ALSO INTHISISSUE: ________________ 6 E&S market tips Rules for sharing commissions Overcoming producer challenges
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Contents PRIMARY AGENT MAGAZINE
Enabling enthusiasm Enthusiastic employees are productive, loyal — and contagious. Learn five ways to rethink typical independent agency processes and structure to improve morale.
16 The art of goal setting Goal-oriented people are many of the world’s most successful. It’s about determining a prize and then keeping your eyes on it every step of the way. Here, Scott Addis — an independent agent, consultant and IA&B member — shares how to make the art of goal setting work for you.
Overcoming producer challenges Becoming — and staying — a top new-business producer takes perseverance, knowledge and sales savvy. Maureen Gallagher shares with IA&B her insights on the top challenges for producers and how agency owners can help their employees overcome them.
Page 20 Mission Statement Primary Agent delivers ideas to help Insurance Agents & Brokers’ members negotiate their unique position as guardians of trust between insurance consumers and companies while facing the challenges of maintaining a small business. Primary Agent also supports IA&B’s mission to preserve and advocate the American Agency System.
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In every issue 2 3 4 6 8 14
Chair of the Board’s Message Member FAQ State News Preventing E&O Coverage Corner Glance at Events
25 26 IBC IBC IBC
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Subscriptions: Non-member price: $2.25 per copy or $15 per year. All communications for publications, including news, features, advertising copy, cuts, etc., must reach the editor by 1st of month two months prior to publication. Advertising rates furnished upon request. Address inquiries to: Primary Agent Editor 5050 Ritter Road Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-0763 Phone (800) 998-9644 or (717) 795-9100 Fax (717) 795-8347 Periodical postage paid at Mechanicsburg, Pa. and additional entry post office. Ride-along enclosed. Postmaster: Send address changes to above address. Primary Agent (ISSN 1543-3110), Permit # 638-620, Issue # 2013-4 is published monthly by IA&B Service Group Inc., a subsidiary of IA&B.
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. No material may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent of the publisher. The information in this publication is general in nature and is not intended to serve as legal, accounting, financial, insurance, investment advisory or other professional advice as to any reader’s particular situation. Users are encouraged to consult with competent legal, financial, insurance, investment advisory and or other professional advisors concerning specific matters before making any decisions and we disclaim any responsibility for any decisions or actions by readers. Statements of fact and opinion in Primary Agent are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers or the members of the IA&B. Participation in IA&B events, activities and/or publications is available on a non-discriminatory basis and does not reflect IA&B endorsement of the products and/or services.
Board of Directors
Norman F. Basso, CPCU
Chair of the Board’s
Norman F. Basso, CPCU Chair of the Board York, Pa. G. Greg Gunn, CIC Vice Chair of the Board Lemoyne, Pa.
Robert B. Hall, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, ARM, ARM-P Immediate Past Chair of the Board West Chester, Pa.
Joyce M. Bailey, CIC, CRM, CPIW Newark, Del. Henry “Butch” Bradley, Jr. Forest Hill, Md. Timothy P. Burris Mifflintown, Pa. N. Lee Dotson, CIC, AAI Wilmington, Del. Michael P. Ertel Columbia, Md. John L. Frankenfield Telford, Pa. John B. Hollister Milford, Pa. Diana M. Hornung Hanby, ACSR Wilmington, Del. Jocelyn R. Howard-Sinopoli, CIC, CISR Butler, Pa. +
Robert S. Klinger, LUTCF, CPIA Germantown, Md. Douglas A. Loesel, CPCU Erie, Pa. Michael F. McGroarty Sr. Pittsburgh, Pa.
This time of year lends itself to housekeeping, literally and figuratively. Padded a safe distance between January and July renewal rushes — and energized with a sunlight-aided serotonin boost — April is the perfect time for self-reflection and self-improvement. And even if our personal New Year’s resolutions are still in the drawer, we all need to make sure we are following through on the 2013 goals we set for our agencies. This month’s Primary Agent magazine presents some tips. On page 10, agency consultant (and former agent) Philip Lieberman offers five ways to build enthusiasm among employees. Then IA&B-member Scott Addis, on page 16, shares his personal account of goal setting and five steps to actualize your goals. While we’re on the subject of housekeeping, the 2013-2014 IA&B membership year began April 1. If you already renewed, thank you. And if you have yet to do so, please submit your dues quickly to prevent a lapse in your benefits. Your association is gearing up for another productive year of working on your behalf, so don’t miss out. Until next month,
Craig S. Mader Gambrills, Md. Ann Gallen Moll, CIC Reading, Pa.
Joseph R. Pastor, CPCU, AAI Oil City, Pa. April E. Ressler, CIC Altoona, Pa. Scott C. Rogers, CPIA* York, Pa. David B. Wasson Sr., CIC State College, Pa. Lawrence A. Wilson, CIC, CPIA, CPCU, ARM** New Castle, Del.
* Pa. IIABA National Director ** Del. IIABA National Director + Md. PIA National Director
Driving members to distinction. 
Member FAQ QUESTION: Can I share commissions with another producer who is licensed in Life, Accident & Health for referring a piece of P&C business to my agency?
ANSWER: This is a frequent inquiry to IA&B. Most — if not all — state producer-licensing statutes contain a provision that prohibits sharing commissions with unlicensed persons. Obviously, in your case, the person appears to be licensed. After all, he’s a producer in good standing. However, a license is only extended for certain lines of authority, in his case Life, Accident and Health.
conditions are met. These conditions are state-specific. If you are considering a referral fee program to drive more business to your agency, make sure you review these conditions prior to proceeding. Good news! It’s all at your fingertips at www.iabgroup.com: Go to Agency Operations, then Fees, and then Paying Referral Fees.
