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“La Voz� is the official monthly publication of the

"The Voice" of Independent Agents since 1934

Independent Insurance Agents of NM

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1511 University Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87102. (505) 843-7231. Fax (505) 243-3367. Web site This publication is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subject matter covered, but is distributed with the understanding that neither IIANM, nor any contributing author, publisher, contributor or advertiser is rendering legal, accounting or any other professional service and assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Further, the electronic links to our advertisers and/or contributors found in this publication are provided as a courtesy to our readers and do not necessarily indicate an endorsement by IIANM. News items from members of Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico and the general insurance industry are encouraged. The advertising deadline is the fifteenth day of the month, preceding publication. Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Rachel Sheffield at for details

IIANM Staff President/CEO Thom Turbett


o VZ

Welcome 2012 IIANM Company Partners


The Mindset of Top Insurance Agents


Thank You 2011 InsurePac Contributors


Are You A Players Coach?


Industry Tidbits


The Forsaken 401(k)


IIANM's 2012 Calendar of Events


Oklahoma Quakes Bring Attention to Homeowner Exposure


Ask an Expert - Dealing With Divorce


Not Knowing the Rules of the Game Can Cost You


In Every Issue

Vice President Lorri Gaffney

Tech Talk


Communications Director Rachel Sheffield

Education Edge


ABEN - The Next Big Thing in Continuing Education


January's Clickable Calendar


Odds n Ends


Insurance Programs Administrator Julie A. Franchini Member Services Associate Renee Trujillo

2012-2012 Officers

Advertiser Index Acuity


Chair Scott Jones

American Mining Insurance Company


Burns & Wilcox


Vice-Chair PJ Wolff

Market Finders, Inc.


Mountain States Insurance Group


New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance (NMHIA)


New Mexico Mutual


Risk Placement Service




Secretary/Treasurer Diana Hobbs National Director Sam Conlee Immediate Past Chair Kathy Yeager




independent insurance agents of new mexico

Partners Program



of Top Insurance Agents by John Chapin


ike most other things in life, sales and success are 90% mental. Once you’ve been in insurance for a few years, you know what you need to do in order to be successful, at that point it simply comes down to doing it. The key to doing what must be done day in and day out, regardless of circumstances, comes down to having a superior mindset. It is this superior mindset that separates the top Insurance Agents from the mediocre and poor ones. This mindset gets them to the top and keeps them there. Here we will explore the four key aspects of this superior mindset.

Four Key Aspects of a Superior Mindset: 1) Top agents are driven, motivated, and have a get-itdone attitude. This is perhaps the most important and most obvious part of a top agent’s mindset. Top agents have a no-excuses attitude and you won’t find them standing around complaining and coming up with reasons as to why they aren’t making sales. They find ways around any and all roadblocks and are relentless in their pursuit of success. Top agents know that they simply must get the job done, no matter what, and they are determined that nothing will get in their way. Top agents are self-starters and they see themselves as self-employed. They don’t wait for others to get started, they don’t need someone looking over their shoulder, or telling them what to do. Top agents are anxious to get to work and make things happen. They have a gun-to-thehead mentality and a sense of urgency. Top agents know why they are doing what they are doing. They have reasons that drive them. They know why they need to make the sale and why they need to be successful. Whether it’s that dream vacation they’re going to take, that car they want, or something they want to give their kids, top agents have goals and dreams that lead to a strong inner drive. 2) Top agents have an ability to focus on what’s important. Top agents have an ability to always get the most important tasks done. They realize that the only activities that ultimately pay them are prospecting, presenting, and closing. They don’t disregard the other items that need to get done, but they never let them come before, or keep them from the actions that lead directly to sales and success.

Here are some key questions that top agents ask themselves that lead to getting the most important tasks done: What will I do today to build my business and be successful? Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time? What did I do today to build my business? 3) Top agents take 100% responsibility. The top agents take 100% responsibility for everything in their lives from health, to relationships, to business. They realize that success in all areas of their lives is up to them and not determined by outside factors such as the economy, the market, or other people. Everything starts and stops with them. This attitude of complete responsibility leads to more control over their life, higher self-esteem, self-confidence, and ultimately more happiness and success. 4) Top agents have a strong belief system. Top agents have complete and total belief in themselves and their ability to sell. They also have a strong belief in their product and their company. The people they talk to can sense this complete belief and conviction and it wins them over. Top agents truly believe that others must have their product and they believe that their customers’ lives are much improved as a result of owning their product. Top agents know that the first sale is to yourself. You have to have complete belief and conviction in yourself and your product before you can sell anyone else. So there you have the four key aspects of the top agent’s superior mindset. Your mindset is the most important determinant of success or failure in business and in life. All you need to do to increase sales and be more successful, is to work on and get better in these four key areas. John Chapin is an award winning sales speaker, sales trainer, coach, and co-author of the gold-medal winning "Sales Encyclopedia" a comprehensive how-to guide on selling. "Sales Encyclopedia" is written for sales professionals in all industries at any level of experience. Utilizing more than 21 years of sales experience and as a number one salesperson in three industries, John co-founded Complete Selling Incorporated, a company helping salespeople double their sales and find their motivation. If you would like access to John's free white paper on what it takes to be successful in sales along with a monthly newsletter, you can visit John's website at For permission to reprint, or to reach John, email him at

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico 2011

InsurPac Contributors

With another election this year, it is critical for agents to continue supporting InsurPac. Not only can our federal government affairs team leverage existing congressional relationships with your PAC donations, but they also go toward electing others who will support our issues. Some of the issues that our federal government affairs team is currently working on include: • Introduction of NARAB II legislation, which would effectively create one-stop producer licensing for nonresident licenses, while maintaining the system of state regulation. • Rolling back provisions of the health care law, specifically as it relates to agents & brokers. The new Medical Loss Ratios (MLRs) are already squeezing agent commissions by as much as 50%. Big “I” legislation would carve agent commissions out of the MLR calculations since agent compensation is a 100% pass-through and not issuer revenue. • Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, and protecting it from being cut entirely.


n the most recent election our federal Political Action Committee (InsurPac) disbursed over $1.7 million and had an amazing 93% victory rate, winning 248 of the 265 races in which it played. This is a remarkable achievement and affirms that we can be extremely proud of InsurPac, and what it does on a daily basis to protect our membership.

