non-admitted. States: All. Contact: Art Hays at 888-473-7444 or email

Fire Protection Contractors Market Detail: McNeil & Co. ( brings agents the FireWatch Program. This is a comprehensive insurance and risk management program offering high quality, specialty insurance products to the complete fire protection market including firms that engage in the sales, service, and installation of fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, burglar and fire alarm systems, and those involved in selling or distributing fire equipment or emergency apparatus. The program can be tailored to provide an unequaled coverage portfolio.

Available Limits: As needed. Carriers: Arch Insurance Co. “A” rated by A.M. Best. Admitted. States: Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Io wa, Kan., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Texas, Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W. Va. and Wis. Contact: Shawn Yingling at 717-646-8886 or e-mail

Medical Property Protection Market Detail: RPS of New York ( offers agents a property protection program designed specifically for the healthcare industry equipment. The medical diagnostic equipment coverage form is crafted to provide protection for: MRI’s, CAT scanners, X-ray equipment and

other portable diagnostic equipment. Power units and specialized trailers part of mobile units can also be covered. Blanket limits of $250,000 are also available on items such as accounts receivable, EDP (including extra expense), extra expense, food spoilage and contamination, loss data preparation costs, personal property of patients and valuable papers and records. Minimum premiums and deductibles begin at $5,000. Available Limits: $1 million to $100 million. Carriers: Unable to disclose. “A” rated by A.M. Best. Admitted. States: All. Contact: Robert Hecht at 631-969-1900 or e-mail IJ Submit your company’s property/casualty markets to the industry’s leading searchable database at

There’s a better way to find Markets. Searching for a Particular Market? Find it here. From Dude Ranches to Pizza Delivery, we have markets covered. Stop Searching and Start Finding. Our database of over 25,000 markets makes it quick and easy to find that obscure market you are searching for. Best of all the service is FREE! So sign up today!


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Special Report AAMGA Issue

‘Red Flags’ to Watch For When Choosing an MGA Partner in a Bad — and Good — Economy or Market


n today’s tough economy and proaround for a long time with a fe w differWhat should agents watch out for longed soft market, some insurance ent markets, then it’s generally one of the when questioning whether an MGA is firms are likely to get into stronger players,” he added. in good financial health or if they are financial trouble. Smaller Donoghue advises agencies to a good firm to partner with? wholesalers and managing always have backups to their priAre there ‘red flags’ to consider? general agencies (MGA) maybe mary markets, Kevin Donoghue: Not havat risk. Their ability to stay especially ing much experience in If they keep afloat with working capital when they are the business is a flag. It’s could be a challenge, says placing surswitching markets, very difficult for an agent Kevin Donoghue, managing plus lines to assess the financial sitit’s an indicator director for Mystic Capital business uation of an MGA or Advisors Group LLC, a New because “anyMGU because financials that they might York-based firm that provides thing can hapare not shared, just as an Kevin Donoghue not be the best financial consulting services to pen.” agency generally doesn’t the retail insurance, wholesale insurance In this interview share their financials. … MGA to be doing and financial services industries. with Insurance Journal’s Check on references business with. Andrea Wells, and experience. Checking If an MGA loses a market or loses key Donoghue outlines a with the markets they insurance lines, the fallout could make it few “red flags” agents should be aware of represent is always good due diligence, if difficult for those groups to stay in busiwhen trying to gauge the health of their they (agents) are not familiar with a cerness, Donoghue says. “But if it’s a sizeable MGA partners. Here’s what he had to say: wholesaler or MGA, or one that’s been continued on page N28

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Special Report AAMGA Issue

50 Reasons Why Retail Agents Choose Managing General Agency Partners In an Insurance Journal online survey, 304 independent agents wrote criteria on how they choose their MGA partners. Here’s what some of those agents had to say: 1. As a large broker, this is decided based on relationships, successes, volumes, commissions levels, service. In other words we are dictated by volume. 2. Service, service, service, markets, price, service. 3. Personal relationships.

