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GLOBAL SOLUTIONS MEET LOCAL SUPPORT.

We’re General Casualty®.

We’re the regional insurer you already know, always there to help independent agents with expert field support that understands local needs. Now that support is stronger than ever—because we’re stronger than ever. General Casualty has joined QBE®, providing local hands with the international reach needed to solve even your most complex challenges.

We are now QBE Americas Division. And we’re working for you.

generalcasualty.com General Casualty is a registered service mark of General Casualty Company of Wisconsin. QBE and the links logo are registered service marks of QBE Insurance Group Limited. All coverages underwritten by member companies of QBE. © 2009 QBE Holdings, Inc.


Course of Construction Defects

Window & Roof Leaks

Job Site Hazards Theft of Tools & Equipment Employee Negligence Alan Jay Kaufman Chairman, President & CEO

At Burns & Wilcox, we have you covered — from course of construction defects to employee mishaps and job site hazards. Our national network of experienced underwriters and brokers has strong relationships with specialty markets, making sure your client gets the quickest turnaround and most competitive rates possible. Plus, a Contractors Coverage policy from Burns & Wilcox carries broad protection and flexible solutions uniquely tailored to each risk. So if you’re looking for an insurance company with the speed, intelligence and agility to take care of your client’s contracting job, look no further than the professionals at North America’s largest specialty insurance wholesaler.

Morehead City, North Carolina

252.726.8992 fax 252.726.9484 moreheadcity.burnsandwilcox.com

Contractors Insurance

Who can hammer out a solution for any remodeling Contractors Policy?


SUMMER 2009

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of South Carolina PO Box 210008, Columbia, SC 29221 800 Gracern Road, Columbia, SC 29210 803-731-9460 803-772-6425 (fax) e-mail: information@iiabsc.com IIABSC Staff G. Frank Sheppard, AAI, CAE President ext. 23, fsheppard@iiabsc.com Rebecca H. McCormack, CPCU, CIC, AAI, CPIW Vice President ext. 14, bmccormack@iiabsc.com Anita J. Trevino Director of Communications ext. 29, atrevino@iiabsc.com Beth Chastie Director of Administration & Finance ext. 17, bchastie@iiabsc.com Charlene Bernotas, CISR, ACSR Agency Administrator ext. 22, cbernotas@iiabsc.com Elaine Mikell Meeting Coordinator ext. 16, emikell@iiabsc.com Mary A. Ellis Education Coordinator ext. 12, mellis@iiabsc.com Jeanette Bloss Education Coordinator ext. 11, jbloss@iiabsc.com Pat Fetner Receptionist ext. 10, pfetner@iiabsc.com Lee Ruef Director of State Government Relations lruef@iiabsc.com South Carolina Agent & Broker is the ofďŹ cial magazine of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of South Carolina and is published four times annually. IIABSC does not necessarily endorse any of the companies advertising in this publication or the views of its writers. Articles and information published in this magazine may not be reproduced without written consent of the IIABSC. South Carolina Agent & Broker is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, art or photography. The publisher cannot assume responsibility for claims made by advertisers and is not responsible for the opinions expressed by contributing authors. For more information on advertising, Contact Jim Aitkins Blue Water Publishers 22727 - 161st Avenue SE Monroe, WA 98272 360-805-6474 fax: 360-805-6475 jima@bluewaterpublishers.com

3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

Message from the Chairman of the Board Message from the National Director 2009 IIABSC Annual Convention: Oktoberfest in the Carolinas IIABSC Annual Convention Agenda Why You Should Be a Sales Mentor and Some Tips for Your Success Education Spotlight: A Commitment to Your Client, Your Employer and Especially Yourself 2009 Big “I� Spring Conference Recap E&O Angle: After the Storm - E&O Lessons Learned South Carolina Agents Technology Conference Positioning Your Agency to Prosper in a Tough Market Young Agents Golf Tournament Why and How to Go 24/7 New Survey Finds Many Considering Changes to Insurance Policies Due to Economy IIABSC Calendar 2009 Board of Directors and Executive Committee

Contents

Advertiser Index

AequiCap Program Administrators 29 AmTrust North America 47 Auto Owners Insurance Company 10 Bankers Insurance Group 36 Builders Mutual Insurance 13 Burns & Wilcox 3, 5, 48 Capstone Underwriters 36 Custom Assurance 45 Edwin M. Rollins Company 7 FastSnap 42 General Casualty Insurance 2 Hagerty 41 Hanover Excess & Surplus 27 Hull & Company 28 Installment Discount Corp. 45 Insurance House 31

Jackson Sumner & Associates Johnson & Johnson Market Finders Insurance Corp. Montgomery Insurance Preferred Specialty Prime Rate Premium Finance ProVision Underwriters Sagamore Insurance Company South Carolina Agent Network Southern Insurance Underwriters Southern Cross Underwriters Summit Marketing Services TAPCO Underwriters The National Security Group The Seibels Bruce Group Universal North America

6 8 12 15 16 18 22 26 30 32 38 40 43 44 46

21 24, 25 42 10 39 33 14 34 33 9 31 39 17 41 35 19

Cover: (Dreamstime: Briannolan). There is no doubt the beaches of South Carolina are a big draw, especially in the summer, but they also present a challenge to our coastal P&C independent agents with clients looking for “hurricane insurance.â€? Inside, an expert from a Big “Iâ€? Professional Liability carrier discusses the tough lessons learned through lawsuits over Hurricane Katrina claims and shares a few tips to lower E&O risks in ZLQGDQGĂ€RRG$QRWKHUPDMRUFKDOOHQJHIRUFRDVWDODJHQWVLVPDUNHWDFFHVVDORQJWKHFRDVW%LJÂł,´0DUNHWV KDVUHFHQWO\DGGHGĂ€RRGDQGH[FHVVĂ€RRGWRWKHLUFRPPHUFLDOOLQHVDQGQRQVWDQGDUGFRDVWDOKRPHRZQHUVWR WKHLUSHUVRQDOOLQHVSURGXFWVOLVWVIRU6RXWK&DUROLQD0HPEHUV\RXGRQRWKDYHWRUHJLVWHUIRU%LJÂł,´0DUkets to see product details – you only need a valid Web site username and password.


The Strength To Weather Any Storm. The Power To Provide Brighter Solutions.

Alan Jay Kaufman Chairman, President & CEO

At Burns & Wilcox, we believe strong leadership ensures a bright future. With Alan Kaufman’s vision, we’ve grown into North America’s largest and most capable specialty insurance wholesaler. Our unique ability to provide comprehensive specialty risk coverage, especially in this challenging and stormy market, is the result of a national network of experienced underwriters and brokers who give us the strength to grow regardless of what’s on the horizon. So if you want a company with the foresight to stay ahead of the storm, turn to the professionals with the speed, intelligence and agility to get the job done — the specialists at Burns & Wilcox.

