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wArd-winning A 

Tennesse edition • Spring 2016




Techolology aids clients


Price optimization


The three Ls of customer service And more …

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MidSouth Mutual provides insurance to customers in Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Contact Tom Perez at or 615-379-8245 midsouthmutual.

Departments Winter 2015 • Tennessee edition

04 In brief 09 Connect 13 Tech 23 Case law 30 Readers’ service and advertising index 31

Officers and directors directory

Cover story 16 Is good customer service alien to your clients? How to be exceptional

Feature 19 Will you be mine? The three Ls of customer service: Look, listen and love

Statements of fact and opinion in PIA magazine are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers or the members of the Professional Insurance Agents. Participation in PIA events, activities, and/or publications is available on a nondiscriminatory basis and does not reflect PIA endorsement of the products and/or services. President and CEO of PIA Management Services Inc. Mark LaLonde, CPIA, CIC, AAI; Executive Director Kelly K. Norris, CAE; Communication Director Mary E. Christiano; Senior Magazine Designer Sue Jacobsen; Member Information Manager Jaye Czupryna. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Professional Insurance Agents of Tennessee, 504 Autum Springs Court, Suite A-2, Franklin, TN 37067. “Professional Insurance Agents” is published quarterly by PIA Management Services Inc. PIA Management Services, 25 Chamberlain St., P.O. Box 997, Glenmont, NY 12077-0997; (518) 434-3111 or toll-free (800) 424-4244; email ©2016 Professional Insurance Agents. All rights reserved. No material within this publication may be reproduced—in whole or in part—without the express written consent of the publisher. Cover design Patty Dykeman

In brief

Five minutes with …

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC, president of Selling Strategies How did you get to where you are today? I started in the insurance industry as a commercial casualty underwriter for an insurance carrier. During my time with the carrier, I conducted workshops such as “Turning Service into Sales,” which evolved into a consulting role. I hung my shingle in 1994. I fell in love with working with professional, independent insurance agents. They are the front line of the industry. I love to work with agents who are committed to helping their clients. Agents deliver the service that represents what and who the insurance industry is. It’s great to make a difference for policyholders.

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC president Selling Strategies Inc. Terrell, N.C.

How can agencies develop strong customer-service teams? Professional, independent insurance agencies can develop strong customer service teams by following four principles: 1. Agency owners need to have a clear vision, mission and values for their agency. 2. Within the agencies, the roles and responsibilities of each employee need to be defined clearly. Producers shouldn’t do service work; new business employees need to concentrate on bringing in new business, etc. 3. Agency owners need to set high expectations for their employees. 4. Owners should hold their employees accountable for those expectations. The employees need to believe in the agency’s vision. It’s the only way they will help the agency succeed. What advice would you give to a CSR who is dealing with a difficult client? Rather than jumping to offer a solution, customer service representatives (and all agency staff) should listen to what the client has to say. Don’t forget to empathize and ask questions to uncover the real and hidden concerns the client has. Sometimes people just need to vent and sometimes an agent needs to keep asking questions because even the client might not know what he or she wants.



Then you need to repeat to the client what you think he or she wants (i.e., “If I hear you right, what you’re saying is …”). This will create a dialogue between the CSR and the client. We never ask enough questions. If a client calls about an auto premium that’s too high, instead of saying: “I’ll look into seeing what we can do to lower the cost” a CSR should explain the cost increase. Did the client trade in his 10-year-old car for a newer model? Did he add additional coverage(s)? You have to know more than the client does and help to explain it to him or her.

How does an agency make customer service a strategy for selling insurance? The agency staff needs to realize that customer service is a culture. That culture needs to be part of the agency, so that when clients think of good customer service they think of the agency. Think of companies like Zappos, LL Bean and Starbucks: They are known for their customer service. In the big picture, agency owners should look at how their employees treat each other. It will be a good indication of how they treat their clients. What’s your pet peeve? It’s going to sound silly, but I don’t like when I receive poor customer service. I travel a lot and airports can be a challenge. I’ve actually pulled people aside to give them a few tips on how they can improve their customer-service technique. Anything else? We all need to remember that every interaction with a customer makes an impression. We should make our customers glad that they do business with us. We want to make people know we enjoy what we are doing. We each have that responsibility.

Professional Insurance Agents magazine

By the numBers

Seventeen terrific tips to be polished and professional Forming


about people and sharing those impressions with others is something we all do. When asked what you think about someone, our minds recall that individual’s energy, appearance, voice, facial expression, courtesy, written communication and spoken words. Fortunately, it’s in our power to convey the image and effect we desire. Here are some pointers to help you present your most polished and professional self.


Know and use the preferred communication channel (e.g., phone, email, text) of your clients and colleagues.


Clothes should be age appropriate, well fitting, clean and pressed. Avoid clothing that is suggestive or too casual.


When greeting a person, be the first to extend your hand for a handshake. If seated, stand to shake hands.


Call people by name.

2 3

Answer your phone with your first and last name.

Change your office voicemail daily or weekly noting date and accessibility. Let callers know when you’ll call back or who can assist in your absence.


Know and remember one personal detail about others (e.g., family, alma mater, hobby, pets, sports and interests).

