Page 1

Top 100 sales stars

Congratulations to all agencies making the second quarter 2013 Top 100 list. To qualify, all agencies met profitability criteria (profitable two out of the last three years —2011, 2012 and 2013 year to date—or achieved a cumulative profitability over the last three years). They are ranked in order of sales increase based on year to date written premium growth in dollars.

  1. Combined Agents of America LLC, Austin, Texas   2. Shared Agency Services LLC, Tucker, Ga.   3. Keystone Insurers Group Inc., Northumberland, Pa. 4. SWBC Insurance Services Inc., San Antonio, Texas 5. Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management, Itasca, Ill. 6. Higginbotham & Associates Inc., Ft. Worth, Texas 7. Texcap-Concord Insurance Services LP, Dallas, Texas 8. The Daniel & Henry Co., St. Louis, Mo. 9. Bouvier Beckwith & Lennox Inc., West Hartford, Conn. 10. SouthGroup Insurance and Financial, Ridgeland, Miss. 11. Fox-Everett Inc., Ridgeland, Miss 12. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Waukesha, Wis. 13. Insurance Services of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. 14. Insurance Agents Alliance of Texas Inc., Austin, Texas 15. United Valley of Arizona LLC, Fresno, Calif. 16. Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman Inc., Ellicott City, Md. 17. Iroquois Mid-Atlantic Group Inc., Midlothian, Va. 18. Peter M. Bakker Agency Inc., Avon, Conn. 19. Gompers Couillard & Wolfe Inc., Macomb, Mich. 20. USI Southwest, Dallas, Texas 21. Insurors Group LLC, College Station, Texas 22. Fitzgibbons Arnold & Company, Cleveland, Ohio 23. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Denver, Colo. 24. Insight Risk Management LLC, Cordova, Tenn. 25. Crosby & Henry Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich. 26. DRY Insurance Agency Inc., Chardon, Ohio 27. Mississippi Insurance Alliance, Jackson, Miss. 28. Aha Insurance Network, Louisville, Ky. 29. Crest Insurance Group LLC, Tucson, Ariz. 30. Assured NL Insurance Agency Inc., Bowling Green, Ky. 31. Voldico LLC, Osgood, Ind. 32. Corkill Insurance Agency Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill. 33. Danaher Skewes & Associates Inc., Annandale, Va. 34. Southwest General Insurance, Phoeniz, Arix. 35. Dimond Bros. Insurance Agency Inc., Paris, Ill. 36. Leavitt Group Agency Association, Cedar City, Utah 37. Fulton Insurance Inc., Fulton, Miss. 38. Certified Insurance Services Inc., Cedar City, Utah 39. Frost Insurance, Victoria, Texas 40. Wilcox & Reynolds Insurance LLC, Storrs Mansfield, Conn. 41. BB&T Insurance Services Inc., Greensboro, N.C. 42. Burns Brooks & McNeil, Torrington, Conn. 43. American Agency Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. 44. Exchange Underwriters Inc., Canonsburg, Pa. 45. Greenpoint Insurance Group, High Point, N.C. 46. Corporate 4 Insurance Agency Inc., Edina, Minn. 47. Valley Insurance Agency Alliance, Clayton, Mo. 48. Lawhon & Webb LLC, Tupelo, Miss. 49. Field Eddy Inc., South Hadley, Mass. 50. AssureAlliance Inc., Spartanburg, S.C. 28 Autumn  2013 SA TODAY

SA TODAY

Autumn 2013

A publication for independent agencies representing the State Auto Insurance Companies

  51. Alliance Main Street LLC, Northampton, Mass.   52. Meyers Agency, Bridgeport, Texas   53. Inter Financial Group LLC, Katy, Texas   54. Goodworks Insurance, Glastonbury, Conn.   55. S. S. Nesbitt & Company Inc., Vestavia, Ala.   56. Yeager Insurance & Financial Services LLC, Hurricane, W.Va.   57. Van Zandt Emrich & Cary Inc., Louisville, Ky.   58. Associated Insurance Agencies Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.   59. Hample Insurance Service LLC, Greenwood Village, Colo.   60. Mountain State Insurance Agency, Charleston, W.Va.   61. Allegheny Insurance Service Inc., Elkins, W.Va.   62. Dawson Insurance Agency Inc., Fargo, N.D.   63. Renasant Insurance Inc., Tupelo, Miss.   64. Henry M. Murray Agency Inc., Annapolis, Md.   65. Lake Agency Inc., Grand Blanc, Mich.   66. Morrison Insurance Agency, Lakewood, Colo.   67. The Presidio Group Inc., Murray, Utah   68. Premier Group Insurance Inc., Denver, Colo.   69. Faribo Insurance Agency Inc., Faribault, Minn.   70. McKinley Rother Greater Insurance, Austin, Texas   71. First Security Agency of MN Inc., Sleepy Eye, Minn.   72. Byrnes Agency Inc., Dayville, Conn.   73. Keller-Leopold Insurance Inc., Garden City, Kans.   74. HMP Insurance, Memphis, Tenn.   75. Bains West Inc., Owasso, Okla.   76. Rodgers Insurance Agency, Pittsburgh, Pa.   77. The Joiner-Sigler Agency Inc., Waynesboro, Miss.   78. Wave Financial Partners Inc., Aurora, Colo.   79. Heartman Agency Inc., Rochester, Minn.   80. Momentum Insurance & Financial Services Inc., The Woodlands, Texas   81. Clark Insurance Agency, Batesville, Miss.   82. Aldridge Insurance Agency Inc., Murphysboro, Ill.   83. Worldwide Insurance Network AZ, Phoenix, Ariz.   84. Eagle Point Insurance Group Inc., Lake Elmo, Minn.   85. Professional Insurance Counselors Inc., Effingham, Ill.   86. Kinghorn Insurance Agency of Beaufort, Beaufort, S.C.   87. Russell-Massey & Co. Inc., Columbia, S.C.   88. Madison Bates Insurance Inc., Denver, Colo.   89. USI Southwest, Houston, Texas   90. Chaney & Karch Insurance Group Inc., Centralia, Ill.   91. Vela Insurance Agency Inc., Denver, Colo.   92. Alan Henry Insurance Agency Inc., Lubbock, Texas   93. Hallmark Agency Inc., Grand Blanc, Mich.   94. C.O. Brown Agency, Rochester, Minn.   95. Capitol City Insurance Manager, Austin, Texas   96. Tri-County United Insurance Agency, Crane, Texas   97. Commercial Insurance Brokers LLC, Tulsa, Okla.   98. Acrisure LLC, Caledonia, Mich.   99. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Phoenix, Ariz. 100. Mapes Insurance Agency Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Health Care Reform

Pearls of the Orient Beijing or Hanoi... which to choose?

Crazy About Social Media How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

Meet the Customer Service Department


SA TODAY

VIEWPOINTS

State Auto writes surety bonds?

Published for the 24,000 State Auto agents and their staffs.

by John Couger Vice President Surety

Editor Debbie Conkel

John.Couger@StateAuto.com

It’s surprising how often we hear that from agents in the field, and even from fellow State Auto associates. The answer to that question is, “Absolutely, and we’re growing!” In fact, State Auto provides an ideal platform from which to write surety successfully. Our super-regional presence in P&C insurance, network of excellent independent agents, large Treasury Listing of over $40 million, and strong A.M. Best rating (A Excellent) are all key ingredients to the Bond Department’s success to date. State Auto supports a wide product offering in both contract and commercial surety, and has written bond business for more than 40 years. While surety is a fundamentally different product line than P&C insurance, and a much smaller market, there is a symbiosis between the two that benefits both the agency base and the P&C side of State Auto. We regularly receive positive feedback from State Auto agents when they learn that we offer a full line of surety products. Many, particularly those in more rural areas or those with more limited surety needs, have been underserved and are in need of additional surety capacity. However, many larger agencies have more markets than they need and prefer to consolidate their relationships to those companies with the broadest product offerings. In either case, our agency partners appreciate State Auto’s ability to offer multiple lines of business including surety. Additionally, surety is a line of business with very minimal weather exposure, and often times actually benefits from reconstruction efforts that come in the wake of a catastrophe. Not only has the Bond Department been growing, it’s been doing so responsibly and with great success by adhering to State Auto’s core values of maintaining solid underwriting standards and fostering excellent agency relationships. Here is a quick summary of just some of the Bond Department’s successes in 2012 (for a list of our top-performing agencies in 2012, see page 11): •  54% premium growth vs. 2011 •  Loss ratio below 1% •  Combined ratio of 73% •  Wrote 15,000 bonds through more than 800 agents.

Editorial Assistance Robyn Harper Linda Still Graphic Design Lora Dunfee Staff Photographer Shawn Holmes Printer Robin Enterprises

Please send any comments or story ideas to Debbie.Conkel@StateAuto.com

State Auto Insurance Companies 518 East Broad Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 614-464-5000 StateAuto.com

State Auto® is a registered mark of State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company.

Strong service and expanded capabilities

In an effort to provide strong service to our agency partners, four regional field locations have been established, staffed by regional managers with an average of 20 years experience in the industry. Having experienced underwriters physically located in their assigned territories allows us to provide responsive service to our agents and stronger underwriting protection for the company. In addition to our regional office locations, we have a seasoned underwriting team in Columbus supporting our production and profitability goals. (continued on page 27) 2 Autumn  2013 SA TODAY

STATE AUTO ®

Insurance Companies

On the cover The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010. Read about what it means to your business on page 22.

then reinforce how this will help him in the long run, the Behavior is more likely to continue.

Another example; your producer comments that she has already secured her x-dates for the week and it’s only Wednesday. If you say nothing, she’ll likely not worry about getting this activity done ahead of time or even stretch it to the point of not making her x-date goal. But what happens when you say something? You’ve got it, she is more likely to keep doing this. By now we hope it’s evident that our actions or inactions as managers

influence how our producers (and all employees) perform. What does it hurt to use a few positive words when you see your producer doing the things he/she needs to be doing to be successful. Try these words on for size: Excellent! Nice Work! Way to go! Terrific! Great! Cool! Fabulous! And then, see what happens!

Got questions for the Sales Coaches? Contact them at Ken.Fields@StateAuto.com or Diane.Masterson@StateAuto.com.

State Auto writes surety bonds? (continued from page 2)

As with P&C insurance, forging strong relationships with excellent agents is an absolute keystone to building and maintaining a profitable book of surety business. Therefore, it is paramount that the surety constantly works to build its relationship with its agents, educates them on the surety’s underwriting philosophy and account appetites, and delivers consistent and timely service. In addition to locating our underwriters closer to the point of sale, we established new reinsurance relationships in 2012 that allow us to selectively consider accounts performing annual sales up to $20 million. The net result of these efforts has been a higher performing and more geographically diverse book of business. Below is the contact information for our Regional Office locations along with the regional offices they support: • Terry Brown (404-284-8605), Atlanta, Ga., supporting Southern Region agents • Ron Gengler (630-466-4860), Chicago, Ill., supporting Midwestern Region agents • Greg Parrish (850-668-6348), Tallahassee, Fla., supporting Florida agents (State Auto writes only bond business in Florida)

• Sam Allison and Jake Morphew (254-741-1264), in Waco, Texas, supporting Western Region agents Bond Connect and our commitment to service excellence

A successful bond operation must provide responsive and timely service to agencies in order to earn their best business. An example of how we strive to deliver responsive and timely service is Bond Connect. In 2008, State Auto implemented Bond Connect, a bond automation system, which was rolled out to all State Auto agencies. The transition to Bond Connect has been very well received with the vast majority of the agents saying, “Wow, that was easy!” Today, Bond Connect instantly and automatically transacts 67% of the commercial bond business. This equates to nearly 9,000 commercial bonds that are issued instantly in the convenience of our agents’ offices. Additionally, it is loaded with over 4,000 of the most commonly used bond forms throughout the operating territory and is continually updated. Bond Connect also streamlines the submission and bond issuance process, even for contract bonds, and eliminates the need (and headache!) of the agent having to maintain a supply of powers of attorney. The result is a

tangible example of our commitment to excellence in service by providing an efficient transaction that is respectful of our agents’ valuable time. Beginning with the end in mind

Ultimately, our Bond Department plans to build upon its success and continue to deliver an underwriting profit by adhering to the following core principles that have proved successful thus far: • Hire, retain, and support the best seasoned professionals • Deliver consistently outstanding service to State Auto’s agency partners • Foster and build strong relationships with outstanding agents • Adhere to our consistent and sound underwriting practices, while providing agents friendly and expert advice with a strong dose of common sense, all directed toward the small account segment. If you have written bonds with us, I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with you. If you haven’t worked with us before, I invite you to contact us for more information about our capabilities. I’m confident that you will receive timely service, expert advice as well as an underwriting approach that is both reasonable and flexible. SA TODAY Autumm  2013 27


the sales coach

Motivating a producer, beyond compensation Many of our articles over the last couple of years have dealt with hiring, training, compensation and overall management of producers. This time, we’ll focus on one specific area of sales management that won’t cost you any money and chances are it will produce more income to your agency and producer and help you retain your top producers. Our industry has the perception that the more you pay producers, the better they’ll perform. So much conversation evolves around this topic and yet, if you look at the results, it’s just simply not true. So what else is there beyond a person’s compensation package? Read on. Diane Masterson: You have an im-

pacting true story you tell during a sales management segment you regularly teach which is a good way to kick-off this subject.

Ken Fields: Back in the 1920s, the

Western Electric Company conducted a series of experiments to determine the relationship between lighting and productivity. The expectation was that test results would encourage industries to use artificial lighting in place of natural light. (Most factories at the time relied on sky lights and windows for illumination.) Researchers were surprised to find that productivity increased in both the group that had been provided improved lighting and those who continued to work in a poorly lit environment. Eventually, it was determined that the extra attention given the workers who were the target of the study was the real reason productivity increased. A more recent study titled “Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers: The Generation Gap” states: “Millennials (born 1980 – 2000) prefer frequent and exhaustive feedback on their

26 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

contents

Autumn 2013

performance, as well as lots of coaching, guidance and mentorship—more than their managers ever received when they started out in the business.” So let’s review a few management basics before we go any further. We call it the A, B, Cs of managing. A stands for activator. An activator comes before behavior/performance. Activators include goal setting, making plans, training, etc. B stands for behavior, which is anything the producer does that can be observed, measured, and changed. C stands for consequences, which is anything that happens following behavior. Now here’s the take-away for managers: As important as activators are, it’s consequences, far and away, that impact performance the most. In fact, experts say consequences can change performance by as much as 85%. That’s half the story. Here’s the other half: There are three kinds of consequences: positive (praisings), negative (reprimands), and neutral (nothing). If something good happens (praising) following performance, that behavior will likely continue, or even increase. If something bad happens (reprimand) following performance, that behavior can be expected to decrease. Now pay careful attention to this last one. If nothing happens following behavior, performance will probably decrease or even stop. So the reaction to a neutral response is the same as to a negative response. This is probably the most important lesson of all because our experience has been that many new producers get very little feedback from the agency. Masterson: So as a manager, we can have the strongest impact with producers—really everyone—by simply showing more attention to what people are doing (or not doing). Sounds easy, but there is some upfront planning that needs to be in place so we can give the

feedback to reinforce what should and shouldn’t be done. Ken mentioned the ABCs of management—Activators, Behaviors and Consequences. So let’s put this into practice. Having established goals that are written and clearly explained is an Activator. So often we focus our attention on revenue or premium goals and as important as these are, specific activities or actions drive the result. A producer needs to know how many x-dates, meetings with centers of influence or drop-ins must be completed each week. In addition, the producer needs to understand their role when it comes to administrative work—another Activator—such as application completion, rating, follow up with a client or renewals a producer rather than a CSR is responsible for. As we’ve pointed out a number of times, how a producer spends his/her time has the most impact on achieving their premium/ revenue goals. So with the Activators (the goals and actions expected) established as managers we, as well as others, know what Behaviors to expect from the producer and can observe how well these Behaviors are carried out. Then based on what we observe, Consequences naturally follow. It might help to look at a couple of examples. You observe your producer working evenings when you know he’s had to miss his daughter’s soccer game. What is likely to happen if you say nothing about it to him? Keep in mind, his daughter and wife have most likely given him a hard way to go for not being at the game. If you choose to say nothing (which is a neutral position), the behavior is likely to decline. On the other hand, if you make it a point to recognize the producer for what he did, acknowledge his wife and daughter were probably not happy about it and

Articles & Sections

Features

 2 Viewpoints: State Auto writes surety bonds?

Pearls of the Orient—

by John Couger, Vice President Surety

 4 Agency News: North Dakota CSR of the Year

National PIA Young Agent of the Year Inner Circle Class of 2012—correction   Welcome new agencies  6 Service Awards  8 Where in the world have you read SA Today?

