Issuu on Google+

MARYLAND

INTHISISSUE: ____________ New marketing resources Future of website design


Consistent, Determined & Loyal While everyone is talking about changes these days, we remain consistently committed to the values and people who have helped us get where we are today. We remain loyal to the independent agents who have delivered value to our customers every day for over 120 years. Of course, there have been changes like advances in technology, more aggressive marketing and expanded lines of business. At Donegal, we are determined to make any improvements we can to maintain a superior level of quality. We feel that consistency and loyalty are the rarest of commodities. If your insurance agency could use a little consistency please give us a call.

Call Rick Kelley, Senior Vice President

www.donegalgroup.com

800-877-0600


12

Contents PRIMARY AGENT MAGAZINE

How to become a lean, mean marketing machine

16

It’s time to reinvent your agency into a lean, mean marketing machine. And IA&B is there to coach you, spot you and – where necessary – give you an assist. New members-only resources will help with the heavy lifting of strengthening your brand and bulking up your marketing efforts.

Page 12

Why your company needs an adaptive website Customers, employees and other stakeholders are bringing and using their smart phones and tablets everywhere, and that definitely impacts how they see and interact with your company online. That’s why at this point in time all companies need to make their site adaptive and design their websites for mobile first.

Page 16

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.

Get social with IA&B

In every issue 4 5 6 8 10 15

Chair of the Board’s Message Member FAQ State News Preventing E&O Coverage Corner Glance at Events

23 24 IBC IBC IBC

IA&B Partners Technology Update Advertisers Index Classified Ads Last & Least

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. Postmaster: Send address changes to above address. Primary Agent (ISSN 1543-3110), Permit # 638-620, Issue # 2012-11 is published monthly by IA&B Service Group Inc., a subsidiary of IA&B.

Copyright 2012. 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.


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ÂŽ

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An underutilized complaint department.

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Comp • Businessowner’s • Auto • Umbrella

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Board of Directors

Norman F. Basso, CPCU

Officers

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.

M

E

S

S

A

G

E

Robert B. Hall, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, ARM, ARM-P Immediate Past Chair of the Board West Chester, Pa.

Capitalizing on our strengths

Members Joyce M. Bailey, CIC, CRM, CPIW Newark, Del. Henry “Butch” Bradley, Jr. Forest Hill, Md. Timothy P. Burris Mifflintown, Pa.

Marketing. The word alone gives many of us a sinking feeling. Either we’ve been taken to the cleaner by a local ad firm, or we’re admittedly clueless, or we’re too busy to determine how to spend our marketing budget, or … the list goes on. The problem — to be blunt — is that we’re getting kicked around by direct writers with hefty ad budgets and prestigious marketing firms. The big boys are paying big bucks to be top of online search results and top of mind when personal lines customers consider insurance.

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. Craig S. Mader Gambrills, Md. Ann Gallen Moll, CIC Reading, Pa.

But let’s step back and consider our differentiation points: choice, service, expertise, relationship, to name a few. Those are our selling points. Those are the benefits that direct writers lack. And those are the very advantages we need to capture in our marketing and branding efforts. Later this fall IA&B will roll out its first in a series of initiatives to bolster our marketing and branding work. They are tools and services and resources that capitalize on our collective strengths. It’s about moving the game to our turf and winning the battle for business on our terms. This month’s magazine shares a sneak peek at what’s to come. Emails over the coming weeks will do more of the same. I encourage you to take advantage of these offerings and to take your marketing and branding efforts to the next level.

April E. Ressler, CIC Altoona, Pa. Scott C. Rogers, CPIA* York, Pa.

Until next month,

David B. Wasson Sr., CIC State College, Pa.

Norm

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. [4]


Member FAQ QUESTION: One of my carriers is insisting I must issue certificates showing the name and NAIC number of the company affiliate that is insuring the risk. Can’t I show the parent company instead? ANSWER: When there is a dispute over what should be entered on an ACORD form, the first step is generally to go straight to ACORD and check their instructions. Every form comes with an accompanying set of instructions providing guidance on every single box on the form. With the number of abbreviations on some of those forms, these instructions can come in handy. In your case, your carrier’s requirements are actually consistent with ACORD's instructions. Fundamentally, it is more of a hassle, but it does make sense. The ACORD form instructions for the ACORD 25 (certificate of liability insurance) state the following: Section Name

Field Name

Field and/or Section Description

INSURERS AFFORDING COVERAGE

Insurer A

Enter text: The insurer's full legal company name(s) as found in the file copy of the policy. Use the actual name of the company within the group to which the policy has been issued. This is not the insurer's group name or trade name. As used here, this is Insurer A.

INSURERS AFFORDING COVERAGE

NAIC #

Enter code: The identification code assigned to the insurer by the NAIC. As used here, this is Insurer A.

Bottom line, the insurer name and NAIC number should match the carrier that is providing coverage.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? Email it to us at iab@iabgroup.com. 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!

[5]


State News Primary Agent | November 2012

Workplace Fraud Act revisited Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is still against the law, but business customers are better armed to show that there was no misclassification of sole proprietors with whom they do business.

WELCOME

New Members Insurance Brokers of Maryland LLC Emmitsburg, Md.

The Workplace Fraud Act, which has been in place since 2009, was amended by the General Assembly during the 2012 session. The presumption that work performed by an individual paid by an employer creates an employer-employee relationship can now be rebutted as long as proper documentation can be produced. Producers are still urged never to assist customers in classifying their employees, but can point to the documentation that will be needed to exonerate the employer from inappropriate charges and penalties. IA&B’s online resource on the Workplace Fraud Act was updated to reflect the change, and lists the evidence needed to rebut the presumption. www.iabgroup.com/md/ workplace_fraud_act

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Court weighs in on literal interpretation of "first named insured" Is the first name listed on policy documents always the "first named insured"? No, according to the state's highest court. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in Swartzbaugh v. Encompass Insurance Company of America that insureds on an auto insurance policy are entitled to choose who will act as the first named insured and that the first named insured is not necessarily the first name listed on the Declaration or policy documents. The issue before the court was the validity of the uninsured motorist (UM) waiver, which is to be signed by the first named insured. The Swartzbaughs argued that the UM waiver was void, as it was signed by Mrs. Swartzbaugh, whose name was not listed first on the policy documents. The court disagreed. IA&B’s legal brief, available via the URL below, provides the details. www.iabgroup.com/md/ swartzbaugh_encompass


