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New Mexico Mutual is celebrating its 20th anniversary! New Mexico Mutual would like to celebrate this milestone by rewarding its partners with a 5% increase in commission on NEW BUSINESS* bound with effective dates of September 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012.

This also marks 20 years of workers’ compensation reform instituted by the State Legislature that has made New Mexico an affordable place to do business. Created for New Mexico businesses, New Mexico Mutual is the state’s largest carrier of voluntary workers’ compensation insurance. We appreciate your business and the role you have played in our history! We look forward to providing your clients the opportunity to put their business with a New Mexico company. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your sales representative.



New Mexico’s Experts in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. 3900 Singer Blvd. NE • Albuquerque, NM 87109 • 505.345.7260 or 800.788.8851 •

*Excludes accounts that were insured with New Mexico Mutual in the previous 6 months, short-term policies, rewritten policies, and renewal policies.

“La Voz� is the official monthly publication of the

"The Voice" of Independent Agents since 1934

Independent Insurance Agents of NM 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.




Convention Registration!


Stopping Self Sabotage


This is a Sloppy Industry - Which Creates Great Opportunities


LAST CHANCE Education Seminar


US Driving is Going to the Dogs


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.

"Smashed" - Latest SafeTeen Documentary to be Aired


Getting Rid of Abusive Customers


Toyota System Can Sense Pedestrians, Avoid Accidents


Advertising rates are available upon request.

Sell More & Build Better Relations Through Better Eye Contact


The Independent Agents Opportunity to Take Back Personal Lines


Free Webinars


Allstate Agent Group to Vote on Union Affiliation


Please contact Rachel Sheffield at for details

IIANM Staff President/CEO Thom Turbett Vice President Lorri Gaffney

In Every Issue Tech Talk


Tired of Throwing Your Money Down the CIC Money Pit?


Director Of Communications Rachel Sheffield

Education Edge


Insurance Programs Administrator Julie A. Franchini

August's Clickable Calendar


Odds n Ends


IIANM's Partners Program


Member Services Associate Renee Trujillo

Advertiser Index 2010-2011 Officers



American Mining Insurance Company


Burns & Wilcox


EMC Insurance Companies


Vice-Chair Scott Jones

FUSA Insurance Agency




Secretary/Treasurer PJ Wolff

Litchfield Special Risks, Inc.


National Director Sam Conlee

Market Finders, Inc.


New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance (NMHIA)


New Mexico Mutual


Risk Placement Service


Chair Kathy Yeager

Immediate Past Chair Alma Franzoy-Capron


Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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STOPPING Self Sabotage

Five Steps to Better Relationships and Sales in the Insurance Industry

By Jim Ponder, CEO Turnkey Strategic Relations

Why let another day go by feeling out of control just hoping to get through to the end of the day so you can do the same thing tomorrow? Why scramble for names to cold call, new prospects to solicit and other markets to tackle when you are not even staying in touch with your existing clients in the Insurance industry? I know why, it is because this is the way you have always done things. Sure, you have heard of other ways to handle business and life. You may have even attended a seminar where you got excited and came away determined to change. But then e-mails pile up, voice mails just keep coming, the car breaks down and that deadline just got moved up. So, the notebook and other materials that you were so fired up about found their way to the bookshelf right next to the others sitting there gathering dust. Sound familiar? Don’t be surprised, millions of us wake up and handle every day just like I described above. And you know what? Life does have a way of hitting us in the face. But, trust me; it does not have to be this way. I have lived this; I was the king of crisis mode mistaking activity with progress. My customers were not getting the attention they deserved. For that matter neither were my family or friends. After all, can’t they see that I am busy! Unfortunately they can see, but what they see is that I am too busy for them and certainly too busy to handle that recommendation they wanted to give me. Self sabotage, it is time to stop. For me, I discovered that the relationship must come first and from that business and revenue will follow. Moving from crisis mode and self sabotage to a relational business and way of life takes effort. The good news though, is that all of us can do it and the rewards are plentiful. Here are five tips to get you started: 1.


We all learn to talk at a very young age. What we do not learn to do is listen. Start today listening more and saying less. Be there; focus 100% on what you are hearing. Put

down the BlackBerry, ignore the e-mail, put the phone on silent – not vibrate, and take some notes. You will be amazed at what you learn. Your clients will tell you what they want and need – if you will listen to them. 2. Be a Trusted Ally™ Are you a needy salesperson or a trusted ally? The needy salesperson tries to sell whatever they have regardless of whether the client really needs it or if it is the best fit for them. The Trusted Ally™ will take time to understand what the clients needs are and will tailor the sales and product to them. Even, if it means passing up the sale. What! Pass up a sale – you bet, it is called trust and character. 3. Remember the 80/20 rule Sure, you have heard this before. 80% of You can change. You can have business comes from balance back with less stress and 20% of your customers. more productivity. It is up to you. Guess what else? 80% of your pain comes from the bottom 20% of your customers. This bottom 20% is sucking the life out of you. They are a needy bunch and you would be far better off methodically eliminating them while adding more clients that resemble your top 20%. 4. Do your homework I never cease to be amazed at how little most salespersons and the companies they work for know about their clients and prospects. Make a list today of your top five clients and prospects. Now do your homework and answer these questions: How do they make money? What are their top three business challenges? What charities do they support? What does your main contact at the company like to do when they are not working? This information is the start to building your knowledge base and a relationship that goes beyond the transaction. Now, put the power of the internet to work by setting these clients and prospects up on Google Alerts. This way you will always have the latest news about them. Use your new knowledge to send thank you and congratulations cards and for discussion on your personal visits and phone calls. 5.