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The following people from New Mexico stepped up last year and contributed to InsurPac. We hope you will consider joining them this year, along with the 6,500 agents nationwide who supported InsurPac in 2011 with donations ranging from $20 to $5,000. As agent donors, they understand that an investment in InsurPac is an investment in the future of our business.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

THANK YOU Archuleta, Alfonso / Route 66 Insurance, Inc. / $250.00 Berryman, Al / New Mexico State University / $150.00 Bundy, Gail / First Santa Fe Insurance Services, Inc. / $100.00 Burke, William / Burke Insurance Group, Inc. / $2,500.00 Conlee, Sam Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. / $250.00 Dove, Casey FirstComp / $30.00 Downey, Roger Downey & Company / $500.00 Esparza, Camille / New Mexico Mutual / $30.00 Fortner, Bill / AVI Risk Management - Insurance Brokers / $1,000.00 Fortner, Heather / AVI Risk Management - Insurance Brokers / $100.00 Garrison, Bart / High Country Agency, Inc. / $500.00 Graham, Pat / Cress Insurance Consultants, Inc. / $25.00 Hobbs, Diana / Millennium Insurance Agency, LLC / $150.00 Hunton, Matt / Hunton Insurance, Inc. / $30.00 Jones, Scott / Brown & Brown - Albuquerque / $500.00 Leavell, Carroll / Leavell Insurance, Inc.-Hobbs / $150.00 Letcher, Ronnie / Letcher Golden & Associates, Inc. / $250.00 Lujan, Joe / Manuel Lujan Insurance, Inc. / $100.00 Martin, Kris / Safeway Insurance / $30.00 Martinez, Rebecca / New Mexico Mutual / $30.00 Monjaras, Kari / Market Finders, Inc. / $30.00 Padilla, Diana / New Mexico Mutual / $30.00 Padon, Patty / Pat Campbell Insurance LLC / $100.00 Sims, Gary / J S Ward & Son, Inc. / $100.00 Stagner, Sarah / Western States Insurance Group Inc. / $40.00 Turbett, Thom / Ind Ins Agts of New Mexico Inc. / $500.00 Valdez, Brandy / McGonigle Insurance, Inc. / $30.00 Vidal, Bruce / Carney-Vidal Insurance Agency / $150.00 Wolff, Philip / Northern Insurance, Inc. / $150.00 Yeager, Kathy / High Country Agency, Inc. / $150.00 Total NM: 30 $7,955.00

Investment in InsurPac is an investment in the future of our business.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

Are You a Players' Coach?


was in Dallas around the time Wade Phillips, then head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was on the verge of being fired. The sportscasters and journalists were hot on the topic of whether his team's failure was correlated with his reputation as a players' coach. In other words, players loved playing for him but he was an inadequate disciplinarian. If there is one single cause of agencies not growing organically and having at least a 75 percent failure rate among producers (failure defined as producers never building at least $300,000 of their own commissions), this is it. Ninety percent of agency owners I've met over the past 25 years are this industry's equivalent of players' coaches. Everyone loves them and they want to be loved by everyone, even if it effectively means no discipline and limited success. I have completed dozens of errors and omissions (E&O) audits as an approved E&O auditor. In approximately 90 percent of the agencies I've audited, producers did not have to follow procedures. In fact, I have found that most agencies don't even make following procedures a job requirement for producers. I've surveyed over 300 agencies this year and less than 5 percent have procedures for producers. Additionally, my personal experience and most of the studies I have seen show that most producers do not have definitive production requirements. I know because I've asked hundreds of producers as part of E&O audits and due diligence processes if they know how much management expects them to produce. Most often the answer is either, "no" or "a lot." The National Alliance Research Academy report shows that the average commercial producer with 10-19 years experience has $340,000 of commissions. We know that producer books do not follow a bell curve; instead, producer books follow more closely Pareto's 80/20 rule. A relatively few producers generate the vast majority of sales while the majority of producers never achieve even average success. Quite often, the producers achieving the vast majority of sales are agency owners and their producers are often the ones with sub-par performance. One reason producers track more closely to the 80/20 rule is because many agency owners do not like competition from good producers inside their own agencies. Many agency owners hire people who can't succeed or they foster a system that limits other producers' success. This is almost always done subconsciously as a result of deep insecurities or huge egos. A company cannot thrive when the majority of its sales drivers are less than average. Even if the reality is there will always be some winners and some losers on every team, why do the lesser producers on your team have to be no better than industry average? If the answer is there are no better producers, does the agency then really need these producers? One of the great strategies employed by some of the best brokers is that when they buy an agency, they fire producers that are not performing and yet their reten-

by Chris Burand

tion rate does not decline by much, if any, because the secret they've discovered is that these producers are not important to keeping the accounts! If you introduce discipline to your producers and those producers are substandard, what is the worst result? They could leave but that usually has little negative impact because poor producers have less ability to take business with them. A definite benefit is that it frees money to hire better producers. It also likely improves morale and decreases E&O exposures. The real damage is the heartbreak that players' coaches suffer if producers get mad because they want everyone to love working with them (not "for" them because players' coaches are players' friends). Amidst all the undisciplined agencies, I've had the great opportunity of visiting disciplined agencies. Sure, some producers gripe about the rules, but they enjoy the success of the agency and their personal success, too. Morale is always higher throughout the agency. The agency has more money with which to grow. And interestingly, these agencies become known as great places for producers to work because they have an environment that helps the best producers become more successful. Especially interesting is that often in the transition, a few producers leave because they can't abide rules and procedures, but then when they see how well their former companions are doing and how they are not achieving any more success in their new producer-friendly environment, they begin making inquiries about returning. This industry is plagued with players' coaches and the results show it. Discipline and procedures enhance success. For whatever reasons, this may be one of the few industries where following rules has such a negative connotation. Just because the players perceive discipline and procedures in a negative light does not mean any cruelty is being expressed by instituting discipline. It does not mean management needs to be mean when instituting procedures and discipline either. Procedures and discipline are neutral, in and of themselves. Good rules are not mean and good rules are not nice. Good rules are meant to improve results and provide a basis for measuring performance. Are you a players' coach? It is time to decide whether you will let your players' perception of rules and procedures determine how your agency is managed. It is time to decide whether you will remain a players' coach. It is time to decide which is more important: being loved by poor producers or building a thriving agency.