Court modifies pit bull ruling, outcome remains unclear The Maryland Court of Appeals amended its original decision imposing a strict liability standard for pit bull owners and landlords, but for many, the revision adds little clarity to the issue. The court had been asked to reconsider its controversial decision from April of this year, and in August revised its original ruling to state that only purebred pit bulls, not mix breeds, are considered "inherently dangerous" and subject to the strict liability standard. The problem is that the term “pit bull” was never defined by the court. Many are arguing that there’s no such thing as a purebred pit bull as the term can be applied to a number of different breeds. IA&B has been in contact with the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) regarding its position on the potential effects of the court's decision on homeowners' policies. Following the General Assembly’s failure to agree on a legislative remedy during the special summer session, the MIA and other stakeholders are waiting to see how legislators address the issue when they begin the 2013 legislative session in January. In the meantime, IA&B will continue monitoring market response and is encourages members to report how their carriers are responding. IA&B's legal brief, accessible via the URL below, has been updated to reflect the court's reconsideration. www.iabgroup.com/md/ tracey_solesky

In case you missed it … The following legislation and regulation took effect Oct. 1: w Moped and motor scooter operators are required to carry liability and uninsured motorists coverage with minimum limits of 30/60/15. w Homeowners’ insurance applications and new and renewal policies must include a notice from the insurer outlining how claims may be considered in the cancellation or refusal to renew. w Notifications no longer are required for de minimis premium increases in commercial accounts. w All certificate of insurance forms (with the exception of ACORD and ISO forms, which are deemed approved) must be filed with the Maryland Insurance Administration before use.

NCCI finds more moderate increases in temporary disability duration The increased duration of temporary total disability (TTD) indemnity benefits that began at the onset of the recent recession has moderated in recent months. The National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI) released a 2012 update to its research brief, "Workers' Compensation Temporary Total Disability Indemnity Benefit Duration." The study found that the mean duration of TTD indemnity

[7]

benefits rose from 130 days in 2005 to 147 days in 2009. For the first half of 2011, the mean duration increased less drastically to 149 days. www.ncci.com/documents/ Workers-Comp-Temp-Benefit2012-Update.pdf

Regulatory updates, straight from the horse's mouth Keeping tabs on the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) recently became easier. The department introduced a new, free electronic notification service that provides alerts when new information is added to the MIA website. Subscribers can choose email or text message alerts and can select to receive notifications on up to 19 different topics, including proposed regulations, industry bulletins, administrative orders (decisions), community outreach events and others. public.govdelivery.com/ accounts/MDINSUR/ subscriber/new


Preventing Primary Agent | November 2012

ERRORS AND OMISSIONS

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU “AUDITED” YOUR AGENCY? CURTIS M. PEARSALL CPCU, AIAF, CPIA Curtis M. Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA, president of Pearsall Associates Inc. and special consultant to the Utica National E&O Program, supplied this article. 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 iab@iabgroup.com.

agency, it is also necessary to show that the staff will be held accountable for their work product and that they are consistently performing stated procedures. Bottom line, it is difficult to grow in professionalism and efficiency without an auditing process. It truly is an investment in your agency.

Do you have any mistakes in your files? While you would certainly like to answer “no,” that response is probably based more on hope than fact. In all likelihood, every agency has some errors in its files. Yet it’s hard to fix them because you’re unsure which files contain the errors. This is where the auditing process can bear solid benefits. In addition to potentially identifying a file with some problems, the audit process will allow management to have a comfort level that the staff is complying with various expectations, including but not limited to the importance of quality documentation. Not meeting the agency’s expectations could result from employees not completely understanding those expectations, which suggests a need for further training.

It is difficult to grow in professionalism and efficiency without an auditing process. It truly is an investment in your agency. “It’s not important if it’s not measured” There is some truth to this old saying. If your agency is not performing an audit process today, the mention of it will probably instill fear

While performing periodic quality control audits helps management understand what’s happening within their

[8]

in some staff members. All staff must realize that auditing is performed in virtually every business and helps ensure the organization’s health. As you develop the audit form, consider those procedures/issues that are most important. If you don’t have an audit form today, don’t worry about getting the process perfect right from the beginning. As you perform quality control audits, you will be able to identify areas that must be added — or deleted — from the audit form. Documentation is a key issue if an Errors & Omissions matter develops, so ensuring that the staff meets the expectations in this area is extremely important. For example, documentation that states “spoke with insured regarding their homeowners’ insurance” should not be considered acceptable as it lacks the necessary detail to be of any value.


How many files should be reviewed? This is not an easy question to answer. It may take some “experimentation.” It is obviously not possible — or practical — to review every file. Conversely, only reviewing 1 percent of the files probably would not give you the comfort level that expected procedures are being followed consistently. The proper number will depend greatly on the amount of work performed. The goal is to review the number of files that provides credibility to the final score. Review files for all employees, even if they are 30-year veterans. Just because someone is a long-time employee doesn’t mean they can’t make a mistake. For newer staff, reviewing a larger number of files is suggested. This will help identify areas where there is some misunderstanding or a need for further training. All areas should be reviewed Because your agency probably consists of numerous disciplines — such as marketing, customer service, CSR, sales, accounting, etc. — ensure that each of these is reviewed. Each of these areas has procedures that, if disregarded or not performed properly, could cause problems for the agency. Each area must be reviewed so you can have the confidence that the agency is in good shape. Who should conduct the audits and how often? This will be based largely on the number of files to be reviewed. Regardless of the number of individuals performing the task, the key is that all individuals possess the necessary experience and have been trained to perform these audits.