Get help

Lastly, don’t try this alone because odds are you will fail. Make an investment of your time, effort and money in a quality training program that has a coaching component. Coaching is what separates the wannabe’s from the successful. Just like the best athletes in the world have coaches, so do the best and most successful business people.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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y r t s u d loppy In

This is a


Which Creates

Great Opportunities!

roperty/casualty, and even benefits, insurance, as practiced, is often sloppy. Quality is often not a true concern. I know everyone professes quality is critical, but quality is often not reality. I am surprised in fact, that the sloppiness of this industry does not receive more attention. The good news is that sloppy industries are ripe for firms that can deliver quality. Let’s first establish the extent of the sloppiness. The industry only manufactures paper and when claims occur, it manufactures checks and legal defense. More sophisticated agencies manufacture loss control. The industry does not manufacture complex machines. In fact, even the forms used are usually standard forms, boilerplated commodities. Yet, there are insurance companies that cannot print and mail or even email a policy before the effective date, even on renewals where nothing changes. These policies are not merely a day late or a week late or sometimes not even just a month late. I have personally received my business owners policy (BOP) renewal nine months late. That is more delay than a space shuttle launch. Keep in mind the complexity of a space shuttle. My BOP had one custom item: my name. That’s sloppy. by Chris Burand

Agencies spend small fortunes checking insurance policies delivered by carriers and brokers for errors. They do this because the error rate is still too high. I wrote an article some years ago regarding carrier error rates and received a call from the head of quality control for a major company. She advised that her company never made mistakes. I have told this story many times to agents, especially agents who represent that company. They roar with laughter; they know better. One reason this industry is so sloppy is because denial is the favorite reaction of too many insurance executives. Of course, this makes those companies quite vulnerable to smarter competition because it is tough to provide good customer service when your head is stuck in the sand. A smart insurance company that provides timely, accurate policies would create a competitive advantage for itself. Too many companies still do not understand that if they want to grow, they need to be easy firms with which to do business from a CSR’s point of view as well as from the customer’s perspective. Some are too busy paying more money to agents to get the business. In many of these cases though, agents do not benefit because the extra money they make is all spent on the extra service work required. Some companies are even too busy stealing their own agents’ accounts because they are desperate for growth. True quality would be a better solution. Agents are not free of sloppiness either. Not completing applications is sloppy. Not documenting files is sloppy. Renewing policies “as is” year after year after year is sloppy. Not offering material coverages is sloppy. I am a huge proponent of coverage checklists, so I cannot comprehend agencies

not recommending that all commercial clients at least purchase basic coverages such as employment practices liability insurance, equipment breakdown, business income, workers’ compensation and umbrellas. Yet, possibly a majority of producers do not regularly offer these coverages. This is sloppy. Many people rationalize this behavior. They have lots of reasons and excuses. But the bottom line is this is sloppy behavior. How else can you define not filling out applications when that is your job? I suppose this might be considered lazy rather than sloppy. Either way, what happens to lazy or sloppy companies? How else can you define renewed as is for five years without ever talking to the client? It’s not because the insured does not want to talk. No one has asked the client to talk about their renewal. Let’s suppose that no discussion is necessary. If that is the case, then no commission needs to be paid because no work is being done. A popular sales book, Randy Schwantz’s The Wedge, is worth reading. A key point in the book is that this industry is so sloppy that a producer can easily use the incumbent agent’s sloppiness as a wedge to separate clients from their current agent. It makes sense. Maybe you are an agency owner and you do not want a

sloppy agency. Look at your producers. Do they follow your agency’s procedures? Do they actually work their renewals? Do they offer the coverages they should be offering? If they do not, maybe you do not want a sloppy agency, but you are tolerating sloppy practices. If you do not tolerate sloppy, lazy behavior, how can you turn your superior performance into a competitive advantage? Ask prospects what their agent is really doing to earn their commission/fee. Be prepared to show all the work you really do. Track your error rate, improve upon it and show the results to your clients and prospects. Show that you work all renewals. Show that you care about your clients getting the right coverages, which is why you mandate coverage checklists on all accounts. Show that your people are educated. Show that you work and don’t take short cuts. Times are tough right now and eventually, the cream always rises to the top. Chris Burand is president of Burand & Associates, LLC, an insurance agency consulting firm. Readers may contact Chris at (719) 485-3868 or by e-mail at NOTE: None of the materials in this article should be construed as offering legal advice, and the specific advice of legal counsel is recommended before acting on any matter discussed in this article. Regulated individuals/entities should also ensure that they comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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 - - * August 2011

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The Anderson Agency Report

Making Life Simply Easier for Agents Duke Williams has a mission. He wants to make life easier—Simply Easier, to be specific—for insurance agents.


s a vendor, Duke started on the rating side of the insurance business. His original rating product, AccuRater, started as a comparison rating system for North Carolina insurance agents. The company grew, the ownership expanded (today called Atlatl, Inc.), and the product evolved. Besides adding more states and rating plans, they started emphasizing technology, coming out with a proprietary point-of-sale system. Along the way, Duke realized (as we all do) that the insurance industry runs on ACORD forms. And while many agency management systems offered at least some ACORD forms with their systems, it wasn't a core competency (or a profit center for them). There was a need for a better way to provide ACORD forms, particularly a complete and up-to-date library of them. And so, Simply-Easier-ACORD-Forms was born. From the beginning, it has been wildly successful. The combination of a free program and a complete and always current library of forms was so appealing to agents that today, Simply-Easier-ACORD-Forms is the industry leader, with over 130,000 users. To put that in perspective, there are only about 40,000 agencies with 60,000 offices in the whole country, so that's an amazing number of users.