In Memoriam

Beijing or Hanoi...which to choose? Explore the mysteries and delights of Hanoi (Vietnam) or Beijing (China), and Hong Kong with State Auto in 2014.

PAGE 16

Crazy About Social Media—How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

 9 Company News: Project CAP Update STFC declares quarterly dividend

The agency credits social media for 27% of its new business in 2013.

10 11 12

Healthcare Reform

STFC stock performance New project management leader Business Insurance Update 2012 Top Surety Bond Agencies by Written Premium State Auto Real Time Integrations

13 Personal Insurance update

New identity theft services Tips on winter weather Coverage highlights— Locksmith services and key replacement

26 The Sales Coach Motivating a producer, beyond compensation 28 Top 100 sales stars Second quarter 2013 results Other Features: 14 Riviera Rendezvous photo contest winners 23 Principles of Persuasion—Expert Worship

PAGE 20

What it means to you

We explore the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it could impact your business.

PAGE 22

Meet the Customer Service Department Cultivating a positive experience for every customer contact is our goal.

PAGE 24

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 3


Agency news

Welcome new agencies We welcome the following agencies, which joined the State Auto team during the second and third quarters of 2013. CENTRAL REGION HH Underwriters LLC

North Dakota National PIA CSR of the Year Young Agent Congratulations to Joni Alfson from of the Year Dawson Insurance Agency Inc., in

Fargo, N.D., who was voted outstanding CSR of the Year in the state. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research selects candidates for this award who are insurance customer service representatives, or have primary responsibility for insurance customer service duties. Winning candidates are chosen for their outstanding service and completion of an essay on communication. Alfson is now eligible for the national CSR of the Year honor.

Congratulations to Matthew Simon, producer at Hill & Hamilton Inc., in Bellefontaine, Ohio, who recently received the Young Agent of the Year Award from the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Nominees are judged on professionalism, achievement, and contributions to the insurance industry. Simon, who has been in insurance since 2004, joined Hill & Hamilton in Bellefontaine in 2006 as an insurance advisor.

Louisville, Ky.

InPro Insurance Agency Inc.

Troy, Mich.

Olivier-VanDyk Insurance Agency Inc.

Wyoming, Mich.

Advanced Insurance Designs Inc.

Norton, Ohio

J.F. Marshall Insurance Agency LLC

Fairlawn, Ohio

Westcott Insurance LLC (dba Copley Insurance Agency)

Milan, Ohio

EASTERN REGION Maury, Donnelly & Parr Inc.

Baltimore, Md.

Centennial Surety Associates Inc.

Millersville, Md.

Ross Insurance Agency Inc.

Inner Circle Class of 2012— correction

In the Spring/Summer edition of SA Today, we featured a list of the 2012 Inner Circle agencies. We inadvertently left six agencies off of the list. We apologize for the oversight, and extend our sincere congratulations to these agencies as well. Acrisure LLC Caledonia, Mich. Art E. Gernt Insurance Inc. Crossville, Tenn. BaySide Surety Brokerage Inc. Mobile, Ala. 4 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Mountain State Agency Alliance

Charleston, W.Va.

Richmond Insurance Agency Inc.

West Union, Ohio

Sheward-Fulks Insurance Agency

Jackson, Ohio

Holyoke, Mass.

Kore Insurance Holdings LLC

Livingston, N. J.

Robins Insurance Agency Inc.

Henrico, Va.

Richards Group Inc.

Lynchburg, Va.

MVB Insurance LLC

Morgantown, W.Va.

MIDWESTERN REGION Maschoff Insurance Agency LLC

Ankeny, Iowa

Department Growth opportunities Other benefits of the Customer Service consolidation are that most associates from the original individual units are now cross-trained on additional functions and are knowledgeable in more aspects of customer service. This creates more engaged, well-rounded associates, and has also led to greater job satisfaction and more growth opportunities. “It also helps if we’re in a catastrophe situation and need more resources to help handle claims,” Singh said. “In the past, we would have to shift our resources from other departments, and take additional people away from their primary duties to handle claims. Now, since most Customer Service team members are cross-trained for claims and policy situations, they can all handle the catastrophe claim calls.* It’s a win-win for everyone involved.” State Auto has call centers in the Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, and Indianapolis, Ind., locations with customer service representatives who can handle all types of customer service situations. Customer Service calls for billing, payments and agency technical questions are taken from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, while claims calls can be taken 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “We also have an interactive voice response (IVR) option to provide basic policy or payment information,” according to Singh. “This gives the caller an option to access an automated system to hear this information any time of the day or night, rather than having to speak to an actual customer service representative. Of course, they always have the option to speak to a representative during our operating hours if they wish. “We continue to research other opportunities to leverage this technology to provide additional self-service capabilities.”

Some of our Customer Service Department representatives include, from left, Jennifer Wardle, Tosha Gillon, Angelo Buoni, Julia Frustaci, Roz Foy and Lisa Rhoades.

Measuring customer service Another benefit of the Customer Service consolidation and new telephone software is the opportunity for better service measurement and enhanced metrics, according to Singh. Through end of July, the department had taken over 543,000 calls, 76,000 in July alone. Our new system allows for better statistics and measurement of our representatives’ effectiveness. Management can track the average amount of time it takes to pick up a call, how many calls are dropped, and customer satisfaction after the call. Since all Customer Service calls are recorded, supervisors can monitor and provide feedback to the associates. “This not only leads to better service, but more employee engagement and growth as well,” Singh added. “We’re always looking for ways to gain even further efficiencies,” he said. “We’ve found that many of our agents would like to ‘chat’ or send instant mes-

sages to our representatives. Currently, the chats are independent of phone calls, and sometimes a representative will be on a phone call and receive a request for a chat at the same time. “We’re working on being able to control this so the representative doesn’t have both contacts coming in at the same time to allow for better focus and handling. “We’re very pleased with how Customer Service is providing such a positive customer experience, as evidenced by the many positive comments we receive about our representatives, and the outstanding metrics we’re seeing,” Singh added. “We only want to enhance that positive experience with the ultimate goal of resolving our customers’ issues the first time they call, in an accurate, friendly and professional manner.” *The Submit a Claim link on StateAuto. com also goes to the Customer Service department, which initiates the claim process on those reported claims, as well.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 25


Meet the Customer Service Cultivating a positive experience for every customer contact is the goal of State Auto’s Customer Service Department, according to Assistant Vice President of Operations Amrin Singh who has overseen the department for the past three years. During that time, what had been separate payment services, agency help desk and claims call centers, have been consolidated into one Customer Service department. This was done to provide better service to all our customers and to make service operations more efficient. “Now when our customers call in to report a claim, call about a policy, billing or payment issue, or if it’s an agent with a technical problem, all the calls go to

our Customer Service call center, and are handled from there,” Singh explained. “It’s been a seamless transition for our customers, and has just been a better synergy of these efforts overall for us.” The transition has been managed by Customer Service Director Pam Holladay and her team of six supervisors: Kate Bloomer, Mike Bryan, Teresa Doone, Jason Roehrig, Debbie Segbers and Steve Weets. Their combined 200+ years of insurance experience has helped lead the team of 85 associates to become a successful customer-focused team.

Who do you call? Whether customers call the claims hotline number (800-766-1853),

agency help desk number (888999-8103), or the main State Auto number (800-444-9550), they are routed to the Customer Service department. If callers want to reach a specific individual and extension, they can follow the prompts to go directly to their party. All other callers are routed to Customer Service. From there, menu prompts provide options to report a claim, talk to an associate about a billing or policyrelated question, contact the agency help desk, and so on. “Skills-based routing,” a feature of our telephony software, allows callers who select these prompts to be routed to representatives trained to help in each service area.

Krist Insurance Group of Iowa LLC

ClearWater Insurance Agency Inc.

Adam Hocking & Associates II Inc.

RC Insurance Services Inc.

West Des Moines, Iowa Windsor Heights, Iowa

The Forker Company

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Myers Insurance Group Inc.

Champaign, Ill.

Insurance Partners Inc.

Springfield, Ill.

Rustin E.Godfrey (dba Godfrey Insurance Agency)

(continued from page 23)

thing doesn’t look right or feel right when it comes to your health. In either case, if a lawyer or doctor gives you advice it’s a good bet you’ll believe them over someone who clearly isn’t a recognized authority. This is true even though both people might say the exact same thing. Knowing someone is an expert removes the doubts someone may have like, “Why should I listen to him?” or “Who does she think she is telling me what to do?” An interesting study was done with a couple dozen students at Emory University that showed physiologically what happens when experts are introduced to an equation. The students were hooked up to brain scanners and asked to solve complicated financial problems. As they did this, the scientists could clearly see their brains lighting up in the area where cognitive thinking and 24 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

problem solving takes place. Where things got interesting was after a professor from Emory University, someone who also happened to be an advisor to the Federal Reserve Board, was introduced. When the professor—a perceived authority—began to give advice the students stopped critically thinking and believed everything the professor said, even things the professor knew were incorrect! The scientists could clearly see on the brain imaging that cognitive thinking ceased for all the students. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is some of the hardest work there is and that’s why so few people engage in it.” When an authority is added to the mix most people will stop, or severely reduce, their critical thinking because it’s hard work. When it comes to insurance you are the expert and customers pay you in part to do their thinking for them. So here’s the $64,000 question—do your prospects and customers see you as more of an expert than the agents you compete against? For instance, do they

Remaining 2013 Principles of Persuasion Workshops® October 15-16, Nashville, Tenn. November 5-6, Columbus, Ohio

The Curtis Agency LLC

Madison, Wis.

Giuffre & Associates Inc.

Montello, Wis.

Richards Agency Inc.

Oshkosh, Wis.

Brian Keith Jacobi (dba Brian Jacobi Agency)

Sheboygan, Wis.

Spitz & Miller Insurance Agency Inc.

Richards Insurance of Waterton LLC

Griffith, Ind.

Ralph Whithurst Insurance Agency Inc.

Wake Forest, N.C.

Performance Insurance Agency LLC

Lexington, S.C.

Insight Risk Management

Cordova, Tenn.

Allied Insurors Inc.

Knoxville, Tenn.

ABBM Company LLC (dba Anderson Benson Insurance)

Nashville, Tenn.

WESTERN REGION

Waterton, Wis.

AAA Arizona Inc.

Mishawaka, Ind.

SOUTHERN REGION

Highland Insurance Services LLC

J.R. Prewitt & Associates Inc.

Daniels Nicolson Insurance Agency Inc.

Martin Insurance Group

Key Insurance Services (dba Rosier Insurance)*

Summers Insurance Agency LLC

Highland, Kans.

Madrigal & Associates Inc.

know your years of experience, industry designations and/or awards you’ve won? If not they should because anyone of those could be the difference in their decision-making just like the professor who was an advisor to The Fed was to the students he spoke with. These are just some of the ways you can enhance your expertise and generate more sales. Ideas like these are the kinds of things we talk about during the Principles of Persuasion workshop® because the more customers and prospects understand your expertise the more likely they are to rely on your advice when it comes to their insurance protection. You should consider attending one of our workshops before year-end because you’ll give your fourth quarter sales a boost and start 2014 off with a bang!

Hartland, Wis.

Springfield, Ill.

Paola, Kans.

Principles of Persuasion

Eau Claire, Wis.

Wichita, Kans.

Brush Creek LLC (dba Brush Creek Partners)

Kansas City, Mo.

Krantz Insurance Group LLC

Lake Ozark, Mo.

Birmingham, Ala.

Bonita Springs, Fla.

Matson-Charlton Surety Group*

Coral Gables, Fla.

Florida Surety Bonds Inc.*

Maitland, Fla.

Alter Surety Group Inc.*

Miami Lakes, Fla.

Middleton Insurance Services LLC

Baker-Harris Insurance Agency Inc.*

Insurance Group

The ProSure Group Inc.*

Stilfield-Hufft Insurance LLC

The Beck Agency

Crestwood Insurance Agency

Jack Bradley Agency Inc.

Burkemper Insurance Agency LLC

Farnsworth Insurance Inc.

Richards Insurance of Beaver Dam LLC

Partners Risk Services LLC

Oak Grove, Mo. Plains, Mo. Polo, Mo.

St. Louis, Mo Troy, Mo.

Beaver Dam, Wis.

Richards Insurance of Columbus LLC

Columbus, Wis.

Tallahassee, Fla. Tampa, Fla.

Alpharetta, Ga. Cornelia, Ga. Gray, Ga.

Johns Creek, Ga.

Tri-County Insurance Agency Inc.

Hickory, N.C.

Phoenix, Ariz. Phoenix, Ariz.

AMD Insurance Services Inc.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Smart Move Insurance Inc.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Cynthia Fisher Agency LLC

Surprise, Ariz.

Networked Insurance Agents

Grass Valley, Calif.

Agar Insurance Agency Inc. (dba Agar Ford Jarmon & Muldrow)

Norman, Okla.

Integrated Insurance Service Inc.

Pryor, Okla.

Southern Winds Insurance LLC

Houston, Texas

Patterson & Associates Insurance Agency Inc.

Richardson, Texas

Billy Greaves Insurance Agency Inc.

San Antonio, Texas

Pacific Crest Services Inc.

West Jordan, Utah

*Newly appointed Florida agencies write bond business only

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 5


Principles of Persuasion

Agency news

Service Awards 50-Year

35-Year Assistant Vice President Total Rewards Diana Dierna presented information to associates at the first healthcare reform meeting held at Corporate Headquarters last summer.

Congratulations to the Davis Garvin Agency in Columbus, S.C., which celebrates 50 years of service. Pictured, from left, are Personal Lines Sales Representative Becki Caesar, Personal Lines Sales Manager Phil Crumley, agency Operations Manager Lee Lane and Account Manager Ruth Ann Wright.

Also celebrating 35 years of service is Mike Keenan, president of The Keenan Agency Inc. in Dublin, Ohio. Keenan is seated in photo, along with Cindy DeLeon and Jill Keenan; standing from left, are Bob Hall, Linda Stine, Business Insurance Un-

Congratulations to Stoudt’s Insurance Agency in Watertown, S.D., which celebrates 50 years of service to State Auto. Pictured, from left, are agency president Preston Steele, producer Jim Waba and and Personal Lines Sales Representative Gloria Hanson.

As mentioned earlier, the law’s mandate that employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties has been delayed until 2015. Will this affect State Auto’s implementation of the law?

Not at all. State Auto already has a qualified health plan in place, and we’ll continue to offer health coverage to our associates. The delay has more to do with government reporting to prove that we have adequate coverage in place. For some companies, especially those with many part-time employees, the reporting and compliance requirements are heavy. The delay will provide much needed additional system preparation time.

Congratulations to John Badgley, president of Key Insurance Inc., in Mobridge, S.D., who recently celebrated 35 years of service to State Auto. Pictured with Badgley is Personal Lines Sales Representative Gloria Hanson.

6 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

if your employer doesn’t offer qualified affordable coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours. State Auto’s associates are eligible for qualified health care coverage, and the company contributes to the cost of the coverage to make it affordable. We’ll work to keep our plan sustainable and in compliance as we feel the benefit makes us a preferred employer. Private marketplaces are just coming onto the healthcare landscape and are currently unproven. We’ll continue to monitor the healthcare options offered by these groups of companies who work together to ensure their corporate members receive the desired level of service and coverage at a fair price.