4.Must know their products and give quick turnaround on quotes. 5. It’s very important to work with someone who will walk me through situations I may be unfamiliar with. 6. Basically we have two MGAs with relationships but will use others for exclusive specialty programs. Sometimes response time can be an issue as to who we write the business with. 7. If they have been in business a long time and have markets that we know are competitive and cutting edge, we give them a chance. If they do their job quickly and accur ately, we continue to use them. If their underwriter s are fickle and sometimes incoherent, we go elsewhere. We prefer to not swim upstream. Any difficulty in dealing with them is the quickest way for them to lose our interest. 8. What other agents say about the MGA and how they are treated and services offered. 9. Contract with known brokers. Specialty programs influence use. When known agents move, we will follow them to their new MGA.

18. Dedicated underwriters is crucial. 19. The more the MGA can automate their services including upload and download the more we would want to work with them. 20. Ease of submission. Sense that MGA understands nature of risk and will respond accordingly. 21. Financial ratings of companies used, expertise and knowledge of products/markets by brokers/assistants, ease of doing business with my CSRs after I have bound the business as the producer. 22. I like MGAs that are in the Midwest because that’s where my agency is. I feel that puts me in touch with an underwriter who may be feeling the same issues as my customers. 23. I consider those who can provide good service, quick response time and a good selection of companies. 24. Expertise and ease of doing business. 25. The three things all agents want: competitive markets, ease of doing business and the highest rate of commission possible.

26. I choose them based on commitment to service, response time and access to markets. 27 We prefer to limit the number of E&S brokers and MGA/program adminstrators with whom we work; believing that carefully selected relationships will be more rewarding in the long term.

11. Their honesty, expertise, quickness, and quality of the carriers they offer. Their pleasantness in personality is also always preferred.

28. Experience and expertise are very important. They need to have good markets and they need to respond quickly.

12. I work with MGAs who respond quickly to our requests and try to earn our business by strong communication.

29. Most important to me is the ease to work with a particular MGA.

13. Reputation and how quickly they respond to inquiries along with market availability. Customer service has been decreasing over the years.

30. Here’s the priority list: 1) availablity of markets; 2) reliable response; 3) expertise; 4) price; 5) compensation. Everything else is a consideration, but not critical.

14. To place business that can’t be written in the standar d market. Most of our MGAs have been around for many years. We only pursue new MGA relationships to gain a market for placement.

31. The relationship with a wholesaler/MGA is dependent on the carriers they represent as well as the responsiveness of their organization.

15. Continuing to place additional business with an MGA does depend on the relationships and service that are given.

32. We go to an MGA because we have a client with a need that our markets cannot handle.

16. Length of time in market. Reputation. Good reports from other agents that use them. Good working relationship with the underwriter staff.

33. Consistent quality level of service is most important.

38. Three reasons: expertise, product or price. 39. I choose them via peer referrals. I stay with them according to the response time. 40. Service, reputation and recommendation of other agents.

41. I only want to work with a couple. We receive tons of e-mail, mail and advertising, but I tend to stay with MGAs I have used in the past. 42. We select our wholesalers based upon their expertise, references and our employees’ past working experiences with a wholesaler or MGA.

10. Early response to my needs extremely important. In the future being able to quote online with MGAs will become more and more important.

17. Most important factors are the ability to have the most attractive markets for our clients, in conjunction with providing top level service and to believe that the number one priority is taking care of the client.

37. Recommendation of peers is very important and the input of company reps who pass along comments and/info from multiple sources.

34. Service, response time and and a competitive premium are a must. 35. Ease of doing business, service, and financing. 36. We discuss with similar agencies outside our marketing territory and also evaluate their market representation.

43. Met personnel at convention or conference, gained insight to their markets and experience. Tried and liked. 44. Print ads. 45. I work primarily with construction related accounts so even in the soft market it is important to work with brokers and MGAs who know the markets, have good relationships with the companies and understand the need for a timely response to all requests. Those that can do this will keep our business even when their price is slig htly higher. 46. In my experience, over many years, wholesalers make a lot of promises in their ads that they will respond quickly to quote requests but for the most part they do not. Their underwriters are overwhelmed and do not respond to newly appointed producers. This is counterproductive and I don’t have time to deal with them. M y quote requests die on their desks.