Simply Easier Payments One advantage that direct-writing carriers like GEICO have always had is the ability to take credit card payments. They have the financial size and clout to get really low fees, which they take off the gross premium. Fees are higher for independent agents and can wipe out their profits. And until recently, the agent wasn't allowed to have the policyholder pay the fee if he/she wanted the convenience of a credit card payment. The answer was Simply Easier Payments. It's an easy, fully legal solution. Duke and his staff have taken the time and effort to get it approved in all states. It works in any state, for any carrier, for any line of business and gives an independent agent one more arrow in his quiver.


Capture Data As Duke describes it, the original release of Simply-EasierACORD-Forms basically operated as a typewriter-style fill-in form program. There was a need to store the data and to be able to do things with it. Despite the “form” aspect of ACORD forms, the reality is that there are a lot of free-form fields, which means we're really dealing with unstructured Page 10

data. Cap-Dat, an abbreviation for Capture Data, was the next evolutionary step. It turns that captured data into useful information.

Insurance agents send a lot of documents back and forth to their customers. And they send a lot of those same documents back and forth to their carriers. Sometimes a document might be a short application. Often, though, there are applications, schedules, loss runs, photographs, policies, and much more. And the amount of certificates that some policyholders need can dwarf all other paperwork.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

SehHey started as a collaboration tool specifically built for the insurance industry. Yes, there are commercially available collaboration tools, but the companies that provide them don't speak "insurance,” nor are they customized for insurance. The first iteration of SehHey provided that. The most popular part of SehHey is the Self-Service Certificate of Insurance. Approximately 1,000 agencies have tens of thousands of customers using this feature. And while SehHey is admittedly the least used of the Simply Easier family of products to date, it is turning out to be the “under-the-covers” engine powering the next—and possibly most exciting—of their products, SehMobile.

SehMobile The newest set of services is SehMobile, which moves your agency onto your customers' smartphones. The first application (“app" in smartphone terms) is an Android program that an agent can create literally in minutes. (The first release is for Android phones but there will also be an iPhone version, which will run on both iPhones and iPads.) Or, you can have SehMobile create the app for you. Depending on what items you want to include, you'll end up with a similar, free app that your customers can download from the Android store, just as the direct writers offer to their customers. Unlike captive agents who are limited to whatever the carrier offers, independent agents can extend the standard “what to do when you have an accident” type of features by adding links and items from their own websites as well as other customization. Currently, the SehMobile apps are “customer-facing,” meaning they're specifically written for the customer to use. In development, however, is an agent-facing version that will essentially allow an agent or CSR to do many of their agency tasks on their phones, if they need to, instead of requiring them to go back to the office to do them on a computer. Exciting stuff. If you're currently a Simply Easier customer, check out all the latest developments. And if you're not, mosey on over to their websites and see which items might be appropriate for you and your agency. G. Barry Klein is a former insurance agent who maintains as an industry service.

Wikipedia’s Birthday Wikipedia is perhaps the best example of what can happen when you ask people to collaborate on an open and free platform. Ten years ago, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger looked at the Internet and realized it could be the best place to start the documentation and democratization of human knowledge and information. Controversy has surrounded the user-generated encyclopedia since the beginning. The fastest way to get an “F” on a paper in college was to reference a Wikipedia source. But 10 years later, look at how the knowledge of the world has been created and shared. Social media platforms like Wikipedia run counterintuitive to the rules of business. We used to keep our intellectual property private. We used to not share with our peers. We used to work in closed environments. We used to shun the idea of mass collaboration. One of the main reasons I've personally (and professionally) started thinking differently about the marketing industry is because of the idea behind Wikipedia. Happy Birthday, Wikipedia... and thank you for everything you share and the spirit of goodness that you bring to the world.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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Who has the ability to handle all your specialty insurance needs?


Answer is Your Specialty Insurance Professionals

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The clock is ticking...September 30th August 22 - 30, 2011 U.S. driving skills are going to the dogs That's the gist of a new survey by AAA and the pet product company Kurgo that examined the driving habits of American dog owners. The study finds that drivers are frequently distracted by their canine passengers in multiple ways: from restraining them to feeding them to driving with them on their laps. The survey shows that during the past year, 56% of dog owners have driven with their pets at least once a month. But only 16% of them use a pet restraint device -- a safety measure advocated by the AAA. "A restraint will not only limit distractions, but also protect the driver, the pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.� Petting the pooch is the most common form of dog distraction, with 52% of dog owners reporting doing that while driving. Almost one in four - 23% - say they've used their hands or arms to protect their pets while braking. Nineteen% have used hands or arms to prevent dogs from invading the front seat, the poll found. Less common, but perhaps more dangerous, activities include reaching into the backseat to interact with their dogs (18%), holding or allowing a dog to sit in the driver's lap (17%) and feeding a dog (13%). According to the survey, dog owners are indulging in these practices even though they know them to be unsafe. According to the poll, 83% of dog owners are aware that an unrestrained dog in a moving car presents a danger. Also, 42% of the owners say they do not use a restraint device because they believe their dog is calm. But AAA points out that a dog, whether calm or frenetic, can be thrown in a crash or a sudden stop -- posing a hazard to both human and canine occupants of the vehicle. “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path,� said Delise. AAA said other reasons given for not using a restraint include never having considered it (39%), taking the dog only on short trips (29%) and wanting to let the dog hang its head out the car window. Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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Latest Safeteen Documentary to be Aired on August 18