What other provisions go in effect later down the road, and what do you think their impact will be?

In 2016, states may form “Health Care Choice Compacts” which will allow for the purchase of health insurance across

state lines, and will create additional options for individuals. In 2018, the “Cadillac Tax” will apply to high value company health care plans. Employers will look for ways to modify their plans and avoid triggering the steep 40% tax on high value plans to ensure their plans are sustainable for their employees. Can you say how the Affordable Care Act will affect our agencies, most of which are smaller businesses, with fewer associates?

It would be worth clarifying here that small employers, those under 50 as defined by the law—like a number of our independent agencies—will have some of the same requirements as large employers, but don’t have to meet all of the requirements imposed on large employers. There is currently no requirement to offer a plan or pay a fine for not offering a plan. Agencies with fewer than 50 employees can access information specific to them on websites provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The websites are listed below and include information about small business health care tax credits and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), along with other information that can help these businesses purchase health insurance for their employees more easily. http://stateau.to/14dw0Gu http://stateau.to/1524HOp

We hope this information has been helpful to our agency partners, and encourage you to search these websites, and related sites, for additional information on this important and farreaching legislation.

Expert Worship Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CMT, CMCT, is an expert on the Principles of Persuasion®, a workshop created by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., the recognized authority on the science of ethical influence and persuasion. Ahearn is one of only 20 individuals in the world who is certified to teach this workshop and State Auto is the only company in the insurance industry who offers this specialized training. In this series for SA Today, Ahearn shares with readers the six principles of persuasion and how mastering each will improve your sales successes. Plato, the famous Greek scholar and philosopher, told the world more than 2,300 years ago, “the wisest have the most authority.” We know there’s truth to his statement because decades of research by social psychologists verify it. In psychology, the principle of authority tells us people look to those with superior knowledge or expertise when making decisions. When people aren’t sure what to do, like many insurance customers, they rely even more heavily on the advice of recognized authorities. Let’s see why this is the case. If you consider yourself to be proficient in the area of tax law you might do your taxes yourself. However, if you recognize you don’t know much about tax law then you probably rely on an accountant—an expert—to do your taxes. The same could be said of medicine. If you started college as a pre-med major you might feel confident doing some self-diagnosis. If you’ve never cracked a medical book though, you probably call the doctor—an expert—when some(continued on next page) SA TODAY Autumm  2013 23


Healthcare

Reform What it means to you The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. What were some of the first changes enacted as a result?

Beginning in 2011, State Auto expanded our health plan to include coverage for associate dependents up to age 26, and additional wellness and prevention care. We also eliminated the lifetime coverage limits that were previously a common element of health plans. Many other companies implemented these changes as well. For 2012, we calculated a total value for health care for each individual associate and included this information on the 2012 W-2. This was a reporting requirement in preparation for later phases of ACA implementation. In 2013, we initiated a lower maximum on pre-tax flexible spending accounts. Previously, federal law permitted that up to $5,000 could be set aside by an associate to pay qualified medical-related expenses when they later occur. The cap was lowered to $2,500 this year. Along with that, high wage earners will experience an additional Medicare-related tax of 0.9% for individual income exceeding $200,000. How are you informing State Auto associates of these changes?

We’ve initiated a series of educational sessions for our associates, along with additional resources to help answer questions. The law is complex and in many ways isn’t clear and final. We feel fortunate that we can offer our associates a quality health plan that is sub22 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

sidized by State Auto, eliminating the need for our associates to secure coverage elsewhere. However, we also realize that our associates have friends and loved ones who need assistance as well, and that advertising for the marketplaces may be aggressive and confusing. We feel that proactively arming our associates with terminology and an understanding of the key requirements will go a long way in building an understanding of the new law and understanding the options for health care coverage for both themselves and their family members. Most of the major provisions of the law go into effect in 2014; could you recount what these major changes are, and what State Auto is doing to enact them?

The basics are as follows: Large companies (50+ employees) are required to “play or pay,” meaning they must provide qualified affordable healthcare or pay a penalty. This is the piece of the law that was recently delayed until 2015 because the reporting requirements will take systems’ preparation time and many companies aren’t yet ready. The “individual mandate” requires U.S. citizens to have minimum healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. Coverage can be purchased through an employer (if available), a public marketplace run by the state or federal government, or a private marketplace (which are just being introduced to the market and will be more viable in future years). The public marketplaces will vary by state

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short, became law in 2010. Designed to provide affordable health care for all U.S. citizens, the law has its supporters and detractors, and controversy surrounding it. It’s a complex law, and many may not be aware of all that it contains. We asked State Auto’s benefits experts Diane Dierna and Joe Rosswurm to explain the new law and what it means to our business, and yours.

and will be heavily advertised beginning Oct. 1, when the public marketplace open enrollment begins. Agencies may want to help their employees understand the requirement and what’s necessary in order to avoid the penalty. What are the costs/downsides, if any, to this new law?

Not many will disagree that health care costs are out of control, and the patient is not always at the center of health-based decisions. In addition, should you know a loved one who suffers from a major illness and is unable to purchase reasonably priced health insurance, you understand the appeal of this opportunity. There is an opposing view, as well, in that companies offering health plans will have heavier compliance requirements, additional fees, and potential fines, as well as a narrower choice of plan design options which may lead to higher plan costs for companies and their associates. The cost of marketplace healthcare options is basically unknown, and certainly the quality of service may or may not improve. Some health providers will be large companies with names we are familiar with, and others will be start ups. The coverage options and cost will vary by state, which will be confusing for a time. How might State Auto or our independent agency partners be affected by the new healthcare exchanges being created?

The public exchanges, now called marketplaces, are only a viable option

Also celebrating 35 years of service with State Auto is Lola Davidson, principal of Davidson Insurance Agency Inc., in Moose Lake, Minn. Pictured, from left, are CSR Breanna Carlson, Davidson and principal Yvonne Skelton. derwriter Vicki Rice, Karen Duncan, Elaine Young, Business Insurance Underwriter Ben Fox, Rita Stepka, Marty Myers, Regional President Kathy Durso, RVP-Business Insurance Dorothy Schreck, Rick Bersnak and Mark Perkins.

Congratulations to Joy Oudekirk of First American Insurance Services Inc., in Stewartville, Minn., who also celebrates 35 years of service to State Auto.

Congratulations, also, to Perry Pietig of First Security Agency of MN, Inc., in Sleepy Eye, Minn., who celebrates 35 years of service to State Auto.

Also celebrating 35 years of service is producer Ken Rosemark, at right, of C.O. Brown Agency in Rochester, Minn. He is pictured with former Personal Lines Sales Representative Donovan Weimar.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 7


Agency news social media. We have a spreadsheet tacts one of our agents via their perthat tracks where the initial contact sonal Facebook page, we will reply by came from. We don’t use traditional their personal page. If they contact us media, so our through the Clevetracking is pretty land Insurance “People want to buy, they simple. It’s either Facebook page, we don’t want to be sold.” word of mouth or respond there. social media. If the Cleveland Insurance Facebook page posts something that I want to share, I’ll share it You mentioned you get leads on my personal Facebook page as well. through social media. Can you The agency Facebook pages are more share a success story? insurance-focused, and my personal About six weeks ago, I put a tweet page is more of a mix. I post a lot of out about why age 35 is the best age different leadership quotes, and I only to buy life insurance, and I gave some do one insurance tweet or Facebook examples of why. I sent out two difpost a day. I don’t want to be overbearferent tweets that had some quick ing. We mostly put traffic, weather, and facts with the hashtag “#thinkaboutit.” insurance-related information on the Two hours after tweeting, I had two agency page. different people direct message me. I wrote two policies, one for $1 million What social media What have you tried that and one for $500,000. Commission for tactics work the best? didn’t work? the year on those policies was close to Facebook will show you $500. I call it the $500 tweet. We tried for a few months to push how many views you have people to our site to get a quote, on your company page. The and to be honest, we got one quote “The agency Facebook pages are biggest thing we see is that in about 90 days of pushing. That more insurance focused, and my with anything having to do with confirmed my thought that people personal page is more of a mix.” insurance, about a third of our fans want to buy, they don’t want to be respond. When we put something out sold. We had gone back to a direct about weather or traffic, it gets shared, marketing deal of interrupting people’s What will you try next? and it’s viewed by three or four times days, and that’s not what they want. They I think the future of insurance is going the number of people who have even want to buy, and we give them reasons to go more toward Google Hangout, “liked” our page. We found that some to buy by giving them information and Facetime, and Skype. I think your people crave informamaking them feel that face–to–face interactions online are tion, and we believe we’re the most profes“We let the client the next big change in the industry. that providing inforsional and organized, determine how they mation with this tool simply the best, Connect with Steven on Twitter @ is what’s really driving agency in their area. communicate with us.” StevenShelton or Facebook at Facebook. all the new business. We do this not by com/stevenrshelton. trying to get them to buy, but allowing Check out the agency’s social media How do you balance commuthem to buy. presence at Twitter.com/ClevelandIns nicating with clients through and Facebook.com/clevelandinsurance. various social media channels? How are you tracking social State Auto offers social content you media efforts? We have a rule: We let them determine can use to communicate with customhow they communicate with us. If you When people call us, we ask them in ers and prospects. Visit AgentSite for call by phone, we reply by phone. If the quote form, “How did you hear more social media resources, including you email, we respond by email. If you about us?” This is asked if they get a the Social Agent blog. Under Popular contact us by social media, we contact quote online. They may have the first Links, choose Marketing Tools, then you by social media. If someone conpart of communication with us through Social Agent. everything I was tweeting. This was an “aha” moment. It didn’t cost me anything but time, and I’ve captured this guy’s business for the rest of my life. For me, social media became much more than just a form of communication. It began to have a very important role in our agency. That’s when it became less of a form of advertising and more for communication.

Where in the world have you read SA Today? This happy group met on State Auto’s Riviera Rendezvous cruise of the French and Italian Riviera earlier this year, and became such great friends, that they traveled together to South Padre Island, Texas, after the cruise. Enjoying their time together—while reading an amusing tome from Chief Sales Officer Clyde Fitch in SA Today—are, from left, Nina and Phil Young from Valley Insurance Providers, San Juan, Texas, Ralph and Cathy Loesing from ThompsonBoerger Insurance Inc., in Park Hills, Ky., and Natalie and Blake Sales from Independent Insurance Center in Brownsville, Texas. Thanks for sharing your happy times with us! Please share your special hobbies, travels or significant events with SA 8 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Today! If you have a photo of yourself with SA Today in a unique location, please send it and we’ll run it in an upcoming issue (all agency and company associates are welcome to participate). Photos will be returned at your request. Please send your photo and brief

description to: Debbie Conkel, Editor SA TODAY State Auto Insurance Companies 518 E. Broad St. (or email high resolution digital images to Debbie.Conkel@StateAuto.com)

In Memoriam Our sympathies are extended to the family and friends of Mark Ballestrini, 54, who died on July 19. Vice president of Byrnes Agency Inc., in Dayville, Conn., one of State Auto’s Inner Circle agencies, he was licensed with State Auto in 2008.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 21


Crazy About Social Media

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Dec ‘09

Absolutely. As of 2013, 27 percent of all our new business begins with social media. I might have 200 messages in my personal Facebook inbox, and 180 of them have to do with insurance. As mentioned, our Cleveland (Tennessee) location is up 17 percent overall for the year and 27 percent “Anytime you can communicate with a of that is straight from social media. client and help them feel more at ease, Actually, it’s more it makes everything go smoother.” affordable to do business via social media. It’s letter, thanking me for giving the upmuch easier because I always have my dates during the storm. They said it was iPhone with me, and I can answer mesthe only source of information they had. sages directed at me on Twitter during People were sitting in their closets, and lunch or while watching TV at night. under the steps of their house because It’s improved our communication with they didn’t have a basement, watching our clients because they work when we

$30 –

30

Jun ‘09

In April 2011, our county was struck by eight tornadoes. During that time, I was sitting in my basement tweeting updates from different media sites about the weather and where funnel clouds were being spotted in different parts of the county. Over the next few weeks, I heard from people who saw me all over town, who emailed, tweeted me or sent me a

35

Sep ‘09

Is social media effective?

What has been your biggest discovery using social media?

The performance of State Auto Financial Corporation (STFC) stock, from June 30, 2007, through Aug. 15, 2013, is pictured below. The number of agents enrolled in the Agents’ Stock Purchase Plan (ASPP) as of Aug. 15, 2013, is 514. If you’d like more information or would like to enroll in the plan, please contact Agency Services Manager David DeLong at 614-917-5198.

Mar ‘09

just a form of advertising to a form of communication. A few years ago, we were using it just for advertising purposes. Now, it’s a way to communicate with our clients by providing them information. We do everything from local traffic to weather updates. It’s become more of a source of information that leads to sales and account rounding, and it provides clients with additional service.

June 30, 2007 - August 15, 2013

Sep ‘08

Steven Shelton: We’ve evolved from

STFC stock performance

Dec ‘08

How have your social media efforts changed in the past three years?

work. If I’m watching TV at 9 p.m. and someone messages me, I can respond. I have a meeting with a prospect on Saturday morning, and we’ve only communicated via Facebook so far. Anytime you can communicate with a client and help them feel more at ease, it makes everything go smoother. You have to be a little more accessible and willing to communicate at all hours, but it does make it easier.

Jun ‘08

he measures success and what he thinks will come next.

Mar ‘08

If your agency could embrace a new process to increase new business by 27 percent, would you do it? What if that process was social media? When we last spoke with Steven Shelton about social media in the Autumn 2010 issue of SA Today, his agency was enthusiastically embracing the opportunity to use Facebook and Twitter to establish a professional presence. In Steven Shelton 2013, Cleveland Insurance is up 17 percent for the year, and an amazing 27 percent of their new business comes “straight from social media.” “People tell me I’m crazy, but we track this,” said Shelton, who started his career at his family’s agency in 2000 and started the Omega One Insurance Group eight years later (Cleveland Insurance is operated by Omega One, in Cleveland, Tenn.) Shelton is also a 2001 graduate of State Auto’s PaceSetter program. “We do no advertising whatsoever. No Yellow Pages, no billboard, no radio, and no TV, and we’re up 17 percent this year. It’s basically social media and word of mouth,” he added. We followed up with Shelton to find out how social media has changed for his agency in the past three years, how

Project CAP (Consumer Agent Portal) and the IIABA have launched a new consumer portal at TrustedChoice.com that will provide consumers quotes on auto and home insurance and match them with an independent agent. As a Trusted Choice company and investor carrier in Project CAP, State Auto would like to invite our agency partners who are members of Trusted Choice to learn more about this opportunity to expand your share of the personal lines market. Participating in Project CAP means you’ll have a profile on the new TrustedChoice.com and have the opportunity to receive prospects from consumers shopping online for insurance. Once you sign up, your prospects will receive a quote along with a listing that includes your agency profile to contact you. Please note that only select states are currently live for real-time rating on the new TrustedChoice.com. In these states, State Auto quotes are available for personal lines auto. Contact Project CAP for an up-to-date list of states with real-time rating. To sign up and create your profile today, visit ProjectCAPMarketing. com, where you can also access digital marketing services available to you through Project CAP. For questions, please contact 855.372.0070 or info@projectcapmarketing.com. You may also contact your personal lines sales representative for more information about how to sign up.

The board of directors of State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC) declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share, payable Sept. 30, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 11, 2013. This is the 89th consecutive quarterly cash dividend declared by the company’s board since STFC had its initial public offering of common stock in 1991.