Since the product being referred is Property & Casualty, the producer in question would not be considered licensed for purposes of this provision. In our three states of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the law does not allow you to compensate him through commission-sharing. This is also true if the arrangement is between two producers working in the same agency. If the commission is going to be shared individually (i.e. with the individual producer not carrying the appropriate line of authority), sharing is prohibited.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use “Primary Agent FAQ” in the subject line of your message. You can also fax your question to 717-795-8347. We look forward to answering your questions!
However, there are other available options: Referral fees are permissible in our three states provided certain
State News Primary Agent | April 2013
CGL and CP changes in effect; class addresses revisions Don't be fooled post April 1. That was the effective date of multistate filings submitted by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) for the Commercial General Liability (CGL) and the Commercial Property (CP) forms and endorsements. From liquor liability, blanket additional insured, water exclusion or coverage for roof surfacing, and more, the changes impact many different facets of the policies. To help members keep up with the revisions, and keep E&O at bay, DAIAB developed a course that will allow producers to understand how the changes expand or reduce coverage, and ultimately how their insureds are impacted. Several course offerings remain this spring, including in Baltimore, Md. and Lancaster, Pa. DAIAB members must start preparing for carrier implementation. As with any ISO filing, some carriers will automatically adopt the changes, others may delay the adoption, and others still may adopt some of them and file their own separate forms, picking and choosing the items they wish to retain. www.iabgroup.com/education
Annual Convention set for May 29-30 Jump start the summer season with a late-May trip to Rehoboth Beach for the 56th Annual DAIAB Convention. The two-day event is a gathering of whoâ€™s who in the Delaware insurance world. Networking begins on Wednesday, May 29 with the traditional Kings Creek Country Club golf tournament or, for the adventurous, a guided kayak tour of the salt marsh. The day concludes with an opportunity to mix and mingle at the sponsor welcome reception. Day two features the associationâ€™s annual awards luncheon, sandwiched between top-notch education opportunities. www.iabgroup.com/ DEconvention
Company Appreciation Night in review A sincere thank-you goes out to those who attended the March 19 Company Appreciation Night in Newark. The annual event allowed DAIAB members to network with company representatives and thank them for their support of the independent agency system.
DAIAB members talk shop in D.C. Independent agents’ voices will be heard on Capitol Hill. Later this month DAIAB members — along with agents from across the country — will congregate in Washington, D.C. for the annual IIABA (Big “I”) National Legislative Conference. Participants will meet with their congressional delegation to discuss terrorism risk insurance, health care, insurance regulation and agent licensing, among other hot-button federal legislative issues. Look for highlights from the April 17-18 conference in Agent Headlines and future issues of Primary Agent magazine.
Mapping out DAIAB’s future DAIAB staff is gearing up for the April 25 Member Agent Panel (MAP) meeting in Dover, where member agents will weigh in on industry issues and provide feedback on the association’s activities and direction. The MAP meeting also will allow association staff to recap recently launched DAIAB programs and services and to share legislative and regulatory updates. And, during an open forum, attendees may air individual agency struggles and brainstorm solutions. As always, participants’ feedback then will head to the DAIAB Board of Directors. Watch for updates and outcomes of the April MAP meeting in Agent Headlines and upcoming issues of Primary Agent.
Walk for Wishes® raises funds, lifts spirits
The DAIAB-supported and Trusted Choice®-sponsored Walk for Wishes took place on Saturday, March 16 in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of walkers — to include many Trusted Choice agents — participated in the fundraiser to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. This event was the latest in a series that DAIAB will coordinate to benefit MakeA-Wish. As a reminder, independent agencies across Delaware — and the nation — are uniting to support the charity this year. Members can learn more about participating and leveraging their involvement in the DAIAB Marketing Center. www.iabgroup.com/ de/marketing
Does your agency have a CSR Superstar? Outstanding customer service reflects outstanding agencies. As part of our mission to "drive members to distinction," DAIAB encourages members to recognize an exceptional front-line employee by nominating her or him for the 2013 Outstanding CSR of the Year Award. The award is sponsored by the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, and DAIAB is accepting nominations and candidate entries. The award is open to anyone, regardless of designation, and candidates may nominate themselves. The only requirement is that the candidate be an insurance CSR or have primary duties in customer service. Upon receipt of a nomination, DAIAB will mail the candidate the necessary materials to complete the entry process. Nominations should be made as soon as possible to allow the candidates ample time to complete all entry materials (including an essay) which are due May 1. Winners will be announced this summer. www.iabgroup.com/ awards/out_csr
Preventing Primary Agent | April 2013
ERRORS AND OMISSIONS
6 TIPS WHEN MOVING STANDARD BUSINESS TO THE E&S MARKET CURTIS M. PEARSALL CPCU, ARM, CPIA Curtis M. Pearsall, CPCU, ARM, CPIA, president of Pearsall Associations Inc. and special consultant to the Utica National E&O Program, supplied this article. He blogs at www.agentseotips.com. Insurance Agents & Brokers Service Group Inc. is the exclusive agent for the Utica E&O program in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. For questions regarding this article or your E&O coverage, contact IA&B at 800-998-9644 or email@example.com.
specific application needed. This initial contact could play an important role down the road.
As the market continues to harden, you will probably find most of your standard markets modifying their underwriting guidelines. This could mean that some of your standard market accounts will be nonrenewed and your agency will need to find them a new home. This new home could very well involve the Excess & Surplus Lines marketplace.
The timeline Give your wholesaler plenty of time with the submission. If the wholesaler has questions, respond quickly and accurately. In many situations, the wholesaler may have the “pen” for that market, so the submission can be turned around quickly. In other situations, it may take upwards of 60 days. If you are unsure whether your other standard markets will be interested in the account, it is best to get the application into the E&S market. This additional time period might be needed based on the type of account.