Morehead City, North Carolina

252.726.8992 fax 252.726.9484 moreheadcity.burnsandwilcox.com


E

It only took one iceberg to sink the Titanic

dward Smith was the Captain of one of the most famous ocean liners of all time. By all accounts, he was a very VNLOOHGVHDPDQDQGDQH[FHOOHQWOHDGHU+HWRRNKLVÂżUVWFRPPDQG in 1887 and his last in 1912, RMS Titanic. One wonders, however, what he would have said if he had been questioned about the chances of dying at sea from an accident in the vessel “even God could not sink.â€? All had been so well managed for the length of a spotless career. Could we fault him for not seeing it coming? Just like Capt. Smith many agencies don’t see E&O claims coming until it is too late. Like it took one iceberg to sink the Titantic, it could take one claim to ruin an agency. When agents talk about their E&O claims experience you often hear: “We have been in business for 30 years with no issuesâ€? or “Why should we worry about this now, since we have been ok so far?â€? Think about Capt. Smith and the many years of experience with no issues – but it only took one accident to sink the Titanic. Taking a positive and proactive approach to agency E&O risk management can help avoid E&O claims and allow an DJHQF\WREHFRPHPRUHSURÂżWDEOHDQGHIÂżFLHQWDWWKHVDPHWLPH Legitimate E&O claims arise generally as a result of the breakdown in a process somewhere in the agency, or perhaps the ODFNRIDSURFHVVEHLQJWKHUHLQWKHÂżUVWSODFH7DNH7LWDQLFIRU example. There was plenty of warning about ice in the area, and the disaster could have easily been avoided if communication had been better or there had been a procedure in place to force a course change. So the trick is to make sure that everything that needs to EHGRQHLQRUGHUWRSURWHFW\RXUVHOILVÂżUPO\HPEHGGHGLQWRWKH routine your agency follows – in each and every case. Protecting yourself from an E&O claim is not rocket science. True protection comes from the painstaking analysis of everything to be done, from end to end, every time, to ensure that your client is properly protected against risk. This analysis must then be followed up by the implementation of “grassroots, desklevelâ€? procedures that ensure compliance, are easy to follow, are developed in conjunction with your staff and are designed to work in the real world. It works because taking this approach allows you to: ‡ Identify potential points of failure ‡ (VWDEOLVK Âł( 2HIIHFWLYH´ ZRUNĂ€RZV WKDW PDNH VHQVH in the real world 3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

‡ ‡

Get understanding and buy in from all staff Get staff involved in development and implementation RISURSHUZRUNÀRZV ‡ Ensure that everything done is well documented ‡ Monitor and manage compliance easily ‡ Train new people consistently and thoroughly ‡ Demonstrate, when called, that your Agency always follows set procedures in the course of business ‡ Create a strong culture around E&O avoidance In addition to a reduction in exposure to E&O claims, thorough and well thought-out procedures can offer success to individual employees, documented performance management, less stress and higher customer satisfaction. You can look at doing a procedural review from the negative viewpoint of simply avoiding a lawsuit, or you could look at it positively, as making sure you and your staff are doing the right thing every time for DOORI\RXUFOLHQWV6LQFHLQWRGD\œVZRUOG\RXFDQ¿QG\RXUVHOI being sued when you did nothing wrong, the payoff is that if you have great processes in place, can prove you follow them every time and you still get sued, you will be in an excellent position to knock it out of the park. The really good news is that getting it right doesn’t mean it’s going to cost you money – quite the opposite. The overall impact is a happier client group, higher retention and more opportunity IRUSUR¿WDEOHJURZWK$GGLWLRQDOO\PRVWRIWKHSURFHVVHVSXWLQWR SODFHZLOOUHVXOWLQKLJKHUHIIHFWLYHQHVVDQGHI¿FLHQF\DQ\ZD\ So, good luck with your journey. Remember that it is possible WRPDUU\SURSHUSURFHGXUHZLWKHI¿FLHQWEXVLQHVVDQGSURGXFHDQ HQYLURQPHQWZLWKEHQH¿WVIRU\RXDQG\RXUVWDIIDVZHOODV\RXU clients. Agency Shield Program available through IIABSC The Agency Shield Program (ASP™), available exclusively for Swiss Re policyholders, is an E&O claims prevention consulting program to assist an agency in the review and LPSOHPHQWDWLRQ RI HIIHFWLYH ZRUNÀRZ SURFHVVHV  ,W DOVR offers an additional 10% credit on your Swiss Re E&O policy for completion and implementation. To learn more, contact Charlene Bernotas, 803-731-9460 or cbernotas@iiabsc.com.


3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


B

ack in April, several of your fellow IIABSC members joined Big “I� members from around the country at the IIABA National Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. We visited every Congressman and Senator to share our observations, concerns and suggestions on key issues being discussed in Congress. One conclusion that our delegation came back with – your y r grassroots participation in some of these key legislative issues has never been more important!

HEALTH CARE REFORM The Obama Administration and Congress have made health-care reform one of their top priorities and hope to pass a comprehensive bill by Fall 2009. [Editor’s Note: Our national association has called key delegates back to Washington in July when the votes are scheduled.] A central component of nearly every health-care reform proposal under consideration in Congress is the creation of a Health Care Exchange. The Big “Iâ€? is concerned it could SRWHQWLDOO\HOLPLQDWHRUVLJQLÂżFDQWO\FXUEWKHUROHRIDJHQWVLQWKH sale and delivery of health insurance. In our meetings with our Congressional delegation we talked about the importance of insurance agents and brokers in the sale of health insurance. Each individual and business has distinct needs, and agents help them navigate the complexities of the market and ÂżQGWKHEHVWFRYHUDJH We encouraged Congress to build on the employer-based health-care delivery mechanism rather than displace it with a federal-run program. The Big “Iâ€? supports offering small businesses incentives such as tax credits and rebates. We are also concerned about the taxing of current employer-provided KHDOWKFDUHEHQHÂżWVEHFDXVHLWZRXOGIXUWKHUGULYHXSFRVWVDQG undermine the employer-based system. INSURANCE REGULATORY REFORM With the bailout of the largest insurance company in the world, 3UHVLGHQW 2EDPD KDV PDGH ÂżQDQFLDO VHUYLFHV UHJXODWRU\ UHIRUP another of his top priorities. For the past decade, large insurers 3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

The Big “I� Needs Your Grassroots Participation

and national brokers have been pushing for the creation of a federal regulator and see the opportunity to push this agenda. Their bill, the National Insurance Consumer Protection Act (H.R.   ZRXOG HVWDEOLVK DQ 2IÂżFH RI 1DWLRQDO ,QVXUDQFH ZLWKLQ the Treasury Department to provide for the optional chartering of national insurers and national agencies. :H VKDUHG ZLWK RXU HOHFWHG RIÂżFLDOV WKDW RQO\ $,*ÂśV LQVXUDQFHUHODWHG VXEVLGLDULHV ZKLFK DUH ÂżQDQFLDOO\ VRXQG DUH regulated by state insurance commissioners, and it was AIG’s exotic investments, including credit default swaps, that created the need for the federal bailout. The Big “Iâ€? opposes legislation to create an optional federal charter for the insurance market and supports making changes to our current state regulatory system to make it easier for insurance companies and agents to do business in multiple states . We shared concerns that a federal insurance charter would not only fail to provide better protection for insurance consumers, but it would only add an additional layer of regulation and confusion. Plus, it would not be optional for independent agents and consumers. Since some insurers would choose to continue to be regulated at the state level, independent agents and their customers would need to deal with two regulators. We shared concern about nonresident agent licensing as an example of one reform to our current regulatory system that would make it easier to do business in multiple states. The average independent agency is licensed in at least eight states and many are licensed in 35 or more. Maintaining all these licenses is time consuming and confusing. 7KH%LJÂł,´VXSSRUWV1$5$%5HIRUP $FW ZKLFK SDVVHG WKH 86 +RXVH LQ 6HSWHPEHU  DQG KDV been reintroduced this year. ,WZRXOGHVWDEOLVKDQRQSURÂżWHQWLW\ to act as a one-stop shop for producers to easily get licensed in as PDQ\VWDWHVDVWKH\FKRRVHE\ÂżOOLQJRXWRQHDSSOLFDWLRQZLWKRXW additional regulations/requirements. FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM On Sept. 30, 2009, the prior extension of the National Flood