[9]

Conduct these audits regularly, monthly if possible. This will help to quickly identify any emerging issues/problems or need for training. Evaluating the results What do the audit results tell you? Do they give you the comfort level that the agency is in good shape or seem to imply you have some work to do? Do specific areas/individuals stand out? Results should be tabulated for each of the areas within the agency and for each employee. Tell staff members who performed well on the review — and thank them for their efforts and commitment. For those that struggled or did not “pass” the review, meet with them to better understand the reasons. Is there a need for additional

training or another reason, such as they think their way is the better way? The goal is to see improvement which, hopefully, will occur through this dialogue. Consider factoring the audit results into an employee performance review to add some “teeth” to the process. There are two ways to find out if your staff is or isn’t doing their jobs and meeting various expectations: perform periodic audits to truly get a handle on what is happening in your agency or wait for an E&O claim to develop. While the first approach may take some time, it is the more cost-effective approach.

At Harford Mutual, we’re committed to being here for our independent agents and policyholders. Accessible. Experienced. Accountable. Responsive. That’s Harford Mutual. That’s what mutual success is all about. Learn more about opportunities for mutual success with Harford Mutual at harfordmutual.com.


Coverage Primary Agent | November 2012

CORNER

VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL?

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, CIC and continuing education programs.

Vertical means, “At right angles to the horizon; extending perpendicularly from a plane; upright.” Horizontal means, “Parallel to or in the plane of the horizon; occupying or restricted to the same level in a hierarchy.” That’s what the dictionary says. However, with my limited vocabulary, I simply say, “Horizontal is sideways, and vertical is up and down.” That works for me.

– Commercial General Liability (CGL), Business Auto, Workers Compensation And Employers Liability, and Umbrella (Excess) Liability. The project owner didn’t stop there. The contractor not only has to purchase and maintain those policies of insurance, but those policies must have the following limits: w Commercial General Liability (CGL): $1,000,000 occurrence/$2,000,000 aggregate

Why are we discussing “horizontal” and “vertical” when we’re supposed to be talking about insurance? Well, just read on. A contractor entered into a construction agreement with a project owner. You know the drill: The contractor agreed to indemnify the project owner for any and all losses, damages, injuries, costs, expenses, etc. arising out of the project. In addition, the project owner required the contractor to purchase and maintain certain policies of insurance

w Business Auto: $1,000,000/accident w Employers Liability: $1,000,000/aggregate w Umbrella (Excess) Liability: $5,000,000 In addition, the contractor’s policies must be endorsed to satisfy the following contractual requirements: w Project owner as additional insured for

[ 10 ]

ongoing and completed operations w Aggregate shall apply to the described project w Contractor’s policies shall be primary and non-contributory w Waiver of recovery Here’s what the project owner is thinking: I’ve required the contractor to carry liability limits of $6,000,000, and I’m an additional insured on those policies. Those policies are primary and non-contributory. Therefore, if a loss occurs at that project and I’m brought into the claim, I’ll share up to $6,000,000 with the contractor before I have to turn to any of my own policies. There’s very little chance my policies will ever have to pay a penny. In other words, the project owner expects “vertical” coverage from the


contractor’s policies. First, the contractor’s underlying $1,000,000. Then, the excess $5,000,000.

(2) Excess;

However, the project owner may be in for a big surprise. The Insuring Agreement of the Umbrella (Excess) Liability policy reads, in part, as follows:

(4) Otherwise;

We will pay on behalf of the insured those sums in excess of “scheduled underlying insurance,” “unscheduled underlying insurance” or the “retained limit….” The Umbrella (Excess) policy then defines unscheduled underlying insurance:

7

“Unscheduled underlying insurance” means insurance policies available to an insured, whether: (1) Primary;

(3) Excess-contingent; or

except the policies listed in the Schedule of Underlying Insurance. “Unscheduled underlying insurance” does not include insurance specifically to be excess of this policy. The contractor’s Umbrella (Excess) policy is not going to pay on behalf of the project owner until the limits of the project owner’s underlying policy and any excess liability policies have been exhausted. The contractor’s Umbrella (Excess) policy provides “horizontal” coverage rather than “vertical” coverage for the project owner.

enough to hire an attorney and sue the contractor for not living up to the terms of the contract. After all, the project owner expected coverage up to $6,000,000 under the contractor’s policies. What’s next? Could the insurance agent be in trouble? I’m not smart enough to answer that question. But I do know this — you better pay attention to the insuring agreements of your Umbrella (Excess) Liability policies. Do they respond “vertically” or “horizontally”? Y’all take care!

The project owner is going to be upset. No, that’s not right. The project owner is going to be angry! Maybe angry

We See a Bright Future More options await you with Preferred Property Program’s umbrella policies Our umbrella programs are designed to offer the most comprehensive coverage so the future is never in doubt. Our umbrella liability policies are written by XL Insurance, with Chubb Insurance Group for the excess layer, featuring flexible, broad coverage that includes: • $5 to $25 Million in umbrella coverage with up to $50 Million in total limits. • Hi-Rise apartments up to 35 stories eligible, with higher eligible by referral. • Excess of D&O, General Liability, Auto, Employers Liability, Employee Benefits and more. • Developer-sponsored boards eligible.

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MARKETING

How to become a lean, mean marketing machine IA&B offers members an assist

It’s time to reinvent your agency into a lean, mean marketing machine. And IA&B is there to coach you, spot you and — where necessary — give you an assist. New members-only resources will help with the heavy lifting of strengthening your brand and bulking up your marketing efforts.


Primary Agent | November 2012

R

ecognizing the importance and challenges of marketing an independent agency, the IA&B Board of Directors prioritized the creation of resources to support member agencies’ efforts. From that guidance and member input, IA&B developed a series of products and services — everything from turnkey consumer education pieces and partnered communication vendors, to organization-wide community relations efforts and a library of insurance-marketing expertise.

The following pages detail the initial offerings. The rollout of these, all of which are housed online, will begin on Dec. 12 (12-12-12, for easy memory). From there, IA&B will evaluate the use of these tools and members’ evolving needs and then launch additional marketing and branding support in the near future. Bottom line: The association is in it for the long haul, committed to bolstering member agencies’ efficacy in an ever-competitive industry.