The E&S market has served a vital role in our industry for many years. While activity in the E&S market normally is fairly busy, it increases significantly during a hard market. As a result, there are a number of issues to keep in mind. The application While wholesalers will typically accept ACORD applications for most of their business, there will be some classes of business where the carrier will want its own application completed. Contact your wholesaler in advance and ask if there is a
Moreover, don’t just send the application and forget about it. Follow up with your wholesaler to ensure the application was received and to check whether any additional information is required.
The proposal E&S proposals can be unique and contain some forms/endorsements/ exclusions for which you must watch. A General Liability policy in the E&S market might look much different than a General Liability policy in the standard market. Review the proposal and don’t hesitate to ask for a specimen policy if the forms are unfamiliar to you. One endorsement to look for is the Classification Limitation Endorsement. This form, commonly found on GL policies in the E&S market, is a potential E&O headache. This endorsement essentially restricts coverage under that policy to only those classifications noted on the policy. For example, if you insure a carpenter, the coverage would state only claims arising from carpentry would be covered. If the carpenter does some drywalling, there would be
no coverage for this exposure unless the policy was modified accordingly. Look for this form and, if it is included on that particular policy, advise your customer in writing of this limitation. Explain that if the customer performs any work outside the stated classifications, there is no coverage and the agency should be contacted before undertaking this additional work. Document this discussion in writing back to your customer. Lack of authority to bind In the standard marketplace, agencies will usually have some type of binding authority guidelines. In the E&S market, because your agency is technically not the agent of record (the wholesaler is), in all likelihood, your agency has no binding authority. To bind a risk, you would need to advise the wholesaler. Realize, though, that the wholesaler might not even have the authority and may need to contact the carrier. Due to this situation, do not advise the client that coverage is bound until the wholesaler confirms it. It is crucial that you know the “rules” when dealing with various wholesalers. In virtually all circumstances, the wholesaler will make clear what is needed to bind coverage. Is premium payment needed in advance of the binding? Are the affidavits needed to bind coverage or do you have some time to get these completed? This may vary among wholesalers. Another “big” issue is that coverage must be bound on or before the effective date for coverage to be put into effect. There is no backdating in the E&S market, so request binding in advance of the actual effective date. This may prompt a higher level of priority on the handling of these accounts.
Know the carrier There are many E&S carriers that do a fantastic job. Unfortunately, many of these carriers will not exactly be a household name. When you receive proposals from the wholesaler, look at who the carrier is. It may be a new carrier you have never heard of or one you have not dealt with previously. It is recommended that agency management establishes a guideline detailing what an acceptable rating is. It is best to factor in how your agency’s E&O policy addresses this issue to ensure that if the carrier became insolvent, the agency would have protection under its E&O. It is easy to check carriers’ ratings through the A.M. Best website (www.ambest.com). With the exception of New Jersey, the State Guaranty Fund does not provide any protection if an E&S carrier is declared insolvent. Do your homework The wholesalers you do business with will be especially busy during a hard market. Work with them and you will find that they will work with you. Doing your homework and having a professional relationship with these folks could make a big difference in whether your application gets to the top of the pile.
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Coverage Primary Agent | April 2013
DIMINUTION IN VALUE: FIRST AUTOS, NOW BUILDINGS
JERRY M. MILTON, CIC Jerry M. Milton, CIC teaches and consults on industry issues. The legal profession recognizes him as an expert on insurance coverages. He is also the education consultant for IA&B, working with CISR,
Royal Capital Development owns an eight-story commercial building in Atlanta, Ga. They purchased a commercial property insurance policy from Maryland Casualty Company covering the building. The building was damaged due to construction activity on an adjacent property.
then filed motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether the policy, under Georgia law, allowed recovery for diminution in value in addition to the costs of repair. The District Court granted Maryland Casualty’s motion for summary judgment, and Royal Capital appealed.
Royal Capital submitted a claim to Maryland Casualty seeking both the cost of repair of the building and diminution in value resulting from the damage. Maryland Casualty acknowledged that the damage to the building was a covered loss and paid Royal Capital approximately $1.1 million for the estimated costs of repair, but declined to compensate them for the claim of diminution in value.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined that the sole question was whether Royal Capital’s insurance contract with Maryland Casualty required the insurer to pay for the diminution in value of the insured building in addition to the costs of repair. Finding no controlling precedent from Georgia state courts, the Eleventh Circuit certified the question to the Georgia Supreme Court for proper interpretation of the insurance contract.
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Royal Capital then sued Maryland Casualty in Georgia state court. Maryland Casualty removed the case to the United States District Court. Both parties
The Georgia Supreme Court turned to a 2001 case, State
Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co. v. Mabry, in which the court held that automobile insurers are required to pay for diminution in value of a repaired vehicle. Based on the Mabry decision, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that claims for diminution in value are covered under a property insurance policy. The key point considered by the court was to make the insured whole following a loss, and an award for only the repair costs would not fully compensate the insured. In extending the Mabry ruling to apply to property policies, the court stated that the Mabry rule “is not limited by type of property insured, but rather speaks generally to the measure of damages an insurer is obligated to pay.” Additionally, the court recognized that, under Georgia law, “the cost of repair and diminution in
value can be alternative, although interchangeable, measures of damage to real property.” The court further stated that whether damages for diminution in value are recoverable under the insurance policy depends on the “specific language of the contract itself and can be resolved through application of the general rules of contract construction.” Royal Capital Development, LLC v. Maryland Casualty Company is a Georgia case and therefore does not affect us here in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. At least, not now. But our insureds, and their attorneys, can read. Will this decision spread to other states, including ours? Very likely. Then we’ll have the court cases, followed by new endorsements.
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Enabling enthusiasm Five ways to get your employees excited about their jobs
Enthusiastic employees are productive, loyal â€” and contagious. Learn five ways to rethink typical independent agency processes and structure to improve morale.