Dec ‘07

Katie.Peet@StateAuto.com

Update

Sep ‘07

by Katie Peet Social Media Director

STFC declares quarterly dividend

Jun ‘07

How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

COMPANY NEWS

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 9


COMPANY news

Business Insurance Update In the Autumn 2012 edition of SA Today, Director of Business Insurance Charlie McShane discussed State Auto’s goals and initiatives in business insurance and how we want to be our agencies’ company of choice in this important line of business for years to come. A year later, we’d like to revisit those initiatives and provide a status report. Initiative

2012 status

1) Implementation of Business Insurance Evolution (BIE), our

Piloting in Alabama and Mississippi; will make changes as required, and then implement to all states within next 18 months

2) Organizational changes/ operating groups being developed

Four groups, including product development; product support (includes actuarial and product implementation); underwriting services for mainline accounts; integration of Middle Market Insurance group which was the former SAMMI large account team underwriting larger accounts

straight-through processing system for accounts under $5,000 in premium;

New product management leader Angela Taylor has been named vice

president of standard lines product management. She has been with State Auto since 2009, serving as regional financial officer in the Eastern Region, and most recently as assistant vice president of countrywide actuarial product management. Prior to joining State Auto, Taylor served as vice president and chief underwriting officer at Zurich North America and chief actuary at Fidelity and Deposit Insurance Company. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Taylor is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS) and member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).

Half-Day Hanoi City Tour

No city in Vietnam reflects the rich culture and turbulent past of the country better than Hanoi. The tour will start in the “Old Quarter,” home to Chinese and Vietnamese shops for centuries, with streets named after the goods traded there such as Silk Street, Gold Street, and even Fried Fish Street! Super Achievers will also visit the ancient Temple of Literature, which was the first University in Vietnam and is now a tribute to the distant past. You’ll also experience the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a tribute to the man who freed the Vietnamese people from the French. Finally, to gain an insight into Vietnam’s turbulent past, a stop will be made at the Hoa Lo prison, known by its American inmates as the “Hanoi Hilton” during the war years of the 1960s and early 1970s. While much of it has been torn down to make way for a modern office development, a section of it remains open for visitors. Half-Day Cooking Class with Lunch

As Vietnamese cuisine has become more popular in the U.S., what better place than Hanoi to learn more about it? This cooking class will teach you about some of the most popular Vietnamese dishes in a matter of hours. You will be able to recognize the basic ingredients used in Vietnamese food and blend the ingredients and spices together to create some delicious dishes. Apart from the preparation and cooking, under the chef ’s guidance, you will be introduced to the traditional Vietnamese kitchen with cooking utensils still closely linked to the Vietnamese way of life. Half-Day Countryside Bicycle Tour

3) Implementing Practice Group approach; i.e., identifying a group

of underwriting, risk control and claim associates to provide expertise in new lines of business

4) Develop better “speed to market”

with new products

5) Key players committed to Business Insurance

Considering implementing approach within the health care field; exploring other areas, including light manufacturing, alternative energy, and so on. Forming team of in-house and outsourced technology systems to enhance and accelerate product introductions Developing team

6) Urgent policy enhancements

10 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Hanoi

Agency partners had asked for option to remove Insurance-to-Value (ITV) provision and provide multi-location blanket coverage in businessowner’s policy.

State Auto Super Achievers who choose this activity will get the rare chance to experience the Vietnamese countryside by bicycle. You’ll travel southwest of Hanoi to the Thay Phuong Pagoda, the very heart of rural Vietnam, for a special insight into the everyday life of a local village community. Nestled among seemingly endless rice fields, our bicycle ride allows the visitor to experience firsthand the very backbone of Vietnam’s rural culture. This unique glimpse into the rural lives of the villagers is a sight that very few other visitors get to see. Vietnamese Art and Shopping Tour

This tour begins with a visit to a local art gallery to get an insight into the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Vietnam. This visit will help you understand the materials and processes used to create both modern and traditional Vietnamese art. After the tour of the art gallery, Super Achievers will travel to the densely populated corner of the city known as 36 Streets District. Your expert guides will escort you on a shopping spree in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Explore the many intriguing shops where you will find beautiful fabrics, embroidery, silks, fine art, porcelain, lacquer ware and many other unique items. Don’t miss out on this chance to experience the fascinating cities of Hanoi and Beijing with State Auto. There’s still plenty of time to qualify for Pearls of the Orient! SA TODAY Autumm  2013 19


“These are just some of the business insurance successes we’ve had so far,” McShane said. “We want our agencies to know we’re committed to business insurance in a big way, and, as always welcome their input. As I said last year, we have all the ingredients and players in place, and look forward to becoming our agencies’ company of choice for business insurance.” Current status Pilots have been successful; will be rolled out to remaining states, region by region, by year-end 2013. Central Region rollout began in August.

The National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest,” built for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Pearls of the Orient (continued from page 17)

fascinating display of Chinese history in what is probably the best-preserved site of Classical Chinese architecture. Tour of the Temple of Heaven with Tai Chi lesson

The Temple of Heaven itself consists of a sequence of temples and altars set in a beautifully landscaped park. In Imperial China, twice a year, the emperor and a magnificent procession of some 1,000 eunuchs, courtiers, and ministers would leave the Forbidden City for the temple where the emperor would entreat the gods to bless the coming harvest. The dominant feature of the complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which amazingly, was constructed without using a single nail or any cement; the walls and ceiling are supported by four huge timber pillars and a system of intricate timber brackets. Many local Chinese gather regularly at the Temple of Heaven to practice Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art best known for its slow graceful movements and health benefits. Many different forms of Tai Chi exist, however, including fast paced forms, weapons forms and forms practiced as a group. It is considered an internal martial art, 18 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

meaning it emphasizes the spiritual and mental aspects of martial arts rather than physiological aspects. During their visit to the Temple of Heaven, State Auto Super Achievers will get the chance to experience a short Tai Chi lesson first hand. Half-day Summer Palace tour, visit to the Olympic site

The Summer Palace, one of the finest landmarks in Beijing, has long been a royal garden and was enlarged by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century, then later abandoned. Empress Dowager Cixi began rebuilding the area in 1888 using money that was supposedly reserved for the construction of a modern navy. Three quarters of the area is occupied by the lovely Kunming Lake. State Auto Super Achievers will enjoy a boat ride on the lake, before walking the Long Corridor. This 728-metre corridor is decorated with 8,000 paintings including many from the emperor’s travels around the country. As cameras were not available, the emperor would have artists paint the scenes that caught his eye. The National Stadium is one of Beijing’s most iconic modern buildings. Affectionately nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” due to the seemingly random, nestlike steel structure that forms its outer shell, the stadium has impeccable green

credentials, utilizing natural ventilation and geothermal heat/cooling exchange throughout the entire building, as well as a system which recycles and reuses all onsite water. The stadium can hold up to 80,000 spectators and post-Olympics has been used as a snow theme park, a concert venue, hosted international football matches and will be the venue for the 2015 World Athletics Championships. Hutong Rickshaw Tour with Family Visit and Tea Ceremony

An essential highlight of Beijing is a tour of the hutong area on a cycle rickshaw. The hutongs, mostly built during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, are the narrow network of lanes created by closely built homes. These traditional courtyard houses are hidden away behind high walls and are not visible from the street. The only clues to their presence are the wooden gates that often have ornate carved characters intended to bring good fortune to the house owner and his trade. The size and style of gate denotes the owner’s wealth and social rank. After a 20-minute rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys, Super Achievers will get the chance to visit a local home and meet a typical family, which will provide a fascinating insight into Chinese life.

We now view business in three distinct solution segments: Small Business Solutions (SBS) - accounts up to $25,000, which lend themselves to predictive price modeling and straight through processing or lower touch to process (BIE); Middle Market Solution (MMS) - a segment of keen interest to our independent agents where we have lacked focus. Accounts between $25,000 and $100,000. Our new practice group solution team will be operated from this area (see no. 3 below); Large Account Solution (LAS) - our largest and most complex risks, generally over $100,000, with sales over $25 million or payroll in excess of $3 million. We offer customized solutions and risk control services to these risks. SBS is by far our largest segment in terms of volume and will continue to be a critical foundation base for our Business Insurance Division. Our greatest growth effort will be to move us to more meaningful volume in MMS and LAS. Each segment is unique and calls for improved efficiencies and reduced expense to handle in order to ensure sustainable combined ratios under 100%. Implemented practice group approach with food industry. Healthcare is still an area of interest, but one with greater complexity requiring more time to build and introduce; more to follow.

Introduced Data Compromise Plus (DC+), new data breach solution, in March 2013. Product has been major success, with 4,000 coverage attachments written through July; more than 1,000 coverage attachments in July alone. Our writings have increased each month since DC+ roll-out. New EPLI product on the horizon.

2012 Top Surety Bond Agencies by Written Premium This list was compiled by our bond department to reflect our top-producing surety bond agencies in 2012.   1. Bayside Surety Brokerage Inc., Mobile, Ala.

  2. Hotchkiss Insurance Agency LLC, Carrollton, Texas   3. Johnson & Bryan Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

  4. Valley Insurance Providers, San Juan, Texas   5. Seubert Associates Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.

  6. Bond Brokers Inc., Chicago, Ill.   7. Murray Securus, Lancaster, Pa.

  8. Southwest Assurance Group Inc., Lantana, Texas   9. BB&T Insurance Services Inc., Macon, Ga. 10. Columbian Agency, New Lenox, Ill.

Congratulations to these top-producing surety bond agencies!

Small Business Solutions (SBS) is now led by Mary Ellen O’Connell, formerly a business insurance team leader in the Eastern Region; Middle Market Solutions (MMS) is led by Kim Miller who joined State Auto in 2010 from Utica National with prior experience at Liberty Mutual; LAS is led by Bob Cohen, a veteran insurance executive with large account experience who joined us in 2012 from Hanover Insurance. Both options now provided!

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 11


State Auto is a Real Time and Download interface advocate

State Auto Real Time Integrations

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This table illustrates, state by state, which vendor systems we're currently working with and in what states. We're in a rollout phase for additional states with each of these products. The table reflects our deployment as of August 2013. State Auto downloads personal lines (private passenger auto, homeowners, dwelling fire and nonstandard auto) with all agency management systems. We download BAP (commercial auto) with the agency management systems that are capable of commercial download.

Agents can upload new business and endorsements for private passenger auto in all states; and homeowners in all states, except Florida and Virgina. WebLink (Inquiry) is available in all states, and all lines of business (personal and commercial lines) for Partner , TransactNOW® and Transformation StationTM. For additional information, or assistance, please call 800444-9950, then select Option 2 for Customer Service. TM

One of the most unique aspects of the Pearls of the Orient agent incentive is that Super Achievers get to select their own first destination, either Beijing, China or Hanoi, Vietnam. Both cities offer beautiful hotels, fascinating activities and exceptional evening events. Super Achievers will spend four nights in their choice destination before joining together with other Super Achievers in Hong Kong. Below is a sampling of the activities that will be offered in each city to help make your decision a little easier.

Beijing Beijing Classics Tour

Tiananmen Square Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. On the north side of the square is the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which leads to the Forbidden City. It was from the balcony of the Tiananmen gate, on Oct. 1, 1949, that Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China. From a huge portrait on the south side of the gate, Mao gazes onto Tiananmen Square. Outside of China, Tiananmen Square is best known for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, which resulted in military suppression and the deaths of multiple protesters. The Forbidden City Commissioned by Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty, the Forbidden City was completed in 1420 and was home to 24 emperors until the last Qing emperor, Puyi, left in 1924. The entire imperial complex is reputed to have 9,999 rooms, which at its peak, housed up to 10,000 people, including the imperial family, all contained within 170 acres. Today, the gates of the Forbidden City lead to a (continued on next page)

12 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 17


by Erica Roof Personal Insurance Product Specialist II

PERSONAL INSURANCE UPDATE

Erica.Roof@StateAuto.com

Beijing or Hanoi— Which to choose?

New identity theft services

Coverage highlight—

 in 4 1PEOPLE NOTIFIED OF A

DATA BREACH

in 2012 became a victim Of

identity fraud Statistic from 2013 Javelin Strategy & Research

Have you heard the news? New services are now available to your customers under State Auto’s Identity Theft Protection Program. Included for all home, renter, and condo policyholders, these new digital services have been designed to meet the emerging risks your customers face every day. • Social Media Compromise Assist – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest…the list of social media outlets is extensive. This service helps your customers manage their reputations on social networks. • Breach Assist – According to Javelin Strategy & Research, one in four people notified of a data breach in 2012 became a victim of identity fraud. This service helps customers when they’ve been notified that their data has been compromised.

• Email Compromise Assist

– most people have at least one email address, and many of us have multiple ones. This helps your customers detect and recover from email hacking and manage online communication privacy. • Phish Assist – Phishing involves tricking someone into providing personal information by sending a fraudulent email that appears to be from a trusted source. The email asks for verification of personal information with the goal of stealing it. Phish Assist aids in avoiding phishing scams with detection and recovery support for personal data, online usernames, passwords and credit card data. Learn more about the services provided to your customers by visiting the identity theft page on AgentSite.

Tips on winter weather Colder weather will soon be upon us. If you’re looking for ways to touch base with your personal lines customers in the coming season, why not share some tips on keeping homes safe and dry? Simply order Reducing Winter Weather Risk (MK-950) from the Marketing Portal online. With information from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), this brochure explains how ice dams and freezing pipes can damage a home, and offers tips to reduce risk. You can also download a PDF to share on your agency’s website or email to customers. 16 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Locksmith services and key replacement

Imagine getting to your vehicle and realizing your keys are lost, or worse, they’ve been stolen. Not only is it a nuisance to your day, it’s also a hit to your pocketbook. And if you have electronic keys, the cost may be even higher. Give your customers peace of mind by providing coverage for locksmith services and key replacement through State Auto. Up to $250 in coverage is available under State Auto’s Prime of Life® Auto and AutoXtended® Coverages for locksmith services and to replace keys if lost or stolen. Prime of Life Coverage is automatic for policyholders age 45 and above who place both their auto and home insurance in an eligible State Auto program. AutoXtended coverage can be purchased by non-Prime of Life policyholders. In both cases, no deductible applies. Prime of Life Coverage and AutoXtended Coverage are not available in North Carolina. These articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not an insurance policy. Coverages described are subject to definitions, limitations, and conditions. Please read the policy forms and endorsements for details. Eligibility, coverages, discounts, and benefits may vary by state.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 13


Riviera Re n d e z v o u s

Scenery 1st Place photographer:

Jack Wilson of

Gaylon Wilson Insurance Agency Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.

Photo contest winners Here are the winning photos from our agents and friends who accompanied us on our Riviera Rendezvous trip to the French and Italian Rivera earlier this year. Thanks to all contributors for sharing their photos with us—it was a difficult choice, but here are the winners, and honorable mentions, in the three categories (Scenery, People, Event). 1st Place

1st Place

Honorable mention photographer:

Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Brad Smith of

1st Place Tour of Pompeii, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Todd Budnik of

The Lesser Agency, Lincolnwood, Ill. Honorable mention photographer: Ralph Loesing of

Thompson-Boerger Insurance Inc., Park Hills, Ky.

Event

1st Place photographer:

People

People

Scenery

Gateway-Potter & Associates LLC, Florence, Ky.

Isle of Capri

Tour of Portofino, Italy

Event 1st Place photographer:

Larry Rabinovitz of

North American Underwriters, Farmington, Conn. Honorable mention photographer: Sandy Henry of

Alan Henry Insurance, Lubbock, Texas

14 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Ralph Loesing’s birthday celebration on board the Oceania Nautica

Honorable mention

Honorable mention

Honorable mention

(continued on next page) SA TODAY Autumm  2013 15


Riviera Re n d e z v o u s

Scenery 1st Place photographer:

Jack Wilson of

Gaylon Wilson Insurance Agency Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.

Photo contest winners Here are the winning photos from our agents and friends who accompanied us on our Riviera Rendezvous trip to the French and Italian Rivera earlier this year. Thanks to all contributors for sharing their photos with us—it was a difficult choice, but here are the winners, and honorable mentions, in the three categories (Scenery, People, Event). 1st Place

1st Place

Honorable mention photographer:

Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Brad Smith of

1st Place Tour of Pompeii, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Todd Budnik of

The Lesser Agency, Lincolnwood, Ill. Honorable mention photographer: Ralph Loesing of

Thompson-Boerger Insurance Inc., Park Hills, Ky.

Event

1st Place photographer:

People

People

Scenery

Gateway-Potter & Associates LLC, Florence, Ky.

Isle of Capri

Tour of Portofino, Italy

Event 1st Place photographer:

Larry Rabinovitz of

North American Underwriters, Farmington, Conn. Honorable mention photographer: Sandy Henry of

Alan Henry Insurance, Lubbock, Texas

14 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Ralph Loesing’s birthday celebration on board the Oceania Nautica

Honorable mention

Honorable mention

Honorable mention

(continued on next page) SA TODAY Autumm  2013 15


by Erica Roof Personal Insurance Product Specialist II

PERSONAL INSURANCE UPDATE

Erica.Roof@StateAuto.com

Beijing or Hanoi— Which to choose?

New identity theft services

Coverage highlight—

 in 4 1PEOPLE NOTIFIED OF A

DATA BREACH

in 2012 became a victim Of

identity fraud Statistic from 2013 Javelin Strategy & Research

Have you heard the news? New services are now available to your customers under State Auto’s Identity Theft Protection Program. Included for all home, renter, and condo policyholders, these new digital services have been designed to meet the emerging risks your customers face every day. • Social Media Compromise Assist – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest…the list of social media outlets is extensive. This service helps your customers manage their reputations on social networks. • Breach Assist – According to Javelin Strategy & Research, one in four people notified of a data breach in 2012 became a victim of identity fraud. This service helps customers when they’ve been notified that their data has been compromised.

• Email Compromise Assist

– most people have at least one email address, and many of us have multiple ones. This helps your customers detect and recover from email hacking and manage online communication privacy. • Phish Assist – Phishing involves tricking someone into providing personal information by sending a fraudulent email that appears to be from a trusted source. The email asks for verification of personal information with the goal of stealing it. Phish Assist aids in avoiding phishing scams with detection and recovery support for personal data, online usernames, passwords and credit card data. Learn more about the services provided to your customers by visiting the identity theft page on AgentSite.

Tips on winter weather Colder weather will soon be upon us. If you’re looking for ways to touch base with your personal lines customers in the coming season, why not share some tips on keeping homes safe and dry? Simply order Reducing Winter Weather Risk (MK-950) from the Marketing Portal online. With information from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), this brochure explains how ice dams and freezing pipes can damage a home, and offers tips to reduce risk. You can also download a PDF to share on your agency’s website or email to customers. 16 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Locksmith services and key replacement

Imagine getting to your vehicle and realizing your keys are lost, or worse, they’ve been stolen. Not only is it a nuisance to your day, it’s also a hit to your pocketbook. And if you have electronic keys, the cost may be even higher. Give your customers peace of mind by providing coverage for locksmith services and key replacement through State Auto. Up to $250 in coverage is available under State Auto’s Prime of Life® Auto and AutoXtended® Coverages for locksmith services and to replace keys if lost or stolen. Prime of Life Coverage is automatic for policyholders age 45 and above who place both their auto and home insurance in an eligible State Auto program. AutoXtended coverage can be purchased by non-Prime of Life policyholders. In both cases, no deductible applies. Prime of Life Coverage and AutoXtended Coverage are not available in North Carolina. These articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not an insurance policy. Coverages described are subject to definitions, limitations, and conditions. Please read the policy forms and endorsements for details. Eligibility, coverages, discounts, and benefits may vary by state.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 13


State Auto is a Real Time and Download interface advocate

State Auto Real Time Integrations

B

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QuomationTM

Partner Uplink

PL RatingTM **

EZLynxTM **

IBQ Rater R

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S R S S S S S R R S R S R S S S S S S

Transformation Station TM

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R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R

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R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R

SEMCAT

Alabama Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut Georgia Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maryland Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin

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ACS Rater

Personal Lines Real Time Interface

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S

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B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B

B = Bridging S = Scripting/Quote Assistance Tool R = Real Time Rating (Direct XML Rating)

This table illustrates, state by state, which vendor systems we're currently working with and in what states. We're in a rollout phase for additional states with each of these products. The table reflects our deployment as of August 2013. State Auto downloads personal lines (private passenger auto, homeowners, dwelling fire and nonstandard auto) with all agency management systems. We download BAP (commercial auto) with the agency management systems that are capable of commercial download.

Agents can upload new business and endorsements for private passenger auto in all states; and homeowners in all states, except Florida and Virgina. WebLink (Inquiry) is available in all states, and all lines of business (personal and commercial lines) for Partner , TransactNOW® and Transformation StationTM. For additional information, or assistance, please call 800444-9950, then select Option 2 for Customer Service. TM

One of the most unique aspects of the Pearls of the Orient agent incentive is that Super Achievers get to select their own first destination, either Beijing, China or Hanoi, Vietnam. Both cities offer beautiful hotels, fascinating activities and exceptional evening events. Super Achievers will spend four nights in their choice destination before joining together with other Super Achievers in Hong Kong. Below is a sampling of the activities that will be offered in each city to help make your decision a little easier.

Beijing Beijing Classics Tour

Tiananmen Square Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. On the north side of the square is the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which leads to the Forbidden City. It was from the balcony of the Tiananmen gate, on Oct. 1, 1949, that Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China. From a huge portrait on the south side of the gate, Mao gazes onto Tiananmen Square. Outside of China, Tiananmen Square is best known for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, which resulted in military suppression and the deaths of multiple protesters. The Forbidden City Commissioned by Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty, the Forbidden City was completed in 1420 and was home to 24 emperors until the last Qing emperor, Puyi, left in 1924. The entire imperial complex is reputed to have 9,999 rooms, which at its peak, housed up to 10,000 people, including the imperial family, all contained within 170 acres. Today, the gates of the Forbidden City lead to a (continued on next page)

12 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 17


“These are just some of the business insurance successes we’ve had so far,” McShane said. “We want our agencies to know we’re committed to business insurance in a big way, and, as always welcome their input. As I said last year, we have all the ingredients and players in place, and look forward to becoming our agencies’ company of choice for business insurance.” Current status Pilots have been successful; will be rolled out to remaining states, region by region, by year-end 2013. Central Region rollout began in August.

The National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest,” built for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Pearls of the Orient (continued from page 17)

fascinating display of Chinese history in what is probably the best-preserved site of Classical Chinese architecture. Tour of the Temple of Heaven with Tai Chi lesson

The Temple of Heaven itself consists of a sequence of temples and altars set in a beautifully landscaped park. In Imperial China, twice a year, the emperor and a magnificent procession of some 1,000 eunuchs, courtiers, and ministers would leave the Forbidden City for the temple where the emperor would entreat the gods to bless the coming harvest. The dominant feature of the complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which amazingly, was constructed without using a single nail or any cement; the walls and ceiling are supported by four huge timber pillars and a system of intricate timber brackets. Many local Chinese gather regularly at the Temple of Heaven to practice Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art best known for its slow graceful movements and health benefits. Many different forms of Tai Chi exist, however, including fast paced forms, weapons forms and forms practiced as a group. It is considered an internal martial art, 18 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

meaning it emphasizes the spiritual and mental aspects of martial arts rather than physiological aspects. During their visit to the Temple of Heaven, State Auto Super Achievers will get the chance to experience a short Tai Chi lesson first hand. Half-day Summer Palace tour, visit to the Olympic site

The Summer Palace, one of the finest landmarks in Beijing, has long been a royal garden and was enlarged by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century, then later abandoned. Empress Dowager Cixi began rebuilding the area in 1888 using money that was supposedly reserved for the construction of a modern navy. Three quarters of the area is occupied by the lovely Kunming Lake. State Auto Super Achievers will enjoy a boat ride on the lake, before walking the Long Corridor. This 728-metre corridor is decorated with 8,000 paintings including many from the emperor’s travels around the country. As cameras were not available, the emperor would have artists paint the scenes that caught his eye. The National Stadium is one of Beijing’s most iconic modern buildings. Affectionately nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” due to the seemingly random, nestlike steel structure that forms its outer shell, the stadium has impeccable green

credentials, utilizing natural ventilation and geothermal heat/cooling exchange throughout the entire building, as well as a system which recycles and reuses all onsite water. The stadium can hold up to 80,000 spectators and post-Olympics has been used as a snow theme park, a concert venue, hosted international football matches and will be the venue for the 2015 World Athletics Championships. Hutong Rickshaw Tour with Family Visit and Tea Ceremony

An essential highlight of Beijing is a tour of the hutong area on a cycle rickshaw. The hutongs, mostly built during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, are the narrow network of lanes created by closely built homes. These traditional courtyard houses are hidden away behind high walls and are not visible from the street. The only clues to their presence are the wooden gates that often have ornate carved characters intended to bring good fortune to the house owner and his trade. The size and style of gate denotes the owner’s wealth and social rank. After a 20-minute rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys, Super Achievers will get the chance to visit a local home and meet a typical family, which will provide a fascinating insight into Chinese life.

We now view business in three distinct solution segments: Small Business Solutions (SBS) - accounts up to $25,000, which lend themselves to predictive price modeling and straight through processing or lower touch to process (BIE); Middle Market Solution (MMS) - a segment of keen interest to our independent agents where we have lacked focus. Accounts between $25,000 and $100,000. Our new practice group solution team will be operated from this area (see no. 3 below); Large Account Solution (LAS) - our largest and most complex risks, generally over $100,000, with sales over $25 million or payroll in excess of $3 million. We offer customized solutions and risk control services to these risks. SBS is by far our largest segment in terms of volume and will continue to be a critical foundation base for our Business Insurance Division. Our greatest growth effort will be to move us to more meaningful volume in MMS and LAS. Each segment is unique and calls for improved efficiencies and reduced expense to handle in order to ensure sustainable combined ratios under 100%. Implemented practice group approach with food industry. Healthcare is still an area of interest, but one with greater complexity requiring more time to build and introduce; more to follow.

Introduced Data Compromise Plus (DC+), new data breach solution, in March 2013. Product has been major success, with 4,000 coverage attachments written through July; more than 1,000 coverage attachments in July alone. Our writings have increased each month since DC+ roll-out. New EPLI product on the horizon.

2012 Top Surety Bond Agencies by Written Premium This list was compiled by our bond department to reflect our top-producing surety bond agencies in 2012.   1. Bayside Surety Brokerage Inc., Mobile, Ala.

  2. Hotchkiss Insurance Agency LLC, Carrollton, Texas   3. Johnson & Bryan Inc., Atlanta, Ga.

  4. Valley Insurance Providers, San Juan, Texas   5. Seubert Associates Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.

  6. Bond Brokers Inc., Chicago, Ill.   7. Murray Securus, Lancaster, Pa.

  8. Southwest Assurance Group Inc., Lantana, Texas   9. BB&T Insurance Services Inc., Macon, Ga. 10. Columbian Agency, New Lenox, Ill.

Congratulations to these top-producing surety bond agencies!

Small Business Solutions (SBS) is now led by Mary Ellen O’Connell, formerly a business insurance team leader in the Eastern Region; Middle Market Solutions (MMS) is led by Kim Miller who joined State Auto in 2010 from Utica National with prior experience at Liberty Mutual; LAS is led by Bob Cohen, a veteran insurance executive with large account experience who joined us in 2012 from Hanover Insurance. Both options now provided!

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 11


COMPANY news

Business Insurance Update In the Autumn 2012 edition of SA Today, Director of Business Insurance Charlie McShane discussed State Auto’s goals and initiatives in business insurance and how we want to be our agencies’ company of choice in this important line of business for years to come. A year later, we’d like to revisit those initiatives and provide a status report. Initiative

2012 status

1) Implementation of Business Insurance Evolution (BIE), our

Piloting in Alabama and Mississippi; will make changes as required, and then implement to all states within next 18 months

2) Organizational changes/ operating groups being developed

Four groups, including product development; product support (includes actuarial and product implementation); underwriting services for mainline accounts; integration of Middle Market Insurance group which was the former SAMMI large account team underwriting larger accounts

straight-through processing system for accounts under $5,000 in premium;

New product management leader Angela Taylor has been named vice

president of standard lines product management. She has been with State Auto since 2009, serving as regional financial officer in the Eastern Region, and most recently as assistant vice president of countrywide actuarial product management. Prior to joining State Auto, Taylor served as vice president and chief underwriting officer at Zurich North America and chief actuary at Fidelity and Deposit Insurance Company. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Taylor is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS) and member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).

Half-Day Hanoi City Tour

No city in Vietnam reflects the rich culture and turbulent past of the country better than Hanoi. The tour will start in the “Old Quarter,” home to Chinese and Vietnamese shops for centuries, with streets named after the goods traded there such as Silk Street, Gold Street, and even Fried Fish Street! Super Achievers will also visit the ancient Temple of Literature, which was the first University in Vietnam and is now a tribute to the distant past. You’ll also experience the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a tribute to the man who freed the Vietnamese people from the French. Finally, to gain an insight into Vietnam’s turbulent past, a stop will be made at the Hoa Lo prison, known by its American inmates as the “Hanoi Hilton” during the war years of the 1960s and early 1970s. While much of it has been torn down to make way for a modern office development, a section of it remains open for visitors. Half-Day Cooking Class with Lunch

As Vietnamese cuisine has become more popular in the U.S., what better place than Hanoi to learn more about it? This cooking class will teach you about some of the most popular Vietnamese dishes in a matter of hours. You will be able to recognize the basic ingredients used in Vietnamese food and blend the ingredients and spices together to create some delicious dishes. Apart from the preparation and cooking, under the chef ’s guidance, you will be introduced to the traditional Vietnamese kitchen with cooking utensils still closely linked to the Vietnamese way of life. Half-Day Countryside Bicycle Tour

3) Implementing Practice Group approach; i.e., identifying a group

of underwriting, risk control and claim associates to provide expertise in new lines of business

4) Develop better “speed to market”

with new products

5) Key players committed to Business Insurance

Considering implementing approach within the health care field; exploring other areas, including light manufacturing, alternative energy, and so on. Forming team of in-house and outsourced technology systems to enhance and accelerate product introductions Developing team

6) Urgent policy enhancements

10 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Hanoi

Agency partners had asked for option to remove Insurance-to-Value (ITV) provision and provide multi-location blanket coverage in businessowner’s policy.

State Auto Super Achievers who choose this activity will get the rare chance to experience the Vietnamese countryside by bicycle. You’ll travel southwest of Hanoi to the Thay Phuong Pagoda, the very heart of rural Vietnam, for a special insight into the everyday life of a local village community. Nestled among seemingly endless rice fields, our bicycle ride allows the visitor to experience firsthand the very backbone of Vietnam’s rural culture. This unique glimpse into the rural lives of the villagers is a sight that very few other visitors get to see. Vietnamese Art and Shopping Tour

This tour begins with a visit to a local art gallery to get an insight into the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Vietnam. This visit will help you understand the materials and processes used to create both modern and traditional Vietnamese art. After the tour of the art gallery, Super Achievers will travel to the densely populated corner of the city known as 36 Streets District. Your expert guides will escort you on a shopping spree in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Explore the many intriguing shops where you will find beautiful fabrics, embroidery, silks, fine art, porcelain, lacquer ware and many other unique items. Don’t miss out on this chance to experience the fascinating cities of Hanoi and Beijing with State Auto. There’s still plenty of time to qualify for Pearls of the Orient! SA TODAY Autumm  2013 19


Crazy About Social Media

20 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

25 25 – 20 20 – 15 15 – 10 10 –

Apr ‘13

Aug ‘13

Dec ‘12

Aug ‘12

Apr ‘12

Jun ‘11

Dec ‘11

Mar ‘11

Dec ‘10

Jun ‘10

Sep ‘10

0  0

Mar ‘10

5  5 –

Dec ‘09

Absolutely. As of 2013, 27 percent of all our new business begins with social media. I might have 200 messages in my personal Facebook inbox, and 180 of them have to do with insurance. As mentioned, our Cleveland (Tennessee) location is up 17 percent overall for the year and 27 percent “Anytime you can communicate with a of that is straight from social media. client and help them feel more at ease, Actually, it’s more it makes everything go smoother.” affordable to do business via social media. It’s letter, thanking me for giving the upmuch easier because I always have my dates during the storm. They said it was iPhone with me, and I can answer mesthe only source of information they had. sages directed at me on Twitter during People were sitting in their closets, and lunch or while watching TV at night. under the steps of their house because It’s improved our communication with they didn’t have a basement, watching our clients because they work when we

$30 –

30

Jun ‘09

In April 2011, our county was struck by eight tornadoes. During that time, I was sitting in my basement tweeting updates from different media sites about the weather and where funnel clouds were being spotted in different parts of the county. Over the next few weeks, I heard from people who saw me all over town, who emailed, tweeted me or sent me a

35

Sep ‘09

Is social media effective?

What has been your biggest discovery using social media?

The performance of State Auto Financial Corporation (STFC) stock, from June 30, 2007, through Aug. 15, 2013, is pictured below. The number of agents enrolled in the Agents’ Stock Purchase Plan (ASPP) as of Aug. 15, 2013, is 514. If you’d like more information or would like to enroll in the plan, please contact Agency Services Manager David DeLong at 614-917-5198.

Mar ‘09

just a form of advertising to a form of communication. A few years ago, we were using it just for advertising purposes. Now, it’s a way to communicate with our clients by providing them information. We do everything from local traffic to weather updates. It’s become more of a source of information that leads to sales and account rounding, and it provides clients with additional service.

June 30, 2007 - August 15, 2013

Sep ‘08

Steven Shelton: We’ve evolved from

STFC stock performance

Dec ‘08

How have your social media efforts changed in the past three years?

work. If I’m watching TV at 9 p.m. and someone messages me, I can respond. I have a meeting with a prospect on Saturday morning, and we’ve only communicated via Facebook so far. Anytime you can communicate with a client and help them feel more at ease, it makes everything go smoother. You have to be a little more accessible and willing to communicate at all hours, but it does make it easier.

Jun ‘08

he measures success and what he thinks will come next.

Mar ‘08

If your agency could embrace a new process to increase new business by 27 percent, would you do it? What if that process was social media? When we last spoke with Steven Shelton about social media in the Autumn 2010 issue of SA Today, his agency was enthusiastically embracing the opportunity to use Facebook and Twitter to establish a professional presence. In Steven Shelton 2013, Cleveland Insurance is up 17 percent for the year, and an amazing 27 percent of their new business comes “straight from social media.” “People tell me I’m crazy, but we track this,” said Shelton, who started his career at his family’s agency in 2000 and started the Omega One Insurance Group eight years later (Cleveland Insurance is operated by Omega One, in Cleveland, Tenn.) Shelton is also a 2001 graduate of State Auto’s PaceSetter program. “We do no advertising whatsoever. No Yellow Pages, no billboard, no radio, and no TV, and we’re up 17 percent this year. It’s basically social media and word of mouth,” he added. We followed up with Shelton to find out how social media has changed for his agency in the past three years, how

Project CAP (Consumer Agent Portal) and the IIABA have launched a new consumer portal at TrustedChoice.com that will provide consumers quotes on auto and home insurance and match them with an independent agent. As a Trusted Choice company and investor carrier in Project CAP, State Auto would like to invite our agency partners who are members of Trusted Choice to learn more about this opportunity to expand your share of the personal lines market. Participating in Project CAP means you’ll have a profile on the new TrustedChoice.com and have the opportunity to receive prospects from consumers shopping online for insurance. Once you sign up, your prospects will receive a quote along with a listing that includes your agency profile to contact you. Please note that only select states are currently live for real-time rating on the new TrustedChoice.com. In these states, State Auto quotes are available for personal lines auto. Contact Project CAP for an up-to-date list of states with real-time rating. To sign up and create your profile today, visit ProjectCAPMarketing. com, where you can also access digital marketing services available to you through Project CAP. For questions, please contact 855.372.0070 or info@projectcapmarketing.com. You may also contact your personal lines sales representative for more information about how to sign up.

The board of directors of State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC) declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share, payable Sept. 30, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 11, 2013. This is the 89th consecutive quarterly cash dividend declared by the company’s board since STFC had its initial public offering of common stock in 1991.

Dec ‘07

Katie.Peet@StateAuto.com

Update

Sep ‘07

by Katie Peet Social Media Director

STFC declares quarterly dividend

Jun ‘07

How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

COMPANY NEWS

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 9


Agency news social media. We have a spreadsheet tacts one of our agents via their perthat tracks where the initial contact sonal Facebook page, we will reply by came from. We don’t use traditional their personal page. If they contact us media, so our through the Clevetracking is pretty land Insurance “People want to buy, they simple. It’s either Facebook page, we don’t want to be sold.” word of mouth or respond there. social media. If the Cleveland Insurance Facebook page posts something that I want to share, I’ll share it You mentioned you get leads on my personal Facebook page as well. through social media. Can you The agency Facebook pages are more share a success story? insurance-focused, and my personal About six weeks ago, I put a tweet page is more of a mix. I post a lot of out about why age 35 is the best age different leadership quotes, and I only to buy life insurance, and I gave some do one insurance tweet or Facebook examples of why. I sent out two difpost a day. I don’t want to be overbearferent tweets that had some quick ing. We mostly put traffic, weather, and facts with the hashtag “#thinkaboutit.” insurance-related information on the Two hours after tweeting, I had two agency page. different people direct message me. I wrote two policies, one for $1 million What social media What have you tried that and one for $500,000. Commission for tactics work the best? didn’t work? the year on those policies was close to Facebook will show you $500. I call it the $500 tweet. We tried for a few months to push how many views you have people to our site to get a quote, on your company page. The and to be honest, we got one quote “The agency Facebook pages are biggest thing we see is that in about 90 days of pushing. That more insurance focused, and my with anything having to do with confirmed my thought that people personal page is more of a mix.” insurance, about a third of our fans want to buy, they don’t want to be respond. When we put something out sold. We had gone back to a direct about weather or traffic, it gets shared, marketing deal of interrupting people’s What will you try next? and it’s viewed by three or four times days, and that’s not what they want. They I think the future of insurance is going the number of people who have even want to buy, and we give them reasons to go more toward Google Hangout, “liked” our page. We found that some to buy by giving them information and Facetime, and Skype. I think your people crave informamaking them feel that face–to–face interactions online are tion, and we believe we’re the most profes“We let the client the next big change in the industry. that providing inforsional and organized, determine how they mation with this tool simply the best, Connect with Steven on Twitter @ is what’s really driving agency in their area. communicate with us.” StevenShelton or Facebook at Facebook. all the new business. We do this not by com/stevenrshelton. trying to get them to buy, but allowing Check out the agency’s social media How do you balance commuthem to buy. presence at Twitter.com/ClevelandIns nicating with clients through and Facebook.com/clevelandinsurance. various social media channels? How are you tracking social State Auto offers social content you media efforts? We have a rule: We let them determine can use to communicate with customhow they communicate with us. If you When people call us, we ask them in ers and prospects. Visit AgentSite for call by phone, we reply by phone. If the quote form, “How did you hear more social media resources, including you email, we respond by email. If you about us?” This is asked if they get a the Social Agent blog. Under Popular contact us by social media, we contact quote online. They may have the first Links, choose Marketing Tools, then you by social media. If someone conpart of communication with us through Social Agent. everything I was tweeting. This was an “aha” moment. It didn’t cost me anything but time, and I’ve captured this guy’s business for the rest of my life. For me, social media became much more than just a form of communication. It began to have a very important role in our agency. That’s when it became less of a form of advertising and more for communication.

Where in the world have you read SA Today? This happy group met on State Auto’s Riviera Rendezvous cruise of the French and Italian Riviera earlier this year, and became such great friends, that they traveled together to South Padre Island, Texas, after the cruise. Enjoying their time together—while reading an amusing tome from Chief Sales Officer Clyde Fitch in SA Today—are, from left, Nina and Phil Young from Valley Insurance Providers, San Juan, Texas, Ralph and Cathy Loesing from ThompsonBoerger Insurance Inc., in Park Hills, Ky., and Natalie and Blake Sales from Independent Insurance Center in Brownsville, Texas. Thanks for sharing your happy times with us! Please share your special hobbies, travels or significant events with SA 8 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Today! If you have a photo of yourself with SA Today in a unique location, please send it and we’ll run it in an upcoming issue (all agency and company associates are welcome to participate). Photos will be returned at your request. Please send your photo and brief

description to: Debbie Conkel, Editor SA TODAY State Auto Insurance Companies 518 E. Broad St. (or email high resolution digital images to Debbie.Conkel@StateAuto.com)

In Memoriam Our sympathies are extended to the family and friends of Mark Ballestrini, 54, who died on July 19. Vice president of Byrnes Agency Inc., in Dayville, Conn., one of State Auto’s Inner Circle agencies, he was licensed with State Auto in 2008.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 21


Healthcare

Reform What it means to you The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. What were some of the first changes enacted as a result?

Beginning in 2011, State Auto expanded our health plan to include coverage for associate dependents up to age 26, and additional wellness and prevention care. We also eliminated the lifetime coverage limits that were previously a common element of health plans. Many other companies implemented these changes as well. For 2012, we calculated a total value for health care for each individual associate and included this information on the 2012 W-2. This was a reporting requirement in preparation for later phases of ACA implementation. In 2013, we initiated a lower maximum on pre-tax flexible spending accounts. Previously, federal law permitted that up to $5,000 could be set aside by an associate to pay qualified medical-related expenses when they later occur. The cap was lowered to $2,500 this year. Along with that, high wage earners will experience an additional Medicare-related tax of 0.9% for individual income exceeding $200,000. How are you informing State Auto associates of these changes?

We’ve initiated a series of educational sessions for our associates, along with additional resources to help answer questions. The law is complex and in many ways isn’t clear and final. We feel fortunate that we can offer our associates a quality health plan that is sub22 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

sidized by State Auto, eliminating the need for our associates to secure coverage elsewhere. However, we also realize that our associates have friends and loved ones who need assistance as well, and that advertising for the marketplaces may be aggressive and confusing. We feel that proactively arming our associates with terminology and an understanding of the key requirements will go a long way in building an understanding of the new law and understanding the options for health care coverage for both themselves and their family members. Most of the major provisions of the law go into effect in 2014; could you recount what these major changes are, and what State Auto is doing to enact them?

The basics are as follows: Large companies (50+ employees) are required to “play or pay,” meaning they must provide qualified affordable healthcare or pay a penalty. This is the piece of the law that was recently delayed until 2015 because the reporting requirements will take systems’ preparation time and many companies aren’t yet ready. The “individual mandate” requires U.S. citizens to have minimum healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. Coverage can be purchased through an employer (if available), a public marketplace run by the state or federal government, or a private marketplace (which are just being introduced to the market and will be more viable in future years). The public marketplaces will vary by state

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short, became law in 2010. Designed to provide affordable health care for all U.S. citizens, the law has its supporters and detractors, and controversy surrounding it. It’s a complex law, and many may not be aware of all that it contains. We asked State Auto’s benefits experts Diane Dierna and Joe Rosswurm to explain the new law and what it means to our business, and yours.

and will be heavily advertised beginning Oct. 1, when the public marketplace open enrollment begins. Agencies may want to help their employees understand the requirement and what’s necessary in order to avoid the penalty. What are the costs/downsides, if any, to this new law?

Not many will disagree that health care costs are out of control, and the patient is not always at the center of health-based decisions. In addition, should you know a loved one who suffers from a major illness and is unable to purchase reasonably priced health insurance, you understand the appeal of this opportunity. There is an opposing view, as well, in that companies offering health plans will have heavier compliance requirements, additional fees, and potential fines, as well as a narrower choice of plan design options which may lead to higher plan costs for companies and their associates. The cost of marketplace healthcare options is basically unknown, and certainly the quality of service may or may not improve. Some health providers will be large companies with names we are familiar with, and others will be start ups. The coverage options and cost will vary by state, which will be confusing for a time. How might State Auto or our independent agency partners be affected by the new healthcare exchanges being created?

The public exchanges, now called marketplaces, are only a viable option

Also celebrating 35 years of service with State Auto is Lola Davidson, principal of Davidson Insurance Agency Inc., in Moose Lake, Minn. Pictured, from left, are CSR Breanna Carlson, Davidson and principal Yvonne Skelton. derwriter Vicki Rice, Karen Duncan, Elaine Young, Business Insurance Underwriter Ben Fox, Rita Stepka, Marty Myers, Regional President Kathy Durso, RVP-Business Insurance Dorothy Schreck, Rick Bersnak and Mark Perkins.

Congratulations to Joy Oudekirk of First American Insurance Services Inc., in Stewartville, Minn., who also celebrates 35 years of service to State Auto.

Congratulations, also, to Perry Pietig of First Security Agency of MN, Inc., in Sleepy Eye, Minn., who celebrates 35 years of service to State Auto.

Also celebrating 35 years of service is producer Ken Rosemark, at right, of C.O. Brown Agency in Rochester, Minn. He is pictured with former Personal Lines Sales Representative Donovan Weimar.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 7


Principles of Persuasion

Agency news

Service Awards 50-Year

35-Year Assistant Vice President Total Rewards Diana Dierna presented information to associates at the first healthcare reform meeting held at Corporate Headquarters last summer.

Congratulations to the Davis Garvin Agency in Columbus, S.C., which celebrates 50 years of service. Pictured, from left, are Personal Lines Sales Representative Becki Caesar, Personal Lines Sales Manager Phil Crumley, agency Operations Manager Lee Lane and Account Manager Ruth Ann Wright.

Also celebrating 35 years of service is Mike Keenan, president of The Keenan Agency Inc. in Dublin, Ohio. Keenan is seated in photo, along with Cindy DeLeon and Jill Keenan; standing from left, are Bob Hall, Linda Stine, Business Insurance Un-

Congratulations to Stoudt’s Insurance Agency in Watertown, S.D., which celebrates 50 years of service to State Auto. Pictured, from left, are agency president Preston Steele, producer Jim Waba and and Personal Lines Sales Representative Gloria Hanson.

As mentioned earlier, the law’s mandate that employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties has been delayed until 2015. Will this affect State Auto’s implementation of the law?

Not at all. State Auto already has a qualified health plan in place, and we’ll continue to offer health coverage to our associates. The delay has more to do with government reporting to prove that we have adequate coverage in place. For some companies, especially those with many part-time employees, the reporting and compliance requirements are heavy. The delay will provide much needed additional system preparation time.

Congratulations to John Badgley, president of Key Insurance Inc., in Mobridge, S.D., who recently celebrated 35 years of service to State Auto. Pictured with Badgley is Personal Lines Sales Representative Gloria Hanson.

6 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

if your employer doesn’t offer qualified affordable coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours. State Auto’s associates are eligible for qualified health care coverage, and the company contributes to the cost of the coverage to make it affordable. We’ll work to keep our plan sustainable and in compliance as we feel the benefit makes us a preferred employer. Private marketplaces are just coming onto the healthcare landscape and are currently unproven. We’ll continue to monitor the healthcare options offered by these groups of companies who work together to ensure their corporate members receive the desired level of service and coverage at a fair price.

What other provisions go in effect later down the road, and what do you think their impact will be?

In 2016, states may form “Health Care Choice Compacts” which will allow for the purchase of health insurance across

state lines, and will create additional options for individuals. In 2018, the “Cadillac Tax” will apply to high value company health care plans. Employers will look for ways to modify their plans and avoid triggering the steep 40% tax on high value plans to ensure their plans are sustainable for their employees. Can you say how the Affordable Care Act will affect our agencies, most of which are smaller businesses, with fewer associates?