Consumer education Independent agents’ expertise is one their differentiation points. Passing that knowledge on to consumers allows an agency to showcase its value. IA&B’s new toolkit of marketing resources includes consumer content — written by industry professionals, vetted by legal experts and reviewed by fellow agents. Member agencies can use it for website, social media, newsletter or brochure content. It’s theirs for the taking and using however they see fit. First up are write-ups on actual cost value, replacement cost and insurance to value; collision damage waivers and rental cars; cyber liability; flood and water/sewer backup; and umbrella policies. From there, IA&B will add to the library monthly with articles on ordinance and law coverage; uninsured motorists, underinsured motorists and medical coverage; independent contractors vs. employees; and more.

Consumer communication

Save the date: 12-12-12 When the calendar turns to the twelfth day of the twelfth month of 2012, your go-to marketing and branding resource center will go live. The much anticipated initiative will amass tips, tools and services in an online portal. The goal? To position you for success in the evolving insurance marketplace. ◗ Consumer education ◗ Consumer communication ◗ Branding ◗ Digital marketing ◗ Charitable giving

Consistent, customized client communication differentiates an independent agency from its competitors. IA&B partnered with vendors to streamline and discount the process for members. Newsletters Sending a newsletter to clients is a win-win. It serves as a touch point while allowing the agency to educate clients on coverage issues, risk mitigation and new markets. IA&B partnered with Strategic Alliances to offer discounted print and electronic newsletter tools — including

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◗ Marketing library Help is on the way. Watch your inbox for access.


MARKETING

customizable templates, a library of professionally written articles (to supplement IA&B’s consumer education offerings), simple mailing list management and, for email newsletters, real-time reporting. Founded by a former independent agent, the vendor emphasizes ease of use, efficiency and affordability.

____________________________ The association is in it for the long haul, committed to bolstering member agencies’ efficacy in an ever-competitive industry. ____________________________

Email blasts Distributing a professionally designed and delivered email to a group of clients is a marketing dream come true. IA&B’s partnered vendor simplifies the process, allowing members to piggyback on breaking news and make special announcements, for example, at the click of a send button. The goal? Showcasing independent agents’ relevance, knowledge and offerings in a timely, cost-effective way.

Community goodwill One of the things that makes doing business with an independent agency so appealing is that the agency is a part of the community. Agency employees live and play, worship and raise their families in the same places that their clients do. And when clients see their insurance agent doing his or her part to better the community, it further builds upon that trust — and loyalty. Member agencies are invited to participate in an associationwide fundraising campaign to benefit their regional Make-AWish Foundation® chapter. In addition to fostering goodwill within their hometowns,

members can capitalize on their collective fundraising to gain positive publicity for the independent agency system as a whole. IA&B’s new marketing and branding initiative will support member agencies’ fundraising efforts, and its online presence will serve as the hub for fundraising ideas and marketing materials, for opportunities to join association-wide efforts, and for ways to capitalize on fundraising to build community goodwill.

Education library No member resource offerings would be complete without background knowledge on why and how to use them. Insurance agents are experts in insurance, risk management and business, not necessarily marketing and branding. And a misunderstanding of these principles can lead a well-intentioned agency principal down the wrong, and costly, path.

IA&B will create a library of industry-specific guidance, aimed to educate members and support their marketing and branding efforts. The dynamic collection will grow and correspond with IA&B’s resources — and members’ needs.

Next steps This is only the beginning. IA&B is committed to members’ success in branding their agency and marketing their services. It’s a commitment to ensure the future of the independent agency system.

“The potential for growth for agents and their companies lies in personal lines — where the market is huge ($230 billion in premium) but the independent agent sector only enjoys approximately 35 percent market share.” — Personal Lines Growth Alliance

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Glance at Events NOVEMBER & DECEMBER CALENDAR Date 1

Topic

Location

CPIA Module 3

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

CISR Personal Residential Course

Allentown, Pa.

Best Practices of E&O Seminar

Pittsburgh, Pa.

6-8

Life & Health Licensing Study Course

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

13

Employment Relationships—Are Both Sides Covered?

Philadelphia, Pa.

William T. Hold Seminar

Allentown, Pa.

13-15

Property & Casualty Licensing Study Course

Philadelphia, Pa.

14

William T. Hold Seminar

Dover, Del.

14-15

James K. Ruble Graduate Seminar

Lancaster, Pa.

16

Mistakes That Lead to E&O Claims Seminar

Newark, Del.

20

CISR Personal Residential Course

Baltimore, Md.

21

CISR Personal Residential Course

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

27

Dynamics of Service

Philadelphia, Pa.

28

CISR Personal Residential Course

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Mistakes That Lead to E&O Claims Seminar

Baltimore, Md.

CISR Agency Operations Course

Baltimore, Md.

Mistakes That Lead to E&O Claims Seminar

Philadelphia, Pa.

3-6

CIC Personal Lines Institute

Philadelphia, Pa.

4

CISR Agency Operations Course

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

4-6

P&C Licensing Study Course

Allentown, Pa.

5

CISR Agency Operations Course

Philadelphia, Pa.

11-13

P&C Licensing Study Course

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

29

December

IA&B’s On-Demand Programs: Ethical Behavior and E&O Flood – Understanding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Compliance Pitfalls & Ethical Responsibilities (PA or MD specific) New! — Certificates of Insurance New! — Insuring e-Commerce New! — Pollution Exposures and Coverages

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For mo informati re these pr on on ogr see page ams, 20.


TECHNOLOGY

Why your company needs an adaptive website We are currently in the midst of one of the biggest software and hardware revolutions we’ve ever witnessed. With processing power, storage and bandwidth increasing exponentially, smart phones and smart tablets are quickly becoming our main personal and business computer. Customers, employees and other stakeholders are bringing and using their smart phones and tablets everywhere, and that definitely impacts how they see and interact with your company online.


Primary Agent | November 2012

F

or organizations of all sizes, this means it’s time to take a good look at your website. Sure, your site might look great on a desktop or laptop computer screen. But how does it look on all of the different sizes of screens found on today’s wide variety of tablets and smart phones? Chances are the answer is “not good.” That’s why at this point in time all companies need to make their site adaptive and design their websites for mobile first.

Today’s mobile websites To address the mobile revolution, many companies have created a second mobile version of their website so their content can be viewed on smart phones without a problem. But there are big problems! First, you have to design, maintain and pay for two separate websites. When you update one, the other is in most cases not automatically updated. Additionally, the mobile site is designed for a specific mobile screen size. If your user does not have that phone model, they will still have to scroll around to see your mobile site version.

________________________________________________ Companies need to make their site adaptive and design their websites for mobile first. ________________________________________________

The new adaptive website imperative To get a better idea of why a traditionally designed website doesn’t work for mobile devices, try this little experiment. Using a laptop or desktop, go to your company’s website. Depending on the size of your screen, the website will either fill the entire screen or there will be a border on the right and left side. Using your mouse arrow, grab the bottom right corner of the browser window for your website. Drag it from the right to the left diagonally up and start making the window smaller. If your website is not adaptive, you’ll see that all you’re really doing is covering things up. And as soon as the window gets smaller than the pre-defined width of the site, you’ll see scrollbars appear on the right and bottom. Now the only way to move around on the page is to scroll. Keep making the window smaller until it’s about the size of a smart phone

[ 17 ]

More tech-know on SEO Planning a website overhaul? There’s more than smart design and usability to consider. Search engine optimization (SEO) remains critical to any website construction. Without it, a website is lost in the online shuffle, never to be found by potential customers. IA&B’s online technology resources include several dedicated to SEO. Members can read up on the topic by visiting one of the URLs below, choosing “Other Resources” and then the “Website & Internet” quick link. Delaware: www.iabgroup.com/de/technology Maryland: www.iabgroup.com/md/technology Pennsylvania: www.iabgroup.com/pa/technology


TECHNOLOGY

screen. How does it look? You’ll see that it doesn’t look good at all. As a matter of fact it’s probably not useful either. If your website was adaptive, as you move that window and make it smaller, the text would automatically reformat and the pictures would move accordingly to fit the smaller screen size. The menu would also adapt and change so your website and content would work on any device. That last point is important, because, as I mentioned earlier, not all smart phones have the same size screen. An Android screen is different from an iPhone screen, which is different from a Blackberry screen. Even tablets have different size screens. So if you don’t have an adaptive site, the person viewing your site on their tablet or smart phone will end up having to scroll somehow, somewhere, because of the wide variety of screen sizes. To see a real example of how an adaptive site would look, go to my website at www.burrus.com. Other site examples include: http://calebogden.com, http://owltastic.com and http://thinkvitamin.com. Visit any of those site and give them a try View them on yoru laptop first and shrink the browser window as described earlier and notice how the site changes to fit any size screen. Now try them on your tablet or smart phone. Regardless of screen size, they will all look great. The good news is that any

website developer can do this once they understand the concept! So the message is clear: The time to create an adaptive site is now! That means you have two choices. You can go back to whomever designed your current site and have them take your current look and make it adaptive, or you can start over and design a new website.

____________________________ Put your website on a small screen and decide what your prospects and customers really need to make a buying decision. ____________________________

Design for mobile first If you decide it’s time to design a new website, an important key to success is to design it for mobile first. When you design for mobile first, you have to re-evaluate all your content. Business owners as well as website designers are still in laptop and desktop design mode. And because they’re thinking in terms of large screens that need to be filled, they put a lot of content online – often way too much. As a result, the vast majority of websites are bloated with way to much information. It’s time to throw all that nonessential stuff out. The best way

[ 18 ]

to help you make those tough decisions of which content to cut is to think in terms of mobile first. After all, if your main design is optimized for a small screen that adapts by getting bigger when viewed on a laptop screen (as opposed to shrinking when it gets viewed on a smaller screen), it will be easier to take out all the content and graphics that are not really necessary. If you think that all the content on your current site is necessary, you’re only fooling yourself. Most companies have websites that are way too busy. And while their website may look nice and be “cool” or “trendy,” it’s not getting to the essence of what people need to make decisions or to buy your products. This gives you a strategic reason to get rid of the clutter. Designing for mobile first forces you to make the hard decisions of what should stay and what should go. It’s similar to when someone moves from a large house to a small condo. When you have the big house, you fill it with a lot of furniture you don’t use, a lot of artwork you don’t look at and a lot of “must-have” gadgets you don’t need. Once you downsize your space, you realize you really don’t need all that stuff. Even though letting go is painful at first, it gradually gets easier once you realize how free and uncluttered you feel. The same concept applies to your website. You have a big screen to fill, so you fill it. Now put your website on a small screen and decide what your prospects and


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Make no mistake: It’s a hard trend (a certainty) that tablets and smart phones are rapidly becoming people’s main computer. Therefore, you want your website to be seen well on those devices and to be useful. If you don’t wan the added expense and hassle of two websites, then step one is to make your current site adaptive. When it’s time to redo the site entirely, design it for mobile first. These two steps will put you light years ahead of your competition and boos your online presence and sales immensely.

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____________________________ Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and strategists. He is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology-driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. The New York Times has referred to him as one of America’s top three business “gurus” in the highest demand as a speaker. For more information on the services and products offered by Daniel Burrus, please visit www.burrus.com. For Burrus’ mobile Web app, text DANBURRUS to 99000.

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Certificates, cyberliability and pollution … oh my! New trio of on-demand courses focuses on commercial exposures

In this recently launched addition of ondemand CE courses, Jerry Milton, CIC, delivers his trademark wit and wisdom directly to online students logging in from anywhere, at anytime. The new programs, detailed below, cover a range of commercial exposures and give busy agents the ability to get up to speed at their own pace — for up to 30 days following registration.

Learn more and register at www.iabgroup.com/ on-demand

Certificates of Insurance A certificate of insurance is intended to provide a “snapshot” of the insured’s policies. However, many certificate holders think the certificate guarantees coverage, guarantees limits and makes them an additional insured. As a result, certificates of insurance have become a major source of litigation between certificate holders, insureds, insurers and insurance agents. This course reviews the most frequently disputed and litigated certificate of insurance issues and offers risk management suggestions that should reduce some of these conflicts.

