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More Value for your Customers! Policyholders now Qualify for Discounted Drug Testing New Mexico Mutual

is pleased to announce a collaboration with two laboratory vendors, TriCore Reference Laboratories & Quest Diagnostics, to provide discounts for our policyholders for drug screening services.

Save 15% or more based on testing volume and the combination of services. • Utilize pre-employment drug screening as well as post-accident drug testing. • Include routine employee drug screening as part of a comprehensive work place risk and safety program. • For more information about discounted drug testing services with TriCore or Quest, please visit our website at NewMexicoMutual.com/Employers/PolicyholderResources.


“La Voz” is the official monthly e-publication of the

a L

Independent Insurance Agents of NM 1511 University Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87102. (505) 843-7231. Fax (505) 243-3367. Web site www.iianm.org. 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 rachel@iianm.org for details

IIANM Staff President/CEO Thom Turbett Chief Strategy Officer Marit Peters VP of Member Services Consuelo Trujillo Insurance Programs Administrator Suzie Dodds, CIC Communications Director Rachel Sheffield Member Services Associate Renee Trujillo

2013-2014 Officers

Features

o VZ

"The Voice" of Independent Agents since 1934

IIANM 2014 Company Partners!

04

Hit the Ground Running in 2014

05

IIANM Celebrates 80 Years in 2014

06

IIANM Dues Deductibility

09

Mind Reading - Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Analytic s

11

What If It Happens to You?

12

Auto Is Becoming More Affordable

16

Business Income Coverage for Non-profits

18

Coming Soon... IIANM’s 54th Annual Education Seminar

19

Big “I” Leadership Visits A.M. Best

19

How Young Agents Are Changing the Industry

20

Is Your Agency’s Media Style Old School, Plugged-in or Big Tent?

22

Unlock Your Member Benefits

23

IIANM 2014 Calendar

24

Industry Tid Bits

26

In Every Issue Tech Talk

14

December's Clickable Calendar

28

Odds n Ends

29

Advertiser Index

Chair Diana Hobbs

Acuity

Vice-Chair Gabe Portillo

Litchfield Special Risks

13

Secretary/Treasurer Connie Sevier

Market Finders, Inc.

17

Mountain States Insurance Group

National Director Sam Conlee Immediate Past Chair PJ Wolff

Burns & Wilcox

10

Back Cover

08

New Mexico Mutual

02

Trustco

09


Hit the Ground Running in 2014 By John Chapin

Is this finally going to be the year? Will 2014 be the year that you finally step up, stand out, and live up to what you know you can do, to what you’ve been telling yourself for years that you’ll show the world one day? Do you remember when you used to think about how old you’d be and what you’d be doing in the year 2000? That was 14 years ago. Enough of “next year”, it’s time to make this year “next year” and in order to do that, you’ll have to hit the beginning of 2014 like a freight train. Here’s how.

5 Ideas for Exploding out of the Gate in 2014

Tip 1: Use end-of-month, end-of-year sales tactics now.

Are there certain things you do to get business when you need it? If so, use those now. You can offer special discounts, have sales, you can also call your best customers and ask them to invest now. Whatever it is that you do to scare up business when you need it, this is the time to use those techniques now. The overall idea here is to develop a sense of urgency to get as much business in as fast as possible so that you can build some powerful momentum and get way out ahead. Ideally you’re looking for the equivalent of three months of business in January. Another key here is once you’re way out ahead of the pack and feeling great, don’t fall into your comfort zone and take your foot off the accelerator. If you do, you’ll lose momentum, slip back, and next thing you know you’ll be back to 90% of quota at the end of March. Don’t back off, keep going. Pedal to the metal.

Tip 2: Double your activity.

If you usually make 50 prospecting calls in a day, make 100, if you usually make five presentations, make ten. If you double your prospecting calls and presentations, you should double your sales. Is that potentially going to take more time and resources? Yes, do it anyway. Follow tip 4 below and manage your time better, get those nonproductive activities off your plate or table other things for off-hours or even the weekends. Look, what activities pay you the most? You need to find creative ways to find more time to spend on those.

Tip 3: Go to extremes.

Doubling your activity and using end-of-year and other tactics may sound extreme, but what I’m talking about here is really pushing yourself. I’m talking about a marathon prospecting day in which you make four to five times the number of calls you’d usually make, or a day in which you make four or five times as many presentation calls. These may be days when you dedicate the whole day to one sales activity and you start your day earlier and end it later. Another form of extreme activity is to make a BIG call every day. This refers to finally making that call that you’ve

been thinking about forever and you just can’t get yourself to make it. Another form of this idea is to call at least one elephant, or person that intimidates you, every day.

Tip 4: Get better at selling and time management.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Obviously the better you are at selling, the better qualified your prospects will be and the better and more effective you’ll be at all aspects of the sales process. This also means that less time will be required to make the same amount of sales. That said, you still need to get better at focusing on your key activities which are: prospecting, presenting, closing, and client relationship building. Read, take courses, and study sales and time management. Also, find people who are great at time management and sales, these may not be the same people by the way, and find out what they do. Do the same things the same way, get the same results.

Tip 5: Up the ante.

What can you do to really put some pressure on yourself to make it happen? On the other side of the coin, what can you do to make the reward so great that you simply have to get the year off to a great start? Think carrot and stick here. Can you post-date a check for $1,000 or $10,000 or more, and if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, someone gets to cash it, or it otherwise disappears forever? Can you make your dream vacation to Hawaii a reality if you make it happen? Maybe you can do both. The point is, if there is enough on the line, if you have a strong enough reason(s) to make it happen, you’ll make it happen. It simply comes down to knowing what your hot buttons are and then pushing enough of them so that you’re crazed with enthusiasm and drive to make it happen. Be sure to register for the next free workshop, January 22nd. The workshop will help you and your staff focus on setting your goals and strategies for 2014!