by Matthew Marko


Agency Marketing Strategies Online There are digital parallels to the traditional marketing tactics of phone books and newspaper ads. For agencies that have spent years building a local footprint with traditional marketing tools, it may be daunting to hear others assert that success in today’s marketplace requires extensive e-marketing expertise and a dynamic online presence. But there is good news: Many of the techniques agents have long used to thrive in their communities are still relevant. They also have clear parallels in the digital space and often their online counterparts are easy to implement and measure. There are 900 million Yellow Page print references every month, the Yellow Pages Association reports. The online equivalent is the local search. In March, there were nearly 17 billion searches on all major search engines, ComScore estimates. . With Google having released estimates that local search represents 20% of their search volume and Bing reporting 53% of its mobile searches have local intent, the opportunity for small businesses is immense. It makes a difference where an agency ranks in the local search results when a consumer searches online for insurance. An agency that makes the top three listings shares 63% of the traffic, according to Chikita research. Land in the bottom seven and that figure drops to 32%. And only 5% of searchers continue to the second page of results.

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That first and most important step is proactively claiming and verifying online listings. Progressive offers a listing management program, called ListAgent, to help claim and keep listings relevant, maintained and optimized for less than $100 annually. There are also free do-it-yourself options such as that audit how effectively an agency has claimed its local search listings and allow it to create listings with each of the primary search engines from one website. Just as a variety of factors—ad size, color, content—influence the success of a Yellow Page print ad, several elements also affect a local search ranking. Keep listings consistent across search engines by using the official business name and avoiding abbreviations. Generate as many consistent citations (online references to a business) as possible among search engines, and eliminate duplicate listings. In addition, include as much relevant content as possible, including an agency address, phone number, email, website, photos and business details. Also create a strategy for getting customers to review the business online. Meanwhile, as newspaper readership declines and more consumers get their news from the web and social media, online advertising may offer an agency additional bang for the marketing buck. While banner ads on a local paper’s website are an alternative worth exploring, sites such as Facebook provide target audience options that print and online publications do not offer. With Facebook, an agency can create and publish an ad in minutes. Unlike traditional media, it can hand-select an audience most likely to respond to a message using the information Facebook users list about themselves, including zip code, age, gender, marital status, hobbies, interests and associations.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

as much as personal recommendations, according to BrightLocal. This is especially true in the insurance industry, where 57% of consumers said their insurance purchase was influenced by reviews—more than websites, TV or radio advertising. Search engines like Google and Yahoo prominently display reviews in their query results, yet research by Progressive—the employer of this author—on online referrals found that independent agents have, on average, just .3 reviews on their online listings. Add review requests to agency customer communications. Develop email templates that can can be easily customized, and send messages with links to review sites. Carriers may be able to help agencies with email templates that have already been created. Agencies can also add links to their websites and customer newsletters. Don’t worry if a couple of negative reviews turn up with the positive. A 2011 Lightspeed Research study found that only 4% of shoppers changed their mind about a service after reading one bad review, and 25% of consumers change their mind after reading two of them In addition, agencies can frequently turn bad reviews around by simply responding. A January 2011 Harris survey discovered that 33% of customers who received a response from a company after posting a negative review followed it up with a positive review, and 34% of customers deleted their original post. A hyper-targeted ad means less waste, and Facebook provides detailed metrics that enable an agency to quickly test executions and adjust as needed during the campaign. Best of all, an agency can pay per click or impression, and set budgets by day or campaign. To make the process even easier, carriers may provide resources to help with online advertising. The traditional marketing tactic of word-of-mouth also spreads effectively online.It’s no secret that a leading driver of new business is a happy customer. For agencies that have nurtured word-of-mouth referrals from their customers, encouraging customers to share their feedback online is an easy way to amplify their voice. The clearest bridge between traditional and digital referral tactics is to ask Facebook fans and LinkedIn connections to recommend an agency to their social networks. But there are additional advantages with online reviews on sites such as Google Places, Citysearch, Yelp and Insider Pages. Not only can they boost an agency’s local search visibility, but they can also sway strangers. Seventy percent of consumers trust online reviews

It’s true that the market and customer are evolving, but there are simple ways to apply traditional strategies to succeed in online marketing. Agencies don’t need special skills or an expensive consultant to take the first steps forward; just a basic understanding of what’s out there, a willingness to explore and a few trusted resources to help along the way.