9 10


When conversing in person, focus your eyes 100 percent of the time on the other person’s eyes.


Before ending a call or a meeting ask, “What else can I help with today?”


Email signatures should include all of your contact information on both originating and reply messages. This confirms professionalism and accessibility.

Never speak ill of competitors. You’ll be the one who looks bad. Advise clients of the status of outstanding, pending or changing issues. Better to take the initiative than to receive a call asking, “What’s going on?”


Acknowledge co-workers with a smile and hello when passing in the hall or in the break room.


Your LinkedIn profile is what comes up when someone Googles your name. Be certain to maintain a complete, error-free profile that includes a professional picture.


Speak grammatically correct English. Do not swear and avoid slang.


Be on time for all meetings. Take a seat at the table to show interest and commitment. Avoid sitting in chairs along the side, if possible. Turn off and put away all electronic devices.


Keep your workspace uncluttered, clean and appropriately decorated.

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC, helps the insurance industry create top‑performing sales, service, and leadership organizations. She can be reached at




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Professional Insurance Agents magazine

Provide more than protection for your clients. Offer them the added value of EMC’s no-fee loss control services, which could help reduce the cost of their insurance. It’s just one of the many reasons policyholders Count on EMC ®. BILL STULTZ Senior Risk Improvement Representative EMC Birmingham Branch



BIRMINGHAM BRANCH OFFICE Phone: 800-239-2005 | Home Office: Des Moines, IA © Copyright Employers Mutual Casualty Company 2015. All rights reserved.

What is the PIA/Penn National Insurance agents’ umbrella program? Written by agents for agents. ■

Comprehensive excess insurance protection

Packaged in one easy-to-manage policy

Affordable rates


Payment Plans & Fees

Coverage limits (higher limits may be available)

Flexible payment plans for any policy

■ Up to $10 million for commercial and professional liability

■ Full payment (no installments)

■ Up to $5 million for personal exposures of owners and officers

Core Coverage ■ Business operations — broadened coverage and excess limits protection for agent/agency’s business and employees for liability incurred as a result of normal business activities. Policy provides coverage over an agency’s commercial general liability or businessowners, employers liability and commercial auto.

Key Features

Coverage features

■ Excess over underlying E&O

■ Personal injury

■ Personal umbrella coverage for owners, partners and officers, including members of their families. Sub-limit does not affect total limit.

■ Libel, slander and advertising offense

■ Employment practices liability providing excess limits on a following-form basis. Sub-limit does not affect total limit. ■ Excess over business coverage ■ Defense coverage outside policy limits ■ Affordable minimum premiums for 9 employees or fewer ■ One source for all excess coverages ■ Blanket protection for most risks ■ Flexibility to meet the needs of any agent, including flexible pay plans

Rating ■ Staff rating for agencies with 9 or fewer employees ■ Excess rated for agencies with 10+ employees or special acceptance categories ■ Refer to state rate pages

■ First-dollar legal defense provided for claims not covered by underlying insurance ■ Professional liability — excess limits protection on a following-form basis for errors and omissions in the course of the agency’s business as an insurance professional. Coverage can be written over occurrence or claims-made forms of a variety of primary E&O carriers.

Coverage features on a following-form basis ■ Full prior-acts coverage ■ Covers any person acting in a capacity as a real estate agent or notary. ■ Options unique to this program: • Personal coverage — broadened and excess personal protection for owners, partners and officers, including members of their families. (Submit ACORD Personal Umbrella Application.) • Employment practices liability — excess limits protection for liability incurred by named insured or employees for wrongful employment practices. Coverage can be written on a claims-made basis over a number of approved EPL carriers. Maximum available as a sub-limit is $2 million. (Submit a copy of underlying EPL application.)

■ Two payments — 50% down, one installment of 50% due three months later ■ 40/30/30 — 40% down, two installments of 30% each due every other month ■ Quarterly — 25% down, three installments of 25% each due quarterly ■ Monthly — 20% down, five installments of 16% each due monthly

Available payment plans by premium level ■ Premium up to $1,000 — full payment or two payments ■ Premium of $1,001 to $5,000 — full payment, two payments, 40/30/30 or quarterly ■ Premium greater than $5,000 — any payment option

Applicable fees ■ Service fees: No service fee will be added to the initial payment. A $4 service fee will be added to each installment billing.

Contact Us Contact your local PIA producer. To find yours, visit the PIA Main Street Store at

Customer service matters most It’s a 24/7 world. Thanks to smartphones and other personal technology, everyone can get anything; anytime, anywhere. Insurance is no exception. Your clients expect access to their information whenever they want it. If you’re not sure you’re ready to meet that expectation, this article will give you some tips to help you improve your customer service. First, get real. You may think you’re doing fine taking care of your clients, but your opinion doesn’t count—theirs does. The best way to learn what your clients want is to ask. Have you? And if so, what have you done with the information?