John Chapin is a professional sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 26 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 5


IIANM

80

Celebrates

Happy New Year! This will be a milestone year for the Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico as we celebrate 80 years as the state trade association for independent insurance agents. We’ve come a long way since our meager beginnings. In 1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt was President and we were in the middle of the Great Depression. Today the New Mexico Big I is one of the oldest and largest trade associations in the state, and one of the most successful state chapters in the IIABA network. Our walls and trophy case are second to none in the number of national association awards that reside there. No other state Big I (or New Mexico association of any kind) has won the prestigious Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives. Widely recognized as the highest association honor in America, IIANM was honored for our community service work in 2009. We were similarly recognized as a New Mexico ‘Corporate Hero’ by the New Mexico Business Weekly in 2010. But in the end, the only true measure of our achievement is the success of our member insurance agencies. After all, what motivated the men who founded our trade association 80 years ago was the same incentive as today: to put aside competitive differences in the interest of promoting our common interests and harnessing our collective power. With that in mind, the staff and Board of Directors of IIANM would like to invite everyone in the Association, including our industry partners, to celebrate our collective success in this endeavor. Our anniversary theme is “Around the State in 80 Years”. Throughout 2014 we will be announcing a number of fun and informative activities and initiatives to commemorate what has transpired in the eight decades since our founding. We’ll explore what makes New Mexico unique and how our diverse culture and natural resources have combined to shape our history, our communities, our members and our industry. Page 6

Years

The first initiative is one that we have been promising for some time: our awesome new website! We believe you’ll find it easier to navigate, with more information and new capabilities such as informative videos. Please don’t hesitate to give us feedback on the website and many other innovations that we will be bringing your way this year.

Finally, we would also like to encourage as many people as possible to attend the celebration of our 80th Anniversary at Sandia Casino and Resort on September 24th & 25th in Albuquerque. We’ll be offering a free registration to every Past Chair of the Association, as well as our Lifetime Achievement honorees. We promise it will be well worth your time, and it would make our founding fathers proud to see so many people joining together to celebrate the legacy that they created.

Thom Turbett, President & CEO

iianm Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


80 H E T STATE D N U O R A IN

YEARS Association Locations Throughout Our History

1950 - 1960 1830 Lomas 1987 - Present 1511 University

1963 - 1975 1400 First National Bank 5301 Central Ave. NE

Association Names Throughout Our History 1960 - 1963 Suite 105 Tower Plaza 510 Second St. NW

1934 - 1956 NM Insurance Agents Association, Inc. (NMIAA) 1956 - 1964 NM Insurers, Inc. (NMI) 1964 - 1968 NM Association of Insurance Agents, Inc. (NMAIA) 1968 - 1976 NM Association of Independent Insurance Agents (NMAIIA) 1976 - Present Independent Insurance Agents of NM (IIANM)

1975 - 1987 8015 Mountain R. NE


Rock Solid.

Unwavering service. Steadfast loyalty. Staunch reputation.

Visit our new website at msig-nm.com

Mountain States I N S U R A N C E

G R O U P

The Mountain Stands Behind You. Albuquerque, New Mexico 505.764.1400

Page 8

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


2012-2013 IIANM Dues Deductibility Dues to the Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico (IIANM) are not deductible as a charitable contribution but may be deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. To the extent that IIANM engages in lobbying, the portion of the dues that relate to lobbying expenses is not deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. This law was enacted in 1993, effective January 1, 1994 [Section 13222 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA 1993)]. The non-deductible portion of dues for 2012-2013 is 23.14%. Please forward this information to the appropriate staff in your organization. The following is a recap of the non-deductible portion of dues for the past six years:

FY 2007-08 FY 2008-09 FY 2009-10 FY 2010-11 FY 2011-12 FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14

Estimated Estimated Estimated Estimated Estimated Estimated Estimated

25.16% 18.23% 17.72% 21.92% 22.83% 22.71% 23.76%

Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual

17.99% 17.35% 21.37% 22.19% 22.29% 23.14%

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

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WE SHOT FOR THE STARS AND LOOK WHAT WE HIT

IN COMPANY ASSETS!

ACUITY ’s assets are skyrocketing to new heights! Just 10 years after reaching the $1 billion mark, ACUITY ’s assets have tripled to $3 billion. We owe our thanks to loyal independent agents in 22 states and our staff of nearly 1,000 insurance professionals for helping ACUITY achieve results that are truly out of this world!

www.acuity.com

For All That Matters Page 10

facebook.com/acuitywow

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


e a R ding: d n i M

By Jacquelyn Connelly, IA assistant editor

Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Analytics Tracking agency metrics can reveal the secrets behind what motivates consumers.

Giving clients what they want will now require more than simply perfecting a digital strategy. According to a recent report from Ernst & Young, analyzing those digital efforts is “critical” to insurance business success. Based on responses from 100 insurance companies around the globe earlier this year, the study determined that while most insurance organizations fail to deliver analytics capabilities early in the process of digital adoption, tracking metrics is a “prerequisite” for extracting maximum value from digital investment. “If you think about customers’ engagement with digital channels, what digital has allowed is a massive increase in information about their behaviors and about their interests,” says Kaenan Hertz, executive director of financial services and customer practice at Ernst & Young. “So in the insurance space, analytics provides all this new wealth of information that ultimately helps companies better meet the expectations of the customer.” That means as consumer habits continue to evolve rapidly, it’s no longer enough to simply keep up with the latest technological trends. Agencies must also track consumer behavior in order to determine which practices are most successful at increasing loyalty, retention and returns. “If you’re not tracking, you can spend a lot of time going digital in the wrong ways,” explains Claudia McClain, principal of McClain Insurance Services in Everett, Wash., which employs a slew of analytics measures to enhance digital efforts. “So just like anything we do—just like you would keep track of your underwriting loss ratios and you’d make an adjustment if you weren’t writing profitable business—same thing with analytics when it comes to marketing.”