Matthew Marko is marketing manager for Progressive Insurance. He works to provide local marketing strategies, tools and co-branded collateral to help independent agencies grow their businesses. Editor’s Note: This story was originally prepared for the Agents Council for Technology, which has additional articles, recorded webinars and resources to help agencies develop their digital marketing plans on its website by clicking on the “Websites & Social Media” and “Sales & Marketing” links. For more information about ACT, contact Jeff Yates, ACT executive director (

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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Federal Insurance Office Up and Running When the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010” (Dodd-Frank) was signed into law, it also created the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), a non-regulatory insurance information office tasked with keeping the nation’s policymakers up to speed on insurance issues. The FIO has taken shape over the last few months, starting with the appointment of Michael McRaith, former Illinois insurance commissioner, as FIO director. Generally speaking, the main duties of the FIO include updating the Treasury Secretary, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), Congress and the Administration on the status of national insurance issues, as well as assisting the U.S. Trade Representative on the negotiation of certain international insurance agreements and representing the U.S. in the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). The office is also tasked with monitoring the extent to which underserved communities have access to affordable insurance and conduct a number of studies directed in Dodd-Frank. However, the office has no regulatory authority and is to only act as an information-gathering body. Congress has already begun scrutinizing the office and its responsibilities with the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Development recently holding a hearing on “Insurance Oversight: Policy Implications for U.S. Consumers, Businesses and Jobs, Part 2.” The hearing examined the powers and actions by the FIO and the office’s plans to fulfill its mandate as laid out in Dodd-Frank. The only witness was FIO Director McRaith in his first appearance before Congress in this position. In his opening remarks before the House committee, McRaith addressed the lack of regulatory authority and said that the role of the FIO is to work closely with the state insurance departments, which will remain the regulators of the insurance industry. In fulfilling its role as an insurance information source for the federal government, he explicitly said that as required by statue, the FIO will only request information from the industry if it is not already available from public sources, a federal agency or a state regulator. Largely due to Big “I” advocacy during consideration of Dodd-Frank, there is a specific exemption from mandatory data requests for insurance agents and brokers written into law. During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Chairman Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) asked McRaith to reiterate and assure the subcommittee that he shared the view that the office would not have regulatory authority over the insurance market. He responded to the chairman that the FIO, as mandated by Dodd-Frank, is not a regulator or supervisor and that insurance regulation remains the authority of the states.

One of the first duties required of FIO will be to conduct a study and issue a report on how to “modernize and improve the system of insurance regulation in the United States,” and IIABA will be submitting comments to FIO representing the independent insurance agent and broker perspective. This upcoming study prompted questions from both Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). The congressmen focused on the fact that the study needs to take a fresh look at insurance regulation without bias from previous Treasury studies. The subcommittee requested assurance that the study was going to be a “de novo” review of the insurance regulatory system. McRaith addressed the committee’s concerns and said that “any possible bias would be framed by the statute.” The statute requires the FIO to study 12 factors and give consideration to all of those factors when developing any possible recommendations on ways to modernize regulation of the market. McRaith urged all interested parties to submit comments by Dec. 16, 2011. The Big “I” immediately went to work on its comments; they will be available at in mid-December. Margarita Tapia is Big “I” director of public affairs.

Big “I” Agent Appointed to FACI The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced their list of 15 appointees to the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI). FACI is charged with providing advice, recommendations and analysis to the FIO on issues related to its responsibilities. The association was proud that a Maryland Big “I” agent, Loretta Fuller, AAI, CRIS, was appointed to FACI. Fuller is CEO and CFO of Insurance Solutions Associates in Landover, Md., and an active member of the Maryland Big “I,” serving on the Independent Insurance Agents of Maryland Legislative Committee. Seven of the FACI appointees are state insurance regulators. According to a Treasury statement, the remaining members of the committee were chosen to bring a “diverse set of perspectives to the industry” and include a consumer advocate, an academic and other representatives of the business of insurance. - M.T.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson File Lawsuit Against Former Insurance Broker Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from their former insurance broker. According to celebrity gossip Web site TMZ, which discovered the lawsuit, Hanks and Wilson previously worked with the J.B. Goldman Insurance Agency for more than 20 years to secure various insurance coverages. The lawsuit claims that when they switched brokers last month, the new broker discovered they were insured multiple times for the same things, and were being overcharged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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by Dave Evans

The Forsaken 401(k)

You may have missed it, but National 401(k) Day was back on Sept. 9. This annual event, which occurs the Friday after Labor Day, promotes retirement savings education. While there probably weren’t many cookouts or gatherings to celebrate the event this day is an important one for Americans. National 401(k) Day may lack popularity because 401(k) plans are suffering from bad public perception. There are a number of reasons for the disapproval, including low investment returns, reduced company contributions, and a lack of understanding of the related tax rules, such as the required minimum distribution rules. The 401(k) name, which is derived from the section of the Internal Revenue Code that governs it, probably doesn’t help its reputation either. Even its older cousin the IRA (individual retirement account) has a catchier title. In order to fully understand the importance of a 401(k) it’s important to understand its origin. The 401(k) concept was born in 1980 when retirement plan consultant Ted Benna had the notion that paragraph (k) of Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code could serve as the nexus to allow employees to save for retirement on a salary-reduction basis. At the time, the prevalent retirement plan was the traditional retirement plan, the defined benefit pension plan, which provided a guaranteed monthly benefit based on criteria such as an employee’s years of service, compensation, and age when payments commenced. Many companies also had a profit-sharing plan that complimented the defined benefit plan. Given the state of the U.S. economy in the late 70s and early 80s, a lot of companies were not making a profit and thus weren’t contributing to their profit-sharing plans. Creating the 401(k) plan empowered employees to set aside funds for their retirement regardless what their companies were able to contribute. In the beginning, 401(k) plans were enthusiastically received by employees as their popularity increased with the healthy stock market returns of the late 1980s and 1990s. Turning the clock forward to the 21st century and the global economy, many businesses jettisoned their traditional retirement plan. In fact, most small businesses do not sponsor a retirement plan, but for the ones that do, the 401(k) plan is the prevalent choice. Also, with lower income tax rates the tax incentive was not as beneficial for middle-class employees. The overall flat stock market

The 401(k) gets a bad rap, but it’s still one of the best ways to save for retirement.

returns of the past decade, coupled with low interest rates and reduced employer contributions, mean many employees haven’t seen the progress they’d hoped for from their 401(k)—particularly when compared with the significant returns of the 1980s. So what does the future hold for 401(k) plans? First, regardless of the retirement plan—whether it’s a 401(k) or other plan—an employee’s forecasted rate of return will not be in the double digits like the halcyon days of 20 years ago. Rather, it’s important to accept a more realistic rate of return, which means saving more and paring down discretionary spending to find the income to increase retirement contributions. In summary, don’t blame the 401(k) plan. Instead embrace the opportunity to use the 401(k) to control your retirement destiny. Dave Evans is a certified financial planner and an IA L&H contributing editor.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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of events

January 2 Closed for New Year 10-11 P&C exam review class 12 L&H exam review class 16 Closed for MLK day 17 CE committee meeting

July Kitty Leslie Bob Ouellette

February 7-8 P&C exam review class 9 L&H exam review class 20 Closed for President’s Day 21 CE committee meeting

Chris Krahling Jeff Straight

4 Independence Day closed 5 AAI 83B 10-11 P&C exam review class Chris Krahling 12 L&H exam review class Bob Ouellette 17 CE committee meeting 18-19 Southern Seminar NMSU 18-19 P&C exam review class Las Cruces 24 ACSR #7 Commercial Liability Insurance 25 ACSR #8 Commercial Auto Insurance


March 8 AAI 82A 13-14 P&C exam review class Kitty Leslie 15 L&H exam review class Bob Ouellette 20 CE committee meeting 21-22 52nd Annual Education Seminar

April 5 AAI 82B 6 Closed for Good Friday 10-11 P&C exam review class 12 L&H exam review class 17 CE committee meeting

(Schedule tentative)

Jack Cleary Jeff Straight

May 3 AAI 82C 7 IIANM/NMM Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament 8-9 P&C exam review class Kitty Leslie 10 L&H exam review class Bob Ouellette 15 CE committee meeting 16 ACSR #1 Homeowners Ins 17 ACSR #6 Commercial Property Insurance 28 Closed for Memorial Day

June 7 AAI 83A 12-13 P&C exam review class Jack Cleary 14 L&H exam review class Jeff Straight 19 CE committee meeting 20 ACSR #4 E&O Loss Control 21 ACSR #5 Professional Development & Acct Mgmt

7-8 Roswell Classes Roswell 9 AAI 83C 14-15 P&C exam review class 16 L&H exam review class 21 CE committee meeting 27-30 Last Chance Seminar

Kitty Leslie Jeff Straight

September 3 Closed for Labor Day 11-12 P&C exam review class 13 L&H exam review class 18 CE committee meeting

Jack Cleary Bob Ouellette

October 9-10 P&C exam review class 11 L&H exam review class 18 CE committee meeting

Kitty Leslie Jeff Straight

November 13-14 P&C exam review class 15 L&H exam review class 20 CE committee meeting 22-23 Closed for Thanksgiving

Jack Cleary Bob Ouellette

December 6 Holiday Party 4-8pm 11-12 P&C exam review class 13 L&H exam review class 18 CE committee meeting 25 Closed for Christmas

Kitty Leslie Jeff Straight

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

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Oklahoma Quakes Bring Attention to Homeowner Exposures Agents can help clients in less disaster-prone areas plan for potential catastrophes.


klahoma’s recent string of rare earthquakes highlights an exposure that insureds may have previously

considered off their radar. But even moderate earthquakes—such as Oklahoma’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Nov. 6—can cause a surprising amount of damage. Take Virginia, where on Aug. 23 a similarly unusual 5.8-magnitude earthquake resulted in $150 million in uninsured damage to buildings, according to the state. President Barack Obama declared the adjacent Washington, D.C., vicinity a federal disaster area, and the Lake Anna Nuclear Power Plant did not resume power production until some 60 days after the earthquake. Both the Aug. 23 Virginia and Nov. 6 Oklahoma quakes were in the magnitude of 5.0 to 5.9, which means they are considered moderate, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). USGS describes these earthquakes as having the ability to “cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions” and “at most slight damage to well-designed buildings.” As both quakes were at the upper level of the moderate range, perhaps it’s not unusual more than slight damage was reported to have occurred at buildings such as the Washington National Cathedral and D.C. and Virginia public schools. Although the earthquakes were uncommon for Oklahoma and Virginia, these states are among several that have experienced quakes with recorded magnitudes of 5.0 or greater. In addition to these areas, which are outlined in the map below, there are 18 states with notable quakes that either occurred too long ago to estimate their magnitude or were below the 5.0 moderate threshold. According to USGS, there’s no place far enough removed from the possibility of a moderate earthquake where one could be totally secure.

Page 20

Source: USGS Earthquake Hazard Program

The map above shows the highest-recorded earthquake in states that have had at least one quake with a magnitude of 5.0 or higher. (Note: Although New Mexico is one of the few states listed without a major earthquake, we actually have the potential for a severe event. The ‘Rio Grande Rift’, an area of thinning crust being pulled apart from below, gets it’s name from the river that flows on its surface.) Regarding the insurance industry’s earthquake coverage, insurance authorities have pointed out it’s not an ideally insurable risk and some insurers don’t offer coverage. Insurance text books have also pointed out that earthquakes are a problem peril for insurers because they lacks event independence and could result in an insolvency risk to an insurer. The rationale is if one claim results, given the lack of independence, many other claims will as well. But despite this caution, there are insurers that offer the coverage, including prominent homeowner insurer State Farm Group. In 2010, State Farm was among the top five writers by net written premium, according to A.M. Best. 2010 Net Written Premiums Earthquake (in thousands) California Earthquake Authority $380,624 State Farm Group $207,426 American International Group $148,188 Travelers Group $109,579 Zurich Financial Services Group $ 67,566 Source: 2011 A.M. Best Aggregates & Averages, Pure Loss Earthquake

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

Recently, I added earthquake coverage to my homeown-

With the attention given to catastrophe perils and insur-

ers policy in Maryland. The rate was less than 1 cent per

ance, independent agents may want to consider help-

$100 of insured value with a 5% deductible. Put another

ing clients plan for such disasters and offer insurance.

way, my annual premium rose by slightly less than 10%.

