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Minnesota News

February 2011

Official Publication of the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

Inside this Issue:

Navigating Network Security & Compliance Eleven Worker’s Compensation Issues Sure to Impact 2011 CAPITAL NOTES: Agents Join Together on Health Care Reform Technically Speaking...Employment Practices Liability Insurance ACT UPDATE: Maintaining Policies Locally in Today’s Agency & Emailing Policies to Clients

y Joins InsuranceChoice Trusted 39 Page Integrit

Diamond Partner Article

EMC Insurance companies - Page 19

THE TRUSTED CHOICE COMPANY STORE OPENS! MIIAB is pleased to announce our partnership with BiG (Business Impact Group). They are a leading brand management agency that knows our industry. They will help increase your customer retention, employee retention, and gain new business. BiG can effectively help you utilize your MRP dollars. • Get all your branded merchandise and printed material in one place. • Find all your favorite brand names: adidas, Nike, Callaway, and many more. • Never miss another customer’s birthday... see “Birthday-in-a-Box” • Your agency logo is available on all items... see “Agency Logo Specialty Orders” • Same day shipping and gift boxing on all in-stock merchandise! • The new link is located on our home page: www.tchoicestore.com

To inquire, please email tcsupport@impactgroup.us and a representative can assist you.

Keith B. Knapp

Agency Name

Director of Marketing P: 952.835.4180 x6243 D: 952.253.6243 T: 800.864.3846 F: 952.835.4774 E: kknapp@miia.org W: www.miia.org

123 Main Street Suite 1 City, ST 12345

P: 111.111.1111 x 1111 D: 222.222.2222 T: 800.111.2222 F: 333.333.3333 E: user@email.com W: www.website.com

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

7500 Flying Cloud Dr, Ste 900 Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Keith B. Knapp Agency Name P: 952.835.4180 x6243 P: D: 111.111.1111 952.253.6243 x 1111 D: 222.222.2222 T: 800.864.3846 T: 800.111.2222 F: 952.835.4774 F: 333.333.3333 E: kknapp@miia.org E: W: user@email.com www.miia.org W: www.website.com

Agency Name 123 Main St Suite 1 City, ST 12345

Keith B. Knapp

Director of Marketing

Director of Marketing Jon Smith Manager

P: 952.835.4180 x6243 D: 952.253.6243 T: 800.864.3846 F: 952.835.4774 E: kknapp@miia.org W: www.miia.org

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

7500 Flying Cloud Dr, Ste 900 Eden Prairie, MN 55344

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

7500 Flying Dr, Ste 900 123Cloud Main St EdenCity, Prairie, MN 55344 ST 12345


Ross Rosenthal Business Impact Group, LLC 2411 Galpin Ct, Suite 120, Chanhassen, MN 55317 (952) 278-7815 | www.impactgroup.us

www.tchoicestore.com 2 The Minnesota News • February 2011


Minnesota News

February 2011

Official Publication of the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

MIIAB BOARD OF DIRECTORS Walter K. Ohl, Jr., CIC President

Pioneer Heritage Insurance, LLC, Spicer, MN

Inside this Issue:

Navigating Network Security & Compliance Eleven Worker’s Compensation Issues Sure to Impact 2011 CAPITAL NOTES: Agents Join Together on Health Care Reform Technically Speaking...Employment Practices Liability Insurance ACT UPDATE: Maintaining Policies Locally in Today’s Agency & Emailing Policies to Clients

Mark Z. Moores. CPCU, ARM, AAI President-Elect

Moores Insurance Management, Inc., St. Paul, MN

Rob Wunderlich

Vice President

Wunderlich Insurance Agency, Winona, MN

David J. Szczepanski

IIABA State National Director

Garry Insurancenter, North St. Paul, MN

Chad Bjugan

Richfield State Insurance, Richfield , MN


Roberta Gibbons, CISR, CIC

Dyste Williams Agency, Minneapolis, MN

Travis Hansen, CIC

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

DIamonD ParTnEr arTIclE

Reliable Agency, Inc., Cloquet, MN

Emc InsurancE comPanIEs - PagE 19

John Keller, CIC

February 2011

Lindfors Insurance Agency, Fosston, MN

Jamie Larson

Larson Insurance of Fergus Falls, Fergus Falls, MN

Mark Lenz

Bearence Management Group, St. Paul, MN

Vance Prigge

Atlas Insurance Brokers, Rochester, MN

Bruce L. Sogn

Oakwood Insurance Agency, Inc., Coon Rapids, MN

Inside this Issue

Shawn Wensel, CIC Past President

SMA Insurance, St. Cloud, MN

Mark White, CIC, CPCU

Foster Carlson White Agency, Monticello, MN

Tanner Balfany

YIP Representative

Associated Insurance Agents, Inc. Brooklyn Center , MN

MIIAB STAFF Daniel D. Riley

Executive Vice President



Shelley Waldhauser

Director of Insurance Operations 952.253.6089


Dominic Sposeto

Government Affairs Director 952-253-6075


Alan Lepley

Chief Financial Officer 952-253-6076


April Goodin

Director of Education 952-253-6074


Michelle Schneider


President’s Message 7    Executive VP Message 9    Technically Speaking... Employment Practices Liability Insurance 13    Navigating Network Security & Compliance 18    Diamond Partner Article: EMC Insurance Companies 21    ACT UPDATE: Maintaining Policies Locally in Today’s Agency & Emailing Policies to Clients 27    Eleven Workers’ Compensation Issues Sure to Impact 2011 33    Errors & Omissions Q&A 39   In The News... 43    Capital Notes: Agents Join Together on Health Care Reform 44   Remember When... 51   Education 54   Power in Partners

Asst. Dir. of Education and Communications 952-253-6070


Bernie Neff

Technical Advice 952-253-6073


Terri Norum

Insurance Coordinator 952-253-6237


Keith B. Knapp

Director of Communications 952-253-6243


Reach MIIAB At: 7500 Flying Cloud Drive Suite 900 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 Telephone: 952-835-4180 Tollfree: 800-864-3846 Fax: 952-835-4774 www.miia.org February 2011 • The Minnesota News 3

Vacant Property

Don’t Let Your Clients Skate By with an Inferior Vacant Property Policy.

Want Vacant Property coverage your clients will flip over? Partner with Burns & Wilcox and you partner with a national network of brokers and underwriters with unparalleled access to the leading markets for Vacant Properties. Plus, full brokerage capabilities and large limits in protection against vandalism, fire and other unforeseen claims. So, for the best Vacant Property coverage across the board, turn to Burns & Wilcox, North America’s largest specialty insurance MGA/wholesaler. St. Paul, Minnesota

651.487.2800 toll free 800.637.7318 fax 651.487.2010 stpaul.burnsandwilcox.com Burns & Wilcox is exclusively endorsed by the MIIA as a provider of choice.

www.stpaul.burnsandwilcox.com 4 The Minnesota News • February 2011

MIIAB Diamond


Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

President’s Message Ken Ohl, CIC kohl@pioneer-heritage.com

In light of the disaster that occurred recently in Tucson, AZ I find it amazing that in the January issue of the “Independent Agent” magazine an article appears on page 12 which poses a question as to whether or not we really live in a civilized society! (The author, Danita Johnson Hughes, PhD obviously wrote the article prior to this incident, but how timely could it be?) The article discusses civility in the workplace and how the “negative” behavior outside the workplace is trickling in (i.e.: TV, newspapers, talk radio, etc.). As small business owners we all need to reflect on what is going on in and out of our workplaces and make every effort to promote a safe and respectful workplace. (Maybe we should all agree to disagree!) Thanks to the editors of the IIABA magazine for their wisdom in promoting rational thinking with this prudent article! Please read it if you get a chance. And so we’ve entered another year full of opportunities and challenges. “Obama care” is destined to be a hot topic politically along with taxes, jobs, a soft market and so on. Our business seems to be affected by so many different things that take place in the world. We seem to have the same issues each year, however some require more urgent attention now than they did last year! The insurance industry is sure to see changes, good and bad, placed into motion by the State Legislature and in Washington and as an association we will attempt to respond with the concerns of our membership! We hope to provide some ideas throughout the year for our “aging” members (average principal’s age is now 57) with regard to perpetuating our agencies along with some guidance for the next generation of agents who want to be owners. So please take advantage of upcoming seminars to be announced in the near future for some help in planning. It is never too early to start and our company partners will appreciate your efforts in planning for the continuation of your business as well! Finally, it is hard to believe but the annual MIIAB State Convention is only three months away. Remember this year we will be moving to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis on April 20-21 to help accommodate our growing exhibit hall and provide more entertainment options for attendees. We are excited about the event and hope that everyone will consider attending again this year! We welcome your input on issues you feel need attention so please contact us with your ideas and/or solutions. Remember, as Red Green always says at the end of his show: “Keep your stick on the ice, we’re pulling for you!”