Chuck Blondino, marketing director for the northwest region at Safeco Insurance in Seattle, cites two examples of digital marketing where analytics prove invaluable: search engine optimization and email marketing. “A lot of agents spend money to get their search engine status improved, and after two or three months, maybe they’ve gotten into the top three if they’re lucky,” he says. “But what they’re also noticing sometimes is that they may not be getting many leads from it. Or they may see more traffic, but visitors aren’t spending any additional time on the pages.” Information like that is priceless for agents looking to mold their current lackluster digital marketing platform into something more effective. Blondino says the same applies for email newsletters: after a strong initial rollout, many agencies watch their open rates decline rapidly—misleading many to develop the false mindset that digital efforts simply don’t work. “What’s really been happening is they’ve been putting into those emails stuff that bores people to tears,” explains Blondino, who believes agents can boost their digital success by personalizing their content in all communications with clients. “So I say, use the tracking—the tracking is telling you something. It’s telling you now that they wanted to hear from you, but once they opened, they weren’t attracted to what you were sharing. If your open rates are dropping, change your content.” By tracking analytics, agents can adapt their digital strategy to better meet customer expectations. “Those metrics help you identify where you’re weak or where you’re strong,” Blondino says. “You should be able to see, if you pay attention, what’s working and what’s not.” Regardless of what an agency’s digital strategy involves, tracking analytics is the only way to make sense of consumer behavior. “If you’re not growing 1% per year, you’re not even keeping up with the population growth,” Blondino says. “So the issue of tracking is really critical for agents to understand what’s working.”

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

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What If It Happens to You? This year one in every five insurance agents will provide notice of an E&O claim or potential claim to their carrier - will you be one of them? Whether a reserve is posted, an agent is served with a subpoena, or nothing comes of it is not important. But the chance of being involved in an E&O claim during the business life of your agency’s operation is pretty good. Of course, you can’t just sit back and wait for the inevitable. Make avoiding and reducing your exposure to E&O losses a major priority from the agency principal down to the clerical staff. Over the past several decades, courts have compared insurance agents to other professional service providers with specialized knowledge and skills, including doctors, lawyers and accountants. But running an insurance agency is about much more than simply providing insurance and having specific knowledge—it’s about relationships that are built within local communities. These relationships can often be strained by the stress of a client’s loss and often broken should the claim turn out to be uncovered by the insurance carrier. Many agents initial reaction is to find a way for the claim to be covered within the customer’s policy language. If that doesn’t happen, the next thought is their E&O backstop. When facing an E&O claim, take the necessary steps to make sure your business interests are protected by your E&O insurance. You must adhere to the provisions in your E&O policy in order for coverage to apply. Here are a few things to think about when an E&O claim is knocking at your agency’s door:

1. Provide written notice of claim. Whether you place your E&O through an agent or directly with the carrier, provide them with written notification of a claim as soon as possible. If you become aware of a claim or act that may give rise to claim in the future, notify the carrier based on the notice provisions outlined in the policy so that the claim will be considered made during the policy period.

This becomes extremely important if you are thinking about changing carriers. Written notification generally includes a description of the claim or alleged wrongful act, names of the parties involved, the date of circumstance and a summary of the facts.

2. Never admit liability or make payment. Most poli-

cies indicate that an insured shall never admit liability or incur any costs in the settlement of a claim. Doing either one greatly jeopardizes the E&O carrier’s ability to offer a solid defense. Page 12

By David Hulcher

This is where the relationships with clients can become a problem. If you unknowingly make an error on the account, your instinct is to apologize and admit you made a mistake. It is best for the agency and your client to never admit liability—it could violate a policy provision, voiding coverage under the contract.

3. Cooperate with your E&O carrier. Working

with your E&O carrier and providing it with information requested will make the process more efficient and effective. Attend hearings, work with the carrier in the settlement process and assist in obtaining evidence and witnesses. When purchasing your E&O policy, there are some things to consider outside of the carrier requirements mentioned above. First, consider the type of deductible that applies to your policy. E&O carriers have different deductible options, such as a first dollar defense deductible and a loss and defense deductible. First dollar defense, or loss only, means that the carrier will incur defense costs and the policyholder deductible will only apply should a loss be paid out. In today’s hard market, many agents’ E&O carriers offer this first dollar defense options only to those that have remained claims-free for at least several policy periods. With the loss and defense deductible option, policyholders must pay their deductible the moment that defense work begins on the claim. This option puts pressure on agents to have liquid assets available to pay for the deductible should a claim arise. Another policy provision to think about when it comes to the claims process is whether you must provide consent before the carrier can settle claims. As agents depend heavily on their reputation to retain clients and write new business, you may feel that the settlement of a claim may have negative repercussions and that your agency personnel acted appropriately. The consent to settle clause provides you with safety of knowing that you can ultimately make the decision. Of course, most agents E&O policies contain provisions that would limit the amount of carrier payment at the time of recommended settlement and then you are responsible for expense and losses should the outcome exceed that.

Use your membership to get an E&O quote this year. Contact Suzie Dodds, CIC today!

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 13


Steve

Anderson.com by, Steve Anderson (Always feel free to email me with comments, new ideas or products that have worked for you. I will check them out and spread the word!)

Build Powerful Reviews & Recommendations Let’s say you are in need of a product or service. You do your due diligence and start researching your options online and stumble upon a few possible choices. What drives your decision to work with one professional or another? Chances are the reviews and/or testimonials for that professional are going to influence your final decision.

they want to find out more about their review.

An increasing number of your prospects follow the same path. As more consumers and businesses turn to the Internet for their insurance needs, a positive online reputation can greatly increase the number of leads - and the quality of leads - you receive as well as helping to build a relationship.

A limited free account is available. Paid accounts range from $29 per month (with a discount for annual payment) to $109 per month for large organizations. The company recently relocated from San Francisco to downtown Detroit and has raised $2.3 million in series A financing.

Testimonials are tricky these days. Many agency owners are afraid of receiving poor reviews. Today’s connected consumers are looking for reviews, but the smart consumer is also evaluating the validity of these statements. A testimonial without substance - like a full name, photo, or even possibly a linked social media account - may not be believed.

Proactively gathering “real” reviews and testimonials from existing clients will help your agency increase its Internet Presence and help prospects select you as their insurance professional.

For an additional fee, Stik will provide you with HTML code to include Stik ratings on your website, in your email signature, or on your Facebook business page or profile. Stik also has a service that will monitor your Web reputation.