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INSURE YOUR FUTURE! South Carolina state agents and brokers collectively raised almost $39K in individual contributions for our national political action committee, InsurPac â&#x20AC;&#x201C; making us one of the leading states (per capita). For the fourth consecutive year, South Carolina was recognized with the Eagle Award â&#x20AC;&#x201C; presented to state associations that average contributions of $100 per agency or higher. Only three state associations received the Eagle Award for 2008. InsurPac, currently chaired by South Carolinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jon Jensen of Correll Insurance in Spartanburg, is the largest P&C insurance industry PAC and is one reason why the Big â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;? is routinely rated in Fortune magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top-25 list of most successful lobbying groups in Washington D.C. By pooling individual contributions, InsurPac helps elect candidates and re-elect members of the U.S. Congress who share the Big â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sâ&#x20AC;? business philosophy.

  



     





       

           

                              

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Insurance Program (passed in March 2009) will expire. Congress must pass another extension or consumers would face nonrenewal of their NFIP policies. Additionally, the dramatic impact of the 2005 hurricanes has led many in Congress to call for reforms WRSXWWKH1),3RQDPRUHVWDEOHÂżQDQFLDOIRRWLQJ1),3FODLPV liabilities arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are estimated at more than $21 billion, far surpassing the total claims paid in its entire history. :HFRPPXQLFDWHGZLWKRXUHOHFWHGRIÂżFLDOVWKDWWKH%LJÂł,´ is a strong supporter of the NFIP and seeks to modernize and strengthen the program for the future. The Big â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;? believes the private insurance industry has been, and continues to be, largely XQDEOHWRXQGHUZULWHĂ&#x20AC;RRGLQVXUDQFHEHFDXVHRIWKHFDWDVWURSKLF nature of these disasters. Therefore, the NFIP is virtually the only way for people to protect against the loss of their homes or EXVLQHVVHVGXHWRĂ&#x20AC;RRGV We strongly urged Congress to extend the NFIP and also modernize the program and protect it from the threat of insolvency in the years ahead. 7KH %LJ Âł,´ KDV ODLG RXW D SRLQW LQLWLDWLYH RQ KRZ WR reform the program. They include adding optional business interruption insurance, additional living expenses coverage, ÂżQLVKHG EDVHPHQW FRYHUDJH DQG UHSODFHPHQW FRVW FRYHUDJH It also encourages increasing maximum coverage limits and creating risk-based rates for nonresidential or second homes. You may have already been contacted about direct grassroots involvement on some of these issues. We encourage every agent to step up and participate by relaying your concerns about these issues when asked by our state and national associations.

  

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2009 IIABSC Annual Convention:

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to groups all around the world. Be sure to check out his article 3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER


Your customer needs total coverage.

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Highlights include:

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Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of SC

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111th Annual Convention Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC Sunday 2:45 – 5:15 pm 5:30 – 6:00 pm 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Exhibit hall open w/ regular door prize drawings IIABSC Business session Opening reception – Beir Garden

Monday 7:15 – 8:15 am 7:15 – 10:30 am 8:15 – 9:30 am 10:00 – 10:45 am

11:00 – 11:45 am 12:30 pm 1:15 – 4:00 pm

6:45 – 7:45 pm 7:45 pm 9:30 pm

Continental Breakfast Exhibit Hall open Keynote speaker – Chip Eichelberger “Get Switched On!” Breakout sessions: Putting Your Plan Into Action – Chip Eichelberger Mergers & Acquisitions – Jon Jensen, AAI, AIP Marketing on a Shoestring – Charlotte Hicks, CIC, AAI Breakout sessions – (same as above) Golf Tournament on Grove Park course CE Sessions: Risk Management Walking Tour of the Grove Park Inn Ethical and Legal Considerations for Insurance Agents Chairman’s reception Awards Banquet James Gregory – “The Funniest Man in America”

For details & to register, visit:

Tuesday 8:00 – 10:00 am

Closing Session/Breakfast Featuring Master Storyteller – Connie Regan Blake

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lmost every successful sales person I know can point to one or more people who were instrumental to their success. They can name the mentors who encouraged them, showed them the error of their ways and helped them over the humps. As for me, I can name three. I began my sales career with Jantzen Sportswear. I had an apprenticeship with one of their top reps, Kent McCreight in Minneapolis, for ten months before WDNLQJ RYHU P\ ÂżUVW VDOHV WHUULWRU\7KDW H[SHULHQFH ZLWK .HQW was invaluable. He was a seasoned pro who took time with me DQG VHUYHG DV DQ H[FHOOHQW UROH PRGHO 0\ QH[W PHQWRU 7RP Hopkins, was a virtual one. I purchased two of his tape series on sales and success and listened to them over and over while driving thousands of miles in my territory. I began working for Tony Robbins in September of 1988. The manager of the sales team was Michael â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hutchâ&#x20AC;? Hutchison. Almost twenty years later, he is still a mentor and one of my closest friends. 2Q WKH QH[W SDJH DUH D IHZ LGHDV WR PDNH D GLIIHUHQFH LQ \RXUUROHDVDPHQWRU7KHÂżUVWTXHVWLRQ\RXVKRXOGDVN\RXUVHOI is â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why?â&#x20AC;? Usually a mentor has achieved great success and is a role

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provides a way to re-engage and get them switched back on. For H[DPSOHLQWKHDFWRIWHDFKLQJVRPHRQHHOVHWKHPHQWRUPD\ EHJLQWRVHHDQHZUROHIRUFRQWULEXWLQJWRWKHÂżUPKHRUVKHPD\ â&#x20AC;&#x153;catchâ&#x20AC;? some of the protĂŠgĂŠâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enthusiasm and be re-energized him/herself. 0HQWRUV ZLOO EH PRWLYDWHG WR VHW D VWURQJ H[DPSOH DQG FKDOOHQJHWKHPVHOYHVWRJHWEDFNWRH[HFXWLQJWKHGLVFLSOLQHVWKDW JRWWKHPWRWKHWRSLQWKHÂżUVWSODFH$JRRGPHQWRUVKRXOGSXW their new protĂŠgĂŠ at ease and let him or her know they did not learn the business overnight. Anything worth doing well is also worth GRLQJ SRRUO\ DW ÂżUVW <RX GR QRW PDVWHU DQ\WKLQJ ZRUWKZKLOH TXLFNO\ 7KH\ PXVW NQRZ \RX GR QRW H[SHFW SHUIHFWLRQ <RXU H[SHFWDWLRQVKRXOGEHFRQVLVWHQWSURJUHVV7KH\PXVWEHDOORZHG to learn by doing and doing means making mistakes and learning IURPWKDWH[SHULHQFH 1. Balance criticism with encouragement. Often the protĂŠgĂŠ is in the enthusiastic beginner stage where they can be easily FUXVKHGZLWKWRRPXFKFULWLFLVP/RRNRXWIRUDUHDVRIVSHFLÂżF