47. We work with the brokers who have expertise in a niche and expect quick response and results. 48. I look for a firm who has good relationships with their carriers and can provide expertise when it comes to questions regarding the quotes. I also look for a g ood response time for new business, renewals and for everyday service problems. 49. I appreciate brokers that take the time to help me understand the some of the peculiarities of a particular coverage form or company’s way of doing business. 50. Choice. Variety. Access. Today, the little guy can’t obtain many appointments by himself/herself. Agents must band together to meet quotas via MGAs. IJ


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Special Report AAMGA Issue Red Flags, continued from page N26

When a wholesaler or MGA is having tain MGA and they want to write with financial difficulties, what happens? Is them. … the department of insurance involved? Ask for a company referral. Say XYZ Donoghue: A lot of times when they get in managing general agency underwrites on trouble they sell themselves. They try to get behalf of the Lexington. Don’t be hesitant out of trouble via sale. If there’s been a misto ask for a reference from Lexington. appropriation of funds, then the insurance If an agent is talking to an MGA and that department would definitely be alerted to MGA tells them that they represent XYZ (carrier), a follow up question is, “How long it. And then there’s just that gray area where have you represented them?” And if the they are not able to sell answer is a year or two, or they haven’t found the the agent should find out sale so they are kind of who they represented With the times, using fiduciary funds to before that and how long and the soft maroperate their business, they represented them. having yet been caught And here’s the point, if ket, if you get into to playing the float. they represent a company financial hardships due So sometimes it’s difficult that they have only represented for a few years, there’s more pres- to know who’s in solid financial shape and who’s and did the same previsure to do somenot. ous to that, it’s a bad business practice because thing that is probaGiven the current they are probably burnbly inappropriate. financial crisis and ing markets. That’s a soft market, and huge red flag. heightened pressure to increase revWe look at that when we look at the enues, is it more likely for someone to value of an MGA. If they keep switching be dishonest now than in the past? markets, it’s an indicator that they might Donoghue: I don’t know that it’s more likely not be the best MGA to be doing business for someone to be dishonest if the y weren’t with. It certainly begs the question, “Why dishonest to begin with. It’s almost like are you changing markets?” “what cloth are you cut out of ?” With the times, and the soft market, if you get into Any examples of failed companies you financial hardships there’s more pressure to can share? do something that is probably inappropriate. Donoghue: None that have been made public But for the most part, in insurance, y ou are but we work with some that have been in still dealing with the 90 percent pl us that trouble and they needed to secure financare honest folks but there’s 10 percent out ing, working capital to stay afloat. None there that give the rest a bad name. that have gone out of business, but in the past we have seen situations where you If an MGA or even a retail agency is have unscrupulous individuals that misaphaving financial difficulty, what propriate funds, on both the retail side and chance do the owners have of securing the MGA side. capital to help given today’s credit It’s always important to do your due dilimarkets? gence on a group before starting to write Donoghue: Well there are good operations out with them. It’s always good to know that there that lend. So to the extent that the y your client, your insured, is actually in are in trust and they have solid business place with the insurance company. The practices and they just need working capiMGA may have been paid but you always tal, there’s potential that they can get there. want to make sure that that payment was If they need money tomorrow, they are remitted on to the company and your poligoing to have a difficult time finding it. cy is in force. But if they are looking ahead and saying “I N28 | INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION May 4, 2009

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might need a working capital loan in 90 days” and plan ahead, I think some of the banks out there, InsurBanc being one of them, could try to see if they could bridge the gap. On the retail side, another bank o ut there, Westfield Bank in Ohio, lends to agencies. There are groups out there that will lend to an agency that will make it a little easier than going through a traditional banking facility.