A single positive review or social endorsement can make a huge difference in how many prospects will end up selecting you as their insurance professional of choice. Stik is a marketing tool that helps professionals proactively manage and build their online reputations by helping you gather and manage authenticated reviews and recommendations. Through its review system, Stik allows insurance agents to tap into hundreds of business connections, via Facebook and LinkedIn, to establish trust with potential clients and drive referrals to their business. Stik’s reviews are linked to a “real” live social media account, so your potential clients can see that you really do have raving fans. After signing up with Stik by giving the platform access to their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, individuals can search for and rate (using a five-star system) and write reviews of their experience with your agency. The reviews will feature the users’ Facebook or LinkedIn profile and allow other users to contact them through either social media platform if Page 14

Authentic Reviews No phony or anonymous reviews all reviews on Stick are written by real people with real names and real photos.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


What’s the Best Web Browser? The browser you choose to surf the Internet can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction with your own online experience. But it’s not always clear which web browser you should actually use. The following pie chart shows the top browsers used by people coming to several of my websites during the last 30 days: Following are some thoughts on how to choose the best browser. No choice: It’s not surprising that Internet Explorer has the most usage by people in the insurance industry. Many insurance company websites and agency service vendors’ websites only work when using Internet Explorer. They are specifically designed and programmed to only support Internet Explorer. Reliability: There's nothing more frustrating than when your browser hangs up, forcing you to restart it or, taking more time, forcing you to reboot your computer. So it makes sense to go with a reliable browser. According to Sauce Labs, an Internet software testing company, the browser with the worst crash record over the past two years is Apple Safari. Internet Explorer is in the middle of the pack of the five major browsers. The best is Mozilla Firefox, followed by Google Chrome. However the crash, or error, rates are low. Safari has an error rate of just 0.12%. And, recent versions of all browsers are more stable than previous versions. Speed: While reliability is important, the speed of the browser is also important. How fast a web page will load varies between platforms. Speed has been Chrome's claim to fame from its first release. But the latest testing by PC Magazine shows the top three browsers are just about the same when it comes to speed. Latest Version: Whatever browser you choose to use, make sure you are using the latest version. The latest version will help you improve the security of your systems. You don't want to surf the Web with vulnerabilities that hackers and identity thieves can exploit.

Using Multiple Browsers: I have installed and use all three browsers depending on what I am doing. My marketing platform requires Firefox to use all of its functions. I find Chrome is best when using the various Google sites and services. I often have multiple browsers running at the same time. It's easy to use more than one browser. All four of the top browsers are free for personal use. There's no reason not to download each of them and test out which you like best. Following are the download sites for various products: • • • •

Internet Explorer Firefox Chrome Safari

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 15


Auto is Becoming More Affordable New study finds affordability correlates closely with steeper competition and softer regulation. By Jacquelyn Connelly, IA assistant editor.

Over the last 20 years, auto insurance affordability has improved across the country for both middle- and low-income consumers, according to a recent study from The Institutes’ Insurance Research Council (IRC). Between the 1990s and 2000s, 44 states experienced improvement in auto insurance affordability—a measurement determined by the ratio of average auto insurance expenditure to income index. From the first to latter half of 2000-2010, all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. enjoyed improvement as well. By analyzing the latest auto insurance expenditures from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and income data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the study determined that affordability improvement is related to market competitiveness and stringency of regulatory laws—in addition to smaller residual markets, moderate compensation for injuries and lower rates of both uninsured motorists and unemployment.

prior-approval rate laws; states that use flex, state-set or file-and-use systems; use-and-file states; and de-regulated or no-file states. According to Schmid, auto insurance affordability “broke down just exactly how it’s categorized in terms of regulatory stringency.” To measure competition in individual states, the IRC applied the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index—a widely accepted indicator of competition utilized by entities like the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether a market’s degree of competition veers closer to monopoly or pure competition. “Auto insurance is considered a relatively competitive industry, so for the most part, the score is close to the competitive end even in the most concentrated states,” Schmid explains. Despite the smaller range, the IRC found that auto insurance was more affordable in states with markets that were more competitive than usual.

“Insurance regulation is considered to be an essential tool for constraining high insurance prices,” says Patrick Schmid, who authored the study and serves as director of research at The Institutes. “But what we found was pretty interesting: states with less stringent regulatory laws tend to be more affordable.”

Although the study does not go so far as to purport that a causal relationship exists between the six identified factors and auto insurance affordability, the IRC does not rule out the possibility for certain. “We want to show that there’s a correlation here,” Schmid says. “We’re not saying there isn’t causation, because in fact it could be implied that there is.”

Because “there are different regulatory situations in each state, and states have different unemployment rates and economies and so forth,” Schmid says, the IRC employed a state-by-state rather than national analysis of affordability. Measuring regulatory stringency by ranking all 50 states and Washington, D.C. from most to least rigid, the IRC categorized them into four classes: states that use

In the midst of concerns regarding the commoditization of auto insurance—which McKinsey & Company says accounts for 70% of personal lines premiums—the study’s findings highlight an ongoing problem for independent agents: how to effectively market against price as the sole differentiator in an auto policy purchase. “The trends certainly suggest a positive turn for consumers,” Schmid says.

Page 16

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


Representing some of the most financially strong and innovative insurance companies in the specialty marketplace

���FINDING MARKETS FOR THE AGENTS OF NEW MEXICO SINCE 1977” WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!!

Top-Tier Markets For:

Commercial / Public Auto General Liability Property / Vacants Garage / Dealers Liquor Liability Special Events Inland Marine Directors & Officers Liability Professional Liability / E&O Commercial Umbrella Watercraft / Motorcycles / ATVs Personal Umbrellas Homeowners Mobile Homes Dwelling Fire / Vacants New Mexico’s Locally Owned Managing General Agency

ESTABLISHED IN 1977

Market Finders, Inc. 5201F Venice Ave NE - P.O. Box 90280 Albuquerque, NM 87199-0280 (800) 530-8711 (505) 822-8711 Fax: (505) 822-1165 Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014 www.marketfindersnm.com

Page 17


Business Income Coverage for nonProfits Virtual University’s Ask an Expert

“What is the business Income exposure for a non-profit organization? We understand the extra expense component but are having trouble with the business income part.” Keep reading to learn that business income is often a LOT more than just lost profit. ulty

VU Fac

“What is the business Income exposure for a non-profit organization? We understand the extra expense component but are having trouble with the business income part.” Business income insurance covers profit and continuing expenses. Unless you’re Microsoft, it is very common for continuing expenses to be far more than lost profits, even with for-profit organizations. In addition, there is a need for extra expenses to expedite recovery. Below are some VU faculty observations. HUGE. Use non-profit worksheets. Take a careful look at the impact a non-profit’s inability to function will change their ability to receive local, state or federal funding. Separately, many non-profits occupy space funded under bond issues. The insurance requirements in the bond issue financing agreements are onerous.