improvement and praise them. Find the right opportunities to tell them you see greatness in them. Instead of always telling them what they should do differently, ask them how they could have improved in a given situation. 2. .HHSWKHPIRFXVHGZLWKDVSHFLÂżFSODQRIDWWDFN([SODLQ WKH WKUHH WR ÂżYH  NH\ GDLO\ DFWLYLWLHV WKDW ZLOO GULYH WKHLU performance. As a mentor, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t coach them on what you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t measure, so create a scorecard to show goals and actual UHVXOWV<RXFDQWUDFNWKHLUSURJUHVVGDLO\RUZHHNO\EXWVWD\LQ touch. 3. Get them a Journal as a gift. Encourage them to not trust their memory, but write down what they are learning and HQMR\LQJ 7RQ\ JDYH PH P\ ÂżUVW -RXUQDO DQG , QRZ KDYH  valuable editions. It is a great way to capture moments that \RX ZRXOG QRUPDOO\ IRUJHW <RX FDQ XVH LW DV D VFUDSERRN RI accomplishments and lessons. 4. Let them see you in action. How they â&#x20AC;&#x153;tell the storyâ&#x20AC;? of ZKDW\RXDQG\RXUÂżUPGRHVIRUFOLHQWVLVFULWLFDO)RUDPHQWRU to conduct role modeling on a sales call, the protĂŠgĂŠ must be invited to watch as often as possible. Get permission to record the sales call from the client or prospect and tell them you would like to use it for training purposes for your protĂŠgĂŠ. Repeatedly listening to you and others at their best will cut the learning curve dramatically. 5. /HWWKHPZRUNLWRXWIRUWKHPVHOYHV It is tempting to solve their problems for them, but that is not mentoring. By solving their problems you take away their opportunity to become educated, and their ability to solve problems for themselves. People learn best when they face new challenges, in addition, WKH\ JDLQ WKH VNLOOV WR VROYH RWKHU PRUH GLIÂżFXOW SUREOHPV ,W builds self esteem and the belief they can handle any situation once they are on their own.

What is served quicker than fast food? Restaurant & Deli coverage in a five-minute phone call Call. Quote. Bind. 1Ă&#x192;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;/* "½Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;VÂ&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x152;iÂ&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160; >Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;ÂŤĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;ÂŤĂ&#x152;Ă&#x160;V>Â?Â?Ă&#x160;ViÂ&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x20AC;]Ă&#x160;,iĂ&#x192;Ă&#x152;>Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;>Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;EĂ&#x160; iÂ?Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x160; VÂ&#x153;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x20AC;>}iĂ&#x160;V>Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;LiĂ&#x160;ÂľĂ&#x2022;Â&#x153;Ă&#x152;i`]Ă&#x160;LÂ&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;`iÂ?Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x20AC;i`Ă&#x160; Ă&#x152;Â&#x153;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x17E;Â&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x160;iÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201C;>Â&#x2C6;Â?Ă&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;LÂ&#x153;Ă?Ă&#x160;ÂľĂ&#x2022;Â&#x2C6;VÂ&#x17D;Â?Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;>VVĂ&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;>Ă&#x152;iÂ?Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160; `Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;iĂ&#x160;vÂ&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iÂ&#x2021;Â&#x201C;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x160;ÂŤÂ&#x2026;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;iĂ&#x160;V>Â?Â?°

The TAPCO Service Pledge UĂ&#x160;ºÂ&#x2021;Ă&#x20AC;>Ă&#x152;i`Ă&#x160;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;>`Â&#x201C;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x152;i`Ă&#x160;V>Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;iĂ&#x20AC; UĂ&#x160; Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;ÂŤiĂ&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x160;ÂŤĂ&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;VÂ&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;v>Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;ÂŤÂ&#x153;Â?Â&#x2C6;VĂ&#x17E;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2DC;>Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Â&#x2DC;` UĂ&#x160;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2026;Â&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x192;iĂ&#x160;vÂ&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;>Â&#x2DC;VÂ&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;>Ă&#x203A;>Â&#x2C6;Â?>LÂ?iĂ&#x160;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;Â&#x201C;Â&#x153;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;>Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x192; UĂ&#x160;+Ă&#x2022;Â&#x2C6;VÂ&#x17D;Ă&#x160;VÂ?>Â&#x2C6;Â&#x201C;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;Â&#x2026;>Â&#x2DC;`Â?Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;} UĂ&#x160;f£äĂ&#x160;VĂ&#x20AC;i`Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x152;Â&#x153;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x17E;Â&#x153;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x160;ÂŤiĂ&#x20AC;Ă&#x192;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;>Â?Â&#x2C6;âi`Ă&#x160;/* "Ă&#x160; <Ă&#x160;

%HLQJDVXFFHVVIXOPHQWRULVDWUHPHQGRXVH[SHULHQFHDQG delivers a great feeling of satisfaction. Being able to drastically cut the learning curve for someone is a great gift and of course DFRVWVDYLQJV<RXJHWWKHSHUVRQXSWRVSHHGPRUHTXLFNO\DQG FXWWKHIDLOXUHUDWHWRR.HHSWKHVHÂżYHSRLQWVLQPLQGWRPDNH you even more successful. Chip Eichelberger is a peak performance strategist and motivational dynamo and will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming IIABSC convention October 4-6 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. A former Tony Robbins international point-man, Chip has a magical ability to generate enthusiasm, contagious energy and results that will last well beyond his presentation. Sign up for his monthly ezine at www.GetSwitchedOn.com.

Ă&#x160; Ă&#x2022;VÂ&#x17D;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;6Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x192;>Ă&#x160;`iLÂ&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x160;V>Ă&#x20AC;`Ă&#x160;Ă&#x153;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;Ă&#x160;i>VÂ&#x2026;Ă&#x160;ÂŤÂ&#x153;Â?Â&#x2C6;VĂ&#x17E; UĂ&#x160;6Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x192;>]Ă&#x160;>Ă&#x192;Ă&#x152;iĂ&#x20AC; >Ă&#x20AC;`Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160; Ă&#x160;ÂŤ>Ă&#x17E;Â&#x201C;iÂ&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;>VViÂŤĂ&#x152;i`

1,000 Strong More than 1,000 classes of P&C business written under binding authority.