But for the most part, as long as the agent verifies that the underlying insurance is in place and it’s with a credible company, the agent should be in good shape. They have done their job. They have maintained the confidence of their client to the extent that there is an intermediary that w ent

under during the course of business. To the extent that agents don’t do due diligence, and they haphazardly place risk with groups that they are unfamiliar with, then they would have exposure. … It’s always important to do some ba ckground on the owners and their experience. IJ

Are you seeing an uptick of firms looking for capital these days? Donoghue: Yes, in the last couple of years I think there’s been somewhat of an uptick just because revenues are soft and people haven’t maybe downsized their staff appropriately. But lately there seems to be less softening going on. If anything it seems to be bottoming out so that could be helpful. So to the extent that they have right-sized themselves right now they might benefit from an uptick in pricing. If an MGA did go under, closed its doors, or was selling, how should the clients be handled? Would the MGA look for another firm to buy the book? Donoghue: Ideally they would. So to the extent that they have the ability to sell, they are not financially impaired to where a sale price would be less than the debt they are in, they can generally find an avenue to sell and maybe make some money on it. If an MGA goes under, it’s not necessarily the end of the world as long as that underlying insurance has been placed with a company. You know, it’s when they went under and didn’t place the coverage (that’s a problem). For the most part, the underlying insured shouldn’t be at risk if the policy was placed and underwritten properly. If the MGA fails the policy is still in force. If an MGA were to fail, how might the end customer view the retail agent who placed the account? Donoghue: I think anytime you have a change in a market, the underlying insured is going to wonder why, so it could look bad on the agent.



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elcome to Insurance Journal’s 2009 Premium Finance Directory, a comprehensive listing of premium finance companies able to assist agents and brokers with their clients’ financing needs. All company information listed in this directory w as directly submitted to Insurance Journal. To be listed in future editions o f Insurance Journal’s Premium Finance Directory, or any other directory, contact Kristine Honey at: We hope you find this directory to be a v aluable resource when searching for financing options for y our clients. Feel free to send us comments and suggestions on how we might improve this directory, or for additional help, e-mail:

Acuret Premium Finance

AFS/IBEX Financial Services, Inc.

All Island Credit Corp.

7050 Woodbine Ave., Ste. 401, Markham ON L3R 4G8 Canada Phone: (905) 886-1674, Fax: (905) 886-7855 Email:

750 N St. Paul, Ste. 1500, Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (800) 299-5626, Fax: (214) 954-0537 Email:

534 Broad Hollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747 Phone: (631) 777-1377, Fax: (631) 777-1388 Email:

· High tech, high touch approach to premium financing · Professional, knowledgeable, and friendly customer service personnel located in Dallas, TX and Newport Beach, CA · Offering creative solutions and flexibility for all your commercial financing needs

· Outstanding Customer Service · Flexibility · Multiple Options for Quoting

· Finance commercial lines, personal lines, including facility · Available through select insurance brokers in Ontario · Interactive website allows for online quotes

Agents & Brokers Premium Finance Company AFCO 310 Grant St., Ste. 1600, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Phone: (412) 402-3853, Fax: (412) 402-3048 Email: ; · Cananwill has joined forces with AFCO to create one strong team · We offer Expertise, Capacity, Flexibility in premium financing across North America · Currently, Chapter 11 financing offers great value-added to your clients

P.O. Box 4312, Woodland Hills, CA 91365-4312 Phone: (888) 875-4000, Fax: (818) 598-2296 Email: · Website allows payments, cancellation status, renewal dates, pay-by-check, ach, etc. · Commercial Premium Financing of Property & Casualty Insurance – Nationwide · On-Line Anytime


Aviation Premium Finance, LLC P.O. Box 18067, Kansas City, MO 64133 Phone: (877) 353-1047, Fax: (816) 353-1048 Email: · APF provides aviation insurance buyers with payment options for their annual insurance premiums. · Customers traditionally put 20% do wn and then make 9 monthly payments. · Our goal is to mak e aviation affordable for everyone!

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Premium Finance Directory Birch Financial, Inc.

COST Financial Group, Inc.

20946 Devonshire St., Ste. 200 Chatsworth, CA 91311 Phone: (818) 772-4244, Fax: (818) 772-2221 Email:

784 Wall St., Ste. 110, O’Fallon, IL 62269 Phone: (800) 844-2678, Fax: (618) 206-3223 Email:

· Finance Commercial Lines for the Landscape Industry · Serving California, Arizona and Nevada · Interactive website allows for confirmation of payments, cancellation status, renewal dates, etc.