FACULTY RESPONSE

FACULTY RESPONSE

They have operating expenses that continue plus payroll.

It depends on the source of funding for the non-profit. If they raise some of their funding themselves, then they have the same BI exposures as any “for profit” business.

FACULTY RESPONSE

For example, if they have fundraisers at their site/building, and it is damaged/destroyed, their ability to raise funds during the time of repairs (“period of suspension”) is impaired. In cases where non-profit groups have dances, dinners, concerts, etc. at their site, this is a significant exposure. Also, they may raise money based on selling things (“products”). If they have received a shipment of these items (cookies [think Girl Scouts], seeds, cookbooks, calendars, Christmas wrapping paper, etc.), and this property is destroyed, they would likely suffer a loss of income, especially for items tied to a specific time of year, like Christmas wrapping paper, since they may not be able to obtain another shipment in time to complete the sale/delivery.

You may wish to begin by making a distinction between a non-profit and a charity. There are many non-profits that have income, significant income. Trade associations (such as the Big I), citizen associations (like AARP) are non-profits that take in a lot of money and file reports of their “income” every year. That income is used to provide services for members or others either in the current year or the future. If a non-profit had to cease its operations because of a loss they could lose income that could be replaced by business income coverage.

FACULTY RESPONSE

While a nonprofit may not have any profits, they certainly would have continuing expenses. That is covered by the Business Income form. Both the Business Income and Extra expense are crucial for any nonprofit that is dependent on their location (i.e., daycare, residence for developmentally disabled, etc.). Just because they do not have a profit does not exclude all of the coverage from both of these coverages. In addition, they may have an accumulated surplus that is for all practical purposes (except hopefully in the eyes of the IRS) a “profit.”

FACULTY RESPONSE

“Profit” is revenue minus expenses. You can be a nonprofit and still have “profit” depending on what you do with the revenue. It’s possible that revenue can be substantial and expenses, via donations and volunteering, can be minimal. That creates insurable “profits” though legally these funds are diverted to other uses.

FACULTY RESPONSE

To read more faculty responses, click here. Please note: You will need your IIANM log-in to view complete article. Contact rachel@iianm.org if you need yours. Page 18

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


Coming Soon...

IIANM’s 54th Annual Education Seminar

CE Seminar

Embassy Suites Hotel / March 26 & 27, 2014 15 hours of continuing education for insurance professionals This seminar is designed to specifically meet the annual continuing education requirement for licensed NM insurance agents. This two-day program offers educational opportunities, a great Trade Show with industry exhibitors, and provides a venue for industry professionals, agents, CSRs and company representatives to network. For those of you who have not attended before, this is how it works: We will be featuring 4 tracks, taught by various instructors. Choosing your classes is much like making selections from a menu. You may choose to take all your classes within one track (i.e. commercial lines only) or you may choose to mix and match tracks. The entire program is approved for both the P&C and L&H licenses, so you may attend any class you like. Registrations will be available, January 15th

Big ‘I’ Leadership Visits A.M. Best Big “I” Chairman Tom Minkler, President & CEO Bob Rusbuldt and Vice President of Agent Development Madelyn Flannagan recently visited the headquarters of A.M. Best in Cherry Hill, N.J., where A.M. Best senior staff provided a detailed overview of their practices. This included p-c rating operations; growth strategies; foreign domiciled carrier ratings; reinsurers and alternative markets; and an informative discussion about the ACA’s impact on health insurance carrier ratings. The visit was precipitated by the recently published A.M. Best Special Report on the U.S. Auto Insurance Market, which featured commentary concerning to the Big “I” and some independent agent carrier partners. The report somewhat diminished the role of the independent agent in the sale of auto insurance, seeming to favor multi-channel distribution. But A.M. Best assured Big “I” leaders that it has not adopted a fundamental shift in the carrier rating process, nor criteria biased against an independent agentonly carrier.

ness. Whether that means in person, online or via a mobile app, Project CAP provides independent agents with a more effective multiple distribution system. At the conclusion of the meeting, Big “I” leadership recorded a Q&A session in the A.M. Best studio on how independent agents can best position themselves for success. (Click image to view video)

Minkler and Rusbuldt then provided an overview of the Consumer Agent Portal project, explaining how this unique suite of tools gives independent agents and brokers the ability to do business the way consumers want to do busiIndependent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 19


Adapted from original article by Andrea Wells

There’s a change happening — a big change. And some say young independent insurance agents are the catalyst for that change.

How Young Insurance Agents Are Changing the Industry Jason D. Cass, owner of the JDC Insurance Group based in Centralia, Ill., who also serves as chair of the Independent Agents & Brokers of America’s Young Agents Committee, says there is a revolution within the insurance industry that is moving the industry forward through technology and social media. “There is a revolution that is going on; it’s underway,” Cass says. In Cass’s view, young agents eager to make big changes in how the industry operates are generating excitement and pushing for change. “We’re getting out there and generating a spin that is really getting people excited,” says Cass, who started his own independent agency in 2009 - an agency without a store front. “I am a virtual agency,” Cass says. “I work out of my house. I don’t do any advertising. I’ve done four ads in 28 months. I do a lot of Facebook marketing. I do a lot of online social media marketing. That’s basically how I drive my business.” Thirty-year-old Jill Roth, a young producer at Ahart, Frinzi & Smith based in Alexandria, Va., describes the younger generation of insurance agents as a hands-off generation, where email and social media have replaced more traditional marketing. “It’s not really so much a face-to-face and phone call generation,” Roth says. “It’s more of a website, any time that you want, or is convenient for you (generation). It’s a generation of technology and convenience.” Of the 513 young agents responding to the 2012 Insurance Journal Young Agents Survey, 75.2 percent reported having a Facebook page, 73.7 percent use Linked In, 28.5 percent use Twitter, 84.7 percent use an iPhone or other Smartphone, 44 percent use an iPad or other tablet device, and 10 percent report writing a blog - all for their work as an independent insurance agent. This younger generation has to lead the way to upgrading Page 20