Research agency markets to determine which carriers provide coverage. Most homeowner providers on Big "I"

I had consulted with my independent agent on the matter

Markets offer the extension by endorsement. In addition,

because of my perception that, from the buyer’s perspec-

many policies already provide earthquake coverage, in-

tive, it’s an ideal risk to transfer to an insurance company.

cluding those for automobile, fine arts floaters and mobile

My concern is probably unscientifically based on recent


increased exploration of the Marcellous Formation for natural gas and buffered by knowledge that a damaged

Still, some insurers do not provide, or take “net,” any of

home foundation can lead to condemnation. Scientifically

the exposure. Larger commercial exposures will likely

or not, the risk seemed to be a poor candidate for risk

require standalone coverage, which is available from


specialty wholesalers.

If my insurer, Erie Insurance Company, is any indication,

But there is an upside. If my policy is any indication,

the ratio of quake premiums to homeowner premiums is

there’s a potential for organic growth of 10% in an agen-

about $1 to $10. In addition, it’s reasonable to estimate

cy’s homeowners book. Reach out to agency customers,

that roughly 1 in 100 homeowners nationwide purchase

and consider sharing information about the largest earth-

earthquake insurance. I’ve based that, in part, on con-

quake in your agency’s state (available from USGS) in an

sideration that my home state, Maryland, is about the

agency newsletter, website or social media.

midpoint between higher exposure areas such as California and the New Madrid Seismic Zone near New Madrid, Paul Buse is president of Big I Advantage®

Mo., and lower exposure areas such as Wisconsin and

and a licensed P&C agent.

Minnesota, according to USGS data. This benchmark was also calculated using industry figures for the ratio earthquake premiums to homeowner premiums for mostly personal lines direct writers. The ratio was almost $1 of quake premiums to $100 of homeowner premiums. Assuming my Maryland policy is a good pricing midpoint, the percentage of people purchasing earthquake premiums nationally would be 10% of homeowners. In addition, it’s also likely that about every 10th person purchases earthquake insurance because premiums are close to $1 in $100 for direct writers.

2010 Net Written Premiums

Homeowners (in thousands)



(in thousands)

Quake to HO

State Farm Group*



$1.4 to $100

Allstate Insurance

$ 6,318,225

$ 0

$0 to $100

Farmers Insurance Group*

$ 3,213,773

$ 18,409

50 cents to $100

Travelers Group

$ 3,901,626


$3.40 to $100

Liberty Mutual Ins.

$ 2,926,888

$ 62,064

$2.10 to $100

USAA Group*

$ 2,791,487

$ 10,225

40 cents to $100

Nationwide Group*

$ 2,697,068

$ 47,603

$1.80 to $100

Chubb Group of Ins

$ 1,600,901

$ 55,378

$3.50 to $100

American Family Group*

$ 1,408,866

$ 14,012

$1 to $100

Hartford Insurance Group

$ 1,064,235

$ 24,547

$2.30 to $100

*Direct Writer Average

$94 cents to $100 *weighted average Source: 2011 A.M. Best Aggregates & Averages

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

Page 21

dealing with divorce



An age old question in our industry is how an agent or company should respond to coverage change requests for couples that are separating or divorcing. Well, we ALL know that the policies should have been written in BOTH names to begin with...but does that solve the problem? Below is an "Ask an Expert" question and the responses of our faculty members. As always, if you have anything to add, send an email to

"An insured we will call Bill and Nancy own 27 cars, Faculty Response a 'few' homes, 15 boats, and a lot of other stuff! There can be a big difference in what an agent can leThey are named insureds on everything. Now the gally do when a couple gets divorced, and what the agent kicker...Bill and Nancy are getting divorced! Bill SHOULD do. Failing to do all a good agent SHOULD do wants us to remove Nancy on everything except two will dramatically increase the E&O exposure to this agent. autos and a boat. Bill faxes us documentation that shows that all the autos are registered to him alone. This is a large Since Nancy is a named insured, she is owed the same rights as Bill under the policy. The fact that cars are no and very good account that Bill controls. The struggle is longer titled in Nancy's name doesn't mitigate the need to to keep Bill happy but to act legally and ethically to both honor her rights under the policy. parties. Some thoughts: We could rewrite all the autos that Bill owns exclusively to a new policy and keep the policy in As an agent I faced this a lot. The first thing I tried was to both the names for the remaining items. contact "Nancy" and have her come in and sign the endorsements removing her from the policy. I'd provide her How do you suggest we handle this?" coverage at this point too if needed. Then "Bill" would sign the endorsement request too so that both parties knew exWell, unless you want to get more personally inactly what was happening. If Bill didn't know where Nancy volved in this (along with your E&O carrier), you was, or if Nancy would not sign the endorsement requests, MUST, for many reasons, resolve this with the wife as well as the husband. The fact that the vehicles are that's a difficult problem. New policies could be written in the name of Bill only, allowing the old policies to expire registered in the husband's name is probably immaterial... probably due to nonpayment by Bill. we suspect, depending on applicable state laws, that an ownership interest exists beyond registration or titling. Most The thing that should not happen is that the agent caves important, since she is a named insured, she has equal in to Bill because he has a big account. If Bill insists that rights under the contract which MUST be honored. Nancy be removed, the agent should not do it until she can be located and until she signs off. Of course, some agents So, HOW the insurance will be restructured is a mutual decision and, like it or not, that's the way it's got to be. Your don't want to hear this because it's a big account and "nothing will happen" if we take her off. Often, and unfortunately, challenge is to explain the potentially adverse legal and that's not the case. ethical ramifications of handling this unilaterally with the husband...while YOU are certainly at risk of a lawsuit and/ My rule was real easy and I still teach it. Do nothing without or E&O claim, the husband could be as well. If he insists on both signatures. If you can't, it's better to lose the account doing this in a manner that is effectively illegal or unethibecause, if you pull one person off without a signature, it's cal, then I'm not sure you'd want a client like that...but, of like pulling the pin on a hand grenade and saying, "It's gocourse, that's your call. ing to blow some day, I just don't know when." If this guy is otherwise decent, then he should understand Faculty Response and comply with your legal, professional and ethical obligaThis is a tough one for sure. When I was an agent, I never tions. Below are some responses of several of our faculty removed or changed the policy during a divorce situation Faculty Response without the consent of both parties. The insured needs to understand that, as a professional insurance agent, I As an agent, it has always been my policy to NEVER make have a duty to BOTH my insureds. Since the policy is in any changes to a policy when I know there's a divorce both names, this means consulting both parties. Until the going on WITHOUT GETTING THE CONSENT OF BOTH divorce is final, legally they are still married and his liability PARTIES. The questioner should start a dialogue with the is most likely her liability and vice versa. I know that this Mrs. and see what her needs are, and work it out with both is a significant account to the agent, but an E&O claim on of them. Page 20

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

this account would be even more significant and could far outweigh the loss of the account if the husband refuses to understand the agent's position. Faculty Response First comment: Stay out of it. Second Comment: Start new. • Have both parties sign cancellation requests, preferably witnessed by the respective attorneys. • Have the previously insured assets insured in separate policies as directed by the divorce decree. • Have the parties agree to a division of the unearned premium on the old policies. • Upon completion, send a certified letter to each of the parties explaining what was agreed upon and the actions taken. Send a copy to the lawyers. Third Comment: Pray this is an amicable break-up or the above will not go smoothly. Fourth Comment: During the divorce proceeding, up until you complete the transaction, do not take any coverage reduction action without the approval of both parties. Fifth Comment: Don't take sides. Sixth Comment: If all else fails...punt (within the rules). Seventh and Final Comment: Document everything!!!

Faculty Response Agents have a good faith duty to both named insureds. They should not limit coverage for someone without that person's express, preferably written, permission. The agent can relay the request to Nancy, but should also advise her of the coverage implications of removing her name. An agent can check with the company to see what their guidelines are. Then the company is the heavy, not the agent. Not that that will keep an insured from going down the street to another agent and applying for policies in their own name. Bill being the only name on the title doesn't mean he's the sole owner of the property, especially in community property states. Until there's been a property division approved by the courts, each should be named on the other's policies as additional insureds. That way their interest in the property is protected and notice of cancellation is sent if the policy is cancelled. I always recommend to separating and divorcing couples that they leave the policies as they are until a divorce is final. If they can't agree on what to do, I'll tell them to have their attorneys work it out and let us know when they both agree on what to do. In the meantime, it's very important that all policies have both names on them. Otherwise there could be some serious coverage gaps for the unnamed spouse.

Displaced clients?

Supporting nM BrokerS! We’re here to help you SuCCeeD!

Find us at or call 800-204-4700.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

Page 23

Lessor’s Risk

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Not Knowing the Rules of the Game... Can Cost You More Than Just the Game By Kevin Ring Lead Workers Compensation Analyst, IWCP


orkers’ Compensation is a game of rules. And like all other games, from Monopoly to football, if you don’t know the rules, you’re going to find it difficult to win. We don’t normally think of insurance as a “game,” but you definitely have to know the rules in order to get the best results for your clients. These rules are readily available. But it’s been my experience that agencies rarely have these rules at their disposal. They choose instead to rely on experience to guide them to what they think is correct. It’s true that experience is a great resource. But when things change, as they often do, experience can become more of a liability than an asset. That is why it is imperative that agents have access to the manuals that govern a Workers’ Compensation policy. In New Mexico and other states governed by NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance), there are three key manuals: 1) Basic Manual This is the manual that contains information on the basics of Workers’ Compensation. Here you will find the rules for classifying a business. What are the standard inclusions and exclusions for classifications? What money that you give to employees is included or excluded from the Workers’ Comp premium calculation? And so on. Also of critical importance in the Basic Manual: What are the rules governing how classifications can be changed both during and after a policy period? 2) Experience Rating Plan Manual The rules covering the Experience Modification Factor are vast. This manual explains in detail each of the elements of the Experience Modification Factor

and how they are calculated. For instance, if you are going to cancel and rewrite a Workers’ Comp policy, how can you know what policy periods will be included on an Experience Mod? If one of your clients buys a business, what are the rules relating to their separate Experience Mods? (hint: they are almost certainly required to be combined)

Also in the Experience Rating Plan Manual are the rules relating to which businesses are required to have an Experience Mod and what changes can be made to the Mod during the policy period. 3) Scopes® Manual For the different types of business that exist, NCCI has defined just over 600 distinct classifications to describe them. This manual contains each of those classifications, spelled out in detail. It is critically important that your client be classified correctly, otherwise they are in grave danger of being overcharged and you are in grave danger of losing a client. The Scopes ® Manual has a wider reach than the two manuals previously mentioned, as it covers 42 states and the District of Columbia. The exceptions are Wyoming, North Dakota, Michigan, Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. These manuals also include the exceptions for each of the states which are governed by NCCI, as well as several states with independent bureaus. These exceptions are critically important, and not knowing them can be costly. As a simple example, the national rule is that pay for vacation time is included for Workers’ Compensation premium determination. However, that’s not the case in Kansas (provided you can document what portion of the payroll was paid during vacation time). As you can see, it’s not hard for money to add up quickly for your client. The NCCI manuals are available online and in print for a fee. However, in several states that publish their own manuals, they are available at no cost in PDF format. These manuals provide the basis for all Workers’ Compensation policies, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the amount of information contained in those hundreds of pages. Without access to this information, it’s impossible to know for sure if your clients are having the rules applied correctly to them or not. If you don’t have access to them, log in to your bureau’s web site today and find out how. Kevin Ring is the Lead Workers’ Comp Analyst for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals, the Asheville, NC-based organization that trains insurance agents to help employers reduce Workers’ Comp expenses. A licensed insurance agent, he leads workshops, analyzes Workers’ Comp programs and is the co-developer of a Workers’ Comp software suite.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012 Page 25

page 25


EducationEDGE Insurance Education Programs in New Mexico are critical to a successful and profitable career in the insurance industry. Every year, we offer exciting opportunities to expand your professional horizons. All of these education programs are designed to help insurance agents thrive in the most competitive of marketplaces. The pre-licensing classes are designed to be a review for the state licensing examination. We recommend that students be familiar with the study material prior to attending class.