Start with staff The best place to start improving your customer-service experience is to take a look at your staff members. Are they happy? Do you have the right people in

the right jobs? Times have changed, and even your longtime employees’ job descriptions may have evolved. They may or may not be right for the role that you need them to fill today. Be proactive about reviewing your current job descriptions and working with testing organizations to validate that your employees’ skills match their jobs. Some agencies are embracing a trend to be more client facing. Those agencies encourage their staffs to spend


cal durland, cpcu Director, Industry Relations, ACORD


There can be no doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience. – Immanuel Kant Policies are underwritten by Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Company and Bridgefield Employers Insurance Company, authorized insurers in AL, AR, FL, KY, GA, MS, LA, NC, SC, and TN; BusinessFirst Insurance Company, authorized in FL, GA, KY, NC, SC and TN. ©2015 Summit Consulting LLC | 2310 Commerce Point Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801




time with clients during community activities or connect with them via technology (e.g., FaceTime or Skype). The most forward-thinking agencies understand that to grow business, everyone in the agency has to have sales skills and they provide tools and training to ensure a good customer experience.

Systems & workflows

dis•tinc•tion di-’sti[ng](k)-shen e

noun 1: What your business will gain by advertising in PIA magazine.

Successful agencies also use an agency management system to manage their workflows and client information. There are more than 30 systems available today. To understand and choose your best option, read Steve Anderson’s article How to Choose the Best Agency Management System. And if you already use an AMS, do you know if you’re taking full advantage of the efficiencies it can bring? A great resource to find out what’s available through your system is the IVANS Connection Report, available free from IVANS. Here’s a standard workflow to aim for: 1. A client makes contact with your agency with a question. 2. Your staff opens that client’s record in your system and has the answer in minutes.


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Professional Insurance Agents magazine

3. Based on the client’s record, your staff starts a conversation that shows the client an exposure that could be covered by additional insurance. Proper use of your AMS combined with your staff’s increased sales skills result in a stronger and more profitable relationship with that client. But, what kinds of functionality does an AMS offer to help you ensure a great customer experience?

Download The most widely recognized download is Personal Lines and Commercial Lines synchronization of the carrier’s policy information with your AMS. Normally, it is set up to occur once a day and provides you with specific information on clients within their records. More than 400 carriers are providing this functionality and agents are saving hours per week by using the information versus typing it into their agency system. 1. New to many AMS is Claims Download. This notifies the agency of a claim that has been reported directly to the carrier. This allows the agency to be proactive and assist their client with a good claims experience. Agencies who are recognized for

their customer-service work directly with the client after a loss to assist with the claim. 2. eDocuments and Messages is another new functionality offered by carriers today. This is the ability to download or deliver documents electronically to the client file in your AMS. Staff no longer has to log into a carrier’s website to find the information and save it manually to the client record. Your system can be set up so this happens automatically. In addition, workflows may be set up to be proactive. For example, if a carrier wants to let the agency know about a pending cancellation then a message can be delivered directly to the client’s record in the AMS. This eliminates the black hole of missed emails or communications sent to the wrong person. Inquiry This is the ability to make an inquiry about policy, billing or claims status by clicking a client’s record within the AMS. This eliminates time-consuming steps of logging in to the carrier website to find the information. Real-time rating There are a number of rating products available that streamline the agent’s process to quote their clients’ exposures. Entering or bridging client data into the rating tool saves time as well as repetitive data entry. As a professional, independent insurance agent, you have to provide your clients with choices, and that means marketing their exposure through a number of




carriers. These tools do a majority of that work for you, providing you with information that you can then provide to your clients to help them make their decision. eSignature (eSign) In some cases, the information that needs to be accessed requires a signa-

ture. Have you analyzed the time and resources it takes your agency to assemble, print, package, post and ship this information to your client? That process can be streamlined by using electronic documentation and an eSignature tool, which helps deliver the information when

and where the client needs it. To find the best eSignature product for your agency, contact your AMS provider, or Google “eSignature.”

Next steps The tools and tips described above save your staff time that can be utilized to build stronger relationships with your clients through better customer service. Having fast access to the clients’ data in your AMS gives you the ability to take their experience to the next level. Some forward-thinking agencies are setting up portals to give clients access to their information on a 24/7 basis. This new form of customer service allows clients to see all their policy information in one place. The client no longer needs multiple logins to a variety of websites when the agency presents the client with a single view.

Don’t lose grounD in a tough economy The fact is, this is the time to invest in advertising. Now, more than ever, you need to retain existing clients and attract new ones. And, while you may lack the bottomless pockets of direct writers, well-crafted, well-placed, affordable marketing can punch through the noise and get your message out. Whether you’re looking for brand new marketing materials, our customized consumer materials or Spanish-language pieces, Think PIA first for the marketing advantage you still need to succeed.

logon to or call (800) 424-4244.

s •e •r •v •i •c •e •s



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

Durland leads the ACORD-User Group Information Exchange and works with industry associations toward a goal of increased efficiency. She is the past president of the Society of CPCU Westchester Fairfield and Hudson, N.Y. Chapter, and is the chair of the CPCU Society Agent and Broker Interest Group. She received the PIANY Hudson Valley Regional Awareness Program Industry Professional of the Year award in 2014 and was the recipient of the NetVU Wade S. Dunbar Jr. award in 2011.

Price optimization (or, how a goat is gotten) Have you ever thought: “I’ve been a customer of insurance company X for a number of years. I’m OK with it taking advantage of me and charging a higher price because I’m a loyal customer and I have no plans to move my business to another company. I don’t want to be like Joe Schmo, who shops around for his insurance, and causes the company to reduce its price as an incentive to stay.” Yeah, I didn’t think so. But, that is what’s happening with insurance prices across the country. I am sure you have heard the term price optimization. Maybe you have heard of it, but don’t know what it means. Or, maybe you have heard of it and know exactly what it means. I guess what really gets my goat (and my goat is not easily gotten), is that the insurance industry thinks it is all right to arbitrarily come up with a rate that cannot be justified. The “industry” is not on the front line, trying to explain

to insureds why their premium just went up when nothing adverse occurred to them during the past policy year. The professional, independent insurance agent can explain an increase due to losses, driving records, youthful operators and the like. But, how are they supposed to explain a rate increase to an insured because the carrier has calculated a figure it can charge that will not upset you enough to leave?


jim pittz, cic, cpia PIA Management Services Inc.’s business issues director

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To date, over a dozen states across the country have issued a stance on the practice of price optimization (most recently, Connecticut, Minnesota, Delaware and Colorado). Price optimization is defined (loosely) as an insurer’s practice of varying its rates based on nonrisk-related factors. It’s like having an elasticity factor into the rating of the policy. It gives the company the ability to expand or contract the rates based on factors that it determines, which are not based on an insured’s risk-profile factors. In many cases, the rates are adjusted based upon how much a carrier gauges it can charge the insured before the insured will do something about it (e.g., find another carrier). It also allows the company latitude to reduce the price to become super competitive if it feels it is going to lose a piece of coveted business at renewal. In either case, the rate is based on how the insured will react to it, not on how the risk should be insured. All of this has been determined by actuaries and the study of the data that has been collected. In another life, I spent several years as an in-house actuary for an insurance company. During that time, only two forms of rate filings existed: competitive—when you tried to mimic another carrier’s filing to stay competitive; and experience—when your filed rates were derived based on the amount of premiums received and the amount of claims payouts (in addition to other various financial exhibits). However, now there is a new player in the field: the elasticity factor. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recently approved a price optimization white paper. In the white paper, the panel proposes that states issue a bulletin to address an insurer’s process in which it determines rates, which could incorporate nonrisk-based rates. It also specifically recommends that the states prohibit the use of the “price elasticity on demand,” a factor that determines how far policyholders’ rates can be adjusted at renewal before they seek out another insurer. Consumer groups are raising awareness about this practice by alleging it is used to discriminate. Insurance departments long have argued that they maintain a practice in which the regulated rates are not excessive, adequate and that these practices are not discriminatory. But as consumer groups accuse the carriers of discrimination, state insurance departments are taking notice.

How Tennessee rules The Tennessee Insurance Department has not issued a formal statement publicly on price optimization. In January of 2015, The Consumer Federation of America issued a letter to Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak to inform her that a national carrier, which filed in Tennessee, incorporated the use of price optimization. In the letter, the federation urged the commissioner to disapprove the filing. There has been no word from the department on what action, if any, it took on the matter.

Contact Kristopher Fisher 800-875-7428



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Arlington/Roe. You have our word on it. “Whether you choose Arlington/Roe for our breadth of knowledge, product line diversity, market access or industry know-how, you may be assured we are in business primarily to serve you. We will do our best to earn and keep your trust. You have our word on it.” – James A. Roe, CPCU, ASLI, President

Managing General Agents and Wholesale Insurance Brokers

Serving Independent Agents Since 1964


Aviation | Bonds | Brokerage | Commercial Lines | Farm | Medical Professional | Personal Lines | Professional Liability | Transportation | Workers’ Compensation

Is good customer service alien to your clients? How to be exceptional


lients are looking for exceptional customer service to make their buying experience (including insurance) a cut above the rest. PIA magazine asked PIA of Tennessee member Elaine Morton, vice president, Morton Insurance Agency Inc., Bartlett, Tenn., to discuss how professional, independent insurance agents can help their agency stand out from the crowd.



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

BEKAH HUTSENPILLER PIA’s marketing & communications coordinator




Tell us about yourself. I have been in the insurance business since I was five years old, which is how old I was when my father started our agency. Growing up, I always said that I would never be an insurance agent and here I am almost 50 years later, Elaine Morton working as an insurance agent. Both of my parents started the agency and have been serving our clients for the past 50 years. We have some clients who have been with us since the day we opened our agency and those are definitely the VIPs. In those 50 years, my father always has contributed to the relationship we have with our customers. I have been involved with PIA of Tennessee for most of my life, starting out as one of those kids with the bag at the trade show and eventually becoming the president of an association I am proud to serve.

What is your customerservice philosophy? My philosophy on customer service is this: It is crucial. If you are not servicing your customers’ needs, they will find someone who will and when they begin their search they will let people know why they are leaving your agency. Customer service is the difference in a successful agency and an unsuccessful one.