Primary Agent | April 2013
How can we create an atmosphere of enthusiasm among our employees? There are five major areas: 1. Effective communication and smooth operating processes 2. Team building 3. Compensation systems 4. Goal setting 5. Evaluations
1. Effective communication and smooth operating processes Disciplined processes and good communication are important from the standpoint of efficiency and improving client relationships, but there is a secondary result that can be of significant importance in managing your agency. When youâ€™re paying attention to smoothing out the internal processes involved in new business, renewals, billing, claims and accounting, the entire workflow system improves and client satisfaction improves along with it. That, in turn, infuses an atmosphere of competence and capability throughout the agency, which has the natural result of creating enthusiastic employees. People take pride in the work and the workplace and become enthusiastic about being a part of it. When communication with clients and underwriters becomes clear, professional and caring, misunderstandings and conflicts are reduced. When internal communication improves, tasks get done more efficiently, unnecessary quarrels are reduced and enthusiasm overtakes discord as the pervasive tone throughout the office.
2. Team building Take an honest look at your overall operations and critically decide if a team model seems right for your agency. Itâ€™s really not unlike departmentalization, but the difference is in the underlying philosophy: command and control versus empowerment. A command-and-control methodology has several disadvantages, not only for the employees, but for the boss as well. Employees no longer think for themselves; they follow rules and regulations with a robot-like approach. Intimidation can be a debilitating factor when managers react to transgressions with verbal castigation, which is especially demeaning when done publicly. In such an environment, even though there are varied gradations of such behavior, the opposite of enthusiasm results.
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When you smooth out internal processes, the entire workflow system improves and client satisfaction improves along with it. That, in turn, has the natural result of creating enthusiastic employees.
Although the boss may get a psychic reward from being in total control, micromanaging can result in burnout. Juggling many balls in the air at one time may be fun at the beginning, but it is wearing and inevitably becomes distracting and inefficient.
the initial and ongoing process of developing teams, but don’t let that deter you from getting started. There are a lot of resources available to lean on along the way.
Empowerment, on the other hand, benefits both employees and management. Workers receive satisfaction from brainstorming ideas within their teams and seeing those ideas put into practice. Encouraging staff to think outside of the box and develop solutions to seemingly intractable problems raises employee morale. Managers can oversee the process and guide the direction of effort, but they also will benefit from being relieved of micromanaging.
We continue to pay staff the way we always have without critically looking at how enthusiasm can be dampened by outmoded protocols.
Manage the transition to the team model. Some employees, especially those who have functioned in a command-andcontrol setting for years, may find it difficult to cope with a less structured environment, with its responsibility and accountability. The change in morale will astound you once it develops momentum. Every team member should become involved in the process of team building: setting goals, establishing the team’s overall mission statement and determining the necessary tasks. It is nothing short of amazing how buy-in gets created when the rules of the game are set by the players themselves. Yes, there are some techniques involved in
3. Compensation systems This is one of the most parochial and inflexible areas in agency operations. We continue to pay staff the way we always have without critically looking at how enthusiasm can be dampened by outmoded protocols. Use these ideas to stimulate changes within your agency: ◗ Commission schedules for producers should reflect your philosophy. A typical schedule is one that pays a producer 40 percent for new business and 25 percent for renewal. That’s based on a belief that the producer should make a lesser percentage for renewals than what is paid for new accounts because much of the renewal work is done by internal staff. There’s a certain logic to that thought process, but if the agency
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puts a high value on retention and encourages its producers to play an active role in the renewal process, then a 35 percent new and renewal schedule makes more sense. On the other hand, if the agency feels that its lifeblood comes from new account development and assigns virtually the entire renewal process to an account manager or CSR, then a 50 percent new and 15 to 20 percent renewal schedule might be a better fit. ◗ Agents typically establish pay increases for nonproducers using a percentage matrix. A mediocre employee might receive a 2 percent raise while a real star might get 5 or 6 percent. But let’s look at how that plays out. If two CSRs are making $40,000 annually, the mediocre performer will get an increase of $16 per week before taxes, probably $10 per week after taxes. The star performer will receive a $48 weekly increase, about or $32 extra in her weekly paycheck. So the difference between the star performer and the mediocre one is a big $22 per week—hardly an effective motivational tool for anyone, and somewhat unfair to boot. ◗ Nine or 10 years ago, there was a trend toward variable pay for non-producers. Under this concept, additional
Primary Agent | April 2013
incentives related to business results and individual and/or team objectives supplement base salaries. Nothing is taken away, but future increases are mostly variable. Attainment of pre-set goals, whether agencywide, teamwide or individual, provides a more tangible and effective incentive for employees, including supervisors, and helps deemphasize the small salary differentials between the average and the star performer. It’s a better motivational tool and keeps people focused on what constitutes success in their jobs.
Setting goals for employees is a must for a well-run agency. If individuals don’t know what is expected of them, how can we hold them accountable for not meeting our expectations? 4. Goal setting Whether or not you use a variable pay system, setting goals for employees is a must for a well-run agency. If individuals don’t know what is expected of them, how can we hold them accountable for not
meeting our expectations? Goals can encompass various operational areas, but in setting them up, keep in mind these important aspects: ◗ They should be aligned with overall agency goals. ◗ They must be stated in measurable terms; concepts and generalized goals don’t work. As we’ve said before, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. ◗ They have to be attainable, but not too easy to reach. Setting impossible goals only serves to dampen enthusiasm, not encourage it.
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◗ Design the goals with the team, creating buy-in. They should discuss important ingredients for success and create achievement standards based on those factors.
employees to discover what problems they are having and let them know about improvements they should make. That way, by the time the annual performance evaluation is done, there shouldn’t be any surprises.
◗ The rewards should be frequent, not annual. A “rewards bank” can provide a mechanism for quarterly payouts during the year with a final adjustment at year-end.
Use a standard evaluation form throughout the agency, distributed to all in advance so everyone knows the factors that are important to management. At each employee’s annual review, go over the results so any areas of misunderstanding can be examined and resolved. Some firms have the employee do their own assessment on the same form and then compare them
5. Evaluations Managers should take the time to have informal and periodic private conversations with their
Glance at Events Date
with their managers’ assessments during the discussion. Either way, the individual should acknowledge receipt of his or her evaluation in writing. If possible, defer any conversation about pay raises for another time. When they are done together, many employees will be focused on the amount of their increase and won’t hear or actively participate in the performance discussion. A possible way to arrange this is to have the pay discussion at yearend and the evaluation discussion on the anniversary date of the employee’s hiring,
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thus spreading out the task over the year. This also gives the employee time to improve his or her performance before it becomes time to discuss a pay increase. There’s a lot of room to try creative ideas to improve the morale and enthusiasm of staff. What could be more important that that?
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Philip Lieberman, CPCU, CLU, penned this article. He is president of Lieberman Consulting Services, Caldwell, N.J. Prior to forming his consulting business, Lieberman headed his own agency for more than 35 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The art of goal setting
Goal-oriented people are many of the world’s most successful. It’s about determining a prize and then keeping your eyes on it every step of the way. Here, Scott Addis — an independent agent, consultant and IA&B member — shares how to make the art of goal setting work for you.
Primary Agent | April 2013
our ability to create visions and set goals is essential to your personal and professional lives. Visions allow you to see yourself at some point in the future, while goals offer a road map to reach these visions. There is nothing more rewarding than having visions, setting goals to reach these visions and focusing in as the visions become reality.
Goal setting is a powerful process of becoming clear about your ideal future, designing an action plan to get you there, launching into action and persisting until you reach your destination. The key to goal setting is your ability to turn this vision into reality. The art of goal setting is understood and appreciated by top athletes, entertainers and successful people in all walks of life. A person who learns how to set goals lives each day with a sense of clarity, confidence, purpose and passion. I was first introduced to the art of goal setting in the early 1980s while maturing as an account manager at Johnson & Higgins in Philadelphia. Rather than seeing goal setting as a chore, I learned that the process of goal setting was stimulating, energizing and rewarding. Goal setting made a lot of sense to me. Without goals, I would have no sense of direction. The art of goal setting continues to enable me to: 1. Decide what is important in my life. 2. Determine what I want to achieve. 3. Separate what is important from what is irrelevant. 4. Be motivated. 5. Facilitate my ability to benchmark progress. 6. Gain self confidence as my goals become reality. Think of goal setting as your navigation system. Goal setting allows you to identify what is important in your life and turn your thoughts and ideas into specific, actionable and measurable goals. Importantly, your goals will protect you from becoming distracted by other peopleâ€™s agendas and expectations. In designing your goal setting navigation system and charting your own course, you will have control over your destination. Research on goal setting and peak performance substantiates that most successful people are goal oriented. They have learned how to turn their vision into action. They have a knack of bringing the future into the present so they can take action now.
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Greg Norman, the legendary golfer stated, “Setting goals for your game is an art. The trick is setting them at the right level, neither too low or too high. A good goal should be lofty enough to inspire hard work yet realistic enough to provide solid hope of attainment.” A common acronym for setting goals is SMART. The S stands for specific. M is for measurable. A stands for achievable. R is for realistic. T stands for time bound. Think of a goal as a dream with a timeline. Every goal needs a target date for completion. If you do design SMART goals, do not lose sight of your big-picture goals — your future vision. SMART goals can help you climb the ladder of success step-by step, only to find that it may be leaning on the wrong wall.
Five steps to goal setting I would like to offer the following 5-step strategy for effective goal setting. Step 1 – List your goals A to Z. The art of goal setting begins with writing your personal and professional goals from A to Z. Don’t hold back. Write down whatever comes to your mind. Go nuts and take pride in the length and diversity of your list. This exercise will give you energy and motivation. It is also fun. Some of your goals will be short term while other will be futuristic. Don’t worry about that. Just focus on writing down goals
that are important to you. You may wish to ask yourself the following questions: 1. What is my purpose and mission in life? 2. How do I want to focus my time and energy? 3. What are my developmental needs at this point in my life? 4. What does my ideal lifestyle look like?
Your goals will protect you from becoming distracted by other people’s agendas and expectations.
Your goals will cover a wide range of categories including family, career, education, financial, physical, spiritual, community service, etc. The A to Z exercise will allow you to establish a big picture of what is important to you and what you want to do with your life. Many of your A to Z goals will be lifetime goals. Step 2 – Prioritizing your goals. After you have gone through the A to Z exercise, begin listing your goals on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being most significant to you at this point in time, and one meaning it is not a priority right now. Here are a few questions
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that should help you prioritize your goals: 1. Which goal(s) will give me the most energy? 2. Which goal(s) am I most committed to? 3. What goal(s) offers the most value to me? 4. What goals are fully within my control? 5. In five years, how important will this goal be to me? The process of prioritizing your goals will allow you to break down your A to Z list into smaller targets. You should gain greater clarity through this exercise. Step 3 – Setting your execution strategy and achievement timeframe. By prioritizing your goals, you have set the stage for an execution strategy through which you are able to define the following plans: ◗ Lifetime plan ◗ Five-year plan ◗ One-year plan ◗ 90-day plan ◗ Weekly plan Your lifetime and five-year plans represent your vision of the future — essential points of your long-term destination. These big-picture plans are vital. However, it will be your ability to execute the weekly, 90-day and one-year goals which will launch you to your ideal future.