800-334-5579 www.gotapco.com

3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


Education Spotlight:

'&7%#6+10 a Commitment to your Client, your Employer and Especially to Yourself

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lmost 40 years have passed since I returned KRPHIURPIXO¿OOLQJP\PLOLWDU\FRPPLWPHQWGXULQJWKH9LHWQDP War. I had graduated in 1969 from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY, with a BS in Business Management. I was eager WR¿QGP\¿UVWPHDQLQJIXOMREEXWOLNHWRGD\MREVZHUHKDUGWR come by! My mother worked in an agency in my hometown and the owner got me an interview with The Hartford Insurance Group in Albany, NY. I was hired and sent to Chicago to attend a yearlong training school. Like the vast majority of you, I started in the LQVXUDQFHEXVLQHVVEHFDXVH,FRXOGQœW¿QGDMREDQ\ZKHUHHOVH ,KDGSODQQHGWRVWD\D\HDUXQWLO,FRXOG¿QGD³UHDO´MREEXW that never happened! I became a Marketing Representative for the Hartford in Indianapolis upon graduation from the training school, which was an exciting time in the industry. Policies were becoming automated and package policies (Homeowners, Special Multi Peril [SMP]) were being developed.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I hope you also have an opportunity in your career, when your ďŹ nancial goals have been met, to help elevate others in the industry by sharing your knowledge and expertise. It is very rewarding.â&#x20AC;?

3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

by Mike F. DiMaina, CPCU, CIC Associated Insurors

7KLVQHZVSDSHUFOLSSLQJLVIURPZKHQ0LFKDHO'L0DLQD (right) received the Life Insurance Broker of the Year award LQ7RKLVOHIWLV:DOWHU)LQFKIURPZKRPKHHYHQWXDOO\ purchased the agency.

In April 1972 I left the Hartford to go back to work in my hometown agency in upstate NY. I found that I adapted well to the agency side of the business, and in 1978 bought the agency. I started another agency from scratch in 1980 in the suburbs of Albany, NY. I sold both agencies in 1989 and took a position in top management of the third largest P&C agency in Albany, NY, a position I held until I moved to South Carolina in 1995. For the


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books also give you a reference source for questions that may past 12 years I have worked in various positions for bank-owned come up long after the class. It will also help to prepare you for insurance agencies across the state. the CIC or CPCU designations later on. If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do any of I have also served on numerous education committees during these courses, there are plenty of courses online that you could my career. I just ďŹ nished a two-year term as president of the do, including CISR online. Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Horry Georgetown Perhaps one of the most Counties. With the hard work important things I see today of our education committee while teaching across the state we are offering a variety is the failure to read policies. of continuing education ,WLVGLIÂżFXOWWRVHOORUDGYLVHD courses on a regular basis client if you are not aware of the to our agents on the coast. coverage you are offering. 0DNH Perhaps my proudest that commitment to your client. accomplishment has been to You have a very important serve on the IIABSC faculty responsibility to protect your over the past 10 years. This their assets. service has given me an 0DNH WKDW FRPPLWPHQW WR opportunity to pay back the your employer. Your employer industry by sharing with class needs you to minimize errors participants my knowledge whenever possible to protect and various insurance the agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation and experiences over the past forty years. I hope you also 7KLVSLFWXUHLVSDUWRIWKHSKRWRWDNHQRI0LFKDHO'L0DLQDÂśV IDUOHIWIURQW its pocketbook from potential have an opportunity in your row) graduating class of the year-long training school by Hartford that he errors and omissions claims. 0DNH WKDW FRPPLWPHQW career, when your ďŹ nancial DWWHQGHGZKHQKHÂżUVWMRLQHGWKHLQGXVWU\ to yourself. Take pride goals have been met, to help in what you do. Try hard not to embarrass yourself or put elevate others in the industry by sharing your knowledge and yourself in a compromising position with either your client, expertise. It is very rewarding. employer, insurance company or another fellow employee. You During my entire career education has been extremely are a professional. I think you can achieve all three of these important to me. I started and completed my CIC designation in commitments through education. It worked for me! 1978. The program was very new back then and only offered at major universities. I attended Cornell, Rutgers and the University of Connecticut all within the year to earn my designation. In 1979 I started working on my CPCU designation with an agent friend in the business. I really didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know why I needed it at the time, because I already owned two agencies and really didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see the value. However, because I was doing it on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;buddy systemâ&#x20AC;? I ďŹ nished and earned my CPCU designation in 1984. The important lesson here is that you never know what the future holdsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;nothing is forever! I can say that for me, having the CIC designation has made me the insurance technician I am today, but the CPCU designation opened many doors that would have remained closed otherwise. In closing I encourage everyone to commit to learning everything you can about your job. You need to know everything about the coverage you are selling or servicing. The best way to do this is to make yourself available to as much continuing education as you can. This advice would be true for anyone in the agency, not just producers. An excellent starter designation, in my opinion, is the CISR. It will help you become a better insurance technician. Its course 3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Make that commitment to your client. You have an important responsibility to protect your their assets. Make that commitment to your employer. They need you to minimize errors whenever possible to protect the agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation and its pocketbook. Make that commitment to yourself. Take pride in what you do. I think you can achieve all three of these commitments through education. It worked for me!â&#x20AC;?


JACKSON SUMNER & ASSOCIATES Excess & Specialty Lines Broker

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Experience the JSA 'LIIHUHQFH +RZPDQ\WLPHVKDYH\RXFDOOHGRXUQXPEHUDQGKHDUG´-DFNVRQ6XPQHUWKLVLV&KDUPLQ"µ 1R&KDUPLQLVQRWWKHQDPHRIDQDXWRPDWHGV\VWHPVKH·VDUHDOOLYHSHUVRQ -6$KDVQRYRLFHPDLOQRWEHFDXVHZHDUHQRWDERXWWHFKQRORJ\EXWEHFDXVHZHDUHDERXW VHUYLFHWRRXUFXVWRPHUV7KHUHLVQRDXWRPDWHGV\VWHPIRU\RXWRJHWVWXFNLQ(YHU\WLPH \RXFDOO-6$\RXZLOOJHWDOLYHRSHUDWRUWKDWZLOOGLrect your call to the person you ask for, or WHOO\RXWKDWSHUVRQLVRXWDQGOHW\RXNQRZZKRLVWDNLQJWKHLUFDOOV<RXFDQDOVRKROGIRUD person if they happen WREHRQDQRWKHUOLQHRUZH·OOEHKDSS\WRWDNHDPHVVDJHDQGLWZLOO VKRZXSLQVWDQWO\RQWKHLUFRPSXWHUVFUHHQ:HEHOLHYHWDONLQJWRDOLYHSHUVRQLVPXFKEHWWHU WKDQOLVWHQLQJWRDPLQXWHYRLFHPDLOJUHHWLQJZKHQDOO\RXZDQWHGWRGRZDVWROHDYHDFDOO EDFNQXPEHU$OORXUSKRQHFDOOVDUHUHWXUQHGWKHVDPHGD\ *LYHXVDFDOOWRGD\H[SHULHQFHWKH-6$'LIIHUHQFH

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Quote more classes on an HO3 .... FAST with J&J! Getting the right coverage at the right price is essential, and J&J knows that finding it quickly is more important than ever before in today’s marketplace. At J&J, we continually strive to streamline our processes while adding markets for our valued South Carolina Agents, and that’s why we are so excited about our New Homeowners Program, with the ability to quote and bind online! Need to write an HO3 on a vacant home … inside the wind pool … with wind coverage? Not a problem ! In fact, you can quote and bind tenant, primary, and secondary/seasonal occupancies on an HO3 form in a flash! Dwelling values up to $1 million can be quoted on our website at your convenience, 24/7. For values over $1 million, just give us a call or email a completed application to our quote team at plquotes@jjins.com. Submit your request by 2 PM and we will respond by 5 PM the same business day. That’s our service standard, and that’s our promise to you. Contact J&J today and discover for yourself just how easy it is to obtain an HO3 quote in record time!