how the insurance industry operates, Roth says. “It can’t be left up to our fathers.” Roth joined the ranks of her father’s insurance agency at 24, after working for a member of Congress for a couple of years. She says now more than ever is an opportunistic time to get involved as a young agent. “Things are changing so quickly within the independent insurance system, including technology, marketing and social media, especially,” she says. In her family-owned agency, the younger generation is helping to drive marketing plans for the future. “My ideas, along with the younger people in our office, are getting put to the very top of our marketing plan,” she says. Right now is a great time for young agents, she adds. “There are so many opportunities to do exactly what they want and think is going to be successful in the future.” Cass agrees, now is an ideal time for young agents to lead the way in the independent agency system. “When we can start carrying that momentum forward and start getting our revolutionaries to mount up and get going; it’s going to push this industry forward,” he says. “It’s happening now.” Concept of Work Young agents are using technology in innovative ways that challenge the concept of “work” in an independent agency, says Peter van Aartrik, CEO of the Aartrijk Group. Technology is the big driver when it comes to the changing work behaviors of young agents. “The connected consumer - and the connected and mobile young agent - is always working, in a sense, and always a part of their connected communities. That doesn’t fit into a 9-to-5 work day,” he says. The “connected community” and young agents’ role in that community is modernizing the agency distribution network, he says. “I do think with the young agent influx you’ll see

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


a vibrant agent and broker distribution channel evolve into something that will feel more ‘modern,’” he says. “The online and offline world will feel like they’ve merged.” Van Aartrijk says that agency principals with vision will be served well by attracting and keeping young agents, especially if young agents are given the opportunity to help shape the future of the agency. “These folks have a lot of energy — if you let them run,” he says. “They’re like wild stallions.” However, attracting quality young agents can be difficult in an industry that young people view as behind the curve in terms of technology. “In order to attract young agents to our industry, we really need to embrace technology,” says Ryan Hanley, a 31-year-old agent at The Murray Group Insurance Services Inc., an independent family-owned insurance and financial services agency in Albany, N.Y. While almost half (47.8 percent) of young agents rate the property/casualty industry’s use of technology as “good,” more than a quarter (27.8 percent) of those responding to the IJ survey rate the industry’s use of technology as just “fair.” Just 18.3 percent of young agents say the industry’s use of technology is “excellent,” according to the Young Agents Survey.

Young agents like Cass and Hanley are taking traditional means of agent-customer communications, like frequently asked questions (FAQ) and turning those into new media opportunities, such as 100 insurance questions answered through video. “Our FAQ is actually 100 blog posts, which are essentially a 100 YouTube videos where we actually answer the question,” Hanley says. “It gives people a chance to get to know us a little better, to build relationships,” Hanley says. Answering questions for customers isn’t new, but the methods used by young agents to reach customers are. “It’s not necessarily doing business any differently,” Hanley says. But young agents who’ve grown up with technology have found ways to apply new tools to their profession. “I think it’s only natural that they’re the ones that do it because they’ve grown up with the technology.” For Cass, and his virtual agency, there’s no better time than now to be a young agency owner. “Businesses that are open to the ideas of today are the agencies that are going to be the best in the future.”

The industry’s less than stellar technology score card could be one reason why young agents feel that insurance is not an attractive career option to other young people. The majority of young agents rated the industry’s career attractiveness to other young people as either just fair (41.7 percent) or poor (20.8 percent), the survey revealed. “If I’m 24 and I just got out of college or just got my master’s degree and I’m a top of the line professional, who as an industry, we would love to have this person … If you’re still forcing them to handwrite applications and fax business to carriers, they’re not going to be interested,” Hanley says. “They didn’t go to school with that. They’re taking classes for their master’s degree using laptops and iPads and doing everything online. Then they jump into an industry, which says, ‘Oh no. We don’t do it that way anymore. You still have to use this abacus and count with shells and stuff.’…. They’re going to look at [the industry] and they’re going to go, ‘I’m not going to become part of that. That’s not what I’m trying to do,’” Hanley says. “There are plenty of more experienced members of the industry that are doing great things in technology and social media,” says Hanley. But younger agents are the ones who appear to be pushing technology and social media, making it a priority in their business practices. “You have agency owners, like Jason Cass, who have essentially said, ‘I only want to do business with people who are willing to communicate via these new tools.’ That’s a pretty innovative idea,” Hanley says. Relationships for Younger Agents Success in the insurance business is mostly about building relationships, reported 94.1 percent of young agents in this year’s survey. But how young people build those relationships is what differs from their older counterparts.

Are you looking for a vehicle to develop the next generation of insurance professionals? The NextGen program at IIANM is the best resource for your producers and CSRs to gain expertise and knowledge in the insurance field to better serve your clients.

Agencies that actively participate in this new revolutionary program will enjoy: • A support-structure for developing sales & service goals and an accountability model for your young agents • A focused approach on leveraging relationships & technology for business growth • A personalized resource for developing agent career tracks and gaining critical leadership skills for agency perpetuation planning • A more accomplished staff that understands and can plan for issues and challenges our industry faces • Unique opportunities to recognize their high-performers For more information, contact Consuelo@iianm.org

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 21


Insurance Marketing Tips Blog

Is Your Agency’s Media Style

Old School, Plugged-in or Big Tent? Which communication method best suits your insurance agency’s brand-building strategy? Just to be clear, I’m not talking about how you or the people in your agency relate to people socially, as when, psychologists talk about communication styles, using words such as aggressive, passive, assertive, competitive, affiliative and so on. I’m talking about which media you’re most comfortable using to build and reinforce your agency’s brand image. For many years, most agents relied principally on print, whether newsletters, newspaper advertising or trade magazines. A few agents would also venture into broadcast advertising using radio or TV spots.

To take the easy approach to plugged-in communications, you could just send out an email newsletter. But to get the most out of your investment, you should pay attention to your analytics: Who reads your newsletters? Which articles do they read? Which addresses don’t work anymore and need to be updated?