Insuring e-Commerce The rapid growth and use of the Internet for e-commerce activities has created new exposures that are not adequately covered by our traditional property and liability policies. Many insurers have developed property and liability policies to address e-commerce exposures such as acts of a hacker, theft of money or intellectual property, loss of income, extortion and third-party liability. This course reviews these ecommerce exposures and the policies that are designed to provide coverage. Pollution Exposures and Coverages Federal and state governments have instituted numerous environmental liability regulations, making many businesses subject to increased environmental liability and financial loss exposures. The unendorsed Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy provides very little coverage for the discharge or release of a pollutant, and many insureds have absolutely no pollution coverage under their CGLs which have been endorsed with the Total Pollution Exclusion endorsement. This course discusses common environmental exposures and the provisions of various Pollution Liability policies.

[ 20 ]

Other IA&B on-demand programs w Understanding the National Flood Insurance Program w Ethical Behavior and E&O* w Compliance Pitfalls and Ethical Responsibilities* (Pa.- and Md.-specific editions) *Approved for Utica loss-control credit.


Platinum Profile Insurance Agents & Brokers proudly recognizes Penn National Insurance as one of its Platinum Partners. IA&B Platinum Partners dedicate the highest level of sponsorship to our organization. FEATURED PARTNER

OFFICERS

Penn National Insurance

Kenneth R. Shutts President and CEO

COMPANY STRENGTHS w

w w

w w w w w

Commitment to the independent agency system with strong agency relationships Competitive products and pricing Enhanced ease-of-doing-business through intuitive, powerful automation tools Superb agency force Underwriting consistency in the marketplace Financial strength Outstanding claims service with high customer satisfaction Knowledgeable and experienced employees

PRODUCT LINES BUSINESS w w w w w w w w w

Businessowners’ Program (BOP) Property General Liability Inland Marine Business Automobile Workers’ Compensation Umbrella Agents’ Umbrella Surety & Fidelity

Christine Sears, CPCU Executive Vice President and COO Gregory R. Stine Sr. Vice President and CFO/Treasurer Karen C. Yarrish Sr. Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel Robert B. Brandon Sr. Vice President, Underwriting Operations

COMPANY LOCATION Harrisburg, Pa. (home office)

A.M. BEST FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATING A- (Excellent)

SUBSIDIARY Inservco: a leading regional third-party claims administration firm providing integrated risk management services to more than 500 self-insured customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland.

PERSONAL w w w w w w

Personal Automobile Homeowners Boat Dwelling Fire Renters Umbrella Liability

OPERATING TERRITORY We have more than 800 agencies across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware*, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina*, Tennessee and Alabama*. *commercial lines only

AGENCY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE Contact marketing@pnat.com or visit online at www.PennNationalInsurance.com

“We strive to maintain the same values that our founders adhered to in 1919: hard work, honesty, integrity, dependability, and consistency in our approach to the insurance market. We sell only through independent agents, and we continue to seek appointments with agents looking for a strong, regional carrier. Our executive team spends extensive time in the field, building relationships with our agents, listening to their needs, and creating corporate strategies to help them grow their agency revenues with us. Won’t you join us and grow with us?” — Kenneth R. Shutts President & CEO “We offer our agents stability, consistency, responsiveness, and long-lasting personal relationships — rare traits in today’s propertycasualty insurance environment. Our regional structure allows us to respond more effectively to local market conditions and to offer our agents access directly to decision-makers. And our larger size among regional insurers gives us the financial resources and technology expertise to compete with the national carriers with our easy-to-use, efficient automated services. Our automation and competitive pricing in personal insurance has enabled our agents to place more business with us over the last few years, and our broad portfolio of business insurance products and consistency in the marketplace offers agents compelling reasons to trust us with their commercial business.” — Christine Sears Executive VP & COO


Platinum Profile Insurance Agents and Brokers proudly recognizes Erie Insurance as one of its Platinum Partners. IA&B PlatinumPartners dedicate the highest level of sponsorship to our organization.

FEATURED PARTNER Erie Insurance CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Terry Cavanaugh President and CEO CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS Erie, Pa. A.M. BEST RATING A+ Superior WEBSITE www.erieinsurance.com

I

t’s the rare individual who is motivated by a genuine desire to help others. And it’s the rare company that puts that principle into practice.

At Erie Insurance, we’ve been helping people make things right since 1925, working side-by-side with the best independent agents in the business. Our agents and employees are energized by a clear sense of purpose, performing to the best of their ability, because they know the work they do benefits millions of customers’ families and businesses. It’s part of SM being Above all in SERVICE and it’s why we’re so committed to the independent Erie agents who live and work in the communities they serve. On the strength of these relationships, Erie Insurance has risen to become one of the nation’s most respected property/casualty and life insurers. Today, we’re a Fortune 500 company

operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Erie has more than 4 million property/casualty policies in force, more than $13 billion in assets and more than $39 billion in life insurance in force. We’re the 19th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States, based on total lines net premiums written, and the 13th largest auto insurer, based on direct premiums written. A.M. Best rates Erie Insurance A+ Superior. We are both proud and humbled to have been consistently recognized for excellence in customer service and to have one of the highest customer retention rates in the industry — more than 90 percent. We’re also one of “Ward’s 50 Top Performers” — the Ward Group’s annual ranking of more than 3,000 insurance companies based upon financial performance. Erie Insurance’s founding principle was to provide its policyholders with

as near perfect protection, as near perfect service as is humanly possible, and doing so at the lowest possible cost. That same principle guides us today. We still adhere to disciplined underwriting, fair pricing and a prudent investment philosophy. We still practice the Golden Rule — treating others as we want to be treated. We still thrive on the Erie family spirit, employees and agents working together as a team for the good of our customers and the communities we serve. At our core, we still believe the truth in our founder H.O. Hirt’s words: “Success in business is not a matter of tricks or gimmicks…it is just a matter of simple common sense, mixed with just plain decency.”


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 commitment of support. Contact the Member Sales Center at 800-998-9644, 717-795-9100 or visit us online at www.iabgroup.com to get started.