Budget Installment Corp (BIC) A Webster Bank Company 1050 Franklin Ave., Garden City, NY 11530 Phone: (800) 557-3000, Fax: (877) 678-2235 Email:

FIRST Insurance Funding Corp.

· COST makes it easy for YOU TO OWN your own Premium Finance Company · COST does the set-up, COST runs the back room, YOU EARN ALL THE PROFIT · Let COST’s 20 years experience put the PROFIT from YOUR premium financing IN YOUR POCKET!

Cypress Premium Funding, Inc. 30448 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. 100, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 Phone: (949) 487-0602, Fax: (949) 487-0640 Email:

450 Skokie Blvd, Ste. 1000, Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: (800) 837-3707, Fax: (800) 837-3709 Email: · Competitive rates, flexible payment terms, multiple funding and payment options with the only written service guarantee in the industr y. · On-line quoting with secure paperless loan acceptance and funding and on-line, real-time access to accounts. · Professional agency lending program for agency acquisitions, buildings and equipment, lines of credit, perpetuation and producer development.

Focus Finance, LLC · Nationally authorized commercial premium finance provider · BIC's advanced quoting and account management technology includes integration with all AMS systems · Providing exemplary service and excellent rates to your agency and your insureds

Capital Premium Financing 12235 S 800 E, Draper, UT 84020 Phone: (800) 767-0705, Fax: (800) 700-3170 Email: · Industry leading Agency Revenue Programs · Highest level of Agent/Client service available in the industry · Local presence, multiple payment options, and online access

ClassicPlan Insurance Premium Financing 13750 Pipeline Ave., Chino, CA 91710 Phone: (800) 347-6481, Fax: (909) 628-5490 Email: · Commercial & Personal Lines Premium Financing · Internet based point of sale and inquir y system with electronic loan submission · Superior service and technology for our producers

· Internet Account Viewing, Quoting, Reporting and On-Line Payments · Immediate Funding · Cancellation Prevention Programs

1300 Sawgrass Corporate Pkwy, Ste. 300 Sunrise, FL 33323 Phone: (800) 432-3072 Ext. 4825 Email:

ETI Premium Finance 2825 N University Dr., Coral Springs, FL 33065 Phone: (800) 995-7001, Fax: (800) 995-7002 Email: · Free Acord Form Software for Our Customers · All Accounts Called Prior To Cancellation · ETI–AutoPay – Automatic Monthly Payments From Customer’s Checking Account

Express Premium Finance 5601 N Classen Blvd., Oklahoma Cit y, OK 73118 Phone: (800) 728-2902, Fax: (888) 413-8898 Email:

FINCO Premium Finance Company P.O. Box 26009, Greensboro, NC 27420 Phone: (800) 873-4626, Fax: (336) 379-7792 Email:

· Courtesy calls made to Agents prior to every cancellation · Friendly, professional staff of bilingual account specialists · Complete online ser vices include quoting, account inquiry and payment posting 21820 Burbank Blvd., Ste. 30 0 Woodland Hills, CA 91367 Phone: (888) 875-4000, Fax: (818) 610-2066 Email: · Nationwide premium finance provider for agents, MGAs & insurance companies. · Online quoting, e-submission of finance agreements, online payment options, real time account status, scheduled reporting, customized notice delivery & more. · Highly attractive producer compensation programs are available in fee legal states.

· Independently Owned and Operated in North Carolina · Premium Financing available in all 50 St ates · Web based software allows for 24 hour total online access


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Premium Finance Directory IUI Premium Financing, Inc.

Imperial A.I. Credit Companies 101 Hudson St., 33rd Fl, J ersey City, NJ 07302 Phone: (877) 902-4242, Fax: (201) 631-5484 Email: · Financing programs customized for the specific needs of your insured. · Branch offices distributed throughout the U.S. & Puerto Rico to provide local, efficient service. · Web based account access, quoting and contract submission. Integration with a wide variety of agency management software. · Partnership that goes way beyond the numbers.