It would be worth clarifying here that small employers, those under 50 as defined by the law—like a number of our independent agencies—will have some of the same requirements as large employers, but don’t have to meet all of the requirements imposed on large employers. There is currently no requirement to offer a plan or pay a fine for not offering a plan. Agencies with fewer than 50 employees can access information specific to them on websites provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The websites are listed below and include information about small business health care tax credits and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), along with other information that can help these businesses purchase health insurance for their employees more easily. http://stateau.to/14dw0Gu http://stateau.to/1524HOp

We hope this information has been helpful to our agency partners, and encourage you to search these websites, and related sites, for additional information on this important and farreaching legislation.

Expert Worship Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CMT, CMCT, is an expert on the Principles of Persuasion®, a workshop created by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., the recognized authority on the science of ethical influence and persuasion. Ahearn is one of only 20 individuals in the world who is certified to teach this workshop and State Auto is the only company in the insurance industry who offers this specialized training. In this series for SA Today, Ahearn shares with readers the six principles of persuasion and how mastering each will improve your sales successes. Plato, the famous Greek scholar and philosopher, told the world more than 2,300 years ago, “the wisest have the most authority.” We know there’s truth to his statement because decades of research by social psychologists verify it. In psychology, the principle of authority tells us people look to those with superior knowledge or expertise when making decisions. When people aren’t sure what to do, like many insurance customers, they rely even more heavily on the advice of recognized authorities. Let’s see why this is the case. If you consider yourself to be proficient in the area of tax law you might do your taxes yourself. However, if you recognize you don’t know much about tax law then you probably rely on an accountant—an expert—to do your taxes. The same could be said of medicine. If you started college as a pre-med major you might feel confident doing some self-diagnosis. If you’ve never cracked a medical book though, you probably call the doctor—an expert—when some(continued on next page) SA TODAY Autumm  2013 23


Meet the Customer Service Cultivating a positive experience for every customer contact is the goal of State Auto’s Customer Service Department, according to Assistant Vice President of Operations Amrin Singh who has overseen the department for the past three years. During that time, what had been separate payment services, agency help desk and claims call centers, have been consolidated into one Customer Service department. This was done to provide better service to all our customers and to make service operations more efficient. “Now when our customers call in to report a claim, call about a policy, billing or payment issue, or if it’s an agent with a technical problem, all the calls go to

our Customer Service call center, and are handled from there,” Singh explained. “It’s been a seamless transition for our customers, and has just been a better synergy of these efforts overall for us.” The transition has been managed by Customer Service Director Pam Holladay and her team of six supervisors: Kate Bloomer, Mike Bryan, Teresa Doone, Jason Roehrig, Debbie Segbers and Steve Weets. Their combined 200+ years of insurance experience has helped lead the team of 85 associates to become a successful customer-focused team.

Who do you call? Whether customers call the claims hotline number (800-766-1853),

agency help desk number (888999-8103), or the main State Auto number (800-444-9550), they are routed to the Customer Service department. If callers want to reach a specific individual and extension, they can follow the prompts to go directly to their party. All other callers are routed to Customer Service. From there, menu prompts provide options to report a claim, talk to an associate about a billing or policyrelated question, contact the agency help desk, and so on. “Skills-based routing,” a feature of our telephony software, allows callers who select these prompts to be routed to representatives trained to help in each service area.

Krist Insurance Group of Iowa LLC

ClearWater Insurance Agency Inc.

Adam Hocking & Associates II Inc.

RC Insurance Services Inc.

West Des Moines, Iowa Windsor Heights, Iowa

The Forker Company

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Myers Insurance Group Inc.

Champaign, Ill.

Insurance Partners Inc.

Springfield, Ill.

Rustin E.Godfrey (dba Godfrey Insurance Agency)

(continued from page 23)

thing doesn’t look right or feel right when it comes to your health. In either case, if a lawyer or doctor gives you advice it’s a good bet you’ll believe them over someone who clearly isn’t a recognized authority. This is true even though both people might say the exact same thing. Knowing someone is an expert removes the doubts someone may have like, “Why should I listen to him?” or “Who does she think she is telling me what to do?” An interesting study was done with a couple dozen students at Emory University that showed physiologically what happens when experts are introduced to an equation. The students were hooked up to brain scanners and asked to solve complicated financial problems. As they did this, the scientists could clearly see their brains lighting up in the area where cognitive thinking and 24 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

problem solving takes place. Where things got interesting was after a professor from Emory University, someone who also happened to be an advisor to the Federal Reserve Board, was introduced. When the professor—a perceived authority—began to give advice the students stopped critically thinking and believed everything the professor said, even things the professor knew were incorrect! The scientists could clearly see on the brain imaging that cognitive thinking ceased for all the students. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is some of the hardest work there is and that’s why so few people engage in it.” When an authority is added to the mix most people will stop, or severely reduce, their critical thinking because it’s hard work. When it comes to insurance you are the expert and customers pay you in part to do their thinking for them. So here’s the $64,000 question—do your prospects and customers see you as more of an expert than the agents you compete against? For instance, do they

Remaining 2013 Principles of Persuasion Workshops® October 15-16, Nashville, Tenn. November 5-6, Columbus, Ohio

The Curtis Agency LLC

Madison, Wis.

Giuffre & Associates Inc.

Montello, Wis.

Richards Agency Inc.

Oshkosh, Wis.

Brian Keith Jacobi (dba Brian Jacobi Agency)

Sheboygan, Wis.

Spitz & Miller Insurance Agency Inc.

Richards Insurance of Waterton LLC

Griffith, Ind.

Ralph Whithurst Insurance Agency Inc.

Wake Forest, N.C.

Performance Insurance Agency LLC

Lexington, S.C.

Insight Risk Management

Cordova, Tenn.

Allied Insurors Inc.

Knoxville, Tenn.

ABBM Company LLC (dba Anderson Benson Insurance)

Nashville, Tenn.

WESTERN REGION

Waterton, Wis.

AAA Arizona Inc.

Mishawaka, Ind.

SOUTHERN REGION

Highland Insurance Services LLC

J.R. Prewitt & Associates Inc.

Daniels Nicolson Insurance Agency Inc.

Martin Insurance Group

Key Insurance Services (dba Rosier Insurance)*

Summers Insurance Agency LLC

Highland, Kans.

Madrigal & Associates Inc.

know your years of experience, industry designations and/or awards you’ve won? If not they should because anyone of those could be the difference in their decision-making just like the professor who was an advisor to The Fed was to the students he spoke with. These are just some of the ways you can enhance your expertise and generate more sales. Ideas like these are the kinds of things we talk about during the Principles of Persuasion workshop® because the more customers and prospects understand your expertise the more likely they are to rely on your advice when it comes to their insurance protection. You should consider attending one of our workshops before year-end because you’ll give your fourth quarter sales a boost and start 2014 off with a bang!

Hartland, Wis.

Springfield, Ill.

Paola, Kans.

Principles of Persuasion

Eau Claire, Wis.

Wichita, Kans.

Brush Creek LLC (dba Brush Creek Partners)

Kansas City, Mo.

Krantz Insurance Group LLC

Lake Ozark, Mo.

Birmingham, Ala.

Bonita Springs, Fla.

Matson-Charlton Surety Group*

Coral Gables, Fla.

Florida Surety Bonds Inc.*

Maitland, Fla.

Alter Surety Group Inc.*

Miami Lakes, Fla.

Middleton Insurance Services LLC

Baker-Harris Insurance Agency Inc.*

Insurance Group

The ProSure Group Inc.*

Stilfield-Hufft Insurance LLC

The Beck Agency

Crestwood Insurance Agency

Jack Bradley Agency Inc.

Burkemper Insurance Agency LLC

Farnsworth Insurance Inc.

Richards Insurance of Beaver Dam LLC

Partners Risk Services LLC

Oak Grove, Mo. Plains, Mo. Polo, Mo.

St. Louis, Mo Troy, Mo.

Beaver Dam, Wis.

Richards Insurance of Columbus LLC

Columbus, Wis.

Tallahassee, Fla. Tampa, Fla.

Alpharetta, Ga. Cornelia, Ga. Gray, Ga.

Johns Creek, Ga.

Tri-County Insurance Agency Inc.

Hickory, N.C.

Phoenix, Ariz. Phoenix, Ariz.

AMD Insurance Services Inc.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Smart Move Insurance Inc.

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Cynthia Fisher Agency LLC

Surprise, Ariz.

Networked Insurance Agents

Grass Valley, Calif.

Agar Insurance Agency Inc. (dba Agar Ford Jarmon & Muldrow)

Norman, Okla.

Integrated Insurance Service Inc.

Pryor, Okla.

Southern Winds Insurance LLC

Houston, Texas

Patterson & Associates Insurance Agency Inc.

Richardson, Texas

Billy Greaves Insurance Agency Inc.

San Antonio, Texas

Pacific Crest Services Inc.

West Jordan, Utah

*Newly appointed Florida agencies write bond business only

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 5


Agency news

Welcome new agencies We welcome the following agencies, which joined the State Auto team during the second and third quarters of 2013. CENTRAL REGION HH Underwriters LLC

North Dakota National PIA CSR of the Year Young Agent Congratulations to Joni Alfson from of the Year Dawson Insurance Agency Inc., in

Fargo, N.D., who was voted outstanding CSR of the Year in the state. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research selects candidates for this award who are insurance customer service representatives, or have primary responsibility for insurance customer service duties. Winning candidates are chosen for their outstanding service and completion of an essay on communication. Alfson is now eligible for the national CSR of the Year honor.

Congratulations to Matthew Simon, producer at Hill & Hamilton Inc., in Bellefontaine, Ohio, who recently received the Young Agent of the Year Award from the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Nominees are judged on professionalism, achievement, and contributions to the insurance industry. Simon, who has been in insurance since 2004, joined Hill & Hamilton in Bellefontaine in 2006 as an insurance advisor.

Louisville, Ky.

InPro Insurance Agency Inc.

Troy, Mich.

Olivier-VanDyk Insurance Agency Inc.

Wyoming, Mich.

Advanced Insurance Designs Inc.

Norton, Ohio

J.F. Marshall Insurance Agency LLC

Fairlawn, Ohio

Westcott Insurance LLC (dba Copley Insurance Agency)

Milan, Ohio

EASTERN REGION Maury, Donnelly & Parr Inc.

Baltimore, Md.

Centennial Surety Associates Inc.

Millersville, Md.

Ross Insurance Agency Inc.

Inner Circle Class of 2012— correction

In the Spring/Summer edition of SA Today, we featured a list of the 2012 Inner Circle agencies. We inadvertently left six agencies off of the list. We apologize for the oversight, and extend our sincere congratulations to these agencies as well. Acrisure LLC Caledonia, Mich. Art E. Gernt Insurance Inc. Crossville, Tenn. BaySide Surety Brokerage Inc. Mobile, Ala. 4 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

Mountain State Agency Alliance

Charleston, W.Va.

Richmond Insurance Agency Inc.

West Union, Ohio

Sheward-Fulks Insurance Agency

Jackson, Ohio

Holyoke, Mass.

Kore Insurance Holdings LLC

Livingston, N. J.

Robins Insurance Agency Inc.

Henrico, Va.

Richards Group Inc.

Lynchburg, Va.

MVB Insurance LLC

Morgantown, W.Va.

MIDWESTERN REGION Maschoff Insurance Agency LLC

Ankeny, Iowa

Department Growth opportunities Other benefits of the Customer Service consolidation are that most associates from the original individual units are now cross-trained on additional functions and are knowledgeable in more aspects of customer service. This creates more engaged, well-rounded associates, and has also led to greater job satisfaction and more growth opportunities. “It also helps if we’re in a catastrophe situation and need more resources to help handle claims,” Singh said. “In the past, we would have to shift our resources from other departments, and take additional people away from their primary duties to handle claims. Now, since most Customer Service team members are cross-trained for claims and policy situations, they can all handle the catastrophe claim calls.* It’s a win-win for everyone involved.” State Auto has call centers in the Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, and Indianapolis, Ind., locations with customer service representatives who can handle all types of customer service situations. Customer Service calls for billing, payments and agency technical questions are taken from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, while claims calls can be taken 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “We also have an interactive voice response (IVR) option to provide basic policy or payment information,” according to Singh. “This gives the caller an option to access an automated system to hear this information any time of the day or night, rather than having to speak to an actual customer service representative. Of course, they always have the option to speak to a representative during our operating hours if they wish. “We continue to research other opportunities to leverage this technology to provide additional self-service capabilities.”

Some of our Customer Service Department representatives include, from left, Jennifer Wardle, Tosha Gillon, Angelo Buoni, Julia Frustaci, Roz Foy and Lisa Rhoades.

Measuring customer service Another benefit of the Customer Service consolidation and new telephone software is the opportunity for better service measurement and enhanced metrics, according to Singh. Through end of July, the department had taken over 543,000 calls, 76,000 in July alone. Our new system allows for better statistics and measurement of our representatives’ effectiveness. Management can track the average amount of time it takes to pick up a call, how many calls are dropped, and customer satisfaction after the call. Since all Customer Service calls are recorded, supervisors can monitor and provide feedback to the associates. “This not only leads to better service, but more employee engagement and growth as well,” Singh added. “We’re always looking for ways to gain even further efficiencies,” he said. “We’ve found that many of our agents would like to ‘chat’ or send instant mes-

sages to our representatives. Currently, the chats are independent of phone calls, and sometimes a representative will be on a phone call and receive a request for a chat at the same time. “We’re working on being able to control this so the representative doesn’t have both contacts coming in at the same time to allow for better focus and handling. “We’re very pleased with how Customer Service is providing such a positive customer experience, as evidenced by the many positive comments we receive about our representatives, and the outstanding metrics we’re seeing,” Singh added. “We only want to enhance that positive experience with the ultimate goal of resolving our customers’ issues the first time they call, in an accurate, friendly and professional manner.” *The Submit a Claim link on StateAuto. com also goes to the Customer Service department, which initiates the claim process on those reported claims, as well.

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 25


the sales coach

Motivating a producer, beyond compensation Many of our articles over the last couple of years have dealt with hiring, training, compensation and overall management of producers. This time, we’ll focus on one specific area of sales management that won’t cost you any money and chances are it will produce more income to your agency and producer and help you retain your top producers. Our industry has the perception that the more you pay producers, the better they’ll perform. So much conversation evolves around this topic and yet, if you look at the results, it’s just simply not true. So what else is there beyond a person’s compensation package? Read on. Diane Masterson: You have an im-

pacting true story you tell during a sales management segment you regularly teach which is a good way to kick-off this subject.