Every year August marks the start of back-to-school season. Yes, folks, it’s time for football, the State Fair, and the release of the latest Safeteen documentary. As always, IIANM is a major sponsor of these important documentaries. Each is broadcast commercial free in prime time on a major network, and then distributed for use by schools in every school district in New Mexico. This year’s show will be aired on KRQE (New Mexico CBS Affiliate) from 7-8 pm on Thursday, August 18. It will also be re-broadcast on KRWG 22 Las Cruces and KENW 3 in Portales, so check your local listings for those dates and times. Produced by Emmy © Award winning Christopher Productions, this year’s documentary examines recent brain research that indicates binge drinking during adolescence can have lifelong negative effects. During the thirty minute program we hear from brain research experts, counselors and youth who discuss the reasons for concern and ways we can all help. The program highlights how the brain is affected by alcohol assault, the effect of alcohol on athletic performance and how advertising influences not only decisions about alcohol consumption but its influence on how we think alcohol affects our behavior. Did you know that New Mexico is highest in the nation in use of alcohol before age 13? If you have kids approaching the teen years, you cannot afford to miss this documentary!

DVD copies of ‘Smashed’ or any Safeteen documentary are available free of charge to IIANM members. For more information just go to: or

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

We’re celebrating our 100th year by planning for our next 100 years. Tanya Wentzel, Des Moines Branch Marketing Manager Troy Boysen, Minneapolis Branch Commercial Underwriter Connie Jarzynka, Omaha Branch Claims Adjuster

Whatever the future holds, insurance will always be a relationship business and EMC will continue to keep those relationships as close to your office as possible.

Phoenix Branch: 800.432.8422 | Home Office: Des Moines, IA

© Copyright Employers Mutual Casualty Company 2011 All rights reserved

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Getting Rid of Abusive Customers One of the nice things about being a business owner is that, if a client is abusive and undesirable, you can usually send them packing. There is no legal mandate in most states for renewing accounts; however, be sure to check any statutory or legal requirements that might govern in your state. Now, as to HOW you get rid of them.... Faculty Response Agents often request non-renewal for these reasons, How might an agent terminate a relationship with an abusive, or otherwise undesirable, client? What legal though a better first step might be to ask the client to find a new agent. The agent can advise the client as tactfully and ethical considerations should apply? as possible why they no longer want to be their agent, citing specific reasons, the use of profanity, etc. Of course, One of the nice things about being a business owner some behavior can't be tolerated at all, like threats of is that, if a client is abusive and undesirable, you can violence. In some cases it's appropriate to give the client usually send them packing. There is no legal manan opportunity to change their behavior. date in most (but not all) states for renewing accounts; however, be sure to check any statutory or legal requireSome states do limit the grounds for non-renewal, particuments that might govern in your state. In the absence of larly in personal lines. In those cases, it is generally still any legal restrictions, if the insured is abusive, there's acceptable for the agent to refuse to provide service. The certainly nothing unethical about requesting nonrewal in refusal should be in writing, preferably sent certified mail, our opinion. with reasonable time given for the client to find another It's not uncommon for agents to request that a carrier nonrenew an account for many reasons. In most states, an account can be nonrenewed for just about any legal, nondiscriminatory reason. In some states, IF the insured wants a reason, they can request it in writing and the insurer has a certain amount of time to respond.

agent. The agency may want to have the client communicate only with a supervisor or agency principal and should flag the account for "special handling."

Faculty Response Since the policy is a contract between the insured and insurer, you cannot just cancel it, but you can ask the insurance company to give it to another agent. And you Retaining an abusive client is pointless. If you do the can tell the insurance company why you are asking for math, you'll probably find that they're an unprofitable clithat action. They may have their own action to consider. ent as well. In any case, you certainly have obligations to You can also tell the client that you will withdraw from the your employees not to subject them to someone with this account at the renewal. When you tell most people that type of temperament. We ran this issue by the VU faculty you do not want to work with them, usually they leave on and got the responses below. their own accord. That has been my experience in getting Faculty Response rid of some clients. Advise the carrier to set up for non-renewal as per Faculty Response "agent's request" and if he doesn't know the reason by We first need to know whether this is a personal or comthe time the notice is issued, tell him. mercial lines account and what policies are involved. If Faculty Response this is a personal lines insured, you might have to get The agency should "resign" as insurance agent for the used to dealing with the insured. Non-renewal laws on insured. Inform the insured well in advance of the renewal personal lines are often very stringent and cause usuthat you will discontinue the business relationship and will not ally does not include being abusive. I guess it is because provide coverage on their account beyond a certain date. insurance is expected to make a consumer annoyed and Include information for the insured to continue coverage abusive. :-( with the insurance company if they so desire. That may If we are discussing commercial lines, your underwriter include a list of other agents in your area (whom you don't may have greater latitude. However, Oregon is an exlike perhaps :) representing the current carrier. ample of a state that requires specific reasons for nonrenewal. It does carry some tough anti-discrimination Inform the insured your office will service the policies prohibitions. through expiration, but will not provide any services beMy recommendation is to approach the carrier and see if yond that point. Send the resignation by registered mail. they can assist in negotiating a broker of record transfer Then send a reminder by registered mail prior to renewal to another agency. Some large carriers may even be able to reaffirm your action. Notify the insurance company of to bring it under a house account management program. your actions. Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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Toyota System Can Sense Pedestrians, Avoid Accidents

The technology is one of several the center is working on that Toyota hopes will make driving safer. In another building at the sprawling complex located at the foot of Mount Fuji, Toyota has one of the world's most advanced driving simulators.