27970 Crown Lake Blvd., Ste. 3 Bonita Springs, FL 34135 Phone: (727) 864-0816, Fax: (727) 867-7087 Email: · Financing Commercial Insurance: Trucking, Property, E&O, etc. · No Waiting for Quotes (instant quotes/contracts) · Competitive Rates: Can meet or beat with commissions available

LG Premium Finance

Imperial Finance & Trading, LLC

Life Endeavors Financial Solutions, LLC

701 Park of Commerce Blvd., Ste. 301 Boca Raton, FL 33487 Phone: (866) 664-9303, Fax: (561) 995-4201 Email: •

6430 Rockledge Dr., Ste. 500 Bethesda, MD 20817 Phone: (301) 803-7553, Fax: (301) 803-7570 Email:

· The premier provider of premium financing in the U.S. · Explore financial strategies to create w ealth without using money set aside for retirement · Visit Imperial on the Web at

· Life Insurance Premium Finance Program Administrator · Perfect for Estate Planning and Wealth Management · Designed as a financial Planning tool; lo w loan origination fee, low interest rates and no prepayment penalty

P.O. Box 315, Des Moines, IA 50306-1315 Phone: (800) 247-4190, Fax: (515) 223-0226 Email: · Completely independent, IFC has no ties to insurance companies, agencies or other financial institutions. · The agent has the option to control an y and all cancellations and reinstatements of policies financed. · Every agent is assigned its o wn personal account rep and when you call IFC during normal business hours you’ll always talk to a real person, not an automated attendant.

8530 La Mesa Blvd., Ste. 208 La Mesa, CA 91941 Phone: (888) 280-0235, Fax: (619) 697-0326 Email: · We look for ways to say “yes” to financing any commercial account. · Aggressive Cancellation Prevention Program with ALL forms of payment accepted. · Premium Finance Licensing and Third Party Administration available (

16438 Vanowen St, Ste 205, Van Nuys, CA 91406 Phone: (800) 452-8505, Fax: (800) 209-0120 Email: · Better retention & ser vicing of insured resulting in lower cancellation rates · Productivity gains related to streamlined quotation & activation of financing agreements · Superior client ser vices for the agency

Insurance Finance Corp.

Mountain West Premium Finance Group of Companies

Monarch Premium Resources, Inc. 30448 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. 100 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 Phone: (800) 731-7890 Email: · Exclusive financing arrangements for brokers of Monarch E&S · Interactive Web site for account viewing, reports and On-line payments · Financing Commercial and Personal Lines Insurance Premiums


NCMIC Finance Corporation 14001 University Ave., Clive, IA 50325 Phone: 1-(800) 600-9250, Fax: 1-(800) 630-9250 Email: · Custom solutions – even for smaller insureds or niche markets. · Flexible plans that can include reduced do wn payments and extended terms. · State-of-the-art software, immediate funding and web-based account management.

Prem Finance 1230 B.12th St., Far Rockaway, NY 11691 Phone: (718) 301-5940, Fax: (718) 301-5940 Email: · High commissions for agents and brokers · Completely legal · Backed by a State Charter Bank

Premium Assignment Corporation 3522 Thomasville Rd., Ste. 400 Tallahassee, FL 32309 Phone: (800) 342-0991, Fax: (800) 286-8999 Email: · Premium Financing Made Easy · Superior Service · Competitive Rates

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Premium Finance Directory

Premium Finance Associates 7603 First Place Dr., B-12, Cleveland, OH 44146 Phone: (866) FRIEND-0 (374-3630) Fax: (866) 839-3090 Email:

Premium Payment Plan


One Hudson City Centre, Hudson, NY 12534 Phone: (800) 677-3648, Fax: (518) 828-5729 Email:

P.O. Box 105611, Atlanta, GA 30348 Phone: 1 (800) 925-2546, Fax: (678) 498-4747 Email:

· Commercial and Personal Insurance product lines including Assigned Risk · Customizable program support to meet y our agency needs · Full service website allowing for quoting, payment and account view 24/7/365

· Independently owned, full service online premium finance company servicing independent agents for over 40 years. · Industry leading technologies providing real-time data for online policy ser vice by the insured or the agent. · Call or visit us online to learn more about the many more benefits SIUPREM can offer.