Primary Agent | April 2013
Your one-year goals should be power packed, the kind that require you to stretch your capabilities, increase your resources and make meaningful improvements to your personal and business lives. Your one-year plan should include meaningful, relevant, motivational and realistic steps to your long-term vision. The 90-day plan supports the one-year goals — an essential means to benchmark your progress, reevaluate your priorities and make sure that you are focused on what matters most. It is difficult to reach your one-year goals without 90-day plans. As I look at my career, the weekly plan is an essential key to my success. I have made it a habit to come to work each week with a plan to accomplish specific objectives that support my 90-day and one-year plans as well as my big-picture, future vision. Step 4 – Visualizing your goals. Mental imagery is essential to goal setting. Your ability to see yourself at the point of goal actualization is a key component to successful goal setting. Goal setting breaks down unless you have great clarity about your vision. Step 5 – Actualizing your goals. When you achieve a goal, take time to enjoy the satisfaction of what you have accomplished. Celebrate the moment and
absorb the implication of the goal as it relates to your future self. If your goal is a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. On occasion, you will not accomplish a specific goal. You must not lose confidence or get frustrated. The failure to actualize a specific goal is not important as long as you learned a lesson from the process and gave it your best effort.
I have made it a habit to come to work each week with a plan to accomplish specific objectives that support my 90-day and one-year plans as well as my big-picture, future vision.
Walter Cronkite once said, “I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” The art of goal setting may be one of your most important life skills. The process will ignite your passion for the future. Good luck and have fun!
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The author, Scott Addis, is president and CEO of The Addis Group and Addis Intellectual Capital, LLC (AIC). AIC is a coaching and consulting company with the purpose of transforming the process that insurance agents, brokers and carriers use when working with their clients. Scott is recognized as an industry leader having been named Inc Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” as well as one of the 25 Most Innovative Agents in America. He can be reached at email@example.com or 610-945-1019.
Identifying and overcoming producer challenges Insight from a veteran producer
Becoming â€” and staying â€” a top new-business producer takes perseverance, knowledge and sales savvy. On the following pages Maureen Gallagher, a veteran producer and mentor, shares her insights on the top challenges for producers and how agency owners can help their employees overcome them.
Primary Agent | April 2013
aureen Gallagher, CIC, CWCP, CRM, is an accomplished insurance agent with 40 years experience in the industry. She is a regional director with a large insurance, risk management and consulting firm and previously served as CEO of Acordia of Michigan (Wells Fargo). She spent a decade as head of her own agency and is founder and director of the education company, Insurance Partners Academy.
Gallagher entertained IA&B’s questions on the current challenged faced by new producers, veteran producers and agency owners. Excerpts of her sage advice follow.
IA&B: What do you find are the top challenges for new producers in today’s market?
Gallagher: Gaining the necessary experience, knowledge and skills. Knowledge is easier to obtain than experience. A producer can find courses to learn coverage and skills. Unfortunately, no one can “teach” experience. This is a new producer’s greatest challenge. Everything is new and they have no reference for what may have worked in the past. They are learning a whole new insurance language and have
Benefit from Gallagher’s knowledge Maureen Gallagher boasts 40 years of experience in the industry and maintains a vibrant book of business. She will share
For [most] new producers, the reality is both the producer and the agency need patience."
her tried and true strategies for success at the intensive, four-day Producer Peak Performance seminar, to be held at IA&B headquarters on April 15-18.
no real-life examples and stories to demonstrate coverage concerns and solutions. Experience comes with time, trials, errors and successes. It is just that simple…. For [most] new producers, the reality is both the producer and the agency need patience…. Then there are prospecting skills — a key component to success in an insurance sales role. New producers typically do not have an established network; therefore they must prospect. This includes phone cold-calling and networking. Producers must fine-tune the phone skills needed to get an appointment or advance the relationship with the prospects. Effective cold-calling requires knowing how to navigate to the decision maker within the company and deliver a powerful and concise message that resonates with the buyer and opens the conversation….
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Participants will learn how to manage prospects’ and clients’ expectations, increase sales and closing ratios, garner support and resources, improve technical skills and enhance their credibility. Producers (new and veteran), agency owners and sales managers can all benefit. www.iabgroup.com/performance
Independent agencies traditionally have not provided the leadership and training for producers to be successful cold-callers…. The agency needs to provide reinforcement to producers that consistent actions that develop good prospecting habits will produce positive results.
everything they have done for them. A client has to be “earned” each renewal…. An additional challenge is battling complacency and burnout. Insurance sales and service is a tough job. When a producer has a substantial book of business and is making a nice income, the producer is often
IA&B: How about challenges for veteran producers? Gallagher: There are several. One is balancing servicing existing clients with prospecting for new clients. All agencies want producers consistently bringing in new accounts, but many agencies do not invest in the proper support staff to allow veteran producers to continue to write new business…. If a capable service staff is not there to back up the producer, the producer gets bogged down in keeping current clients happy, and new business suffers. Another is overestimating their relationship with the client. Over time, veteran producers establish strong relationships with clients and can be lured into a false sense of security. They often make the mistake of thinking the client remembers
Doing things the 'old fashion way' can leave an opportunity open for a more focused, organized and ambitious producer to take [a veteran producer's] business.
content to service their existing book, perhaps write an account here or there from referral, lose an account here and there and never grow their book. Veteran producers can also become complacent about learning new products, approaches and value-added services many agencies are providing. Not staying up on current changes in the industry or doing things the “old fashion way” can leave an opportunity open for a more focused,
organized and ambitious producer to take their business.
IA&B: What advice would you give agency owners who are struggling to find and retain top producer talent?
Gallagher: First and foremost, make sure they are committed — financially and from a staffing support perspective — to the two-year time table it takes to get a new producer established. They should also test all prospective producers, new or veteran, to assure they have the innate qualities every successful producer needs: a sense of urgency, ability to read people (empathy), ego strength (ability to withstand rejection) and persuasion skills. Work ethic, attention to details and other factors play a role as well, but some things just cannot be taught, and the producer’s success often is dependent on having certain innate qualities. It’s also important to establish mentoring and training programs for veterans and newbies … and establish clear-cut expectations and objectives with frequent reviews…. And if the agency does not have a sales manager — as most don’t — consider engaging an outside sales consultant or program that the agency follows.