WISELY. Work with Allied Insurance and get the kind of support that makes a difference. For you and your customers.

It’s our unique approach that helps you deliver the best experience to your customers so you can write and keep more business. It’s just another way that Allied supports your independence, but makes sure you’re never alone. Learn More. alliedInsurance.com


Products underwritten by AMCO Insurance Company, Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Depositors Insurance Company, Nationwide Insurance Company of America, Nationwide Affinity Insurance Company of America, Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company. Home Office: 1100 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50391-2000. Customers will be placed with one of the above companies based on location and the product requested. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Products are subject to deductibles, exclusions and conditions. Nationwide, the Nationwide framemark and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2010 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved. AP01637a (0310) 00

www.alliedinsurance.com 6 The Minnesota News • February 2011

Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

Executive VP Message Dan Riley driley@miia.org

2011 MIIAB/Trusted Choice Convention & Exhibit Hall

Due to the growth in our Annual Convention, we have moved the location of the convention to the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Be sure to mark your calendars for April 20-21 for this year’s convention. We will have over 100 exhibitors, education galore, and an opportunity to network with industry leaders throughout the country. The better news is that we have lowered the full registration price this year, and more importantly, your staff, CSRs, and producers can attend an afternoon of education and the exhibit hall on April 20th for just $35 per person. We expect that with these changes and the reduced registration fees that our attendance will increase to over 1300 insurance professionals. Information on the entire convention is planned to be sent out to the membership by mid February and is currently available on our website. We all look forward to seeing you at this event. We guarantee that you and your staff will have a great time attending the convention and experiencing all of the new restaurants in downtown Minneapolis.

New Legislative Challenges in Minnesota and Nationally

You may be aware that the MIIAB has a very active Legislative Committee and meets either by conference call or in person weekly. For the last three years our Chairman was Chan Handberg from Handberg Agency Inc. in Minneapolis. Over the years, Chan did an outstanding job in directing the association’s legislative agenda with the committee, the Board, and Dominic our Lobbyist. I would like to go on record thanking Chan for his service to the Association and for his dedication to the industry he serves. This year, because of the changes that have taken place in the Legislature with the Republican control of the House and Senate in St. Paul, Dominic and President Ohl decided that we may need a new strategy in dealing with all of the new legislators and committee chairs. Therefore, we have decided that we would have two co-chairs for this year’s Legislative Committee. Chad Bjugan is co-chair from the Richfield State Insurance agency in Richfield, he lives in Chanhassen where the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Joe Hoppe, lives. Our other co-chairman is Past President, Dick McKenny, from the Advance Insurance Agency in Edina. Dick lives in Apple Valley and the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee is Chris Grelasch, who is also from Apple Valley. Dominic’s goal is to have Chad and Dick become very familiar with these two Chairmen as the legislature convenes this month. We have also added new member agents to the Legislative Committee who have ties with key committee members. We believe that this new strategy will help us quickly Executive VP Message continued on page 11


Auto-Owners Insurance is “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Claims Experience, Two Years in a Row” according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Thank you agents! A special thanks to all the independent agents proudly representing Auto- Owners Insurance. Your ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction has paid off once again. Thank you for partnering with us to take care of our policyholders!

Auto- Owners Insurance ranks highest among auto insurance providers in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008-2009 Auto Claims Studies. SM Study based on 11,616 total responses, ranking 25 insurance providers. Excludes those with claims only for glass/windshield, theft/stolen, roadside assistance or bodily injury claims. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed June 2008 - June 2009. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

www.auto-owners.com 8 The Minnesota News • February 2011

Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

Technically Speaking… Bernie Neff, CIC, CPCU neffbj@aol.com

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

I have never seen a coverage explode onto the insurance scene as fast and dramatic as EPL coverage did back in the 1990’s. Think back, how often did you even think of this coverage fifteen years ago? The reason for its dramatic arrival, of course, was the full force and urgency of the federal and state legislation that was being passed in the early 1990”s, especially the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the American Disabilities Act that was finalized in 1994. I don’t mean to ignore the many other laws that also impact this coverage, but time only permits a brief look. Also, don’t forget the various state agencies that can be involved, like the Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that may require our policies to provide some needed legal assistance at hearings as well as defense coverage. So what has happened in the last fifteen years? Remember the long, drawn out applications in the 1990’s that took hours to fill out? All the larger companies began to come out with their stand-alone EPL policies (prior to that, the coverage was usually provided as an endorsement to the Directors and Officers policies, or some other policy). Just like the D & O policies in their early development, one size fit everyone. We had one policy for the for-profit companies and the non-profit companies as well. The market was also fairly limited, prices were considered “high” and the minimum premiums were substantial. A lot has changed in fifteen years. We now have EPL policies for all kinds of different specialty risks, the applications have slimmed down, prices are getting much better as well as the minimum premiums, and the market is much more open to your submissions. Just about every carrier who is serious about writing commercial lines will offer this coverage in one form or another. The methods of providing coverage have changed considerably. The nonprofit D & O policies now usually offer EPL coverage automatically, or as an option, often with separate limits and retentions. Stand alone policies still have their place, especially for the larger or more adventuresome risks, but now we are seeing easy-to-use endorsements being used in the smaller commercial market. ISO got on the band wagon and now has a sample EPL endorsement for use both with the GL policies as well as with the BOP. This accomplishes two nice effects: no “heavy” minimum premium and the pricing is really getting attractive. Several companies have begun to provide EPL coverage this way and are getting very aggressive. Two important things to remember in your discussion with your client: any insured of any size can be sued for an EPL claim, and any limit of $300,000 or less might well be considered to be a Technically Speaking...continued on page 11

Speak softly and carry


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Insurance underwritten by Auto Club Insurance Association or MemberSelect Insurance Company.

www.aaa.com 10 The Minnesota News • February 2011

Technically Speaking...continued from page 9

“defense” policy, because if the claim goes to litigation, it will take most of that $300,000 to provide an adequate defense. As a quick aside, several coverages can be added to the BOP policies and even the larger commercial packages: EPL, D&O and Fiduciary Liability. You can write any or all of them. Here’s another little secret: if the insurance carrier is providing the GL coverage, they will already have almost all the information they need to write the D & O exposures, and with a few more questions, the EPL and Fiduciary Liability coverages. So it can be done with a minimum of your time and with a minimum of cost to your clients. The moral here: start thinking about adding these coverages to your commercial packages. It is a great cross-sell approach. Just start asking your underwriters. As to the EPL exposures and how they have changed over the past fifteen years, the Supreme Court of the United States has been somewhat busy. Probably the biggest area of change is that of sexual preference with reference to both discrimination (including wrongful termination cases) and sexual harassment cases now being covered by the ADA (actually the Court said that they “could” be covered by the ADA, depending on the circumstances, but I don’t think we - or our clients - want to be taking chances). Overall, the courts have broadened what the various federal and state laws demand, and put more burdens on our clients to comply in their human resources endeavors. Finally, I have been thinking about the “desperate cases”, that is, those trying to find coverage under our standard policies these past fifteen years. The GL, Umbrella, Workers Compensation and even the Homeowners have been taken to trial as desperate people looked for help, where for the most part, there was none. So, our final thought, is this. If providing EPL coverage today is so relatively easy, don’t forget to mention it to every client. It can be a very easy sale.

Executive VP Message continued from page 7

educate these committees who oversee our industry at the legislature. According to Dominic, there are 12 legislators at the Capitol who have some type of insurance experience, the good news is, half of them have been agents and they understand agency operations and our industry very well. Finally, we have an exceptional relationship with the new Commerce Commissioner, Michael Rothman. I have met with Mike a number of times since being appointed as the head of the Commerce Department and Dominic and I are waiting to have a formalized meeting with him to discuss our legislative plans for this year.

Is that the best you can do?


client requests a coverage change and needs the updated policy immediately. But it will take a couple of hours. Is that the best you can do? Real Time speeds up policy changes and many other customer-service processes. And, Real Time is already on your agency’s automation system! Visit getrealtime.org to get started!