JJPF is ready to assist your clients with premier premium financing. Chat with us online at www.jjpf.com!

800.868.5573

Willie Dodds

Territory Manager 843.442.1017 or wgd@jjins.com

Chase Warrington

SC Marketing Representative 843.469.1320 or dcw@jjins.com


Johnson & Johnson 800.487.7565 www.jjins.com


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H 1. No coverage in place at the time of the storm because of delayed submission or failure to submit paperwork.

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SC Agents Technology Conference

May 13, 2009 in Columbia

Right: Technology Task Force Chairman Vance Stine welcomes attendees.

Technology is an integral part of running a successful agency, especially for its growth. Agents are also looking to technology as a tool for survival in this economy (see “Positioning Your Agency to Prosper in a Tough Market” on page 32). The IIABSC Right below: SC Agents Technology conference returned this year with the There was limited exhibit focus on Real Time Makes Real $$$$$. space for technology-related Participants listened as national speakers showed them vendors. Strickland Parks how to save time for their agents and CSRs using Real Time of Simply Easy Payments workflows and how to apply that saved time to account addresses attendees at lunch rounding and cross selling to increase agency revenue. and Matt Buffalo of They also had the opportunity to hear the experiences of docSTAR Technologies their peers who have already begun to use Real Time to make talks with attendee money and ask them questions. Elaine Roberts.

Above: Agent/ carrier panel shared their success stories and technology tips and took questions from the audience. Right: Speaker Lisa Parry Becker, who is also a fifth-generation agent, talks about Real Time workflows alongside Eddie, the national Real Time Campaign mascot.

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3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


Positioning Your Agency to Prosper in a Tough Market by Jeff Yates ACT Executive Director

While it is easy to fixate on the tough market independent agents are currently facing, many agencies are looking beyond the problems to take advantage of some unprecedented opportunities that exist to greatly enhance their productivity. This article discusses opportunities such as full use of agency management systems, Real Time, Download, going paperless and social networking as well as how agencies are using these tools to transform their businesses.

I

ndependent agents certainly have a lot of challenges right now. We are dealing with a property-casualty market that is not growing. Many of our commercial lines clients have had to scale back or have closed their doors permanently. Our investments have taken a severe hit. We are understandably concerned about whether independent agents will continue to have a role in the health insurance market as national health-care reform proposals are being developed. Before you get too depressed, keep in mind that we already are seeing signs of some recovery in the economy and with investments. The property-casualty CEOs at the recent IIABA convention believe we have weathered the worst in terms of the downturn in the economy and are worried most about the onslaught of inflation. Inflation will mean higher propertycasualty premiums, but will also bring its own set of problems such as heightened regulatory scrutiny. We are also hopeful that the 1,200 independent agents who recently descended on Capitol Hill at the IIABA Legislative Conference will have a positive impact on the health-care proposals currently being shaped, so that businesses and consumers can continue to benefit from the advice and choices independent agents provide them today.

3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

Focusing on the Opportunities During this challenging time it is easy to become fixated upon the problems and overlook the huge opportunities that are staring us in the face. As I have gone around the country talking with agents, what has impressed me is the number of agencies who are continuing to grow even in this tough market. I run into agencies that have been able to double their premium volume with the same number of employees. How are these agencies doing it? A common thread I have seen among these agencies is a determined focus to take advantage of the new technologies available to enhance their productivity. This focus is driven by the agency principals, and they are using the time and cost savings achieved to build their sales power. These agency leaders understand that technology has finally improved to the point that it can deliver significant benefits that far outweigh the costs, provided they fully use the technology’s capabilities. Carrier reps have told me that they are finding the technology-savvy agencies running disciplined shops to be their best business partners and performers. (Editor’s Note: To see how SC agents are coming together for the similar goals, please see the SC Agents Technology Conference recap on page 30, where agents met in Columbia to see how Real Time Makes Real $$$$$.)


3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


Technology-driven Transformation Consider this quote from Daniel Burrus, the author of Technotrends, who is known for his forward thinking and ability to identify significant trends and opportunities: “We are now at the dawn of a profound technology-driven transformation that will make the changes we have experienced over the past 25 years seem small and slow…We are about to transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, watch TV, learn and as you might guess, much more…This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for you personally and for your organization. Don’t miss it!” (January 2009 Technotrends Newsletter)

systems provide the hub for their information, and their other systems, if needed, integrate with their management system as much as possible. These agencies are active in their user groups, taking advantage of the excellent classes and online services provided by these groups to help them maximize the benefits of their systems. They also drive continued improvements in their software from their vendors through these user groups. Productivity-minded agencies provide their servicing and processing employees with at least two monitors, sometimes three. The additional monitors pay for themselves in added productivity in well under one year. The capability of their systems to generate automated letters to clients is used to the maximum extent possible. The objective is to automate processing wherever possible, so that employees can concentrate on more productive servicing and sales activities. Employees are trained on written procedures and workflows that are implemented consistently throughout the agency and compliance with the procedures are consistently monitored. E&O exposures are reduced as a result.

Real Time—a Given These best practices agencies have implemented Real Time inquiries (billing, policy view, claims), endorsements and quoting So how are these agencies using technology to enhance their through their agency management systems and comparative productivity, and how is it benefiting them? These agencies raters. Real Time enables agents to work with multiple carriers are moving to an electronic model as completely as they can, in a consistent way through their own systems; it handles logons eliminating paper wherever possible. Their agency management and passwords to carrier systems and Web sites automatically; and it eliminates having to re-enter data that is already in the agency management system. It is a “no brainer” for these agencies to turn on their Real Time capability because it is usually provided www.sagamoreinsurance.com by their agency management system at no cost. In the 2008 IIABA Future One Agency Universe Survey, agencies ranked Real Time billing, claims and policy inquiry as the technology having the greatest impact on their productivity. And it is no wonder. In the January 2009 Real Time Campaign Rated A+ by A.M. Best Agency Survey, the agents using Real Time (inquiries, endorsements, and/or quoting) reported saving ten hours a month per employee on average. Real Time is fast becoming the Kristin Cummings zPoint-of-Sale Technology predominant workflow used by agents Territory Sales Manager to perform transactions with carriers, P: (800) 317-9402 ext.848 zDirect Bill kcummings@sagamoreinsurance.com supplanting carrier proprietary Web sites. zOutstanding Claim Service That same 2009 Real Time Campaign Marketing Administration Survey indicated that 54% of the agencies zAnnual Policies P: (800) 317-9402 *Option 8 with agency management systems are doing personalauto@sagamoreinsurance.com zHigh Commission Real Time inquiries and endorsements.