· Licensed in all 50 st ates · 24/7 Access to Online Quoting and Viewing system – same day payment posting · Automatic ACH monthly installment withdrawal from insured checking or savings account

Prime Rate Premium Finance Corp.

Premium Finance Brokerage, LLC

· Financing Commercial & Personal Lines Nationwide · 24/7 Web based access · Pre-approval of loans up to $100,000 & no minimum premium.

2012 S Tollgate Rd., Ste. 204, Bel Air, MD 21015 Phone: (866) 381-6501, Fax: (866) 381-6502 Email: · Guaranteed Lowest Interest Rates · Access to several national premium finance companies through one point of cont act · Flexible payment options, cutting edge technology and a ser vice pledge that’s put in writing

2141 Enterprise Dr., Florence, SC 29501 Phone: (866) 669-0937, Fax: (800) 677-9850 Email:

Pro Premium Finance Co., Inc.

Premium Financing Specialists

· Premium Simplicity; most premium finance quotes available within minutes with no financial information required. · Premium Security; we offer national expertise, without compromising the local ser vice you value (PFS has over twenty full service branch offices). · Premium Access; our comprehensive website allows you to access accurate information whenever you need it, but a friendly representative is always just a phone call a way.

21535 Hawthorne Blvd., Ste. 275 Torrance, CA 90503 Phone: (800) 393-2012, Fax: (888) 328-6747 Email: · Interactive and user-friendly state of the art website · Producer compensation up to 3% · Flexibility to meet all your financing needs!

Specialty Risk Premium Finance

P.O. Box 817099, Hollywood, FL 33081 Phone: (800) 491-8937, Fax: (866) 632-9776 Email: 427 W 12th St., Ste. 100, Kansas City, MO 64105 Phone: (800) 838-2350, Fax: (816) 627-0502 Email:

South Bay Acceptance Corp.

· Achieving excellence in the premium finance industry · Interactive web application providing turnkey agency management system · Competitive agent marketing incentives with flexible rate structures

Royal Premium Budget, Inc. 30833 Northwestern Hwy, Ste. 220 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 Phone: (800) 477-7889, Fax: (248) 932-9043 Email: · Online Payments & Account Status – make payments or review insureds' accounts, including payment history, 24/7. · Same-day turnaround on finance quote requests and quote revisions. · Online Quotes system gives agents the option of producing finance quotes and finance contracts anytime.

7600 Fern Ave., Bldg. 600 Shreveport, LA 71105 Phone: (318) 683-6206, Fax: (318) 683-3846 Email: · 1st Class Ser vice with in house finance through Specialty Risk Associates! · In house finance allows for immediate credit to your broker statement · 24 hour “real time” account access for you and your clients

Standard Funding Corp 335 Crossways Park Dr. Woodbury, NY 11797 Phone: (800) 526-2470, Fax: (800) 203-2547 Email: · Fully automated web-based online services · Personalized customer service & experienced field representatives nationwide · Competitive rates & loan structures


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Premium Finance Directory Tepco Premium Finance 1333 S Rustle Rd., Spokane, WA 99224 Phone: (800) 571-0843, Fax: (509) 622-4702 Email: · Easy to use online sy stem for quoting & account management · Free online payments · Licensed in 9 western states

TWG Capital 6666 E 75th St., Ste. 50 0, Indianapolis, IN 46250 Phone: (877) TWG-CPTL (894-2785), Fax: (317) 813-1701 Email: · Trusted by agents as leading financial solutions provider for 10 years · Providing capital to P&C Agents · Free valuations & customized business solutions

US Premium Finance 1255 Lakes Pkwy, Bldg 200, Ste. 201 Lawrenceville, GA 30043 Phone: 1 (866) 246-9691, Fax: 1 (866) 246-9692 Email: · SERVICE: Creatively Structured Premium Finance Loans. · TECHNOLOGY: User-friendly software, easy access to your customer database any where in the world 24/7. · PRICING / RATES: Flexible, Fair Market Pricing.