Protection You Can Count On

Your home is your castle, and your contents are your treasures, and that is why Austin Mutual offers the protection you need. With Austin on your side, there’s a comfort level that comes with knowing we’re always just one phone call away. So when your castle needs guarding…

Maple Grove, MN 55369 800-328-4628 • AustinMutual.com

Austin’s Got You Covered MIIAB Diamond

www.austinmutual.com 12 The Minnesota News • February 2011


MIIAB Agency Automation Committee Article

Navigating Network Security and Compliance By Bret Erickson, Passkey Computer Services bret@passkeyinc.com and Becky Jacobs, Northstar Technology Solutions becky@northstar-tech.net

Navigating network security and compliance may seem like an overwhelming undertaking: Data Breach notification laws, compliance with Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HI-TECH) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry - Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), data breach insurance applications, internal and external data theft and more. We have summarized some network security best practices that will make the undertaking less daunting. Written Security Plan The most important step is creating a written policy, defining security practices and audit procedures for your Agency. Agencies have been fined for not having a policy in place.[1] There are numerous resources available on the Internet to assist with this requirement; the Agency Council for Technology has a free security plan template located at http://na.iiaa.org/ACT/downloads/PrototypeSecurityPlan_091310.doc Please note: you will need to click cancel on login window to open document. Agency Staff Most statutes mandate an Internet and Computer Usage Policy, reviewed and signed by employees and contractors. The policy should include language on offensive behavior or material, ownership of equipment, personal use and privacy of e-mail, files and data to name a few. End user PC best practices such as safe browsing and strong passwords should also be outlined. Physical Security Controlling physical access to your server and network equipment should not be overlooked; theft of equipment results in the expense of repurchasing hardware, data recovery, downtime and notification to customers of a data breach. An unsecure server room is also vulnerable to physical damage and malicious acts. Security Updates, Antivirus and Firewalls The threat landscape has changed: software security flaws, compromised websites, online advertisements with malicious code and threats from abroad. Consult with your IT advisor to confirm that your software and devices are current and patched

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 13

Isn’t it time for you to experience the PREMCO difference?

PREMCO has been Financing Insurance Premiums and s u p p o r t i n g I n d e p e n d e n t I n s u r a n c e Ag e n c i e s f o r o v e r 2 1 y e a r s . W e a r e e x t r e m e l y p r o u d t o b e s e r v i n g yo u r M i n n e s o t a As s o c i a t i o n a n d i t s m e m b e r s ! G i v e u s a c a l l a n d e x p e r i e n c e w h y w e a r e t h e c h o s e n p a r t n e r o f yo u r As s o c i a t i o n a n d w h y s o m a n y I n d e p e n d e n t Ag e n t s r e l y o n u s e v e r y d a y .

PR E M CO F i n anc i a l C o r po r a t io n ( 26 9) 3 7 5- 39 3 6 ph y ( 26 9) 3 7 5- 6 9 13 f x B ox 19 3 6 7y K a l am a zo o, M I 4 90 1 9- 03 6 7

w w w . g o - p r e m c o. c o m 14 The Minnesota News • February 2011


Proudly Endorsed by the MIIAB

with the latest updates. Microsoft, Adobe and Java are highly targeted software but there are many other products that are exploited as well. Developing a maintenance, update and refresh strategy provides the best protection for your Agency. Encryption Encryption is mentioned in most regulatory statutes and data breach policy applications. Implementing encryption requires software and/or media; techniques have become simplified and cost effective. Encryption can be applied to backup media, laptops, portable drives, mobile devices, e-mail or any data that leaves the office. According to Minnesota law [2], if your information is breached you are required to notify all your customers in the most expedient time possible. Security Policy Procedures and Review Periodic vulnerability testing and review of your security policies are key components in your Agency security. Designate a person or group responsible for security planning and response, evaluate and audit security procedures, and periodically test security controls. Your process should include internal and external vulnerability scans, controlling remote access for vendors and performing due diligence on service providers and contractors. Security in the Cloud An online management system or hosted service transfers some security risks; it does not eliminate them. When choosing a hosting provider, it is important that the vendor has a written security plan, a patch management policy, encryption and complies with all regulations. Confidential information is at risk even in an online model; be sure to assess both internal and outsourced security policies. Safeguarding personal information is a critical issue for consumers; new laws and regulations are being discussed at both state and federal levels. Developing a strategy to address confidential information collected by your Agency and designating a team who will define, implement and audit your security plan, will prepare you for current and future security requirements.

Insurance Agents Fined for Not Having Written Security Plan by Jeff Yates, Executive Director, Agents Council for Technology. To see full article click on hyperlink. http://www.iiaba.net/na/16_AgentsCouncilForTechnology/NA20091130101241 1.



Subdivision 1.Disclosure of personal information; notice required. (a) Any person or business that conducts business in this state, and that owns or licenses data that includes personal information, shall disclose any breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the breach in the security of the data to any resident of this state whose unencrypted personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person. The disclosure must be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement, as provided in paragraph (c), or with any measures necessary to determine the scope of the breach, identify the individuals affected, and restore the reasonable integrity of the data system. See full statute at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=325E.61

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 15

Some good things make other good things even better.

It’s what our independent agency partners do every day with the quality insurance programs from Western National. Collectively, we tackle our customers’ unique insurance needs by providing a mix of coverage, expertise, and relationship-based service that no other team brings to the huddle.

Proud supporter of Minnesota’s trusted independent agents

MIIAB Diamond

www.wnins.com 16 The Minnesota News • February 2011


Save the Date!!! MIIAB/Trusted Choice Convention & Exhibit Hall April 20-21


We’re Going Downtown! Click below to watch the promotional video http://mn.iiaa.org/video/2011_Convention_Video.wmv • New Downtown Location Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

hibitors All Ex One in

e g ar L Hall! Exhibit

• Special Exhibit Hall Only Member Pricing

$35.00 (includes 1:30-3:30 Education Session)

• Come for the Convention Stay for the Nightlife! February 2011 • The Minnesota News 17

Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

Power in Partners Program

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

Diamond Partner

EMC Insurance Companies Celebrates 100 Years This year, EMC is celebrating 100 years in business, proving that our company has stood the test of time—providing comprehensive protection, superior service and financial security to its policyholders, agents and employees. We’d like to give you a brief look at the history of EMC in Minnesota.

1911: EMC Begins

A group of businessmen known as the Iowa Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) joined together to form Employers Mutual Casualty Association in 1911 in anticipation of a workers’ compensation law being passed by the Iowa legislature. The IMA thought it would be better to insure Iowa companies locally, and that it would cost less to establish their own mutual company to insure their members. With that—EMC Insurance Companies was born.

1934: Expansion to Minnesota

In 1934, EMC received approval to enter Minnesota and contracted with an agency in Red Wing. Claims adjuster W. J. Hynes was sent there to open a claims office to service the business produced by that agency. Policies were issued for liability, property damage, collision, fire, theft and comprehensive lines. 18 The Minnesota News • February 2011

1942: Minneapolis Branch

Eight years after entering Minnesota, the Minneapolis branch office was officially established. In the 1950s, the Branch Office was moved to downtown Minneapolis. At one time, it was located in the Northwestern National Bank Building.

1970s: On the Move

While the branch occupied an office near Franklin and Nicollet Avenues, an explosion occurred about a block away. Concern for employee safety caused the branch to relocate to Bloomington in 1972. Interesting Tidbit: In Bloomington, a thief broke in through the back door and absconded with a number of claim drafts. Fortunately for EMC, the intruder made out the drafts in his real name and was easily tracked down by the police! In 1976, ground was broken for a new office in a complex in the western suburb of Minnetonka. This office was completely renovated in 1995 and still houses the branch office today.

We’re celebrating our 100th year by planning for our next 100 years. Picture (left to right): Tanya Wentzel, Des Moines Branch marketing manager; Troy Boysen, Minneapolis Branch commercial underwriter; and Connie Jarzynka, Omaha Branch claims adjuster.

1981: Unique Products

In the mid-70s, the EMC branch office in Des Moines began using safety dividend groups, and the Minneapolis Branch was quick to pick up the idea. Two safety dividend groups were formed: the Minnesota Manufactured Housing Association in 1981, and the Northwest Petroleum Marketers Association in 1983, which is now named the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers (MPM) Association. Both programs are still going strong, and other niche markets have been added: garbage haulers, school districts, gravel haulers and equipment dealers. The branch office underwriters work hard to build strong relationships with agents and customers through frequent contact and personal visits. They help agents to sell accounts, and customers to improve their safety records by working closely with loss control representatives.

Celebrate With Us

Count on EMC represents the core values upon which EMC Insurance Companies has built its reputation. As we celebrate our past achievements and enthusiastically look forward to a future of success yet to come, we invite our agents and the communities in which we live and work to join us in this celebration. A special 100-year website (www.CountonEMC.com) is coming soon with details about our celebration, interactive features on our history and information on the 100 Ways of Giving program—an exciting, grassroots charitable giving campaign happening in communities across the country.

2011: Strength, Stability, Service

With that quick snapshot of the Minneapolis branch history, you can see the foundation EMC has built upon for 100 years—working with local independent agents, offering comprehensive products, staying close to our customers and providing service through local branch offices. We’ve delivered on our Count on EMC® promise for 100 years, and that’s not about to change.