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43% of agents are using personal lines real-time rating through the agency management system or comparative rater and 18% are performing commercial lines real-time rating. I expect the amount of real-time quoting in both personal and commercial lines to grow significantly in 2009 because of the tremendous time savings agent users of this functionality are deriving. Another very positive sign is that 180 carriers and carrier groups are now offering at least some real-time functionality. That’s a 58% increase in two years! Download—More Critical Today Download has become even more important in the world of the electronic agent, because the agency depends on having accurate data in its system to advise clients, create certificates, auto id cards and other client documents, generate reports and marketing campaigns, and transmit data back to carriers in subsequent real-time transactions. Best practices agents have not only implemented personal-lines download; they have implemented commercial-lines download particularly for their small commercial business. The carriers, vendors and user groups have done a lot of work to improve the quality of commerciallines downloads in recent years and continued refinements are ongoing today. Carriers will work with agents to start with a few commercial policies to see how the download impacts their data. To be successful with commercial-lines download, it is critical that the agency’s employees take a disciplined approach to place data only in the field for which it was intended so that important data is not overwritten. Agencies report saving significant processing staff time by automating the entry of commission statement information into their systems using Direct Bill Commission Download. Agents are also taking advantage of Claims Download where available to get back into the claims loop and to automate the entry of claims data into their systems.

More and more agencies are now taking the next step to front-end scanning where documents are scanned as they come into the agency and are tracked continuously as they make their way through the agency, so that processing time can be monitored and employee workloads managed. The Social Web is Transforming Marketing Savvy agents are also starting to enhance their Internet presence by using social networking tools. These agents understand that the Web is in the midst of a profound transformation from one where static information is presented (Web 1.0) to one where the participants are actively engaged in contributing comment and spreading messages (Web 2.0). Web 2.0 is creating exciting new opportunities in marketing where agents can participate in online communities and expand their reach considerably, just as previous generations have done participating in civic and other community organizations. Even more exciting, the Social Web is putting the person back into the Internet, rather than having it dominated by big companies. This bodes very well for independent agents, who excel in building personal relationships based upon trust. By developing their personal and agency brands in these online communities, agents are developing “fans” who want to learn more about them and their agencies and visit the agent’s Web site. These fans often help extend the agent’s reach even

Going “Paperless” Rocks I am also seeing agents derive great benefit from going “paperless.” Agencies typically implement back-end scanning first where the CSRs scan the important documents they want to keep. Moving to electronic files allows them to be more easily shared among employees and offices, reduces the number of searches for misplaced files and protects that information should there be a disaster, provided the electronic information has been properly backed up. 3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


further by spreading the agent’s message to all of their own contacts in a viral fashion. Agents are finding that by participating in a combination of social media—blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn being the most commonly used—they are increasing the traffic to their Web site, improving their Web site’s position on search engines, developing new prospects and establishing their credentials as an insurance expert to a wider audience. Importance of Continued Investment and Innovation Successful businesses continue to invest and innovate in tough markets permitting them to emerge as even more dominant players when the clouds clear away and the sun returns. It is wonderful to see so many independent agencies taking advantage of this period of unprecedented opportunity to employ productive technologies, implement new marketing strategies and transform their staff focus from processing to more a proactive service and sales. These agents realize that this is absolutely the best time to be an independent agent, because of their unique ability to provide their customers with choices; their ability to engender trust; and their agility to make changes to adjust to new market conditions and take advantage of new opportunities. Jeff Yates is Executive Director of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), which is part of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Jeff can be reached at jeff.yates@iiaba. net. ACT has posted further information on many of the subjects discussed above at www.independentagent.com/act. This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.

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Why and How to Go

24/7

F And let’s face it: Those numbers probably are higher now, as Americans only have increased their use of the Internet for handling everything from credit card and bank accounts to travel arrangements and shopping. And, especially within the financial services world, there is an expectation that a business will provide a means to answer a question or solve a problem after hours. Interestingly, the number of consumers surveyed who wanted to

The short answer is “no.” In fact, unless there is an urgent claim, most customers don’t want to bother you when you’re off the clock. But if they want to request an auto change, a new jewelry rider or a certificate, they want to do so when it’s convenient for them, not you. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to provide the service in the middle of the night, but you do have to enable them to request it.


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Here are some ideas for how your agency can comply with the 24/7 requirement in the Trusted ChoiceÂŽ Pledge: 







  

Provide customers with e-mail addresses for all staff, and post them on your Web site. Be sure your staff answers all messages promptly. Provide company service center numbers on your outgoing voicemail message and on your Web site. Monitor the service your customers receive from these centers. Implement a certiďŹ cates-on-demand service on your Web site, so commercial customers can access those important documents quickly and easily. Implement an online service center such as CSR 24, which enables customers to make policy changes and other requests through the Internet. Load one laptop with customer data and rotate it among the staff each night. Hire an answering service that can route important calls to various staff after hours. Rotate an emergency cell phone among staff to carry at night and weekends

Oh, and be sure to tell your customers about the 24/7 service your agency is offering them. You might brainstorm with your staff similar ways to provide 24/7 service. Many Trusted ChoiceÂŽ agencies already have learned that marketing themselves as a 24/7 shop can bring in valuable new business. And even if customers never take advantage of the round-the-clock service, they like to know that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s there and will select an agency with that in mind. Becoming a 24/7 operation neednâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be a chore, but it is an opportunity. Trusted ChoiceÂŽ is the innovative consumer branding program created by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, and membership is a SC Big â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;? member beneďŹ t. For more banding tips and other information about Trusted ChoiceÂŽ visit www.trustedchoice.com.

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New Survey Finds Many Considering Changes to Insurance Policies Due to Economy

M

RLIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Personal Umbrella Stands Out

DQ\ $PHULFDQV DUH IDFLQJ ÂżQDQFLDO struggles and considering making changes to their insurance policies, according to a new national survey of homeowners by Trusted ChoiceÂŽ and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Almost twenty-four percent of those surveyed, representing about 39 million homeowners, say they have made changes to their insurance coverage because of the WURXEOHGHFRQRP\OHDYLQJWKHPYXOQHUDEOHWRVHULRXVÂżQDQFLDO loss. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In tough economic times, people look for ways to trim household expenses, but cutting back on insurance coverage PD\ OHDYH WKHP RSHQ WR HYHQ ELJJHU ÂżQDQFLDO KDUGVKLS´ VD\V Madelyn Flannagan, Big â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;? vice president for education and research. How can I save money on insurance? The survey found that more than 18% of respondents (more than 30 million Americans) have considered reducing their auto, home, life or health insurance coverage in the last few months. How can that create a marketing opportunity for an agent or producer? Take a proactive response to the consumer uneasiness and implement a customer contact process that shows your clients you are concerned about helping them get the best value for their insurance premium. One of the easiest things you can advise your clients to do is to change their deductibles. Higher deductibles: Owners of expensive homes and cars need to consider whether a low deductible makes sense. If someone steals the TV, it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to break the bank. Those same consumers need lots of insurance for a total catastrophe, though, or if they get sued. Therefore, they may want to take a $1,000

deductible or higher and use the savings, which can be 10 to 20 percent, and buy a reasonably priced â&#x20AC;&#x153;umbrella liabilityâ&#x20AC;? policy to give them $1 million or $2 million of coverage in case theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re sued. You want to help your clients save money where it makes sense, but you also have to advise them that sometimes they have to spend money to save money. How so? When it comes to Personal Umbrella polices ask your clients a few simple questions. u What if someone slips and falls in your yard, you get sued and the jury awards more in damages than your homeownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policy provides coverage for? u What if someone in your household, perhaps your teenage driver, is responsible for an accident, you get sued and the judgment exceeds the liability limits on your auto policy? The answer to both of these questions is that your clients would be on the hook for the awarded damages, unless they had a personal umbrella policy. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why your clients who already have a personal umbrella policy need you to remind them of how important it is for them to keep it, and why you need to offer a personal umbrella to all your clients who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have one. By showing them how they can pay for most if not all of the umbrella premium by increasing their deductibles on both auto and homeownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policies, you will be demonstrating your value to them. <RXKDYHDFFHVVWRDQ$UDWHGSHUVRQDOXPEUHOODSURGXFW IURP5/,FRUSRUDWLRQ)RUPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQJRWRZZZLLDEDQHW 5/,RUFRQWDFW&KDUOHQH%HUQRWDVLQRXURIÂżFH H[WFEHUQRWDV#LLDEVFFRP 3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