Ken Fields: Back in the 1920s, the

Western Electric Company conducted a series of experiments to determine the relationship between lighting and productivity. The expectation was that test results would encourage industries to use artificial lighting in place of natural light. (Most factories at the time relied on sky lights and windows for illumination.) Researchers were surprised to find that productivity increased in both the group that had been provided improved lighting and those who continued to work in a poorly lit environment. Eventually, it was determined that the extra attention given the workers who were the target of the study was the real reason productivity increased. A more recent study titled “Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers: The Generation Gap” states: “Millennials (born 1980 – 2000) prefer frequent and exhaustive feedback on their

26 Autumm  2013 SA TODAY

contents

Autumn 2013

performance, as well as lots of coaching, guidance and mentorship—more than their managers ever received when they started out in the business.” So let’s review a few management basics before we go any further. We call it the A, B, Cs of managing. A stands for activator. An activator comes before behavior/performance. Activators include goal setting, making plans, training, etc. B stands for behavior, which is anything the producer does that can be observed, measured, and changed. C stands for consequences, which is anything that happens following behavior. Now here’s the take-away for managers: As important as activators are, it’s consequences, far and away, that impact performance the most. In fact, experts say consequences can change performance by as much as 85%. That’s half the story. Here’s the other half: There are three kinds of consequences: positive (praisings), negative (reprimands), and neutral (nothing). If something good happens (praising) following performance, that behavior will likely continue, or even increase. If something bad happens (reprimand) following performance, that behavior can be expected to decrease. Now pay careful attention to this last one. If nothing happens following behavior, performance will probably decrease or even stop. So the reaction to a neutral response is the same as to a negative response. This is probably the most important lesson of all because our experience has been that many new producers get very little feedback from the agency. Masterson: So as a manager, we can have the strongest impact with producers—really everyone—by simply showing more attention to what people are doing (or not doing). Sounds easy, but there is some upfront planning that needs to be in place so we can give the

feedback to reinforce what should and shouldn’t be done. Ken mentioned the ABCs of management—Activators, Behaviors and Consequences. So let’s put this into practice. Having established goals that are written and clearly explained is an Activator. So often we focus our attention on revenue or premium goals and as important as these are, specific activities or actions drive the result. A producer needs to know how many x-dates, meetings with centers of influence or drop-ins must be completed each week. In addition, the producer needs to understand their role when it comes to administrative work—another Activator—such as application completion, rating, follow up with a client or renewals a producer rather than a CSR is responsible for. As we’ve pointed out a number of times, how a producer spends his/her time has the most impact on achieving their premium/ revenue goals. So with the Activators (the goals and actions expected) established as managers we, as well as others, know what Behaviors to expect from the producer and can observe how well these Behaviors are carried out. Then based on what we observe, Consequences naturally follow. It might help to look at a couple of examples. You observe your producer working evenings when you know he’s had to miss his daughter’s soccer game. What is likely to happen if you say nothing about it to him? Keep in mind, his daughter and wife have most likely given him a hard way to go for not being at the game. If you choose to say nothing (which is a neutral position), the behavior is likely to decline. On the other hand, if you make it a point to recognize the producer for what he did, acknowledge his wife and daughter were probably not happy about it and

Articles & Sections

Features

 2 Viewpoints: State Auto writes surety bonds?

Pearls of the Orient—

by John Couger, Vice President Surety

 4 Agency News: North Dakota CSR of the Year

National PIA Young Agent of the Year Inner Circle Class of 2012—correction   Welcome new agencies  6 Service Awards  8 Where in the world have you read SA Today?

In Memoriam

Beijing or Hanoi...which to choose? Explore the mysteries and delights of Hanoi (Vietnam) or Beijing (China), and Hong Kong with State Auto in 2014.

PAGE 16

Crazy About Social Media—How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

 9 Company News: Project CAP Update STFC declares quarterly dividend

The agency credits social media for 27% of its new business in 2013.

10 11 12

Healthcare Reform

STFC stock performance New project management leader Business Insurance Update 2012 Top Surety Bond Agencies by Written Premium State Auto Real Time Integrations

13 Personal Insurance update

New identity theft services Tips on winter weather Coverage highlights— Locksmith services and key replacement

26 The Sales Coach Motivating a producer, beyond compensation 28 Top 100 sales stars Second quarter 2013 results Other Features: 14 Riviera Rendezvous photo contest winners 23 Principles of Persuasion—Expert Worship

PAGE 20

What it means to you

We explore the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it could impact your business.

PAGE 22

Meet the Customer Service Department Cultivating a positive experience for every customer contact is our goal.

PAGE 24

SA TODAY Autumm  2013 3


SA TODAY

VIEWPOINTS

State Auto writes surety bonds?

Published for the 24,000 State Auto agents and their staffs.

by John Couger Vice President Surety

Editor Debbie Conkel

John.Couger@StateAuto.com

It’s surprising how often we hear that from agents in the field, and even from fellow State Auto associates. The answer to that question is, “Absolutely, and we’re growing!” In fact, State Auto provides an ideal platform from which to write surety successfully. Our super-regional presence in P&C insurance, network of excellent independent agents, large Treasury Listing of over $40 million, and strong A.M. Best rating (A Excellent) are all key ingredients to the Bond Department’s success to date. State Auto supports a wide product offering in both contract and commercial surety, and has written bond business for more than 40 years. While surety is a fundamentally different product line than P&C insurance, and a much smaller market, there is a symbiosis between the two that benefits both the agency base and the P&C side of State Auto. We regularly receive positive feedback from State Auto agents when they learn that we offer a full line of surety products. Many, particularly those in more rural areas or those with more limited surety needs, have been underserved and are in need of additional surety capacity. However, many larger agencies have more markets than they need and prefer to consolidate their relationships to those companies with the broadest product offerings. In either case, our agency partners appreciate State Auto’s ability to offer multiple lines of business including surety. Additionally, surety is a line of business with very minimal weather exposure, and often times actually benefits from reconstruction efforts that come in the wake of a catastrophe. Not only has the Bond Department been growing, it’s been doing so responsibly and with great success by adhering to State Auto’s core values of maintaining solid underwriting standards and fostering excellent agency relationships. Here is a quick summary of just some of the Bond Department’s successes in 2012 (for a list of our top-performing agencies in 2012, see page 11): •  54% premium growth vs. 2011 •  Loss ratio below 1% •  Combined ratio of 73% •  Wrote 15,000 bonds through more than 800 agents.

Editorial Assistance Robyn Harper Linda Still Graphic Design Lora Dunfee Staff Photographer Shawn Holmes Printer Robin Enterprises

Please send any comments or story ideas to Debbie.Conkel@StateAuto.com

State Auto Insurance Companies 518 East Broad Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 614-464-5000 StateAuto.com

State Auto® is a registered mark of State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company.

Strong service and expanded capabilities

In an effort to provide strong service to our agency partners, four regional field locations have been established, staffed by regional managers with an average of 20 years experience in the industry. Having experienced underwriters physically located in their assigned territories allows us to provide responsive service to our agents and stronger underwriting protection for the company. In addition to our regional office locations, we have a seasoned underwriting team in Columbus supporting our production and profitability goals. (continued on page 27) 2 Autumn  2013 SA TODAY

STATE AUTO ®

Insurance Companies

On the cover The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010. Read about what it means to your business on page 22.

then reinforce how this will help him in the long run, the Behavior is more likely to continue.

Another example; your producer comments that she has already secured her x-dates for the week and it’s only Wednesday. If you say nothing, she’ll likely not worry about getting this activity done ahead of time or even stretch it to the point of not making her x-date goal. But what happens when you say something? You’ve got it, she is more likely to keep doing this. By now we hope it’s evident that our actions or inactions as managers

influence how our producers (and all employees) perform. What does it hurt to use a few positive words when you see your producer doing the things he/she needs to be doing to be successful. Try these words on for size: Excellent! Nice Work! Way to go! Terrific! Great! Cool! Fabulous! And then, see what happens!

Got questions for the Sales Coaches? Contact them at Ken.Fields@StateAuto.com or Diane.Masterson@StateAuto.com.

State Auto writes surety bonds? (continued from page 2)

As with P&C insurance, forging strong relationships with excellent agents is an absolute keystone to building and maintaining a profitable book of surety business. Therefore, it is paramount that the surety constantly works to build its relationship with its agents, educates them on the surety’s underwriting philosophy and account appetites, and delivers consistent and timely service. In addition to locating our underwriters closer to the point of sale, we established new reinsurance relationships in 2012 that allow us to selectively consider accounts performing annual sales up to $20 million. The net result of these efforts has been a higher performing and more geographically diverse book of business. Below is the contact information for our Regional Office locations along with the regional offices they support: • Terry Brown (404-284-8605), Atlanta, Ga., supporting Southern Region agents • Ron Gengler (630-466-4860), Chicago, Ill., supporting Midwestern Region agents • Greg Parrish (850-668-6348), Tallahassee, Fla., supporting Florida agents (State Auto writes only bond business in Florida)

• Sam Allison and Jake Morphew (254-741-1264), in Waco, Texas, supporting Western Region agents Bond Connect and our commitment to service excellence

A successful bond operation must provide responsive and timely service to agencies in order to earn their best business. An example of how we strive to deliver responsive and timely service is Bond Connect. In 2008, State Auto implemented Bond Connect, a bond automation system, which was rolled out to all State Auto agencies. The transition to Bond Connect has been very well received with the vast majority of the agents saying, “Wow, that was easy!” Today, Bond Connect instantly and automatically transacts 67% of the commercial bond business. This equates to nearly 9,000 commercial bonds that are issued instantly in the convenience of our agents’ offices. Additionally, it is loaded with over 4,000 of the most commonly used bond forms throughout the operating territory and is continually updated. Bond Connect also streamlines the submission and bond issuance process, even for contract bonds, and eliminates the need (and headache!) of the agent having to maintain a supply of powers of attorney. The result is a

tangible example of our commitment to excellence in service by providing an efficient transaction that is respectful of our agents’ valuable time. Beginning with the end in mind

Ultimately, our Bond Department plans to build upon its success and continue to deliver an underwriting profit by adhering to the following core principles that have proved successful thus far: • Hire, retain, and support the best seasoned professionals • Deliver consistently outstanding service to State Auto’s agency partners • Foster and build strong relationships with outstanding agents • Adhere to our consistent and sound underwriting practices, while providing agents friendly and expert advice with a strong dose of common sense, all directed toward the small account segment. If you have written bonds with us, I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with you. If you haven’t worked with us before, I invite you to contact us for more information about our capabilities. I’m confident that you will receive timely service, expert advice as well as an underwriting approach that is both reasonable and flexible. SA TODAY Autumm  2013 27


Top 100 sales stars

Congratulations to all agencies making the second quarter 2013 Top 100 list. To qualify, all agencies met profitability criteria (profitable two out of the last three years —2011, 2012 and 2013 year to date—or achieved a cumulative profitability over the last three years). They are ranked in order of sales increase based on year to date written premium growth in dollars.

  1. Combined Agents of America LLC, Austin, Texas   2. Shared Agency Services LLC, Tucker, Ga.   3. Keystone Insurers Group Inc., Northumberland, Pa. 4. SWBC Insurance Services Inc., San Antonio, Texas 5. Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management, Itasca, Ill. 6. Higginbotham & Associates Inc., Ft. Worth, Texas 7. Texcap-Concord Insurance Services LP, Dallas, Texas 8. The Daniel & Henry Co., St. Louis, Mo. 9. Bouvier Beckwith & Lennox Inc., West Hartford, Conn. 10. SouthGroup Insurance and Financial, Ridgeland, Miss. 11. Fox-Everett Inc., Ridgeland, Miss 12. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Waukesha, Wis. 13. Insurance Services of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. 14. Insurance Agents Alliance of Texas Inc., Austin, Texas 15. United Valley of Arizona LLC, Fresno, Calif. 16. Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman Inc., Ellicott City, Md. 17. Iroquois Mid-Atlantic Group Inc., Midlothian, Va. 18. Peter M. Bakker Agency Inc., Avon, Conn. 19. Gompers Couillard & Wolfe Inc., Macomb, Mich. 20. USI Southwest, Dallas, Texas 21. Insurors Group LLC, College Station, Texas 22. Fitzgibbons Arnold & Company, Cleveland, Ohio 23. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Denver, Colo. 24. Insight Risk Management LLC, Cordova, Tenn. 25. Crosby & Henry Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich. 26. DRY Insurance Agency Inc., Chardon, Ohio 27. Mississippi Insurance Alliance, Jackson, Miss. 28. Aha Insurance Network, Louisville, Ky. 29. Crest Insurance Group LLC, Tucson, Ariz. 30. Assured NL Insurance Agency Inc., Bowling Green, Ky. 31. Voldico LLC, Osgood, Ind. 32. Corkill Insurance Agency Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill. 33. Danaher Skewes & Associates Inc., Annandale, Va. 34. Southwest General Insurance, Phoeniz, Arix. 35. Dimond Bros. Insurance Agency Inc., Paris, Ill. 36. Leavitt Group Agency Association, Cedar City, Utah 37. Fulton Insurance Inc., Fulton, Miss. 38. Certified Insurance Services Inc., Cedar City, Utah 39. Frost Insurance, Victoria, Texas 40. Wilcox & Reynolds Insurance LLC, Storrs Mansfield, Conn. 41. BB&T Insurance Services Inc., Greensboro, N.C. 42. Burns Brooks & McNeil, Torrington, Conn. 43. American Agency Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. 44. Exchange Underwriters Inc., Canonsburg, Pa. 45. Greenpoint Insurance Group, High Point, N.C. 46. Corporate 4 Insurance Agency Inc., Edina, Minn. 47. Valley Insurance Agency Alliance, Clayton, Mo. 48. Lawhon & Webb LLC, Tupelo, Miss. 49. Field Eddy Inc., South Hadley, Mass. 50. AssureAlliance Inc., Spartanburg, S.C. 28 Autumn  2013 SA TODAY

SA TODAY

Autumn 2013

A publication for independent agencies representing the State Auto Insurance Companies

  51. Alliance Main Street LLC, Northampton, Mass.   52. Meyers Agency, Bridgeport, Texas   53. Inter Financial Group LLC, Katy, Texas   54. Goodworks Insurance, Glastonbury, Conn.   55. S. S. Nesbitt & Company Inc., Vestavia, Ala.   56. Yeager Insurance & Financial Services LLC, Hurricane, W.Va.   57. Van Zandt Emrich & Cary Inc., Louisville, Ky.   58. Associated Insurance Agencies Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.   59. Hample Insurance Service LLC, Greenwood Village, Colo.   60. Mountain State Insurance Agency, Charleston, W.Va.   61. Allegheny Insurance Service Inc., Elkins, W.Va.   62. Dawson Insurance Agency Inc., Fargo, N.D.   63. Renasant Insurance Inc., Tupelo, Miss.   64. Henry M. Murray Agency Inc., Annapolis, Md.   65. Lake Agency Inc., Grand Blanc, Mich.   66. Morrison Insurance Agency, Lakewood, Colo.   67. The Presidio Group Inc., Murray, Utah   68. Premier Group Insurance Inc., Denver, Colo.   69. Faribo Insurance Agency Inc., Faribault, Minn.   70. McKinley Rother Greater Insurance, Austin, Texas   71. First Security Agency of MN Inc., Sleepy Eye, Minn.   72. Byrnes Agency Inc., Dayville, Conn.   73. Keller-Leopold Insurance Inc., Garden City, Kans.   74. HMP Insurance, Memphis, Tenn.   75. Bains West Inc., Owasso, Okla.   76. Rodgers Insurance Agency, Pittsburgh, Pa.   77. The Joiner-Sigler Agency Inc., Waynesboro, Miss.   78. Wave Financial Partners Inc., Aurora, Colo.   79. Heartman Agency Inc., Rochester, Minn.   80. Momentum Insurance & Financial Services Inc., The Woodlands, Texas   81. Clark Insurance Agency, Batesville, Miss.   82. Aldridge Insurance Agency Inc., Murphysboro, Ill.   83. Worldwide Insurance Network AZ, Phoenix, Ariz.   84. Eagle Point Insurance Group Inc., Lake Elmo, Minn.   85. Professional Insurance Counselors Inc., Effingham, Ill.   86. Kinghorn Insurance Agency of Beaufort, Beaufort, S.C.   87. Russell-Massey & Co. Inc., Columbia, S.C.   88. Madison Bates Insurance Inc., Denver, Colo.   89. USI Southwest, Houston, Texas   90. Chaney & Karch Insurance Group Inc., Centralia, Ill.   91. Vela Insurance Agency Inc., Denver, Colo.   92. Alan Henry Insurance Agency Inc., Lubbock, Texas   93. Hallmark Agency Inc., Grand Blanc, Mich.   94. C.O. Brown Agency, Rochester, Minn.   95. Capitol City Insurance Manager, Austin, Texas   96. Tri-County United Insurance Agency, Crane, Texas   97. Commercial Insurance Brokers LLC, Tulsa, Okla.   98. Acrisure LLC, Caledonia, Mich.   99. Couri Insurance Agency Inc., Phoenix, Ariz. 100. Mapes Insurance Agency Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Health Care Reform

Pearls of the Orient Beijing or Hanoi... which to choose?

Crazy About Social Media How social has changed the game for Cleveland Insurance

Meet the Customer Service Department

SA Today Autumn 2013  

The Autumn 2013 edition of SA Today, the publication for agents and brokers representing the State Auto Insurance Companies

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