UPAC Premium Finance 8245 Nieman Rd., Ste. 100, Lenexa, KS 66214 Phone: (800) 877-7848, Fax: (913) 984-4988 Email: · Financing insurance premiums since 1954 nationwide. · Industry-leading web site offering unlimited flexibility and options that will sa ve you time AND money. · Paperless e-commerce, reduced cancels, flexible payment options, endorsements in a just matter of seconds and tot al account management are just some of the benefits you will enjoy. · Agency management system integration for seamless financing. · 10 - Ways for your insureds to pay. · Old-Fashioned Service with Leading-Edge Technology provides you with the one-stop, effortless financing you can count on.


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Check out the next webcast TransUnion presents: Protecting Your Portfolio Against Foreclosure and Vacancy-Related Claims Date: May 5, 2009 Time: 10:00AM PT / 1:00PM ET Register at: Are you interested in having your own webcast or custom video? Give us a call: 800-897-9965 ext. 148

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Idea Exchange Closing Quote

Being Prepared Don’t Lose Sight of the Greater Risk s We Face


By Richard Ward


o one could fail to have noticed that we are in the grip of a recession. With unemployment affecting 2 million in the United Kingdom, interest rates almost at zero and a deflationary en vironment, there is a lot for b usinesses to deal with. While the financial crisis has certainly been front-of-mind for many around the world, it would be disastrous for us to lose sight of the greater risks that we face, particularly as insurers. This has been recognized at the highest le vel during the recent G20 meeting in London when the communiqué agreed by all of the world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address the threat of climate change. As our understanding of climate change and its impact develops, it is clear that it will have major implications, not only on our environment but also on how our societies and economies operate in the future. Indeed, it is likely climate change will pose a threat to the future security of the world. For example, we could see a time when because of changes in our climate, nations cease fighting over ideology and instead compete for control of natural resources. As a result, the world map could be significantly redrawn as borders are decided on the availability of food, water and oil. Whereas prospectors left their homes centuries ago to search for gold and land, water shortages could force mass migration on a previously unseen scale. Nations could be held to ransom as energy pipelines become crucial bargaining tools in world politics and finally the exotic foods that we have all come to know and love could become a thing of the past. Climate Change and Security Our new report on Climate Change and Security, produced in conjunction with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, examines how climate change will affect global security by exploring four key interrelated issues —


water scarcity, food supply, energy security and demographic pressures. To read more, visit our Web site at We are also investing in research to better understand the current threat of political risk. The recession is lik ely to lead to greater instability across the world — the increased incidences of piracy are just one recent manifestation of this. Incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Africa have been increasing since 2005, but the number and scale of recent attacks is a real cause for concern. To set things in context, since June 2007 there have been more than 200 reported acts of marine piracy there and 30 percent of Europe’s oil goes through this route. We are also likely to see a rise in b usinesses and their executive being targets from threat groups, terrorists and disgruntled populations following the financial and economic turmoil we are witnessing — which could long outlast the recession. We will be exploring this in more detail in a report in June. Blame Culture It’s not just changing weather and violent actions that the world seems to be facing more of, but a blame culture that, in this current financial environment, may spiral out of control. Boards now spend 13 percent of their time discussing litigation, and most companies believe that stakeholders outside the United States are now more willing to litigate generally. Globally, actions brought by employees and customers are the most frequent, but actions from shareholders, regulatory authorities and special interest groups will grow as people take stock of the subprime and credit crunch crises. Added to this, there is a perception that U .S. courts are becoming more willing to rule on cases that might ha ve once been considered extraterritorial. Concerns about liability risk — whether real or perceived — are constraining entrepreneurship in business at a time when we need the best and brightest to stand up. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Risk is not a dirty w ord. The insurance industry deals within it every single day and we have made it our business. We manage many risks — big and small; immediate and long term; simple and complex — but the most important thing is, when managing these, we don’t forget the others. IJ Ward joined Lloyd’s as CEO in April 2006.

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SOCIAL NETWORKING In an Insurance World STATE REGULATION WORKS Illinois’ McRaith Explains Why