By Martyn Williams, IDG News Toyota has developed a safety system that can automatically stop a car in the moments before a collision with a pedestrian. The system, which will begin appearing in Toyota cars in the near future, is built on existing pre-collision detection technology that is already fitted in some Toyota cars and those of competitors. Those systems are designed to guard against collisions with large objects, such as stopped vehicles or walls, and don't do a good job when it comes to people. Toyota's new system, which it says is a world's first, uses a millimeter wave radar and stereo camera to constantly monitor what's in front of the vehicle. In a demonstration on Thursday at the company's Higashi Fuji Technical Center in Japan reporters were given the chance to drive a car fitted with the technology towards a mannequin in the roadway. (See video of the demonstration on YouTube.)

Here a car is attached to a platform raised off the ground, the whole thing under a plastic dome and wired to computers that monitor every aspect of the way the car is being driven. On the inside of the dome a 360-degree computer-generated image of a road and town make for a driving experience that's much more realistic than any video game. Fake road noise and computer-generated vibrations add to the feeling of being in a real car but that's not what makes it most special. The entire platform the simulator sits on can move up to 20 meters from side to side and 35 meters from back to front. This means drivers even experience the forces they would when driving a real car. Toyota uses the facility to simulate a variety of conditions and situations to a variety of drivers to gather data on how different people react when behind the wheel.

Toyota asked drivers to keep the car at a constant 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) and head straight for the mock pedestrian.

Around 1.2 million people are killed in road accidents every year, according to the World Health Organization. Road fatalities are expected to rise by two-thirds over the next two decades as the number of cars on the world's roads increases.

An audible warning first sounded when the system picked up the pedestrian and judged that a collision was possible. Moments later, when no change in the vehicle's speed or course was detected, the system prepared to stop the car.

Technologies like the pedestrian detection system are meant to make driving safer and advance Toyota towards its goal of zero fatalities on the road -- an ambitious goal for sure.

Then, with the car approaching the mannequin fast, the brakes automatically applied and the seatbelts tightened slightly. With a slight screech the car came to an emergency stop a couple of meters from the mannequin.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

Big “I” Education Webinar Library Certificates of Insurance - ACORD Certificates of Insurance and Marketplace Pushback Click here Other - Not Your Grandfathers' Diversity Click here - Using the Best Practices Study Click here - Being Savvy About Cyber Security Click here - Workers Comp Exp Rating Click here - Agency Valuation Click here - Catastrophic HO Policy 'Exclusion' Click here - Excess and Surplus Lines Click here - NonProfit Executive Liability I Click here - NonProfit Executive Liability 2 Click here

Please email Rachel if you need your log-in information.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

Sell More and Build Better Relationships Through Better In the world of selling, eye contact is extremely important when both making a first impression and building credibility. In addition to some of the obvious aspects of eye contact, there are also some subtleties involved. So how do you make sure you're making the most of your eye contact?



- Use eye contact to build credibility, convey trust, and to accent your point at important intervals in the conversation.

Eye contact builds trust and credibility and a lack of it will destroy the chances for either. The best way to convey strong points, such as closing questions, is to look the prospect or customer directly in the eye while making your statement. You don't want to be glancing away at all, and you even want to keep blinking to a minimum.


- Look the person directly in the eye as much as possible.

At the very least, you want to be looking the other person in the eye the entire time he or she is talking. If you're going to look elsewhere at any time in the conversation, do it while you are talking. Even then, keep straying eyes to a minimum. You'll notice that if you're talking to someone and looking around, they'll start looking around too; looking elsewhere causes paranoia in the other person in the conversation. In the best case scenario, the only time you want to break eye contact is when the other person draws your attention to something else, or vice versa. As much direct eye contact as possible during a conversation will help build all the positive feelings you're looking for.


having difficulty discerning which eye is focusing properly, look at the bridge of the person's nose.

- Look at only the left eye.

In conversation, people tend to look back and forth from one eye to the other. But this can give people the impression you are "shifty-eyed." As a result, you want to look in only one eye. Looking into the left eye seems to get the best results. Why? Have you ever had an instantaneous connection with someone? You just met that person but you felt as if you knew him or her forever? That connection occurred in the right side of the brain, which is the creative and emotional side of the brain. The left eye is controlled by the right brain. Will you always have instantaneous connections by looking in the left eye? No, however, you will have more of them and you will completely eliminate the "shiftyeyed" feeling some people will leave with after having a conversation with you. Note: If you're talking to someone with a "lazy" eye and are

Note 2: If you’re talking to someone whom you know is blind in one eye, has a glass eye, or any other eye issue, focus on the good eye. If you know they have one of the above issues but cannot tell or forgot which eye is the problem eye, focus on the bridge of the nose. And no, people won’t be able to tell you’re looking in their left eye or at the bridge of their nose, it will simply appear as if you’re looking them in the eye.