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 19

We jump through hoops for you. Because you jump through hoops for them. For more about how Integrity can help you help your customers contact: Cathy Beaudin at 920-968-8326 or cbeaudin@imico.com integrityinsurance.com

IM-1010-Recrt Hoop 8_5x11 _250in bleed-a.indd 1

10/25/10 4:21 PM

www.integrityinsurance.com 20 The Minnesota News • February 2011


Maintaining Policies Locally in Today’s Agency and Emailing Policies to Clients By Jeff Yates, ACT Executive Director

As agencies go paperless and carriers stop providing paper policies, agencies have to decide whether to continue to retain policies locally or rely on electronic policy view to access the policies on the carrier’s website. Agencies are also considering whether to begin to email policies to clients, rather than sending them paper copies. Since I get these questions frequently, I decided to reach out to a number of agency consultants and E&O risk management experts to get their insights on these questions. (Please see acknowledgements at the end of this article for the names of these individuals.) Agency Retention of Policies Many agencies have decided to retain commercial lines policies locally, even if they have a good download of policy data and electronic policy view in place, because they find they need to refer to these policies and endorsements frequently when coverage and claims issues arise. In contrast, many agencies with a good download in place have decided not to retain personal lines policies locally, because they are able to handle the typical client inquiries without referring to the policies. Often these questions relate to billing and making a payment and the agents are able to handle these inquiries efficiently by using real-time Billing Inquiry and Make a Payment functionality. Each agency is different, however, so I have provided a list of considerations to assist agencies in deciding this question: 1. How frequently does the staff need to refer to the actual policies for the line of business and for what purposes? Does the amount of usage justify the amount of time it will take to attach them to the client file? 2. Is there a good download in place for the line of business and is my database accurate? If there is not a good download for the business then the agency will probably want to retain at least the dec page locally. 3. Does the agency use the dec page for policy checking and like to retain it as part of the documentation of the policy checking process? 4. Does the carrier provide links on the dec page to all of the actual policy forms and endorsements applicable to that risk – not just the latest editions of these forms – so that they are easy to access? 5. Has the carrier provided a contractual guarantee that the agency will continue to have access to its policy information in the event the carrier or the agency continued on page 23


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continued from page 21

terminates the relationship? This commitment should be for the statutory period in which the agency must retain this information (usually seven years). 6. Do the applicable state laws require the agency to retain the policy documents locally or is access to them at the carrier website sufficient? Agencies should go through the same analysis with regard to their E&S policies. Industry Opportunity Since many agencies have made the decision to retain commercial lines policies locally, it is incumbent on carriers and agency management system providers to make it as simple as download for agencies to attach these policies to their client files. One approach would be to give the agency the option to have the carrier download PDFs of policies (new, renewal and endorsements) each evening using real-time Activity Notifications and Alerts. An option could even be given to receive the dec pages with links to the actual policy forms or the complete policies. Agency management systems should have the capability to route these notifications to the appropriate person in the agency for checking and attachment to the client file. Using this real-time workflow would be an improvement over the emailing of these policies because of the added security and transmission directly into the agency management system. Since some agencies use the personal lines dec pages to check policies for accuracy and then retains them, the same workflow should be made available to agencies for personal lines. Delivering Client Policies Electronically Agents are generally supportive of personal lines carriers that give clients discounts in order to go paperless and access their policies electronically. In the commercial lines and E&S markets, however, many agents are concerned about the inefficiency and cost shifting that takes place when carriers stop sending the paper policies to the agent for delivery to the client, because many insureds still want the paper. Electronic policies represent the future and are more efficient in many ways (no mail time, do not to be scanned into agency system, potentially save printing costs). Agents should encourage their clients to make the transition to electronic policies, in the same way that other financial services companies are inviting their clients to move to electronic delivery. Carriers, in turn, should help their agents with this transition by providing them with electronic policies and the option to receive paper copies for clients who are not ready to accept the electronic model. Many agencies like to deliver commercial lines policies to their insureds personally and are now delivering these policies on a CD as a “value add,” where clients agree to this method. Several larger agencies provide a secured area on their website where clients can access their policies. Hopefully, technology providers will increasingly provide turn-key solutions for the broader agency population so that they can provide their clients a secured portal for accessing their policies, as well as linking to their carriers to make payments and perform other self-service functions. This is an area in which ACT’s Consumer Functionality Work Group is trying to spur more industry action. Emailing Policies to Clients In this emerging “paperless” environment, many agencies are considering emailing policies to their insureds. There are several issues for agencies to assess and then incorporate into their procedures when considering such a change in delivery: continued on page 25


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24 The Minnesota News • February 2011


26.10.09 13:53

continued from page 23

1. Confirm that the particular state’s laws and regulations permit the emailing of policies and do not require that the insured be provided a physical copy. 2. Secure the advance agreement of the client to receive policies electronically by email. 3. Provide in the email attaching the policy a request that the client acknowledge receipt of the email and policy by return email and have a procedure – that is consistently followed – of following up with the insured if he/she does not acknowledge receipt. 4. Include in the email a disclaimer that the insured should read the policy to ascertain that its limits and coverages are appropriate for its needs and that it should contact the agency if it would like to add any coverages or make any changes. The notice should also give the insured the option to elect to receive paper policies. (This disclaimer should be provided in the cover letter that accompanies the personal delivery of a paper policy or CD as well.) 5. Check the policy for accuracy before sending as provided in the agency’s procedures. 6. Send the email by secure email if the policy contains any private personal information under the applicable state and federal privacy and data breach notification laws. Such private information might include the federal employer identification number, driver license numbers, etc. ACT encourages the use of TLS email encryption for secure email, and TLS works very well in agent-carrier communications when both parties have it. A proprietary secure email solution, however, will be necessary for many client communications when the client does not have TLS. 7. Deliver the policy to the client promptly after being received – whether emailed or delivered personally – and avoid any agency backlog in policy deliveries. 8. Document in the agency management system that the policy has been sent, the steps taken to follow up if necessary and attach the transmittal email in unalterable form. The emergence of a paperless environment is precipitating changes in agency workflows and is creating opportunities for carriers and technology providers to provide new tools to help agencies function more efficiently in this new environment. These new tools include the use of Activity Notifications and Alerts to send electronic policies to agencies and the availability of easy to use and cost effective “plug ins” to enable agencies to provide secure portals for their clients to access documents and to perform other services online. I’d appreciate receiving your thoughts on how your agency and the industry can best adapt to these trends (jeff.yates@iiaba.net). Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the following agency consultants for their insights on these issues: Pat Alexander, Steve Anderson and Laura Nettles. I’d also like to thank the following agency E&O risk management experts: Dave Hulcher, IIABA; Jim Keidel, Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham; and Sabrena Sally, Westport Insurance Corporation. Thanks also to the ACT Agent Feedback Group for its input. Jeff Yates is Executive Director of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) which is part of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Jeff can be reached at jeff.yates@iiaba.net This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.


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www.thesilverlining.com 26 The Minnesota News • February 2011



Eleven Workers’ Compensation Issues Sure to Impact 2011 By Preston Diamond With the nation’s legislative landscape dominated by healthcare reform and relatively stable Workers’ Compensation rates in 2010, Workers’ Comp fell off the radar screen. Yet, a more careful review points to challenging times in the years ahead: 1. Declines in frequency of claims slowing According to insurers, the long-term trend of declining claims frequency (claims filed per employer payroll) is flattening. This is significant because declining trends that started in 1991 have helped counter rising medical costs driven by the severity of claims and increased utilization. It’s too early to determine the reasons or permanency of the shift and it could be a temporary blip caused by employers cutting back on safety initiatives. On the other hand, a strengthening job market could mean hiring employees who are less experienced and more prone to injuries. 2. Injured employees are staying out of work longer The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) notes that Workers’ Comp payers are funding temporary total disability benefits longer. NCCI Director, John Robertson, attributes this to economic conditions, including fewer return-to-work opportunities. The benefits of employee retention and reduced costs of a return-to-work program are valid regardless of economic conditions. However, the recession has made it difficult for some to place injured workers in transitional positions when the company is laying others off. In other cases, injured workers have returned to transitional jobs, only to be laid off for reasons unrelated to the injury. Faced with few job prospects, the employees have little incentive to get well. In fact, there’s a disincentive to get well and employees staying home leads to higher reserves that are expensive for the employer to support. Dr. Richard Pimentel, a national expert on disability management, notes that the savings of turning an indemnity claim into a medical only claim can be significant and 20% of lost time from work injuries could be eliminated if the physician was given sufficient information about the transitional job possibilities. It simply makes good economic sense to return injured employees to work as soon and as safely as possible. 3. Medical costs continue to rise According to NCCI, the medical costs of lost-time Workers’ Compensation claims continue to grow at a faster rate than the medical consumer price index and now represent 58% of claims. An important study, “Impact of Cost Intensive Physicians on Workers Compensation” by Edward Bernacki, MD and his team at Johns Hopkins, appeared in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in January 2010. continued on page 28