When did you receive or give great customer service? A recent example: I worked with an underwriter, who could think outside the box and understand my client’s needs during a low point in his life. Customer service is a team effort, which joins your staff and the staff of the companies you represent. It’s all about relationships.

she wants to be served—does a client want to be called on the phone? Does a client want to receive snail mail? Does a client want you to communicate via text message? Does a client want you to communicate via Facebook? Does a client prefer to talk to you face-to-face? (There is still some value to that, believe it or not.)

How can agents hone their customer-service skills? The best way agents can improve their customerservice skills is by knowing their clients. When you get to know your clients, you can understand their expectations and help them to understand what your expectations are as well.

Are there different approaches for new agents vs. industry veterans? If you are a new agent or an agent of 50 years, it’s still about relationships—with your clients; your underwriters; your marketing representatives; your staff; and yourself. Treat your clients better than you would want to be treated. That way, everyone wins.

What challenges do agencies face that affect customer service? Difficult underwriting guidelines with companies, economic issues, market issues, rating issues are just some of the main challenges agents face that affect the customer service they provide to their clients. Some of these issues can be countered by having a variety of represented companies to offer our clients options with their insurance coverages and others can be countered by fostering relationships built on experience and trust with our underwriters. Hutsenpiller is PIA’s marketing & communications coordinator.

How has customer service evolved? Customer service can be tricky these days. We have had to look at each individual client and evaluate how he or



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

john fear, cisr, CPIA Owner, Premier Business Consulting

Will you be mine? The three Ls of customer service: Look, listen and love

With New Year’s resolutions either firmly in hold or already forgotten, February highlights the various relationships we have through the celebration of Valentine’s Day. We look at the way that we interact with one another and use the holiday to proclaim or affirm the affections for those closest to us. It provides us with an annual review of the relationships that mean the most to us and what we can do to both maintain and strengthen those relationships in the years to come. By focusing on what makes us successful in our personal relationships, we can gain insight into what can make our professional relationships successful as well. Whether you are celebrating your first or 50th anniversary, the most common elements of success in any relationship are to look, listen and love. Each of these elements plays a pivotal, individual and interactive role in any relationship and should be maintained—consciously and consistently.

Look We have all heard that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and have questioned relationships with the phrase, “what does she see in him?” When interacting with our clients, we need to recognize that there is a plethora of things to attract a potential client. They say that “beauty is only skin deep,” and, as an agency owner, you need to be aware of how your prospective or current clients see your professional insurance agency. Whether it’s the maintenance of your physical location; the

dress code (or lack thereof) for your staff; or even the formatting of the communications (e.g., emails, Facebook posts or letters), how are you presenting yourself to your clients? Is your agency well-groomed or have you let yourself go? While a cluttered desk may be the way a staff member works, when your clients see it, they may think, “My information is in that pile?” Take a few minutes to look at your agency through the eyes of your clients and ask yourself if this is what a long-term relationship looks like to them.

Listen It has been said that we have two ears and only one mouth so that we can use them in that ratio. How well we know our clients can be relative to the quality of the conversation we have with them on a regular basis. 1


Your ability to be a good listener is evaluated through your awareness of effective communication and your use of questioning techniques to determine the individual needs of your clients. Whether we are communicating in person or over the phone, we are told that there are three features of effective communication: 1. nonverbal cues; 2. tone of voice; and 3. words. When communicating in person, nonverbal cues make up 55 percent of effective communication and tone of voice is an additional 38 percent—leaving only 7 percent for the actual words we use. When communicating by phone, the numbers are equally dramatic with 84 percent being tone of voice and 16 percent for the words we use. The bottom line: Effective communication in any relationship is not just what you say, but how you say it. Whether you’re gathering information on a claim or accident for a client (e.g., Are you OK?) or sharing a recent increase in his or her renewal premium (e.g., The reason the price has increased is …), think about how your words sound to the client’s ears. How long would you maintain a personal relationship with someone who just talked about himself or herself and never really took the time to understand your needs? When working with sales professionals, I always challenge them to learn at least one thing about their prospective clients that has nothing to do with the issuance of their insurance product. I am fascinated with the amount of information collected from theses prospects without even having asked the question: “Why are you considering changing your insurance protection?” Although the response to that question will be foundational to the strength

of your ongoing relationship (e.g., “I shop for a better price every February” versus “My agent only contacts me when my renewal payment is due”), it is rarely ever asked during the sales process. If you don’t know why their last relationship with their insurance agent ended or what they’re looking for in a future one, you need to ask more questions to better understand your future client’s needs.

Love When receiving her Best Actress Oscar for Places In The Heart, Sally Field exclaimed, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me.” There is a huge difference between like and love, but there are telltale signs when your personal relationship has moved from like to love, including the involved parties

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wanting only the best for the other and exclusivity of your relationship.

tens of dollars you will earn in commissions says volumes about your relationship.

Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs told the 2005 graduating class at Stanford, “If you don’t love what you do, you might as well stay home.” All too often we see people who are in a job for no other reason than to collect a paycheck and then fail to understand the cause-and-effect related to the lack of their success in that job. Given the extraordinary amount of time, training and technical expertise that goes into our profession and the importance of nonverbal cues and tone of voice in effective communication, clients can tell when you’re just dialing it in. Become fully engaged in your profession and watch the exponentially positive effect on your relationships with both clients and others in our industry.