In the past 20 years, though, Internet communications in all their manifestations have come to dominate our commercial communications. Now agents have several new formats available and many older media have, thanks to the Internet, lost much of their impact. People don’t read newspapers as much as they used to. Niche trade magazines might still have some readers, but they’re not the most up-to-date source of information; emails and social media get the word out faster. With thousands of new broadcast channels available, radio and TV don’t dominate as well either, unless you have a certain demographic niche that narrowcasting can help you reach. One old media channel that hasn’t really lost its luster, surprisingly, is postal mail. Everyone still has a mailbox and everyone looks through their mail every day. Even Millennials get postal mail. Many agents realize this, which is why as a publisher of client newsletters in print and digital, we still have more customers who use print or print and digital formats than just digital. Some agents who take an old school approach to building and nurturing their brand by using only print newsletters might just be resisting new media because they’re deterred by the challenges. Using social media and blogging requires a lot of effort. You need content, you have to post regularly and you have to be active in the medium to able to engage your audience and know what they’re posting about. Page 22

Aside from the additional time you might have to invest in using digital, there are pragmatic reasons to be old school. Email newsletters get opened about 25-35% of the time, whereas print newsletters at least get noticed by someone and so at a minimum they accomplish your branding mission. All in all, choosing a communication strategy for brandbuilding boils down to taking one of three different approaches: Print or Old School: It’s tried and true, dependable and you don’t need to invest a lot time engaging on social media or counting clicks. Digital or Plugged-in: To be effective, get engaged in the process. After your email newsletters go out, track who reads your newsletter and which articles. Update your contacts regularly. To make the most of your digital content,; use it on your social sites, your blog, in your drip campaigns. Big Tent: Take the belt and suspenders approach. What one medium doesn’t do for you, the other probably will. Whichever approach you choose, the goal is to communicate regularly with your clients and to give them quality, actionable information that helps them manage their insurance and risk.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


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Calendar IIANM’s 2014

(tentative)

January

1st

Office Closed - New Year’s Day

7th & 8th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

9th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

20th

Office Closed - Martin Luther King Day

22nd

NextGen 2014 Personal Planning Workshop

IIANM

February 4th & 5th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

6th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

12th

NextGen: Union Standard Mock Trial Workshop

IIANM

17th

Office Closed - Presidents Day

March 4th & 5th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

6th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

13th

Agency Management Tools & Process (83A) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

26th & 27th

54th Annual Education Seminar (15 CE hrs)

Embassy Suites Hotel

April 8th & 9th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

10th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

16th

Homeowners (ACSR1) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

17th

Commercial Liability Insurance (82A) (8 CE hrs)

Jeff Straight

IIANM

18th

Office Closed - Good Friday

24th

E&O Loss Control (ACSR4) (8 CE hrs)

Jeff Straight

IIANM

30th & 1st

Southern Seminar (tentative) (15 CE hrs)

Las Cruces

May 6th & 7th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

8th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

21st

Other Commercial Insurance (82B) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

22nd

Specialized Insurance and Bonds (82C) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

26th

Office Closed - Memorial Day

28th

Insurance Production Environment (83B) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM


June 10th & 11th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

12th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

19th

Commercial Liability (ACSR7) (8 CE hrs)

Jeff Straight

IIANM

26th

Professional Development (ACSR5) (8 CE hrs)

Jeff Straight

IIANM

July 4th & 5th

Office Closed - Independence Day

8th & 9th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

10th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

16th

Personal Lines Related Coverages (ACSR3) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

17th

Commercial Property Coverages (ACSR6) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

31st

Personal Auto (ACSR2) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

August 5th & 6th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

7th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

12th & 13th

Roswell Seminar (15 CE hrs)

Jeff Straight

Roswell

12th

Principles of Agency Management (83A) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

13th

Commercial Auto (ACSR8) (8 CE hrs)

Jack Cleary

IIANM

25th & 29th

Last Chance Seminar (15 CE hrs) (tentative)

IIANM

September 1st

Office Closed - Labor Day

2nd & 3rd

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

4th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

24th and 25th 80th Annual Convention (tentative)

Sandia Casino

October 14th & 15th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Kitty Leslie

IIANM

16th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

November 4th & 5th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

6th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Bob Ouellette

IIANM

27th & 28th

Office Closed - Thanksgiving

4th

IIANM Holiday Party

IIANM

9th & 10th

Property & Casualty License Exam Review

Jack Cleary

IIANM

11th

Life & Health License Exam Review

Jeff Straight

IIANM

24th - 1st

Office Closed - Christmas

December


In Memorium We are saddened to report the passing of Thomas Michael Ortega. Mike is a former board IIANM board member who lost his battle with cancer on November 23rd at the age of 57. Our condolences go out to his mother, Ruth Ortega, and the staff at Ortega Insurance Services in Santa Fe.

IRS CUTS STANDARD MILEAGE RATES FOR 2014: The IRS on Dec. 6 issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of driving for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rate for using a car for business will be 56 cents per mile. The rate for driving for medical or moving purposes will be 23.5 cents per mile, and the rate for charitable services will be 14 cents per mile. The business, medical and moving expense rates have decreased one-half cent from 2013 rates. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

NMSU Business Alum Heads Back to School to Join the Faculty Don’t let Mike McGonigle’s youth fool you. At 27, McGonigle may be one of the youngest faculty members in New Mexico State University’s College of Business, but the insurance business is in his blood. So when an opportunity came along to return to his alma mater - this time as a faculty member - he jumped at the chance to be close to family and work in an environment that he found so supportive and engaging. Read the full article in the Las Cruces Sun.