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 27

continued from page 27

Using five years’ closed claim data from the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, they studied claims that began with reserves less than $15,000, but migrated to reserves of +/-$50,000. Of those claims, 3.8% of physicians involved were responsible for 72% of the costs. The numbers clearly demonstrate that “cost intensive physicians,” those who had higher medical costs, longer medical treatment duration, longer claim durations, mean higher indemnity costs. The Bernacki study also noted that injury types or diagnoses that don’t have clearly defined treatment pathways could easily lead to higher costs. Whereas, a fractured tibia has a predictable treatment path, injuries of joints and back strains do not, leaving a wide berth of treatment options and opportunities for abuse. While the adoption of evidenced-based guidelines has gained ground, many job-related health-related decisions are still made by health care professionals without appropriate training in occupational injuries. In 2010 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) published A Guide to High-Value Physician Services in Workers’ Compensation - How to find the best available care for your injured workers. The Guide offers suggestions for finding physicians who provide care for everyday, uncomplicated injuries, as well as physicians who provide specialized medical services addressing catastrophic injury or administrative tasks required by the Workers’ Compensation process. 4. Safety and wellness begin to integrate While it’s reasonable to postulate that healthy workers are less prone to injury and, once injured, recover more quickly than their out-of-shape co-workers, corporate silos have typically separated risk management departments from benefits management. New research, an aging workforce, court cases, tight budgets and anxiety over healthcare reform are causing employers to recognize the relationship between safety and wellness. The recent Obesity 2010 NCCI Research Brief confirms that work-related injuries are far more costly and more likely to result in permanent disabilities if the injured worker is obese. Court rulings have required weight reduction surgery prior to treatment of work-related injuries. Furthermore, studies have shown that older workers have fewer injuries than their younger counterparts, but when injured, they take longer to heal. In addition to assessing how jobs can be modified to accommodate older workers, employers are looking at wellness programs as a way to keep employees healthy. 5. OSHA everywhere With increased funding, additional staff and a vigorous agenda, OSHA significantly increased its enforcement activity, as well as fines in 2010. The National Safety Council (NSC) noted, “While the list of OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited violations remains mostly unchanged, the agency’s message of strong enforcement is clear.” For the first time since publishing the annual OSHA Top 10 feature, each of the 10 highest penalties issued in a fiscal year exceeded $1 million. This stepped up agenda is expected to continue in 2011. 6. Litigation swells While Workers’ Comp was founded in part to avoid litigation between employers and employees, litigation is very much part of the system. Moreover, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is on pace to set another record in 2010 because of

28 The Minnesota News • February 2011

the expansion of the legal environment, including ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) amendments, GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) and the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Cambridge, Mass. Workers’ Compensation Research Institute published a valuable study in 2010, Avoiding Litigation: What Can Employers, Insurers, and State Workers’ Compensation Agencies Do? The study found that workers were more likely to seek attorneys when they felt threatened. Recommended actions included: • Training supervisors to create timely communications that focus on trust, job security and entitlement to medical care and income benefits. • Communicate in a clear and timely fashion about the status of the claim to prevent misunderstandings so the worker does not mistakenly conclude that the claim has been denied. • Eliminate system features that encourage denials or payment delays to help prevent worker’s misconstruing a delay as a denial. 7. Misclassification of independent contractors hot issue Both federal and state agencies stepped up their oversight of the classification of independent contractors in 2010. In addition, the number of worker class-action lawsuits against employers relating to independent contractors rose 50% in the same year to a record 300 according to Garry Mathiason, vice chairman of labor law firm Littler Mendelson. According to a USA Today article, “States, feds crack down on firms using ‘contract workers,’” the Department of Labor forced employers to pay $6.5 million in back wages to 5,261 employees in fiscal 2010, up sharply from $2.6 million owed to 2,190 employees a year earlier. States are also increasing enforcement, with about 20 passing laws in the past two years that make it easier to force employers to reclassify contractors as employees and seek unpaid taxes. The government estimates that as many as 3.4 million workers are misclassified, costing the federal government $4.5 billion and states over $3 billion. With mindboggling deficits, this is likely to remain a focal point in the years ahead. 8. Medicare Set Aside Arrangements baffling many All parties in a Workers’ Compensation case have significant responsibilities under the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) laws. The process is complex and confusing and has been a minefield for the parties involved. The recommended method is a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement (WCMSA), which allocates a portion of the WC settlement for future medical expenses. Failure to give notice of a settlement to Medicare carries steep penalties. Medicare is also prohibited from making payments that are the responsibility of another party; hence, injured employees may be without Medicare if MSP issues are not dealt with appropriately at the time of settlement. With the crushing need for revenue, more focus is likely to be placed on MSP compliance. 9. Telecommuting is changing the Workers’ Comp landscape While telecommuting can be advantageous for both employee and employer, it poses challenges for Workers’ Compensation. Employees working at home can create exposures that do not occur in the office setting. continued on page 31

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 29

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continued from page 29

Although employers have little control over home office design, they are charged with providing a safe and healthy work environment and must afford the same protection to those working at home as those working in the office. More and more talented workers are looking for flexibility in their job choices. Telecommuting is here to stay and employers need to know how to train remote employees properly to do their jobs safely and stay injury-free. 10. A new arena: Social Media and Workers’ Compensation In 2010 Facebook surpassed Google as the number one U.S. site. While the connection of Workers’ Compensation and social media is new territory, there was a successful New York case in September 2010, involving a workers’ Facebook posting, leading to her arrest and conviction for stealing $8,975 in Workers’ Compensation. Employers and lawyers need the ability to navigate around social networking sites, as they can provide a wealth of information about an injured employee’s behavior as well as job applicants. 11. Uncertainty in the insurance markets Economic conditions, low interest rates and decreased demand have put pressures on the Workers’ Compensation markets. Liberty Mutual CEO Edmund “Ted” Kelly called Workers’ Compensation coverage currently being sold by insurers, already largely unprofitable while inflation is low, a “time bomb” that will become even more costly for insurers when inflation shoots up. The CEO of American International Group (AIG), made the comment on CNBC that AIG was going to be cutting back on its Workers’ Compensation exposure due to some unrealistic marketplace pricing. While the soft market is predicted to continue in 2011, employers need to recognize that the seeds of the next hard market are being sown. In fact, some states, such as Connecticut are already seeing rate hikes. Some Connecticut employers will be hit with the largest average rate hikes in more than a decade including increases potentially as high as 31%. Where does all this lead? Perhaps the best way to put it is to say, “Workers’ Comp is in play.” Whether it’s governmental agencies, insurance companies, employers or health care providers, each one is taking a closer look at this product in an effort to control costs. We’ll have to wait to see where that leads.

Preston Diamond is Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Institute of WorkComp Professionals (IWCP), based in Asheville, NC. In 2010, IWCP created a sister organization, the Institute of Benefits & Wellness Advisors, that trains, tests and certifies select insurance professionals to apply the concepts of risk management to benefit. He can be contacted at 828-274-0959 or preston@workcompprofessionals.com, www.workcompprofessionals.com

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 31

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Agent’s questions about Errors and Omissions, and how E&O losses can be prevented. By Mary LaPorte, CPCU, CIC, LIC, CPIA


Our agency principal has a “buddy” who owns another agency located the other side of the state. This other agent does not have all of the markets that our agency has, so as a favor, we will occasionally place some of his commercial lines accounts. Even though he does most of the work on the accounts (like reviewing and delivering the renewals), I still get nervous when I am asked questions by the underwriter and I have to go through him to get the information from the customer. I’m thinking this creates some E&O exposure for our agency, but my boss does not seem concerned. What are your feelings about this type of arrangement? Susan, Louisiana