- Watch others’ eye contact at important times in the sales conversation.

Watch the other person’s eye contact during important questions such as closing questions and qualifying questions. For example, if someone says, “Geez, I think I can get it for less somewhere else.” Look them in the eye and ask, “So that’s the only thing that’s stopping you?” If they say “yes” and look away, off to the side, down, or otherwise break eye contact as they answer you, you can be sure that they are not telling the truth. Very few people outside of professional liars can look you in the eye and tell you an “untruth”. Now that you know that isn’t the real objection, you can ask more questions to eliminate this excuse and find out what the real reason is. The eyes truly are the mirrors of the soul. They will let people know if you are interested or disinterested, if you truly care or couldn’t care less, and whether you’re paying attention or off in another world. Watch the message you send with your eyes as well as the messages others are sending with theirs. If you make the most of eye contact, you’ll find that you’ll connect better with people and make more sales. 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 significantly increase 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 - - * August 2011

Page 21

Sometimes an opportunity is staring you in the face, but it is invisible to you because you are so focused on what a particular competitor is doing and how you are going to compete on the same terms. Let’s take personal auto insurance. I was so focused on what the direct carriers are doing with their massive amounts of advertising, online quoting and rapid market share growth, that I failed to see the incredible opportunity that independent agents have today to present consumers with a better business model than the direct carriers are offering and as a result, take business from them.

The Independent Agents’ Opportunity to TAKE BACK Personal Lines “Go Opposite” I hope to convince you in this article why this is an excellent time for you to implement a defined strategy backed by sales power and resources to grow your personal lines. To help you see why this opportunity is so great, let’s apply a tool that Daniel Burrus, author of the bestseller “Flash Foresight,” recommends organizations use in their strategic planning—“Go Opposite” in order to see opportunities that previously have been invisible to you. He urges us to make a list of everything your competitors are doing and then look at each item and ask, “How can I gain an advantage by doing the opposite?” He argues that we are living in a world where in so many ways “our entire world and everything about it is going through an intensely rapid and comprehensive reversal,” “where the acceleration of digital technology is turning conditions on their heads…” In short, we are seeing this reset of consumer expectations and practices take place all around us in our daily lives. Why can’t it take place with insurance as well?

By Jeff Yates Jeff Yates is Executive Director of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) which is part of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Jeff can be reached at ACT’s website is This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.

Page 22

Let’s apply the tool of “Go Opposite” with regard to the trend of growth in online automobile insurance sales by the direct carriers, a concern for all of us. The direct online carriers are emphasizing price to such an extent in their advertising that consumers are starting to put less and less importance on the enhanced coverages they can get, according to recent research conducted by comScore. In other words, the direct carriers are selling auto insurance as more and more of a commodity and consumer loyalty to the various providers has become pretty low. In addition, the 2011 comScore and J.D. Power Auto Insurance Shopping reports show that most online consumers are getting automobile insurance quotes from multiple carriers and that these consumers are spending an average of two or three days gathering quotes. Most are entering the same data into multiple websites. Sound familiar? Independent agents all know how inefficient that business model is, having experienced it themselves before the availability of real-time multiple carrier quoting. Independent Agents Can Provide the Online Consumer a Better Alternative Now what if independent agents were to “Go Opposite” and start to show online consumers that there is a better way to think about and buy auto insurance. They can go to an independent agent and have a more efficient shopping experience and get quotes from multiple carriers in one stop. And independent agents can offer consumers the value add of personalized professional counsel Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

and debunk the myth that the coverage and limits bought are not important and that auto insurance is a commodity. The Technology Tools Are Now Available The technology has now become available to enable independent agents to enter the online shopping & quoting space effectively. They have access to real-time quoting through their comparative raters and agency management systems so they can finally quote personal lines prospects efficiently. The efficiency of these real-time tools has been an essential predicate to independent agents’ being able to compete in today’s personal lines market place. Independent agents can implement online consumer portals on their websites offered by several comparative rating vendors to provide consumers with online quotes from multiple carriers and should do so. Agencies using these tools are achieving a close ratio of 35% to more than 60% by promptly following up with consumers on quotes. These agencies are following up with consumers within 15 minutes or less and have rotating employees on call to follow up with online prospects after hours. These close ratios show that consumers are hungry for a better alternative than the direct model, where the agent custom fits the insurance to the consumer’s needs to provide proper protection, often at an equal or better price than the direct carriers. But consumers have to find the agent’s website and online multiple carrier quoting tool. Online technology tools have become available here as well, allowing agents to improve their visibility online significantly with search engines and on social media. Agencies are taking advantage of inexpensive tools such as: • Local search tools offered by the various search engines. These tools are easy to set up, usually free and give terrific positioning when consumers look for a local provider. • Blogging and creating a website rich in insurance information of interest to consumers. • Other social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, where the agency can show its values and “personality,” its commitment to its community and its insurance expertise. And soon IIABA will launch the Consumer Agent Portal to help agents further attract online shoppers and benefit from a wealth of educational opportunities to enhance their online marketing effectiveness. IIABA hopes to use the Consumer Agent Portal coupled with the Trusted Choice® brand to link the thousands of independent agencies across the country to multiply the online visibility and search engine positioning of the independent agency distribution force nationally and for each participating agency locally.