Page 26

Are Farm Workers Still Exempt from WC Coverage? We have been receiving inquiries about the effect of a recent New Mexico Appeals Court decision regarding workers compensation coverage for farm, ranch and dairy workers. Many of you noticed an article that ran in the Albuquerque Journal about the decision. In that article, an advocacy group called the NM Center for Law and Poverty claimed that the Appeals Court decision that was issued last month meant that farm laborers would now have to be covered by workers compensation. As a bit of background, for decades our workers compensation laws have exempted certain groups from having to obtain coverage (realtors, farm laborers, and domestic employees are the main ones). The Center on Law and Poverty has been actively working to change the law in regard to farm laborers only. When their efforts failed in successive legislative sessions, they turned to the courts for relief. A state district court in 2011 declared unconstitutional the state law that excluded laborers at farms, ranches and dairies from coverage. When asked at a recent meeting what the effect of these rulings would be, the new Director of the Workers Compensation Administration, Darin A. Childers, indicated that none of the court rulings so far have provided them a clear directive on what the WCA should be doing. Since the 2011 ruling on the law’s constitutionality was from an Albuquerque District Court, it is unclear if the court’s ruling would be binding on other district courts across New Mexico. In addition, the Court of Appeals decision last month didn’t directly rule on the constitutional issues because the case had focused on specific legal procedural issues. The bottom line: for the time being nothing has changed except the momentum to change the law. The WCA is not requiring coverage for farm, ranch and dairy workers at this time. Our best advice for insurance agents is to advise your clients that efforts will continue to overturn the exemption, and that it may be prudent for agricultural based businesses to ‘bite the bullet’ and purchase workers compensation coverage voluntarily. It is our opinion that if the legislature doesn’t repeal the exemption, the courts will eventually do it for them.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014


In the new year, the ‘use-or-lose’ rule need not apply for health flexible spending accounts.

By Dave Evans, financial planner and IA L&H contributing editor

Many employers offer their employees health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), benefit plans that reimburse employees on a tax-favored basis for certain medical expenses not covered by the employer’s medical plan, or other IRS-eligible expenses.

IRS Announces New Option for Flexible Spending For the past 30 years, health FSAs have been subject to a “use-or-lose” rule, meaning that employees must forfeit any funds left unused at the end of the year. But recently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a notice modifying the longstanding “use-or-lose” rule for health FSAs in 2014. For the first time, at the plan sponsor’s option, employees participating in FSAs will be allowed to carry over up to $500 of unused amounts remaining at year-end. Some plan sponsors may even be eligible to take advantage of the option to adopt a carryover provision as early as plan year 2013. An estimated 14 million families participate in health FSAs. Typically, they are funded by employees through voluntary salary reduction contributions, but employers may also make a contribution. FSA contributions are not includible in the employee’s income, and reimbursements from an FSA used to pay qualified medical expenses are not taxed. Health FSAs are subject to a $2,500 annual maximum contribution by the employee. Generally, employees decide before the beginning of the plan year how much money they want to contribute to an FSA. Throughout the year, employees can then draw from this account to pay for qualified medical expenses not covered by their employer’s main health plan. This might

include copays or deductibles, as well as various medical services and products ranging from dental and vision care to eyeglasses and hearing aids. Plan sponsors now have the choice of either allowing employees a carryover of up to $500, or allowing them a grace period of up to two and a half months. Employers are not required to allow either, but if they choose to use the $500 carryover approach, they cannot also use the grace period approach. Since most employee forfeitures are less than $500, if the employer opts to adopt the new rule, individuals will be able to participate in a health FSA without the risk of losing all of their unused contributions. The option also cuts back on wasteful year-end FSA health care spending by limiting the risk of forfeiture, and in turn, reducing the incentive to spend down as year-end approaches in order to avoid losing unused funds. At this juncture, it appears that many employers will opt for the $500 carryover approach. Independent agents should review health FSA reimbursement activity to determine which approach makes the most sense for their agency and to help guide their clients.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - www.iianm.org - * January 2014

Page 27


Clickable Calendar

January 2014 Click on class title to register

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday 1

5

6

7

e Officosed Cl

8 P&C Pre-Licensing Exam Review

12

13

14

15

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

2

3

4

9

10

11

17

18

23

24

25

30

31

L&H Pre-Licensing Exam Review

16 NextGen Launch Party!

19

20

21

22 NextGen Personal Planning Workshop

26

27

28

29

IIANM’s Job Bank We will be transforming our Job Bank on our new website in 2014. Our vision is this will become a magnet for any hiring managers or students/professionals seeking a career in the insurance industry. We will be encouraging university’s to use this resource for job placement and will need agencies and companies to be actively posting job opportunities as they become available. Click here to take advantage of IIANM’s Job Bank.


ODDS ends and

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

Want to get smarter? Watch what you eat

77 Healthy Crock-pot recipes Crazy schedules, long work hours, and tempting takeout menus make it tough to even think about cooking most nights during the week. Despite the inconvenience, firing up the stove or oven is almost always cheaper and healthier than ordering in or eating out. How about a compromise? Making dinner with a slow cooker.

Want to increase your brainpower? Cybernetic implants aren’t the answer (except in science fiction stories), but some foods may actually help your brain work better. No guarantees, but try some of these mental boosters:

• Walnuts. A Spanish study found that people who eat a small handful of walnuts a day saw their memory improve by 19 percent. • Coffee. It helps you wake up, and a British study suggests that just 20-30 milligrams of caffeine (less than one cup) can enhance mental agility. • Spinach. The magnesium in

Popeye’s favorite food may not make you instantly stronger, but it can increase the blood flow to your brain along with the rest of your body—at least according to a Japanese research team.

• Mussels. Seafood is consid-

ered brain food, right? Mussels provide high levels of vitamin B12, which can help insulate your brain cells as you age.

• Asparagus. Eating your veg-

etables is good for you. Asparagus is packed with folate, which can decrease the risk of depression.

Elephants get the point Folklore says that elephants never forget. Scientists now say that elephants have one other interesting trait: They understand the meaning of a human’s pointed finger. The discovery originated in Zimbabwe, where researchers from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) conducted a simple experiment with 11 elephants: A graduate student placed fruit in one of two buckets, then placed the buckets in front of an elephant and pointed to the one containing the fruit. The elephants followed her pointed finger and chose the right bucket 67.5 percent of the time. Interestingly, primates and other animals have failed similar tests

Mars One Plans Robotic Mission If you have ambitions of being one of the first people on Mars, listen up: A Dutch company says it is moving along with its plan to send four lucky Earthlings to colonize the Red Planet. The catch: They won't ever come back. Click here to read full story


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