PLATINUM LEVEL

BRONZE LEVEL

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

MMG Insurance Company Millers Mutual Group Millville Mutual Insurance Co Mutual Benefit Group Ohio Casualty Penn National Insurance Selective Swiss Re The Main Street America Group Utica National Insurance Group

Encompass Insurance

GOLD LEVEL

Lebanon Valley Insurance Company

Progressive Westfield Insurance

Merchants Insurance Group

Agency Insurance Company 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 Mercer Insurance Group Mercury Casualty Penn PRIME Municipal Insurance

SILVER LEVEL 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

Reamstown Mutual Insurance Company Rockwood Casualty Insurance State Auto Mutual Insurance Company 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 November 2012


Technology

Primary Agent | November 2012

U P DATE

AN AGENCY CASE STUDY IN IMPLEMENTING REAL TIME

ED HIGGINS Ed Higgins is an agency principal of Thousand Islands Agency located in Clayton, N.Y. Ed is a former chairman of Agents Council for Technology and has held numerous positions in state and national agent associations and industry organizations over the years. He can be reached at ed@tiagency.com. Ed prepared this article for ACT. It reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an

providing better support to their agencies going through this process.

I recently made a major conversion in my agency to Applied’s EpicŽ management system. As part of that hands-on process, I had a great vantage point to see the benefits of Real Time1 and to pick up some tips to help agencies in their Real Time implementations. I also developed some recommendations to assist carriers and vendors in

official statement by ACT.

I believe the same lessons apply regarding Real Time implementation, no matter what system you are currently on or installing, as long as the vendor has a strong commitment to incorporating the latest Real Time functionality.

1

Preparing for Real Time I implemented Real Time in my previous system, so I knew there were benefits to using Real Time. For several months, we were without Real Time because we focused on other aspects of our system conversion, and frankly, we missed it. I kept in mind the end goal, however, which was to

Real Time is the ability to click on a button from a client file in your agency management system or comparative rater for immediate access to carrier information on that client. The transaction may be a quote, billing inquiry, claim inquiry/loss runs, policy view, endorsements or a request for information. This approach provides a single workflow for servicing or quoting with multiple carriers.

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Primary Agent | November 2012

implement a system incorporating the latest technology in order to give our agency new and enhanced features that would allow us to become even more efficient. I was hoping that even my Real Time transactions would be faster with the new system. We are a small agency, and it took us several months to do the system conversion, learn all of the functionality and train our employees. In the final analysis, we received no current client policy information conversion, so we used an initial download from all of our download carriers and manually re-entered non-downloaded policy data, putting our multiple monitor environment to good use! Going through this process once again underscored for me the critical nature of the downloads that our carriers provide to us. Sending us complete, clean downloads for all lines of business needs to be a priority for every carrier if agencies are to achieve the peak efficiency they need in this highly competitive environment. Implementing Real Time After a several month conversion process, we were back in control with our new system, ready to unleash the system’s horsepower by installing Real Time. My first step was to go to the getrealtime.org portal which the industry has put together to assist agencies and carriers with the implementation of Real Time and download. Here you will find the Real Time Implementation Guide which will provide you with definitions, the types of transactions and helpful implementation tips. The site also provides links to both vendor and carrier Real Time pages.

I recommend that you start with your vendor’s Real Time page and locate its chart that identifies the specific Real Time functions that are available for each company for both personal and commercial lines. If you have trouble locating this chart, visit http://www.getrealtime.org/ active/21DayNewToRTPlan.asp#vendors for the charts provided by several of the vendors. Vendor tip: These charts are a great resource, but they would be even more helpful if they provided an initial contact person for each carrier, where the agent could go for Real Time implementation help. I then turned to the carriers’ Real Time pages for each of my companies on the getrealtime.org site. We found four companies that had Real Time capability listed on our vendor’s chart which had no presence in the carrier section of the getrealtime.org site. Of the companies that were listed, a majority of them did not have any information providing the contact and phone number for agents to go to for implementation assistance. Carrier tip: Carriers should create a presence on getrealtime.org’s carrier page and make it easy for agents to find initial contact information for implementation assistance on their first landing page. Marketing reps for the carrier should also be familiar with the carrier’s Real Time functionality and the person for the agent to contact if he or she needs implementation help. Thanking the carriers The support I received from Applied Systems and each of my carriers was very helpful, once I got to the right people. I was very focused on thanking each of the companies for [ 25 ]

their commitment of time and resources to develop Real Time capability and assured them we would be frequent and consistent users. I also encouraged them to continue to enhance and extend their Real Time capabilities. I let them know that Real Time is such a time saver for our CSRs — allowing us to provide faster and better service to our clients — that we will give carriers with Real Time capability preference when their pricing is close to the competition. The carriers were very glad to hear these comments and gave me the sense that most agents do not take the time to express their appreciation for the carrier’s investing in this improved agency functionality. Hearing from the agents is the best way to assure continued investments by the carriers in Real Time and other improved agent-carrier connectivity. Agent tip: My take-away from these conversations is that we, as agents, need to express our appreciation more aggressively and consistently to those companies which have committed to Real Time and are continuing to commit resources to further expand and enhance the functionality. Creating the Real Time habit By the end of the fourth business day, we had installed Real Time for eight of our 10 companies. We have four staff members who have been with us less than a year and were never exposed to the limited Real Time functionality in our old management system. The other five CSRs had had a five-month lapse from Real Time while we were undergoing our system conversion and had developed new “workarounds” using the carrier website to complete their daily work.


TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

We needed to develop a helpful tool to ensure rapid and consistent adoption of Real Time by both our experienced and new staff members. I recalled the industry’s 2011 Real Time 21 Day Challenge and realized

we needed to establish Real Time as a habit with our staff. We did a one-on-one demonstration with each CSR covering the functionality for several different companies. Everyone was impressed with the improved

We don’t just create fast and simple automation solutions for our agents.

With a “WOW” quoting system and superior service, we set out to delight them.

wow! That’s just one of the reasons we’ve been ranked among the top 10 carriers nationally in ease of business by Deep Customer Connections. Business t Surety t Auto t Home

www.PennNationalInsurance.com

speed of the Real Time process which was running about 16 seconds per transaction. To ensure that each of our staff would develop the Real Time habit, we created a one-page document that lists all of our carriers and the Real Time transactions offered by each, with the notation of “(+C)” if the company provides the function in both personal lines and commercial lines. I provided each CSR with a laminated copy for his or her workstation. Finally, we informed them we would be generating weekly reports to monitor their use of Real Time to be sure there was consistent usage. Agency management involvement It is especially important for agency management to be involved at the onset to track adoption by staff and to identify error messages. These error messages need to be quickly addressed so that staff is not discouraged from using Real Time. We had two examples where my early intervention was important. The first involved a CSR alleging a function didn’t work, only to realize later that the company being used did not offer the requested Real Time function. The second example was an endorsement request that failed to execute properly. Applied Systems said the file name was too long because it exceeded a named insured character limit of 40 characters. The carrier downloaded the policy file successfully, so this did not seem to initially make sense. Further investigation identified that the carrier allowed up to 90 characters to complete a successful download

[ 26 ]


match while Applied Systems only permits a maximum of 40 characters. This was not a big deal, and we identified this client file as an exception not eligible for Real Time endorsement processing. Agency tip: Immediate management intervention to resolve apparent problems establishes early confidence by the staff that Real Time is a real benefit to them that works. Carrier support with implementation Of the 10 carriers that now offer us Real Time, most are national carriers, but a couple are smaller regionals as well. I asked one of these small carriers, New York Central Mutual Insurance, why the company had

taken a leadership role in providing Real Time compared to its competitors of a similar size. The response was that the company really believes in the importance of Real Time to the future success of its agency plant. Moreover, the company monitors Real Time usage and reaches out to agents who are not using particular functionality and offers to do on-site training for their staff for free. They also will help their agents install Real Time functionality, not just for their company but for all of the companies the agency represents. This company knows that agencies are most likely to use Real Time when it is available from most of their carriers and they can implement a more consistent workflow.

There are several additional carriers out there — large and small — which are strong believers in Real Time as well, offering hands-on implementation assistance to their agents. Agencies should take advantage of this assistance and thank the management of these companies for their strong support of this superior workflow for agencies. Real Time benefits Real Time through my new management system has provided our agency with a significant efficiency boost. Real Time transactions are averaging just 16 seconds, with the logins, navigation and data flows back and forth all taking place automatically.

SPEAK UP! YOUR JOB DEPENDS ON IT! SUPPORT AGENTPAC — your voice IN THE STATE CAPITOL. AgentPAC is your state political action committee and the collective voice of independent agents in the state capitol. Issues that affect your job are at stake, and backing legislators aligned with IA&B’s government affairs agenda depends on your support. Watch for Grassroots Action Alerts prompting you to contact your legislators on specific issues, and consider donating to AgentPAC at a level that speaks (loudly) to policymakers that support our cause.

LEARN MORE AND CONTRIBUTE ONLINE AT IABGROUP.COM/AGENTPAC.

Your voice in the state capitol. [ 27 ]


TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

During the week of Aug. 6, 2012, for example, we had 108 Real Time transactions agency wide. That’s up from 50 the week before and includes the full range of Real Time inquiries, quotes and endorsements available. We calculate about a three-minute time savings for each transaction, saving our agency 324 minutes or over five hours in one week! Recommendations Based on our experience, I would offer these recommendations: For agents: w Adopt every Real Time capability your management system vendor offers. w Take advantage of the implementation assistance your vendor, carriers and user group can provide you. There is a lot of willing help out there! w Take advantage of the industry, vendor and carrier resources out there to assist you in your implementation. The getrealtime.org website is a good place to start to access these resources. w Thank each of your companies offering you the functionality for their commitment to your future. w Urge your vendor and your carriers to continue to expand and enhance the Real Time functions they provide, so that you can have consistent, fast workflows across all of your carriers.

For companies: w Agents who adopt Real Time are likely to be the leaders in selling your products in the future. Continue to help them build competitive advantage by expanding your Real Time capabilities and continuing to enhance your speed and reduce errors. The Agency Real Time “Best Practices” Workflows and Implementation Strategies Guide for Carriers & Vendors (http://na.iiaa.org/ACT/ downloads/RT_BPWorkflows_Dec 72011.pdf) is a great resource for carriers to use in this regard. w Be sure to register your Real Time capabilities and your contact person for implementation assistance both with the Real Time vendors and on your carrier page on the industry’s getrealtime.org site. w Ask your marketing reps to encourage your agents to implement Real Time and to be familiar with the Real Time functions the company has available. These reps should also know the contact person at the company to provide the agent in need of implementation assistance. w Provide hands-on or virtual assistance to your agents who want to implement Real Time.

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For vendors: w Continue to enhance and extend the Real Time capabilities you offer through your system to eliminate steps, improve speed and reduce errors. The Agency Real Time “Best Practices” Workflows and Implementation Strategies Guide for Carriers & Vendors (http://na.iiaa.org/ACT/ downloads/RT_BPWorkflows_Dec 72011.pdf) is a great resource for vendors to use in this regard. w Be sure to register your Real Time capabilities and contact person for implementation assistance on your vendor page on the industry’s getrealtime.org site. w Provide your agents with a chart that details the Real Time functions provided by each carrier, along with the carrier contact person for implementation assistance. This chart should be in spreadsheet form, so that the agency can easily customize it to just their companies. Agencies, carriers and vendors all win by implementing Real Time functionality. Real Time enables agencies to provide clients with more responsive service. It frees up agencies to produce more business for carriers. It positions vendors to provide their agency clients with state of the art connectivity with the carriers. But most important, Real Time positions our distribution system to grow in the future, which will benefit us all.


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Piracy is big business: Somali pirates confiscated $160 million in ransoms in 2011. And while the first half of 2012 saw a 32 percent decrease in Somali pirate hijackings, the International Maritime Bureau still reported 69 incidents. Pirates have found the most success in securing their ransoms when they present themselves in an orderly, business-savvy fashion. Not uncommon in today’s requests are a cover memo, personalized letterhead and a stamped seal. On the paying end of pirates’ demands typically are insurance companies that offer kidnap and ransom policies. The premium on $5 million in coverage for a ship’s single transit runs approximately $3-5,000 (as long as armed guards are on board). Source: “Africa’s pirates have demands for insurers — and a letterhead, too,” Reuters

----------------------------------------------------------------———————------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 iab@iabgroup.com, subject line: Last & Least. The editor will happily protect sources’ anonymity upon request.


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Primary Agent - November 2012 - MD Edition