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Read more and register at iabgroup.com/performance
Led by an accomplished independent agent with real-world experience as a top producer, this extended program is a new, unique and affordable opportunity to give producers the skills and knowledge to shift sales into high gear.
Insurance Agents & Brokers proudly recognizes Millville Mutual Insurance Company as one of its Platinum Partners. IA&B Platinum Partners dedicate the highest level of sponsorship to our organization.
Millville Mutual company headquarters located in Millville, Pennsylvania
Millville Insurance Company now offers service in New York
M FEATURED PARTNER Millville Mutual Insurance Company COMPANY PRESIDENT M. Paige Raski President COMPANY LOCATION 215 State Street, Millville, PA 800-262-8495 A.M. BEST RATING “A” (Excellent) WEBSITE www.millvillemutual.com
illville Mutual Insurance Company provides protection and peace of mind from fire, natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances that can change one’s personal or business life. As one of the four oldest operating businesses in Columbia County, Millville Mutual Insurance Company has been successfully operating since 1875. Millville Mutual currently serves over 61,000 policyholders throughout the state of Pennsylvania and is dedicated to building strong ties to both the rural and suburban portions of the state. The insight and knowledge of the areas in which they do business affords them the ability to tailor their products and services to fit the specific needs of each individual policyholder. With more than 175 independent agencies across the state, customers can receive the personalized service and individualized products they deserve. With $62 million of assets, $26 million in premium and $38 million in surplus, Millville Mutual is proud to announce that, due to financial strength and efficient operations, it has retained an “A” (Excellent) rating by AM Best
Company, which is a rating it has maintained since 1973. While last year focused on the final stages of implementing a new Webbased policy management system, the company expanded its services into New York, officially launching Millville Insurance Company of New York. Since the first policy was written in May 2012 the New York Company has grown to include 70 policyholders and over $28,000 in written premium. Millville Insurance Company of New York is currently offering Homeowners, Mobile Homeowners, Dwelling Fire, Landlord Protection Package, Flood and Inland Marine lines of business. 2013 will focus on an increased presence in New York through the growth of it’s agency force, as well as the implementation of various farm and commercial products. Through the continued dedication and support of our employees, customers and agency force Millville Mutual Insurance Company and Millville Insurance Company of New York have been able to call 2012 a success.
Listed below are those companies that strongly support the independent agency system and Insurance Agents & Brokers. Thank you for your continued sponsorship.
WHAT IS IA&B PARTNERS? The IA&B Partners program gives company and allied businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment of support to independent agents and receive maximum market exposure. As an IA&B Partner, you will also realize the benefits of IA&B membership to help you succeed in the insurance industry.
DO YOU SEE YOUR NAME? To become an IA&B Partner, choose the sponsorship package that matches your
ACUITY Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group Donegal Insurance Group Erie Insurance Group Harleysville Insurance HM Insurance Group Insurance Agents & Brokers Service Group Inc
Aegis Security Insurance Co
Liberty Mutual Insurance
MMG Insurance Company Millers Mutual Group Millville Mutual Insurance Co Mutual Benefit Group Penn National Insurance Selective Swiss Re The Main Street America Group Utica National Insurance Group
GOLD LEVEL Progressive Westfield Insurance
Center at 800-998-9644, 717-795-9100 or visit us online at www.iabgroup.com to get started.
AmWINS Program Underwriters Inc Auto-Owners Insurance Company Briar Creek Mutual Insurance Company Builders Insurance Group Chubb Group of Insurance Companies Countryway Insurance Company First General Services Foremost Insurance Group Goodville Mutual Casualty Company Guard Insurance Group Harford Mutual Insurance Co Hanover Fire & Casualty Insurance Company Insurance Alliance of Central PA Inc Insurance House Insurance Placement Facility of PA Keystone Insurers Group Inc Lebanon Valley Insurance Company Mercer Insurance Group Merchants Insurance Group Mercury Casualty Penn PRIME Municipal Insurance
commitment of support. Contact the Member Sales
Agency Insurance Company
Reamstown Mutual Insurance Company
Access Insurance Company Allied Insurance American Mining Insurance Co Cumberland Insurance Group Frederick Mutual Insurance Co Juniata Mutual Insurance Co PSBA Insurance Trust The Philadelphia Contributionship
State Auto Mutual Insurance Company
Rockwood Casualty Insurance TAPCO Underwriters Inc The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company The Motorists Insurance Group The Mutual Service Office Inc Travelers Tuscarora Wayne Insurance Company Zenith Insurance Primary Agent April 2013
Primary Agent | April 2013
EMPLOYEE WELLNESS: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP EMPLOYEES?
JEFFREY W GERHART CEBS, MBA Jeffrey W. Gerhart, CEBS, MBA, provided this article on behalf of Mosteller & Associates, IA&B’s contracted human resources consulting firm. IA&B members have access to HR Solution©, a compilation of products and services to help them establish or improve their human resources program. Included are base-level consultation services and discounted professional services from Mosteller & Associates. Learn more at www.iabgroup.com/hr.
When we hear the term “employee wellness,” we tend to think about health plans. Employee wellness isn’t always about health club memberships, smoking cessation, health insurance premium reductions, or providing them metrics of blood pressure, weight loss or body fat analysis. While agency owners may not be able to instill healthy physical and behavioral habits in employees, they can influence and control the work environment. By reducing stress in the work place,
owners can move toward employee wellness that has long-term benefits. The following suggestions may provoke some thoughts that are within your influence. Do you have a policy of no tobacco use at the workplace? Even if you have an employee who is a chronic tobacco user, most can survive a seven- or eight-hour workday without a puff. It gives him or her a break from the ill effects of tobacco, and their anxiety may reduce during the day. (As a former smoker, I can attest to that.)