You are correct to be concerned. The fact that your agency name is listed on the declarations as the agent of record indicates that you would bear the greatest responsibility if something should go wrong. In addition, you have not had the opportunity to evaluate the risk, discuss coverages with the insured and do all the other things that agents normally do as they interact with the customer. There are three ways that this situation could be remedied. Your agency could have a written agreement with the other agent which clearly outlines the relationship. The other agent should agree to indemnify your agency and your agency employees in the event of an E&O claim resulting from their negligence. Your agency also should require the agent to furnish a copy of their E&O policy on an annual basis. You would need to work with your attorney to create this legal document. A better method would be to write the business for the other agency, but insist that your agency have direct contact with the customer, and that the other agency have no involvement in servicing the policy. There should be no commission paid to the other agency. Providing a needed market for that customer is simply a courtesy extended to the other agency, based on your relationship of trust. The third and preferred method of handling this situation is to avoid such arrangements entirely. Simply inform the other agent that your agency has a policy that they will not write business through or for another agent. The customer would need to contact your agency directly in order obtain coverage. Talk to your agency principal about your concerns and establish an agency standard to handle these requests in the future. Mary LaPorte is a consultant and educator with a strong background in Errors & Omissions loss prevention. Forward your E&O questions to marylp@laporteinsuranceconsult.com. ©2010 LaPorte Consulting, LLC. All Rights Reserved February 2011 • The Minnesota News 33

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In The News... Marsh & McLennan Agency Acquires RJF Agencies Inc. Acquisition Expands MMA’s Reach into Upper Midwest Continuing its strategy to build a national platform, Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA), a subsidiary of insurance broker Marsh Inc., announced today the acquisition of RJF Agencies Inc., one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the upper Midwest. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1986, RJF has annual revenue of approximately $25 million and roughly 150 employees. Headquartered in Minneapolis, RJF provides property and casualty insurance and employee benefits to middle market companies in a wide range of industries. The firm has specialty practices in manufacturing, condominium and townhome associations, management liability, and contractors, among others. All of RJF’s employees and leadership team, including Bill Jeatran, CEO, and Tim Fleming, president, will join MMA. RJF will serve as MMA’s upper Midwest hub and is the latest in a number of acquisitions MMA has made since embarking on its quest to build a national platform primarily to serve the property and casualty insurance and employee benefits needs of the middle market. Most recently, MMA announced the acquisitions of Trion Group Inc., the nation’s largest privately held employee benefits specialist based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and Strategic Benefit Solutions, Inc., a premier benefits brokerage and consulting firm based in Alpharetta, Georgia. Since November 2009, MMA has grown to become the 12th largest insurance agency in the United States with approximately $285 million in annual revenue.

“RJF’s strong regional presence, top-notch leadership, sales-oriented culture and blend of property and casualty and employee benefits business were very attractive as we looked for a quality partner to join MMA in the upper Midwest,” said David Eslick, chairman and CEO of MMA. “We welcome the leadership team and the employees of RJF to our firm, and I personally look forward to partnering with Bill Jeatran and Tim Fleming in building MMA.” “Joining Dave Eslick and his team at MMA represents an excellent growth opportunity for RJF, our employees and our clients,” Mr. Jeatran said. “As part of the MMA enterprise, clients and employees can expect continued commitment to the values and collaborative culture that has been a cornerstone of RJF since it began 25 years ago, while also having access to the support and resources of the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor.”

INTEGRITY INSURANCE JOINS TRUSTED CHOICE® Integrity Insurance, an affiliate of Grange Insurance, is the newest member of the Trusted Choice® consumer branding program for independent insurance agents and brokers. Integrity, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., has joined 57 other leading insurance companies nationwide as a Trusted Choice® company partner. “Integrity Insurance is well-respected and wellknown by independent insurance agents and their customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa,” says Dave Evans, Trusted Choice® executive director. “By joining the Trusted Choice® brand, Integrity is making an investment in its future and the independent insurance agency system while building on a reputation for providing excellent customer service. We welcome Integrity and its partners and are proud to announce that they are the newest Trusted Choice® company partner.” Integrity Insurance established in 1933 offers auto, home and business insurance through a network

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 39

of independent agents. With an affiliate partner Grange Insurance based in Columbus, Ohio — the enterprise has $2 billion in assets and $1.3 billion in annual revenue and holds an AM Best rating of ”A” Excellent. “We are pleased to join Trusted Choice®, a program that aligns perfectly with our long-standing commitment to independent agents,” says Cathy Beaudin, Integrity Insurance director of agency relations. “We encourage our agents to participate in this important program, which promotes the value they deliver in helping policyholders meet their ever-changing insurance needs.”

Austin Mutual Insurance Company Completes Merger with Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company Austin Mutual Insurance Company (www.austinmutual.com), a regional property casualty insurer, today announced that it has completed its merger with Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company located in Omaha, Neb. pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger dated Oct. 21, 2010. The merger of the two companies will result in projected combined assets under management of $178 million, with direct written premiums of $254 million. The merger has met both policyholder and regulatory approval. “This merger supports our diversification strategy,” said Austin Mutual Insurance Company President and CEO Jeffrey B. Kusch. “Not only does it combine the talents of two great companies, the result of the merger will bring loss control expertise and an agribusiness commercial package policy that to date we haven’t been writing. Our policyholders will benefit from our shared philosophy and commitment to deliver highly valued insurance solutions.” Under the terms of the merger, policyholders of Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company are now policyholders of Austin Mutual Insurance Company, and the combined assets of both companies back their policies. All operations of Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company have been transferred to Austin Mutual Insurance Company. Austin will retain Cooperative’s

40 The Minnesota News • February 2011

management, national distribution system, workforce, and the Omaha-based agribusiness office. All future policies and contracts will carry the name of Austin Mutual Insurance Company. As part of the merger, Jeffrey Kusch will continue to lead Austin Mutual Insurance Company as Chairman, President and CEO. The company will continue to offer the lines of business offered through Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company to customers in active agribusiness territories.

Frank Hammers named Great Lakes Area Executive for Zurich in North America Responsible for building relationships, delivering when it matters and achieving growth plans in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio Zurich, a leading provider of property and casualty insurance in North America and globally, today announced Frank Hammers as Great Lakes Area Executive for Zurich in North America, effective immediately. Hammers will be based in Independence, Ohio and focus his efforts on building Zurich’s business segments in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Area executives are responsible for directing all Zurich’s General Insurance market facing activities in their territory. They are also responsible for delivering Zurich’s value proposition to customers through Zurich’s Select BrokerTM locations, which are a set of broker locations where Zurich focuses its time and resources to help them grow their business with Zurich. Hammers comes to Zurich with 24 years of experience in underwriting, marketing and management within the insurance industry. Most recently, he was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for American International Group, Inc. (AIG) in Cleveland. Prior to working for AIG, Hammers spent eight years with Liberty Mutual. Hammers graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and holds his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

SECURA announces new leader for associations and programs

Terrie Pohjola has accepted the position of Vice President-Associations & Programs at SECURA Insurance in Appleton, Wis. In that role, Pohjola will help the company’s independent agents identify and promote additional growth opportunities in its association and program markets. Previously, Pohjola was SECURA’s Regional Vice President of Sales for a five-state region. “Terrie’s insurance expertise and the strong agency partnerships that she’s built during her SECURA career enhance our already successful association and program business,” said John Bykowski, SECURA president and CEO. “Having Terrie in this leader role positions us and our agents to write even more profitable accounts in all our business lines.” Pohjola began her career with SECURA in 1993 as Director of Investments, and continued in director and vice president roles leading teams in our Finance, IT, and Sales areas. Prior to joining SECURA, Pohjola served as Vice President-Treasury Management with M&I (Marshall & Ilsley) Bank. She earned her bachelor’s degree in managerial accounting, as well as her master’s degree in environmental economics from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Treasury Professional.

Austin Mutual Insurance Company Unveils Enhanced Businessowner Program Expanded Classifications, Coverage to Benefit Small Business Owners Austin Mutual Insurance Company (www. austinmutual.com), a regional property casualty insurer, today announced that it has unveiled an enhanced business owner program to specifically meet the needs of small business owners. The Businessowner Program, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011, will offer new and expanded classifications and coverage as well as tailored proprietary XTRA endorsements designed to meet the specific needs of various business segments. “Austin Mutual’s enhanced Businessowners Program will translate into a higher level of service for our policyholders,” said Creative Insurance Marketing Company Principal Grayden Rubottom. “With expanded class eligibility and embedded

coverage that covers equipment breakdowns, employment practices liability and automatic coverage extensions, we know that our clients will have more options and that means a greater sense of security for our clients.” The Austin Businessowners Program provides protection for the following business segments: • Apartment - specifically designed for select apartment risks that were built in the last 30 years • Condominium - for condo building owners; offers a directors and officers liability option • Contractors/Artisans - offers coverage specifically designed for special artisan trade contractors • Convenience Food Stores, Grocery Store and Supermarkets –for select retail convenience, grocery and supermarket stores that may be engaged in gasoline sales with or without restaurant operations • Motels - or select independently operated or franchised motel/hotel risks that were built in the last 30 years • Office - offers coverage for a variety of offices that provide professional services to clients and whose buildings do not exceed six stories in height • Processing/Service Risks - designed for the wide variety of processing and service risks; offers liability options for barbers and beauticians, funeral directors, optical and hearing aid establishments, pharmacist liability, printers’ errors and omissions and veterinarians • Restaurants - for limited cooking, fast food, casual dining and fine dining food service establishments • Retail/Mercantile - offerings specific to the needs of assorted retailers • Self Storage Facilities - for the secure public storage risks • Wholesalers/Distributors - offers coverage for distributors of domestic goods The Austin Mutual Businessowner Program will

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 41

enable independent agents to tailor policies to meet the needs of small business owners they are dedicated to protect. “Austin Mutual is committed to the small business market,” said Stacy Olson, vice president of Business Development for Austin Mutual Insurance Company. “We continually look for ways to widen our footprint and enhance our products and as a result, broadened business classes, an increased exposure appetite and tailored coverage have become the Austin standard. Our goal is to position Austin as the top choice by offering state of the art programs while making it easier for our agents to place business.”