Pre-Licensing Classes Study materials are NOT included in class prices.

Property & Casualty Review Class (2 days)

Life & Health Review Class (1 day)

Regular Price: $150 Member Price: $120

Regular Price: $115 Member Price: $90


Kitty Leslie - January 10 - 11

8am - 5pm


Chris Krahling - February 7 - 8 8am - 5pm

Click here for a full listing of our education program.


Bob Ouellette - January 8


Jeff Straight - February 9

8am - 5pm 8am - 5pm

The FINE PRINT: IIANM reserves the right to cancel/reschedule classes. Please call ahead to verify when classes will run. Decisions will be made three days prior to class. Cancellations received after 5 business days, will be assessed a $50.00 cancellation fee. Cancellations received on or after deadline and ‘no shows’ will forfeit the registration fee altogether. A substitute is always welcome, with no extra fee, but prior notification would be appreciated.

Class Name/Date: Full Name:

Method of Payment:  Bill Agency (Members Only)

First Name for Badge:

 Check Enclosed (Payable to IIANM)

Agency / Company:

 M/C  Visa  Disc  Amex



(all prices include tax)

Card No:

City, State, Zip:

Exp. Date:

Telephone: ( Fax: ( Send in your registration:

Page 26




) Go on-line: or E-mail:

Give us a call: (505) 843-7231 (800) 621-3978

Mail in: 1511 University Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87102

Fax in: (505) 243-3367

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012


The Next BIG Thing in Continuing Education!

The Agents and Brokers Education Network (ABEN), founded by state associations of independent insurance agents, is dedicated to bringing highly relevant, interactive, and professionally produced continuing education programs to independent agents in the most convenient and economical ways possible. ABEN's Live Webcasts will stream professional instructors right into your office, along with related course material. You can follow along with the presenter’s powerpoint, submit questions, take notes, get full access to written materials, and you have the ability to ask questions and chat with other students.


High quality continuing education for independent insurance agents, brought to you via live streaming video.

Additionally, ABEN’s help desk is standing by 24/7 to assist you, should you encounter any difficulty with the technology. With ABEN courses you get the benefit of best information out there, with the convenience of internet technology and the full educational experience you can only get through ABEN’s platform.

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * January 2012

Page 27



Clickable Calendar



Office Closed 2 1



Click on class title to register






10 2012 Office Legislative Session Begins Closed 15 16 17 22









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New Mexico’s Job Bank Looking to fill a position within your agency? Trying to find a job but don’t know where to look? Whether you are looking for somewhere new to share your special skills or an employer looking for quality, professional employees, we are there to lend a helping hand. Click here to take advantage of IIANM’s Job Bank. Do you have an agency you’re trying to sell, or in the market to buy one? Check out our Classifieds!


n E n ds s d d

This year, RESOLVE to do something different


It’s January again. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Maybe this is the year to forget the boring, routine promises you won’t keep, like going to the gym every day and calling your parents once a week. Try resolving to be more creative in 2012: • Keep a journal. Spend a few minutes every day or so writing down your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and ambitions—not your daily schedule or your upcoming appointments. Let your mind wander; free-associate a little. You may be surprised at the ideas you generate.

“Never trust people who smile constantly. They're either selling something or not very bright.” ~ Laurell K. Hamilton

• Read more. Vary your reading habits and explore different topics. If you usually read novels, try a biography. If you read only history, try a book on modern-day science. You’ll exercise your mind, and maybe find new connections between ideas. • Learn something new. Take a class in something unrelated to your job or your usual hobbies—art, auto mechanics, philosophy, etc. Mastering new skills can refresh your outlook on life. • Meet new people. Make a positive effort to make new friends this year (or professional contacts). Look for gatherings of people whose interests match yours, and network. The more people you know, the better equipped you are to learn and grow.

On the road, keep your wardrobe fresh and clean Clean clothes are a must when you’re traveling on business. To maintain a fresh appearance when meeting clients and colleagues, and to cut down on expensive cleaning services, try these tricks: • Wash your own clothes. Pack a bar of laundry soap to wash out clothes in your sink. • Buy socks and underwear as you go. It’s often cheaper than paying the hotel to wash them. • Find a Laundromat. Your hotel may be sending your clothes out for cleaning anyway. Save some $!

• Create something for the heck of it. Paint a picture, write a poem, or start a garden—not because you’ll get paid for it, but because you want to. • Volunteer. Find a cause you support, and offer your time and service. You’ll meet new people and enjoy the feeling of helping out with an important cause.

Cure for the common cold? Maybe it’s yogurt Colds, sinus infections, and other upper respiratory tract infections are the leading reason for visits to the doctor in the United States. But according to a study reported by Yahoo News, eating yogurt could help you avoid a cold. Yogurt contains probiotics—bacteria that can benefit the body’s immune system. In addition to yogurt, probiotics are found in fermented and non-fermented dairy products and in soy products like miso and soy drinks. A review of data involving more than 3,000 participants found that patients who consumed foods with probiotics for more than one week came down with 12 percent fewer upper respiratory infections than those who were treated with a placebo, or who ate probiotic foods for less than a week.

January 2012 La Voz  
January 2012 La Voz  

The Official ezine for New Mexico Independent Insurance Agents