The way you can tell when two people are serious about one another is when they become exclusive in their relationship. Just as you would question the love of a spouse who also had a special friend, the same goes for an agent with clients who also do business with their competitors who offer the same products they have. In many cases, this can be a simple Escape (The Piña Colada Song) misunderstanding with both parties wanting different things and not realizing that the other would be open to those changes in the relationship. How often have you heard a client respond, “I didn’t know you had that insurance,” when you asked about additional coverage options for him or her? Imagine that your client has a photo of his or her agent at home and then imagine if you are in the frame alone or just part of a collage with your competitors.

The definition of our product as a commodity and overemphasis on price, has caused us to diminish the value of the importance insurance plays in the lives of our clients. Take this example:

Our personal and professional lives are a collection of the relationships we develop over the years. The breadth and depth of those relationships are defined by the conscious and consistent efforts we make to strengthen them on a daily basis. When we begin to realize that our clients look to us for so much more than just a “low price” when it comes to protecting their assets and those they love, we will move from the “friend zone” into a “forever yours” relationship. Fear has worked in the independent agency profession for more than 20 years in a variety of roles and business areas. As the owner of Premier Business Consulting, he works with companies, associations and individual agencies in the areas of agency operations, process improvement and sales proficiency to provide outstanding service for their clients. He can be reached at his website,

As a manager in an agency during the foreclosure crisis, it was mandatory that we offer renters insurance to clients who had lost their homes. Some staff saw this as just a sales maneuver when the reasoning behind it was to protect clients who were now more vulnerable than they ever have been when it came to being separated from a community (increased liability exposure); protecting their remaining assets (contents); and if their apartment was uninhabitable (loss of use); they would have protection for the cost of one night’s hotel stay. The way you communicate the hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive in protection versus the





The basics of a typical cyber‐liability policy include two types of coverage. A quick snapshot of what is included in each policy is clearly defined below.

Typical Loss Coverage Components

Typical Liability Coverage Components

Will cover costs the insured incurs to...

Will cover claim expenses and damages the insured is legally obligated to pay as a result of the following:

Breach Response/Crisis Management ‐

respond to a network or privacy breach. Includes: Breach notification, PR, forensic consultants, and credit monitoring costs

Cyber Extortion Loss ‐ respond to a threat by third party to commit a network security or privacy breach Business Interruption/Extra Expense Loss ‐ loss of income resulting from a network security breach or a network attack and extra expenses incurred to restore network to original condition

Data Loss ‐ cost to restore data destroyed or altered

as a result of a network security breach

For more information call: Adam Felton PIA Services, Inc.

Network Security Liability ‐ Provides coverage for actions that the Insured is legally liable for claims made against the Insured for a Network Security Breach Privacy Liability ‐ Provides coverage for actions that

the Insured is legally liable for claims made against the Insured for a Privacy Breach of PII, PHI or Corporate Confidential Information

Regulatory Coverage ‐ Provides coverage for actions/proceedings and fines/penalties against the Insured by a regulatory agency resulting from a violation of a Privacy Law

Website Media Content ‐ . Provides coverage for actions that the Insured is legally liable for claims made against the Insured for a Media Peril of content on the Insured’s Internet Site Professional Liability‐ . Provides coverage for acts, errors or omissions in the rendering or failure to render professional services to a client of the Insured

E&O considerations and the war on terror In selecting a topic and preparing to write our column this month, I actually had one of those so-called “A-ha” moments. Looking out of my office window in one direction (and up) I can see the observation platform and dirigible mooring mast of the Empire State Building. Looking out of the window in the other direction, I can see Herald Square and Macy’s. In addition, in between and as far as the eye can see, are literally hundreds of small businesses open every day. It is understood that New York and some of its landmarks may be a target for a terrorist attack and that any number of small businesses could be the so-called “collateral damage” of any such attack. The 1993 and Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center testify to this fact. Unfortunately, a new day seems to have dawned and places like Chattanooga, Tenn. and San Bernardino, Calif. were the venues for recent terrorist attacks. While all of these attacks have in common the dreadful consequence of death and serious injury to victims, also coming in the aftermath of any terrorist attack is the inevitable damage to property and resulting economic loss to businesses. The object of our column this month is to examine some issues in connection with insuring businesses against terrorist attacks and some strategies for ensuring that both producers and their insureds can mitigate the attendant damage to property and loss of business that can result from a terror attack.

Terrorism insurance Following the Sept. 11 attack in New York, Congress created a Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, which since its inception in 2002, has been reauthorized and extended three times. Congress enacted the most recent iteration of the program in January 2015, with the enactment of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015.1 This legislation continues the program for another six years. It is not necessary or possible to detail every element of TRIPRA in this column but in sum, TRIPRA requires that commercial insurers make coverage against terrorist acts available. Insureds may opt out of the coverage if they choose to do so. If an election to opt out is made, the insurer may reinstate an exclusion on the policy for terrorist acts. That exclusion would exclude losses resulting from so-called “certified acts of terrorism,” which are certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney General to be:


1. An act of terrorism; 2. To be a violent act or an act that is dangerous to human life, property or infrastructure; 3. To have resulted in damage within the U.S., or outside of the U.S. in the case of U.S. air carriers, vessels or missions; 4. To have been committed by an individual or individuals as part of an effort to coerce the civilian population of the U.S. or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of the U.S. government by coercion.2

case law

robert m. sullivan, esq. Senior partner, Sullivan & Klein, LLP

The original legislation creating the program back in 2002 required a foreign connection to the terrorist act such as occurred with the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11. Congress eliminated that requirement in the 2007 extension of the terrorist insurance program. In addition, in order to qualify as a “certified act of terrorism,” property/ casualty losses, in the aggregate, must exceed the sum of $5 million. If an insured decides not to elect coverage under the program and a certified act of terrorism occurs, losses sustained as a result of that terrorism are excluded from coverage subject to certain caveats depending upon in which state the loss occurs. New York and New Jersey, under state law, mandate the use of the



so-called New York Standard Fire Policy, which does not contain a terrorism exclusion for losses caused by fire. Thus, if a certified terrorist act results in a fire following the terrorist act, there is still coverage even if coverage under TRIPRA was not elected.3 Connecticut also mandates inclusion of the so-called “Standard Fire Policy” in property policies, but does allow an exclusion for loss by fire following a “certified terrorist act” if coverage under the program is not elected.4 New Hampshire and Tennessee do not mandate the use of the Standard Fire Policy and an insured who elects not to take up coverage under TRIPRA can be barred from coverage if a certified act of terrorism occurs and the resulting loss is caused by fire.5 Certainly, when most insureds determine to elect coverage under TRIPRA, they must consider their geography. For example: What are the odds of a catastrophic terrorist act in a town that could result in the threshold limit of $5 million for exclusion of coverage if coverage under the program was not elected? One could dare say, if he or she was in New York or New Jersey, and given the experience of the World Trade Center, any terrorist act also is likely to result in a fire and there still would be coverage in New York and New Jersey for a loss resulting from such a “certified terrorist act,” if terrorism coverage is not elected. However, as stated in our introduction to the column, we believe that the terrorism paradigm has now changed, especially in light of Chattanooga, San Bernardino and others. Attacks are no longer limited to big cities with iconic targets. Running airplanes into buildings and the use of explosives to cause fires are not the only chapters in the terrorist playbook. Arguments against election of coverage may no longer be valid.

The cyber consideration Apart from losses incurred by businesses due to damage to property or bodily injury, another consideration in the terrorism environment are potential losses due to acts of cyberterrorism. Again, for most midsized or small businesses, cyberattacks by foreign governments against government facilities or large corporations (e.g., SONY) do not give rise to significant concern, as they do not affect them directly. The owner of a jewelry store; a sporting goods store; a deli; or a law firm cannot fathom that some foreign government or terrorist organization would target their servers for mischief (i.e., to convince the U.S. population or its government to cease efforts to defeat terrorism or change its foreign policy in a manner favorable to the terrorists’ objectives). However, the terrorism paradigm may have changed here as well. Many businesses maintain their records, including financial records, on cloud services. While these services are extremely secure, and purportedly data is backed up, what would be the cost to that small business in attempting to recover or recreate its data if the invincible cloud services are attacked and destroyed, or access was to cease? What would the business loss component for that business be if it could not conduct its ordinary operations? In addition to attacking a third-party vendor’s facilities, what about the massive introduction of some virus or malicious code that impacts the small businesses’ servers and work-



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

stations in lieu of, or in addition to impairment of the facilities of off-site service providers? Generally, the above risks are not covered by the standard business owners’ coverages and thus there may exist a need for cyberinsurance.6 Typically, cyberinsurance policies do not have a terrorism exclusion, but they do have a war exclusion. In the modern era, even what constitutes “war” is subject to debate with at least one court case, in connection with the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, interpreted war to mean the acts of a quasisovereign entity, Al-Qaeda.7 Therefore, it is not beyond expectations that an organization such as ISIS, which actively occupies territory, has banks and a found government hierarchy to be considered a quasisovereign entity and its terrorist acts be deemed acts of war as opposed to acts of terrorism. Therefore, it is important in obtaining coverage that the war exclusion is narrow and only includes military action or incidents attendant to a formal declaration of war.

E&O strategies For the insurance producer, the now existing environment with the potential for violent acts by terrorists—both foreign and domestic— presents a number of challenges to ensure that clients have the full array of insurance coverages in the event of a terrorist attack. The general inclination of insureds to take risks to save a few pennies in terms of premiums is a constant challenge to producers. Certainly, a general reminder to all insureds who have waived coverage under TRIPRA, citing recent terrorist events, is likely to evoke a response that the producer

is being mercenary. On the other hand, if insureds have opted out of coverage, they may be taking an unreasonable risk.

engage in the practice of insurance and inquire as to potential risks faced by a potential insured. If the business has a small server or just a couple of laptops, cyberinsurance may cost more than the risk is worth. On the other hand, if the business maintains significant data and/or relies upon off-site vendors, the risk may be real and the insured will have to assess that risk. Make sure, in this regard, that any information and decisions by the insured are in writing.