New Staff at Lee F Murphy Insurance Group

Manager have officially merged into the Lee F Murphy Insurance Group. They will operate as one organization to provide comprehensive commercial and benefits insurance solutions. This combination unites two industry leaders, allowing Lee F Murphy Insurance Group to provide indepth Property/Casualty and Employee Benefits Programs for businesses of all types. To further expand Lee F Murphy Group professional capabilities, Doug Vanasek - Group Benefits Specialist, Abbey Ness – Benefit Account Coordinator, Benjamin Wasche - Commercial Account Executive, Shelley Chapin and Letha Norberg - Commercial Client Service Managers have recently joined the firm as well.

Paul Kranschnabel, President of Employer Consultants and Jodi Turner, Benefit Account

2010 Best Practices Agencies Christensen Group, Inc., Minneapolis Mahowald Insurance Agency, St. Cloud RJF Agencies, Minneapolis Stearns Insurance Services, St. Cloud Wings Insurance, Eden Prairie

CLASSIFIED ADS POSITIONS AVAILABLE No listing this month WANTED TO BUY No listing this month AGENCY FOR SALE No listing this month 42 The Minnesota News • February 2011 42 The Minnesota News • February 2011

LOOKING FOR AGENCY No listing this month To post a classified ad please email ad to kknapp@miia.org

Capitol Notes

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

The LegisLaTive and PoLiTicaL newsLeTTer of The Mn indePendenT insurance agenTs & Brokers assocaTion

Agents Join Together on Health Care Reform

How Minnesota reacts to the new federal health care reform law will be a major topic of discussion at the state legislature this year. The Republican led legislature is generally opposed to the reforms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which they refer to as “ObamaCare”. On the other hand, newly elected governor Mark Dayton is a strong supporter of the PPACA, so a confrontation is likely. The MIIAB has joined forces with the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters - MAHU, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors – NAIFA, to form a group that will highlight the concerns of insurance producers as the state legislature addresses this issue. The Agents Coalition for Health Care Reform will be the lead advocate for the continuation of a competitive marketplace in Minnesota. The Agents’ Coalition has developed a set of principles for state health care reform. These principles are designed to fit within the framework of federal health care reform. They include: • Offer guaranteed health insurance for every Minnesotan. Turn the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association or MCHA, into basically a reinsurance mechanism for individuals who exceed certain limits. Individuals could choose the health insurance plan they wish and would not be denied coverage. Health plans would be protected from adverse selection by MCHA reinsurance. • Create new insurance product called a “Gap plan” for individual’s leaving employment and allow them to choose between the gap plan and COBRA/continuation. • Allow state income deductibility of health insurance premiums. • Replace the state operated MinnesotaCare program with private health insurance policies that would be subsidized the state. • Require all state employees to be offered at least on qualified HSA product. • Reduce the number of Minnesota’s 64 health insurance mandates. • Put limits on medical malpractice settlements to reduce the costs of defensive medicine. Perhaps the major health insurance issue of the legislative session will be how the state proceeds with the health insurance exchange mandated by PPACA. The Agents Coalition has given this a great deal of study and consideration. If the state chooses not to create its own health insurance exchange, a federal exchange would be authorized to offer health insurance in the state. The Agents’ Coalition is opposed to the default of a federal exchange and therefore will encourage the state legislature to develop a state exchange that meets the minimum requirements of the PPACA. Our goal is to ensure consumers have access to affordable health insurance and professional advice from fairly compensated agents in a competitive insurance marketplace. Dominic Sposeto MIIAB Lobbyist February 2011 • The Minnesota News 43

Remember When...


1992 44 The Minnesota News • February 2011



1992 February 2011 • The Minnesota News 45

© 2011 SECURA Insurance

Success is finding an advantage. Outlasting the competition requires outsmarting them. Agents know this. That’s why so many choose SECURA to help their business grow. 1-800-558-3405. Write your own success story.

www.secura.net 46 The Minnesota News • February 2011

Commercial Personal



Any questions, please contact Jo Buckley at joanne.buckley@iiaba.net or 800.221.7917 x5412

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 47

MIIAB would LIke to Thank Our Gold and Silver Partners A New Way for Insurance Agents To: Improve Policyholder Retention

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48 The Minnesota News • February 2011

Success Takes More Than A Few Ingredients Satisfy your appetite for business with a strong partner.

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Talk to us about how we can partner with you–and provide the right ingredients to grow and succeed. 8300 Norman Center Drive, Suite 250 Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 897-3000 www.hanover.com


You’ve offered each of your clients a personal umbrella policy.

Insuring Homes, Farms, Businesses and Autos

www.nstarco.com Box 48, Cottonwood, MN 56229


Right? customers whonot trust you to help them will go a long way towards easing your mind. It themight be quite as relaxing as a day at the Offering each and every client an umbrella not only protects those who choose to purchase everything the coverage. It protects beach, but knowing you’ve done in your agency from liability. And it protects your book of business, since studies show that customers who have multiple policies are less likely to move their business elsewhere. your power to protect the customers who trust As a Big “I” member, you have access to a stand alone personal umbrella program from A+ rated carrier RLI, you to help them will go a long way towards featuring: easing your mind. It might not be quite as relaxing as a day at the beach, but knowing you’ve done everything in your power to protect

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� � � � � � � � �

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featuring: To access log onto www.bigimarkets.com


or visit www.iiaba.net/Umbrella.

• Limits up to $5 million available • You can keep your current homeowner/auto insurer • New drivers accepted - no age limit on drivers • Up to one DWI/DUI per household allowed • Auto limits as low as 100/300/50 in certain cases • Competitive, low premiums for increased limits of liability

Visit www.StarsDental.com or call 866.847.1120 to learn more

• Simple, self-underwriting application that lets you know immediately if the insured is accepted • E-signature and credit card payment options So cover your clients... protect your agency... and profit from umbrella sales!

An MIIAB “Power in Partners” Gold Partner

Contact Terri Norum at 952.253.6237 or tnorum@miia.org February 2011 • The Minnesota News 49

DON’T GET BITTEN BY AN E&O CLAIM YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED. Swiss Re policyholders written through the Big “I” Professional Liability Program have access to an exclusive risk management web site. Log on today to fish for E&O claims frequency data, real-life case studies and analysis, sample client letters, sample agency procedures, agency E&O self assessments, podcasts on important E&O topics, and much more.


y t i s r e v i n U l a u t r Vi Online Courses: The VU offers a wide variety of online classes to enhance and expand insurance technical and business skills. When taking an online class through the VU, MN Independent Insurance you can be confident you or your staff is learning the highest quality education available Agents & Brokers Association online. You do NOT have to be a member or subscriber to take an online course since a separate fee is charged. Research Library: For those who seek a smarter way to research, the VU provides access to hundreds of insurance, business and technology articles written by volunteer faculty and other contributors. Technical insurance articles often include links to full sample ISO forms. You’ll also find white papers and articles on many issues affecting today’s insurance marketplace. Expert Advice: Sometimes you need answers to questions that can’t be found in the research library. To help with these “just in time” issues, we have assembled a faculty of leading experts from around the country. Big “I” Members can submit questions to our “Ask an Expert” service and a response is usually sent within 3-5 business days, but often sooner. All of this can be accessed on the web at www.independentagent.com/vu

50 The Minnesota News • February 2011

2011 MIIAB CIC Program Schedule MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

It’s easy to register - by fax, phone, mail or on-line! All courses begin Wednesday’s at 8:00 a.m., Thursday’s from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and Friday’s from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Optional Exam: Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Please select Seminar date 1/12 - 1/15/11 Eden Prairie Commercial Property 2/9 - 2/11/11 Plymouth *Ruble Graduate Seminar 3/9- 3/12/11 Eden Prairie Personal Lines 4/6 - 4/9/11 Eden Prairie Life & Health 5/4 - 5/7/11 Eden Prairie Commercial Casualty 6/15 - 6/18/11 Walker Personal Lines 7/20 - 7/23/11 Eden Prairie Agency Management 8/24 - 8/27/11 Eden Prairie Commercial Casualty 9/28 - 9/30/11 Plymouth *Ruble Graduate Seminar 10/19 - 10/22/11 Eden Prairie Life & Health 11/9 - 11/12/11 Eden Prairie Commercial Property * Must be a dues paid member of CIC or CRM to attend a Ruble Graduate Seminar Dates and locations are subject to change. Before making any travel arrangements, call to verify the dates, location, start time and availablility when registering for a program.