Calendar For details, see our Education & Event calendars at www.iiabsc.com

15 15 21 21 29

July 14 14 15 22 23 28 29 30 30-31

AAI 83C, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C or L&H CISR Personal Residential Property, Charleston, 7 hrs P&C CISR Agency Operations, Bluffton/ HHI, 6 hrs P&C or L&H, 1 hr Ethics E&O Risk Management, Columbia, 8 hrs P&C or L&H CRIS Workers Compensation for Contractors, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C

CISR Commercial Property, Florence, 7 hrs P&C CISR Personal Auto, Rock Hill, 7 hrs P&C CISR Personal Residential Property, Bluffton/ HHI, 7 hrs P&C Ethical & Legal Consideration for Agents, Columbia, 3 hrs Ethics AAI 83A, Columbia, Contractual Risk Transfer, Greenville, filed for 6 hrs P&C November Contractual Risk Transfer, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C Ethical & Legal Consideration for Agents, Columbia, 3 hrs Ethics CRIS Property Insurance for Contractors, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C 4 5 Surplus Lines Markets & Practices in SC, Columbia, 6 hrs P&C Young Agents Conference (Day 1&2), Myrtle Beach, filed for 6 hrs CE 5 CISR Commercial Casualty, Myrtle Beach, 7 hrs P&C 11 CISR Commercial Property, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C August 11-13 CIC Life & Health, Hilton Head, 20 hrs L&H 1 Young Agents Conference (Day 3), Myrtle Beach 17 CISR Personal Auto, Greenville, 7 hrs P&C 5 CISR Dynamics of Service, Charleston, 8 hrs P&C or L&H 19 CRIS Contractual Risk Transfer in Construction, Columbia, 5 Surplus Lines Markets & Practices in SC, Bluffton/ HHI, 6 hrs P&C filed for 6 hrs P&C 6 CISR Agency Operations, Greenville, 6 hrs P&C or L&H, 1 hr Ethics 12 13 19 26-28

CISR Personal Auto, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C E&O Risk Management, Myrtle Beach, 8 hrs P&C or L&H CRIS Commercial Liability Insurance for Contractors, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C CIC Personal Lines, Columbia, 20 hrs P&C

December 8 9 10

September 2 3 15 16 17 22 22 23 23 23 30

CISR Dynamics of Service, Myrtle Beach, 8 hrs P&C or L&H AAI 83B, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C or L&H CISR William T. Hold seminar, Columbia, 8 hrs CE E&O Risk Management, Bluffton/ HHI, 8 hrs P&C or L&H Surplus Lines Markets & Practices in SC, Myrtle Beach, 6 hrs P&C CISR Commercial Property, Rock Hill, 7 hrs P&C CRIS Commercial Auto, Surety, CIPs and Misc Lines for Contractors, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C Ethical & Legal Consideration for Agents, Rock Hill, 3 hrs Ethics Ethical & Legal Consideration for Agents, Myrtle Beach, 3 hrs Ethics Ethical & Legal Consideration for Agents, Bluffton/ HHI, 3 hrs Ethics CIC Commercial Casualty (Day 1), Myrtle Beach

October 1-2 4-6 13

CIC Commercial Casualty (Days 2&3), Myrtle Beach, 20 hrs CE IIABSC Annual Convention, Asheville, NC CISR Commercial Casualty, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C

3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER

11 15 16

Commercial Property Lessons from Losses, HHI/ Bluffton, filed for 6 hrs P&C Insurance and the Property Lease, Charleston, filed for 6 hrs P&C Commercial Property Lessons from Losses, Columbia, filed for 6 hrs P&C Insurance and the Property Lease, Greenville , filed for 6 hrs P&C CISR Agency Operations, Charleston, 6 hrs P&C or L&H, 1 hr Ethics CISR Personal Residential Property, Columbia, 7 hrs P&C


3UMMERs3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKER


2009 Board of Directors

Executive Committee Chairman Julius J Anderson, Jr, AAI (Jules) Anderson Ins Assocs LLC Charleston, SC MDQGHUVRQ#DLDVFFRP

Secretary W. Ashley Brady, CIC (Ashley) First Charter Co., Inc. Marion, SC DEUDG\#ÂżUVWFKDUWHULQVFRP

Chairman Elect/Treasurer Kathy D McKay, CIC CPIW (Kathy) McKay, Stelling & Assocs Mt Pleasant, SC NPFND\#DROFRP

National Director John R Braddy, CIC, AAI (John) Braddy Insurance, Inc. Dillon, SC MEUDGG\#EUDGG\LQVXUDQFHFRP

Immediate Past Chairman Jon A Jensen, AAI AIP (Jon) Correll Ins Group Spartanburg, SC MMHQVHQ#FRUUHOOLQVXUDQFHFRP

Directors Faye R. Bradham, LUTCF (Faye) Bradham Insurance Agency Conway, SC fbrayins@aol.com

R. Scott Moseley (Scott) Irmo Insurance Agency Irmo, SC scotirmo@bellsouth.net

W. Paul Eaddy, Jr (Paul) Adams Eaddy & Associates Columbia, SC peaddy@adamseaddy.com

Jasper D. Puckett, CPCU CRM CIC ARM AAI (Jack) Capstone Insurance Services LLC Greenville, SC MGS#FDSVWRQHLQVXUDQFHFRP

Kenneth A. Finch, CPCU CIC CRM AAI (Ken) Countybanc Insurance Inc Greenwood, SC NÂżQFK#HFRXQW\EDQFFRP

James G. Taylor, Jr., CIC (Jay) Kinghorn Insurance Agency of Beaufort Beaufort, SC MWD\ORU#LQVXUDQFHEHDXIRUWFRP

Larry G. Joyner, CIC, AAI CWS Insurance Agency Spartanburg, SC larry@cwsinsurance.com

Christopher T. Tidwell, CPCU, CIC (Chris) Tidwell Agency, Inc. Lexington, SC chris@tidwellagencyinc.com

Charles Paul Midgley, Jr. (Charles Paul) Midgley Agency, Inc. Bennettsville, SC cpmidgley@mecsc.net 3OUTH#AROLINA!GENT"ROKERs3UMMER


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SC Agent & Broker magazine - Summer 2009