Here are a few suggestions: 1. Although the burden for disclosure of coverage under the program is imposed upon insurers, highlighting the existence of the waiver of coverage with reference to both the insurer’s mandatory disclosure and the exclusion may be in order. The old days of the law imposing a duty upon an insured to read and understand what is contained in a policy has been eroded over the past several years in favor of insureds. Highlighting the terrorism exclusion and the option to secure the coverage will serve to discharge the duty, if any, on the part of the producer to advise concerning the availability of coverage. 2. On the cyberterrorism front, again it requires the producer to

In our view, assessing and properly transferring the risk of loss due to a terrorist attack is important in connection with our national resolve to continue conducting business despite the threats of terrorists. 1

Pub. L. 114-1, 129 Stat. 3

See Terrorism Risk Insurance Program–Renewed and Restructured–Insurance Information Institute–April, 2015


See No. 2 above, Department of Banking and Insurance–Bulletin-07-25; New York State Department of Financial Services–Insurance Circular Letter No. 2 (2015), Opinion of General Counsel June 23, 2003


See Connecticut Department of Insurance–Bulletin PC-76, Feb. 5, 2015; see also Conn. Gen. Stat. §38a-307(a)



See 2 above; ISO Commercial Lines Forms Filing CL-2007-OTRP-1

See When Terrorists Attack Online, Is Cyber-Insurance Enough? Matthew Sturdevant, Hartford Courant–Jan. 26, 2015; see also In Re: September 11 Litigation, 931 F.Supp.2d 496 (S.D.N.Y., 2013) 6

See Are Cyber War & Cyber Terrorism Insurable? Alba Alessandro, Esq.– Hodgson Russ, LLP–Feb. 10, 2015





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Readers’ service and advertising index ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰ ‰‰

11 Amerisafe 15 Arlington/Roe 26 Consumers Insurance USA 7 EMC Insurance 2 MidSouth Mutual Insurance Co. 30 M.J. Kelly of Tennessee BC PIA Branding Program 10 PIA Magazine 14 PIATN Agency E&O

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28 21, 25 22 27 20 8 13 9 30

PIATN CE Partnership PIATN Convention PIATN Cyber-Liability PIATN DocIT for Agents PIATN Education—CPIA PIATN/Penn National PIATN Trust Insurance Plans Summit Utica National Insurance Group

Name____________________________________________________________________ Agency___________________________________________________________________ Address__________________________________________________________________ City/town________________________________ State____________ ZIP_____________ Phone____________________________________________________________________ Check advertisers of interest, complete form and mail to: PIATN magazine • 504 Autumn Springs Court, Suite A-2 • Franklin, TN • 37067



Professional Insurance Agents magazine


PIATN officers and directors OFFICERS




Bekah Hutsenpiller Marketing Coordinator (615) 771-1177

President Bill Richards, CPIA, LUTCF Community Insurance Greeneville, TN (423) 638-1422

June Taylor, CIC, CPIA, CPIW, DAE Wilkinson Insurance Agency White House, TN (615) 672-4439

President-Elect Mike Tansil My Team Insurance Services, LLC Murfreesboro, TN (615) 400-7367

Llew Boyd Southern Insurance Associates Chattanooga, TN (423) 296-0626

Vice President Greg Augustine, CPIA The Augustine Insurance Group Clarksville, TN (931) 503-0015 Secretary Herbert Montgomery Clay and Land Insurance Memphis, TN (901) 767-3600, ext. 107 Treasurer Chris Mills, CPCU, CIC Mills Insurance Agency Nashville, TN (615) 620-4452 Immediate Past President John Keisling, CPIA, CISR Keilsing Insurance Agency Byrdstown, TN (931) 864-3116

Adam Cox, CPIA Adler & Cox, Inc. Chattanooga, TN (423) 877-3536 Tom Gernt, CPIA Art E. Gernt Insurance Inc. Crossville, TN (931) 484-3448 Anna Lima-Montgomery, CPIA Montgomery & Associates LLC Brentwood, TN (615) 829-8457 Mike Morat Mike Morat Insurance Services Memphis, TN (901) 363-8588 Dedric Pearson, CPIA Pete Mitchell & Associates Inc. Memphis, TN (901) 345-6176 Jeff Puckett Boyle Insurance Agency Inc. Franklin, TN (615) 567-8000

Kristopher Fisher Director of Member Services (615) 771-1177

Pam Cass Executive Administrator (615) 771-1177

The PIA Branding Program

Advertising that helps set PIA members apart from — and above — their competition. �������������� ���������������

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Local advertising for Local Agents Serving Main Street America


How does a Professional Insurance Agent separate himself or herself from the pack in a crowded insurance marketplace? Simple. By taking advantage of PIA’s new print advertising program.

Best of all, this powerful branding tool is available free and exclusively to PIA members, as part of their PIA membership. Company sponsorship of the PIA Branding Program is also free.

PIA has created a series of ten print advertisements that PIA members can run in local publications or print as flyers. These ads focus on the combination of choice and personal support and service that make PIA members Local Agents Serving Main Street America.

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These attractive ads can be customized with agency logos and contact information and (optionally) a company logo. There are four general agency ads, two homeowners ads, two auto ads and two commercial lines ads, with numerous variations, sizes, color as well as black and white ads, making a total of 227 ads in all.

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