Important Information All participants must present photo identification to the on-site registrar at the institute. Cancellations received within 7 calendar days of a program will incur a $75 non-refundable fee. If you do not cancel and do not attend the program, you will incur a $125 fee. The balance of the registration fee may be refunded or transferred to another course. You may substitute an eligible person for the same event anytime at no charge with notification prior to the course. These courses have been submitted for approval to the MN Commissioner of Commerce for 20 hours of Insurance continuing education.


Method of Payment Check Enclosed (Payable to MIIAB) or Charge to:



In accordance with Title III of the American with Disabilities Act, we invite all registrants to advise us of any disability and any request for accommodation to that disabily. Please submit your request as far as possible in advance of the program you wish to attend

$421.00 $420.00

Seminar CIC Institutes Ruble Graduate Seminar

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Card Number Expiration Date Signature _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name on Card Security Code (3 digits) Billing Address _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name MN Insurance License # DOB Designations _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Agency/Company Phone Email _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Return to: MIIAB, 7500 Flying Cloud Dr, Suite 900, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 P: 952.835.4180 F: 952.835.4774 E: tnorum@miia.org www.miia.org

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 51

2011 MIIAB CISR Program Schedule MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

It’s easy to register - by fax, phone, mail or on-line!

Please select Seminar date - These courses have been approved by the MN Commissioner of Commerce for 8 hours of Insurance continuing education (**Dynamics of Service has been approved for 7 hours of Insurance continuing education)

1/5/11 - Rochester Agency Operations 1/26/11 - Eden Prairie Personal Auto 2/2/11 - St. Cloud Commercial Property 2/8/11 - Eden Prairie *WTH Personal Lines 2/16/11 - Eden Prairie Commercial Casualty 3/1/11 - Shoreview Agency Operations 3/22/11 - Eden Prairie Personal Residential 4/5/11 - St. Cloud Personal Residential 4/7/11 - Duluth Agency Operations 4/26/11 - Eden Prairie Commercial Property 5/3/11 - Bemidji Commercial Casualty 5/5/11 - Rochester *WTH Personal Lines 5/17/11 - Mankato Agency Operations 5/25/11 - Eden Prairie *Dynamics of Service 6/2/11 - Shoreview Personal Residential 6/7/11 - Duluth Personal Auto 6/8/11 - Fergus Falls Commercial Property 6/9/11 - Grand Rapids Commercial Casualty

6/22/11 - St. Cloud Commercial Casualty 7/13/11 - Worthington Commercial Casualty 7/14/11 - Brainerd Commercial Property 7/19/11 - Shoreview *Dynamics of Service 7/27/11 - Rochester Commercial Casualty 8/3/11 - Eden Prairie Agency Operations 8/9/11 - Thief River Falls Personal Auto 8/11/11 - St. Cloud *Dynamics of Service 9/8/11 - Alexandria Personal Residential 9/21/11 - Eden Prairie Personal Auto 10/5/11 - Duluth *Dynamics of Service 10/6/11 - Rochester Personal Auto 10/11/11 - St. Cloud *WTH Commercial Lines 10/13/11 - Mankato Personal Residential 10/25/11 - Eden Prairie *WTH Commercial Lines 11/2/11 - Shoreview Commercial Casualty 11/15/11 - St. Cloud Agency Operations 12/8/11 - Eden Prairie Commercial Property

Method of Payment Check Enclosed (Payable to MIIAB) or Charge to:



CANCELLATION POLICY: Registration fee is fully refundable if cancellation is received seven days prior to class. A $30.00 fee will be charged for cancellations less than seven days before the scheduled class. NO SHOWS will NOT receive a refund. In accordance with Title III of the American with Disabilities Act, we invite all registrants to advise us of any disability and any request for accommodation to that disabily. Please submit your request as far as possible in advance of the program you wish to attend

* NEW!!! William T. Hold Seminar and Dynamics of Service Open to All!

You are no longer required to have your designation or to be a dues paying member of the National Alliance to attend the William T. Hold or Dynamics of Service Seminars. You can also use these courses to update your CISR designation.

BONUS!!! William T. Hold Seminar Meets Ethics Requirements




CISR Seminar


William T. Hold Seminar (WTH)


Dynamics of Service

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Card Number Expiration Date Signature _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name on Card Security Code (3 digits) Billing Address _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name MN Insurance License # DOB Designations _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Agency/Company Phone Email _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Return to: MIIAB, 7500 Flying Cloud Dr, Suite 900, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 P:952.835.4180 F: 952.835.4774 E: tnorum@miia.org www.miia.org

52 The Minnesota News • February 2011

2011 MiiAB Errors & omissions Seminars MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

these courses have been approved by the MN Commissioner of Commerce for 6 hours of Insurance continuing education


totAL AttEnDEES REquiRED At A (6 houR) SEMinAR

PoSition in AgEnCy






















Cost per person

$151.00 MIIAB Member Price $166.00 Non-Member Price

Agencies that attend this seminar will receive a 10% loss control credit on their Westport E&O Premium. Once an agency attends the seminar the 10% credit will apply for 3 years if the agency remains claim free during the 3 year period.

Method of Payment Check Enclosed (Payable to MIIAB) or Charge to:



CAnCELLAtion PoLiCy: Registration fee is fully refundable if cancellation is received seven days prior to class. A $30.00 fee will be charged for cancellations less than seven days before the scheduled class. no ShoWS will not receive a refund.

In accordance with Title III of the American with Disabilities Act, we invite all registrants to advise us of any disability and any request for accommodation to that disabily. Please submit your request as far as possible in advance of the program you wish to attend

Please Check Location 1/20/11 - Eden Prairie 8:30am-3:30pm

Prairie Conference Center 7500 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952.835.4180 3/8/11 - St. Cloud 8:30am-3:30pm Best Western Kelly Inn Hwy 23 & 4th Ave St. Cloud, MN 56301 320.253.0606 4/21/11 - Eden Prairie 8:30am-3:30pm Prairie Conference Center 7500 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952.835.4180 5/12/11 - Fergus Falls 8:30am-3:30pm Best Western/Bigwoods Event Center 925 Western Ave Fergus Falls, MN 56537 800.293.2216 6/21/11 - Morton 8:30am-3:30pm Jackpot Junction 39375 County Hwy 24 Morton, MN 56270 507.644.3000 7/26/11 - Walker 8:30am-3:30pm Chase on the Lake 502 Cleveland Blvd Walker, MN 56484 888.242.7306 8/16/11 - Rochester 8:30am-3:30pm Doubletree Rochester 150 South Broadway Rochester, MN 55904 507.281.8000 9/27/11 - Duluth 8:30am-3:30pm Holiday Inn & Suites 200 West First St. Duluth, MN 55802 218.727.7492 11/16/11 - Eden Prairie 8:30am-3:30pm Prairie Conference Center 7500 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952.835.4180

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Card Number Expiration Date Signature _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name on Card Security Code (3 digits) Billing Address _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name MN Insurance License # DOB Designations _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Agency/Company Phone Email _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip Return to: MiiAB, 7500 Flying Cloud Dr, Suite 900, Eden Prairie, Mn 55344 P: 952.835.4180 F: 952.835.4774 E: tnorum@miia.org www.miia.org

February 2011 • The Minnesota News 53

Power in Partners


Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association

MN Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association


Listed below are the companies who strongly support the Indepenent Agency System and the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association



General Casualty Companies Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company Indiana Insurnace Midwest Family Mutual North Star Mutual Insurance Companies The Hanover Group Security Life Insurance Company



ACUITY AmTrust North America ICC Restoration & Cleaning Services Meadowbook, Inc. RPS Schneider Agency Selective Insurance Company of America S.H. Smith & Company, Inc. Solbrekk Business Technology Solutions

54 The Minnesota News • February 2011

State Auto Companies The Hartford Tomsche, Sonnesyn & Tomsche, PA Toshiba Business Solutions Travelers Companies, Inc. Westfield Insurance Wilson Mutual Insurance Company Workers Compensation Specialist

Profile for MIIAB

The MN News February 2011  

Official Publication of MIIAB

The MN News February 2011  

Official Publication of MIIAB

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