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Do you have a policy of no cell phone use while driving on business? When cell phones became prevalent in the early 1990s, I was run off the road by a high-end luxury car that held … my CEO on his cell phone! Studies of cell phone use while driving equated this “skill” to having two or three alcoholic drinks and then driving. Imagine your liability when the accident happens. Some municipalities have already enacted legislation to restrict cell phone use while driving.
extent that you can, try to grant them the time off needed to serve if your work schedule allows it. It enhances your employees’ position in the community which reflects on you and improves their own self-esteem.
Do you ensure clerical workers give themselves periodic breaks and utilize stretching exercises? Employees who are at work stations the majority of the day can suffer from upper or lower back strain and eye fatigue. Even if their work stations are ergonomic, periodic breaks, quick, simple exercises and brief rest can relieve the stress and improve productivity.
Have you recently clarified your employment policies and practices? Employees need to know what the boundaries of working in your agency are. It reduces confusion and clarifies their expectations. If you don’t have a current handbook or policy manual, it may be helpful to access the sample handbook in HR Solution (see box).
Do you ask employees to produce a doctor’s excuse when absent? What’s the point of asking for an excuse from your good employees who are simply absent for a day or two when ill? Good employees will stress over not getting a physician visit in time to return to work; your marginal performer may not care at all. Are you managing the marginal performer at the expense of the good ones?
Do you provide sufficient security to your employees? Are you prepared to handle an employee domestic issue that may spill over into the workplace? Is your parking area sufficiently lit at night? Is your office designed to impede threatening behavior from clients or other foot traffic? Do you have a good working relationship with your local police department or private security agency? Encouraging open lines of communication with employees and vendors can minimize workplace dangers.
Do you require your non-exempt (hourly) employees to report working off the clock? Most employees fear repercussions, especially when they believe they have no choice to work. Do you, as an agency owner, understand the message to employees saying you can’t afford overtime results in employees not reporting it? This can create a violation of federal or state wage and hour regulations. It’s better to say that the non-exempt employee will be compensated for any time worked off the clock, though it may be subject to discipline. As long as the work is appropriate and reported promptly to the boss, it should be reported by the employee without fear of reprisal.
The bottom line Employees appreciate your concern about them, especially when they feel you’ve addressed their needs or provided a sense of security. They may not articulate their appreciation in specific ways, but you’ll see the results in improved productivity and attitude that can only help your agency achieve better results. Employee wellness is not the sole province of employees, but it can be encouraged by owners’ awareness and direction.
Do you encourage employees to volunteer for social causes? Encourage employees to volunteer service to community organizations. It deepens ties and commitment. To the
How to access the sample handbook HR Solution includes a core, legally compliant associate handbook template containing important policies, practices and procedures, which can be tailored for an individual agency’s use. www.iabgroup.com/HR
Coastal Homeowners Insurance
Coastal Agents Alliance, LLC
ISO HO3/HO6 Immediate Quotes 15% commission Primary & Secondary Homes are eligible AM Best •A• Rated
For an appointment, contact:
Phone: 201-407-7151 firstname.lastname@example.org
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IA&B Marketing Center Consumer communication services Show your value Differentiate yourself from direct writers by showcasing your customer service and expertise. Sending a newsletter or email blast creates an additional touchpoint with customers that allow you to educate them on coverage issues, mitigate their risks and introduce new markets. IA&B makes it easy and cost effective to communicate with customers. The associationâ€™s partnerships with Strategic Agencies newsletter service and GetResponse email blast service give you discounted access to print and electronic communication services.
Benefits: 25 percent discount Fast and easy set up Customizable templates Simple mailing-list management
Marketing Center tip!
Wondering about the right thing to write? Look no further than IA&Bâ€™s consumer education pieces. Vetted by insurance and legal experts and reviewed by independent agents, the content is available as raw text for copying and pasting into a newsletter or email blast. Read more in the Marketing Center.
Visit the Marketing Center: www.iabgroup.com/de/marketing
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Classified ADVE RTI S E M E NTS
SOUTHEAST PA PRODUCERS & AGENCIES Professional agency since 1926 located in Feasterville, Bucks County, Pa. Call for confidential information and a review of our services. Contact Ray Reinard at 215-375-8600, Ext. 119.
If you would like to place a Classified Advertisement, simply fax your ad on company letterhead to 717-795-8347, and we will take care of the rest.
Insurance goes to the dogs (and cats)
Ad Index ACUITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IFC Atlantic Specialty Lines Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Coastal Agents Alliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 EMC Insurance Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . .13, 15 Guard Insurance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 IA&B Partners Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 IA&B Producer Peak Performance . . . . . . . . . .23 Interstate Insurance Mngmnt. . . . . . . . . . . . .OBC Mutual Benefit Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Preferred Property Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
It pays to pay a claim. Especially for Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. For the fifth year running, the pet health insurer has capitalized on its less fortunate (yet fully recovered!) claimants, centering a PR campaign on their odd calamities. The annual Hambone Award pits VPI policyholders against one another, encouraging the public to vote for which animal resulted in the year’s most unusual claim. The 2012 winner? A pooch named Peanut who was found buried alive hours after a tussle with a skunk. He was treated for hypothermia and, within a week and a half, made a full recovery. The real winner? VPI for scoring media attention as the good guys who pay claims when it counts. Source: www.vpihamboneaward.com
----------------------------------------------------------------———————------The Last & Least column is dedicated to the industry’s oddities — from creative claims and kooky coverages, to (tasteful) jokes and strange stories. Submit yours to email@example.com, subject line: Last & Least. The editor will happily protect sources’ anonymity upon request.
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In Pennsylvania, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia & West Virginia 2307 Menoher Blvd. Johnstown, PA 15905 814-255-7878 1-800-452-0297 Fax 814-255-6010