High Levels of Consumer Shopping Can Benefit Independent Agents Recent research of automobile insurance consumers conducted by comScore and J.D. Power and Associates provide additional helpful information to independent agents, as they fashion their strategic plans to grow personal lines. Massive advertising campaigns urging consumers to shop their auto insurance, coupled with the tough economy, have led to unprecedented levels of consumer shopping—which is no surprise to any independent agent. This means more consumers have their business in play looking for better alternatives, creating more potential prospects currently being written by direct writers for independent agencies with a strong personal lines strategy and online presence to target. Of the 51% of insurance consumers who shopped for auto insurance in 2010, 19% switched carriers (down from 22% in 2009). The comScore research also found that 70% of online purchasers are seriously considering changing their insurance company, compared to 50% of those who purchased through a local agent, indicating significantly higher degrees of consumer loyalty when they have the experience of using an agent. However, consumer loyalty is down across all distribution systems and too low. Those independent agencies that have implemented efficient processes for handling this business—such as real-time quoting and inquiry; policy, direct bill commission and claims download; and electronic files to replace paper—are well positioned to manage this increased shopping by their own clients and to target the increased numbers of insurance consumers whose business is in play. As a result of implementing these processing enhancements, one major insurance agency recently told me that its personal lines department is now achieving the highest return on revenue of any of its departments. Important to have a Strong Online Presence & Ability to Quote Online J. D. Power & Associates has reported that 2010 was the first time a majority of insurance shoppers (54%) initiated their policy purchase process by applying for a quote online. Websites have become the dominant lead generation channel and the second most important distribution related factor for the consumer, second only to the local agent. 50% of these online quotes, however, still are closed by an agent or call center representative according to the J.D. Power & Associates research, prompting Jeremy Bowler, Senior Director of Global Insurance Practice at of the research firm to conclude that the latest consumer shopping behavior is “blurring the lines of how we traditionally think about discreet sales channels,” as consumers use multiple channels during their shopping process. The comScore research reports that 80% of those who shopped online went offline to purchase. 62% of those continued...

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

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For All That Matters

going offline to purchase ended up buying through an agent in person. An additional 31% purchased through a local agent over the phone. The bottom line here is that a lot of auto insurance business is currently in play for independent agents to attract and that most online shoppers still go offline to purchase. Agents, however, need to have a strong online presence so consumers can find them, along with the ability to offer quotes online. Research Confirms Agent’s Value to Insurance Consumers ComScore’s research also provides some very positive confirmation that a high percentage of those insurance consumers who have a local agent strongly value that relationship. Of the 61% of consumers who purchased their current auto insurance through a local agent, 81% find their agent to be valuable. We have already seen above that a much higher percentage of online purchasers are seriously considering changing their insurance company (70%), compared to those who have a local agent (50%). In a future article, I will drill down further into the comScore and J.D. Power & Associates research to ferret out additional trends in automobile insurance consumer preferences and behavior that can assist independent agencies in refining their personal lines sales and servicing strategies. In summary, I believe the latest consumer research confirms the significant opportunity independent agents have to offer insurance consumers a better alternative for auto insurance than the direct carriers are currently providing them—one that offers a more efficient shopping process and tailors the coverage to the needs of the particular consumer. The technology tools are now there to enable independent agents to handle this business efficiently and to establish an online presence that is highly visible to consumers in their community. The remaining question is whether significant numbers of independent agencies will have the will to make a significant commitment to personal lines, to build their online presence and quoting capability, and to “go opposite” to the “auto insurance as commodity” business model the direct carriers are currently providing. Editor’s Note: For numerous articles and recorded webinars on how agents can build effective websites, take advantage of local search tools and use social media, go to ACT’s website at and click on “Websites & Social Media” in the gray shaded area on the left of the page. See also for resources on how Real Time & Download can help you can write business more efficiently.

Upcoming Big “I” Webinars LinkedIn for Insurance Professionals How to increase your brand, your sales and recruit top performers via LinkedIn

Free Live Webinar August 5, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT This ACT webinar is targeted to help independent agents and brokers get the most out of LinkedIn and to use the tool to build their brand, increase their sales and recruit top performers. Presenters are Cindy Donaldson, Founders Insurance Group, and Rick Morgan, Chair of ACT's Social Web Work Group. The program will include: 1: 2. 3. 4. 5.

Overview of LinkedIn – demographics of users Creating a profile that sells Your Network – centers of Influence, direct sales prospects, and potential employees Groups – how to get the most out of groups by interacting Becoming a trusted advisor and an expert in your field – LinkedIn Answers

ACT TO HOST FREE WEBINAR: “FACEBOOK FOR INSURANCE PROFESSIONALS” Webinar to address how independent agents can use Facebook to communicate with customers and grow their business.

Free Live Webinar August 9, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT The webinar will cover how to set up a Facebook “fan page,” utilize Facebook to increase brand awareness and market share, explain how Facebook ads work and connect with clients and prospects. PARTICIPANTS:

Cindy Donaldson, Founders Insurance Group Rick Morgan, Chair of ACT’s Social Web Work Group Jeff Yates, ACT executive director (moderator) Go to to register

Go to to register.

Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

Page 25

Allstate Agent Group to Vote on Union Affiliation


ired of being controlled as employees and defined as independent contractors, members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, Inc. (NAPAA), who feel threatened with the loss of their businesses will soon take part in a secret mail ballot vote that will decide whether the Association will affiliate with Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) as a Guild. The vote will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and be counted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at the AAA's New York office. The decision to poll the membership was bolstered by an enthusiastic response by attendees and the NAPAA Board of Directors at the group's most recent national conference in New Orleans, LA, where Michael Goodwin, president of OPEIU presented the case for affiliation and took questions from the audience. He was quick to point out that guilds have proven to be very effective for self-employed workers, citing the Screen Actors Guild, of which Ronald Reagan was once president.

"With the prospect of a 20% cut in agent compensation looming, the Association believes the time is ripe to affiliate," said NAPAA executive director Jim Fish. "In addition, many insurers utilizing independent contractor agents have manipulated IRS precepts to the point where independent contractors are now employees without benefits or protections," he added. Confident of an affirmative vote to affiliate with OPEIU, Fish added, "Agent morale at Allstate has hit rock bottom, which cannot be good for the company, the agents or the shareholders. This is not a matter of political philosophy; it's a matter of defending the interests of ill-treated small business owners. The ballots will be distributed within a matter of days. This historic vote will be proof positive that agents are extremely unhappy with the status quo at Allstate."

The OPEIU represents 125,000 employees and guild members, but when coupled with its affiliation with the AFL-CIO, the number swells to more than 11 million. With a positive vote on the ballot initiative, the group will take steps to formalize the affiliation. Upon affiliation, NAPAA members will be granted membership in the OPEIU, the national AFL-CIO and all State Federations of Labor, giving the agent group better access to legislative assistance and legal expertise. Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico - - * August 2011

Page 27

Are You Tired of Throwing Your


Down the

Bottomless CIC Money Pit? Then you should consider the IIANM endorsed Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI) program.

Why earn the Accredited Adviser in Insurance designation? Compare:



Cost to obtain designation $1,795 $1,575 Annual Cost to maintain designation $ 434 x forever $0 Time 5 classes x 2.5 days each = 9 classes x 1 day each = Commitment 12.5 days + exam time 9 days (including exam time) Update Requirement Yes (2.5 days/every year) None

Designation = Professional certification A designation is earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. Many certifications are used as post-nominal letters indicating an earned privilege from an oversight professional body acting to safeguard the public interest.

Download AAI Brochure

2011 Dates Please click the links below to register on-line.

• 95% of program completers said earning the designation was important to demonstrating their professional competency.

August 4 AAI 81C - Commercial Property Insurance

• 89% of completers stated that earning the designation provided them with increased job opportunities.

August 5 AAI 82C - Special Commercial Lines

• 82% of designees believed they gained greater job security during times of organizational consolidation and transition. • More than 83% said earning the AAI designation helped fast-track their career progression.


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 Study Materials

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

To see a list of what is available and to purchase your study materials online, click here.

Property & Casualty Review Class (2 days)

Life & Health Review Class (1 day)

Regular Price: $150 Member Price: $120

Regular Price: $115 Member Price: $90


Jack Cleary


Kitty Leslie

- August 9 - 10

8am - 5pm


Jeff Straight

- September 12 - 13 8am - 5pm


Bob Ouellette - September 15 8am - 5pm

Click here for a full listing of our education program.

- August 11

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:




) 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

August 2011 1

Click on class title to register





8 CE hrs

8 CE hrs

8 CE hrs

8 CE hrs

ACSR #6 Commercial Property


Roswell, NM


Roswell, NM


Clickable Calendar

ACSR #2 Personal Auto


P&C Pre-licensing Class





9 16

AAI 81C Commercial Property Insurance



AAI 82C Special Commercail Lines





L&H Pre-licensing Class

10 17

11 18

15 CE hrs



Last Chance Seminar!



15 CE hrs






Last Chance Seminar!






N e w M e x i c o ’ s Jo b B a n k 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!

Saving too much for retirement? Yes, it's possible (though it's not likely). However, there are some telltale signs that you're paying too high a price today in your efforts to fund your future.


7 Fresh Tips to Prevent Do you know your gold? Gold: It fills our dreams, our hopes, and our fantasies. It symbolizes wealth, style, beauty, and power. But how much do you really know about it? Here are a few facts about the precious element that may surprise you: • We pour more steel in one hour than the volume of gold poured in recorded history.

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5 Ways to Sleep Well and Lose Weight Eating the right foods—and avoiding the wrong ones—will make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. And getting more shut-eye means losing more weight. Click here!

• Experts believe that as much as 80 percent of gold on Earth is still in the ground.


• About 75 percent of all gold ever produced has been extracted since 1910. • Because it’s so pliable, one ounce of gold can be stretched into a thread 50 miles long. • The biggest nugget of gold ever found was discovered just two inches below the ground in Australia in 1869. It measured 10 by 25 inches, and yielded more than 2,000 ounces of pure gold.



• From 1933 to 1974, private ownership of gold was illegal in the United States. • The chemical symbol for gold is Au. It comes from aurum, the Latin word for gold. • An atom of gold has 79 protons and an equal number of electrons (of course), and 118 neutrons. • The first documented discovery of gold in the United States was in Georgeville, N.C., in 1803. • Most of the gold mined in history is still in circulation.


Please Note: Our P.O. Box is now closed, effective immediately. Send all correspondence to:

1511 University Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87102




More information can be found about

IIANM’s Partner Program by visiting our website at or calling Lorri Gaffney at (505) 999-5805.

August La Voz 2011  

The Official E-Zine for Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico