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wArd-winning A 

Spring 2017 • Tennessee

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Reach the next geneRation Take advantage of the opportunities

next geneRation 9

Next generation of hires


Build a winning team


Marketing strategies

Stepping Forward to Serve Clients MidSouth Mutual has provided quality Workers’ Compensation insurance and services to agents and their clients since 1995. Every step of the way, the company has moved forward to provide exceptional service and expanded coverage areas across the Southeast.

MidSouth Mutual provides strength, reliability and value to agents and their clients through quality products, forward-leaning loss control and superior claims services.

Examples of clients we serve include: HVAC Contractors




Building Suppliers




Dozing Services


Dry Wallers


Road Contractors




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 04 In brief March 2017 Spring 2017••Vermont Tennessee

09 Legal 23 Sales 26 Readers’ service and advertising index 27 Officers and directors directory

Cover story 12 Reach the next generation Take advantage of the opportunities

Feature 19 Build a winning team Engage millennial employees with competitive kindness

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-3, 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 Roberta Lawrence

In brief

platinum partner profile

AmTrust North America 1014 Harness Circle

third nationwide in SNL Financial’s April 2016 workers’ comp market share report, and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol AFSI.

Gallatin, TN 37066

The property/casualty lines of coverage offered by AmTrust include workers’ comp, BOP, property, employers’ practices liability, commercial auto general liability, garage and inland marine. These lines also have been customized to fit the auto service repair, financial institution, lumber, nonprofit, restaurant and transportation sectors.

Philosophy Senior executives Joel Alligood, regional vice president Dorothy Howell, regional sales director for the southeast region

Tennessee staff Chuck Allen CLU, ChFC, regional sales manager (615) 420-0574

History AmTrust North America is a national insurance carrier with an “A” (Excellent) FSC “XIV” rating by A.M. Best. The company provides a broad suite of business insurance products, including workers’ compensation and niche commercial lines coverage for small- and medium-sized businesses. With extensive underwriting experience, AmTrust has earned a reputation as an innovative, technology driven provider of insurance products. AmTrust was ranked



AmTrust’s philosophy is: “AmTrust has multistate capability, multitiered pricing and multiline capability, combined with exceptional customer service and a dedicated staff of insurance professionals, who all share the same vision. Insurance is our product, customer service is our business. “By visiting AmTrust Online at our website, insurance agents can make a submission or check their clients’ policy information at any time, day or night. More than 350 business classes are eligible for coverage nationwide under our wide-ranging underwriting appetite. “To better serve the unique needs of policyholders, AmTrust offers an extensive selection of flexible payment plans, including PAYO® (Pay-As-You-Owe®), direct debit/ EFT, credit card, electronic check and monthly or quarterly installments. Our dedicated team of loss-control professionals also stands ready with workplace safety advice and support for business owners, while our Claims Reporting Center is open 24/7 when accidents inevitably occur.” For more information about AmTrust, visit or call (877) 528-7878.

Professional Insurance Agents magazine

platinum partner profile

CMS Insurance Service Inc. Ripley, West Virginia

Insurance was born and a unique philosophy was created out of need within their own agency. The “CMS philosophy,” coupled with a strong desire to help other independent agents, has made CMS what it is today.


CMS Insurance Service Inc. writes business in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Montana.

Senior executives Conn Johnson, CEO Mark Johnson, president/COO

Tennessee staff Tyler Siddens, regional marketing manager (270) 991-3994

History Conn and Joyce Johnson began an independent insurance agency—Johnson Insurance Agency—in a small town in West Virginia more than 40 years ago. Johnson Insurance is a family-owned agency that was created from the ground up. The knowledge and perspective gained from these “real-world-insurance” experiences provided the inspiration for CMS Insurance Service Inc. Conn and Joyce understood the real challenges and true needs surrounding the independent agency system; thus, CMS

According to CMS Insurance: “Our mission is to help support and perpetuate the independent agency system in a manner consistent with principles based on fairness and integrity. We are committed to the growth and retention of the family-owned independent agency. “We are a general agency; however, we are not a broker. We partner with agencies to provide markets whereby you are the agent and you own your book of business. It is important to distinguish that anyone can ‘provide markets,’ but it’s how we do business at CMS that makes us different— our unique philosophy and straight-forward approach to compensation is what truly sets us apart. In addition to providing markets, we offer the following specialized programs: commercial consulting; performance-based compensation (for agency owners); and agency perpetuation and other related programs targeting profitability/ growth/stability. “Whether you are competing with the agency down the street; looking for additional markets; searching for ways to compete in an ever-changing marketplace or just trying to become more profitable, we can help you with our unique system of programs designed specifically for the independent agent. We’ve been helping independent agents, just like you, for more than 30 years! We are proud to be family-owned and proud of what we strive to represent—give us the opportunity to help your agency and let us demonstrate what makes us different.”

“Our agency has enjoyed doing business with CMS for the past nine years. As an agent, it is comforting to do business with an honest, reliable and family-oriented company. CMS understands the needs of agents … We are thankful for our business partnership with CMS.”—Gina Tynes-Hocker, agent, Family Insurance



platinum partner profile

Mountain Empire Agency Alliance 1524 Bridgewater Lane

by Keith Sims, the owner of Price & Ramey. Since 2008, MEAA has been one of the fastest growing master agencies in the entire nation.

Kingsport, TN 37660 (866) 264-1292

Senior executives Keith Sims, chief executive officer Aaron Hammons, director of member services Aaron Sims, vice president of business development

Tennessee staff Beth Roe, regional vice president recruiting NC/TN/ VA,, (423) 612-0683 Robert Wells, Middle/West TN territory manager,, (615) 519-9885

History Mountain Empire Agency Alliance is a master agency in the largest network of independent insurance agencies in the world, SIAA, Strategic Independent Agency Alliance. We are not a broker, cluster, or aggregator. Our members retain ownership of their agency, and retain their direct contracts with the carriers. SIAA is home to more than 5,500 member agencies that collectively write in excess of $6 billion dollars in premium through some of the most popular and sought after carriers (e.g., Nationwide, Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco, Liberty Mutual and Grange). MEAA is operated through the Price & Ramey Group in Kingsport, Tenn., which opened its doors in 1914. In 2008, SIAA approached Price & Ramey and encouraged the agency to join SIAA as a master agency by starting and managing the Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina territories. Within a few months, MEAA was formed



MEAA is now home to more than 100 fully independent member agencies that currently write more than $200 million in premium throughout the region. Mountain Empire attributes its success to its outstanding member agencies, unrivaled support and additional services to their members and the stellar SIAA model of distribution and growth. In fact, at the 2015 annual MEAA meeting, Mountain Empire distributed more than $2.5 million dollars in excess profit-sharing and growth bonuses to its members. That $2.5 million is money that is aboveand-beyond normal commissions received by MEAA members from their carrier appointments. Members’ commissions are never touched by MEAA/ SIAA, unlike many other networks. MEAA brings additional revenue through quarterly bonuses, local and national level profit-sharing, preferred commission schedules, and even growth bonuses, all with no minimum premium requirements. Moreover, MEAA brings direct access to more than 27 of the nation’s top carriers with reduced appointment requirements. Finally, MEAA offers the Training and Learning Center including continuing-education credits, mentoring, stability and assists members with everything from buying books of business; agency management systems; conventional and digital marketing resources; and even daily operations such as hiring new employees or marketing campaigns.

Appetite MEAA looks for prospective dedicated agencies that want to grow, larger agencies that are interested in additional revenue sources, and we have the resources with SIAA’s Foundation Program to help an experienced agent build and agency from scratch. If you are interested joining MEAA/SIAA, please give Robert or Beth a call, and you can also visit our website at

Professional Insurance Agents magazine

Responsive, Not Lethargic Niche Workers’ Compensation and Commercial Line Coverages for Main Street America Get started with an agency appointment application at


EMC does more than handle claims, we score them. Information gathered from adjusters and customers provides us with metrics to continually enhance the quality and promptness of EMC’s claims handling. It’s just one of the many reasons policyholders Count on EMC ®. SANDI DIXON, CPCU, AU Commercial Lines Underwriting Manager EMC Birmingham Branch



BIRMINGHAM BRANCH OFFICE Phone: 800-239-2005 | Home Office: Des Moines, IA © Copyright Employers Mutual Casualty Company 2017. All rights reserved.

The Millennial Falcon Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines diversity as an old, old wooden ship used during the Civil War. Wait. That is not correct. Diversity actually is defined as, “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements—especially the inclusion of different types of people.” One of my favorite parts of my job (besides working Star Wars references into my articles) is that I get to travel around the PIA territory attending meetings and seeing members. In my travels, I have noticed the many differences and similarities our members in different geographic regions face. One similarity that exists everywhere is the desire of agency principals to hire a diverse workforce. Particularly, agents want to find new insurance professionals in the millennial generation. There seems to be a lack of millennials in the insurance workforce right now and it seems as though everyone is clamoring to engage these potential employees. Of course, saying you are looking for youth is different than finding it. Finding these employees can present some unique legal problems for agencies that are not careful.

What’s my age again? The biggest issue agencies can run into is discrimination—particularly age discrimination. Let’s just get this out there: Discrimination is bad, don’t do it. The problem is, some employers might be guilty of discrimination without even realizing it. This is particularly true of age discrimination when a poorly worded wanted ad can lead to a discrimination suit. Age discrimination involves treating someone—whether a job applicant or an employee—less favorably because of his or her age. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 1967, which made it illegal to discriminate against people who are age 40 or older. Under the ADEA, it is illegal to discriminate, based on age, when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. The ADEA is comprehensive; for this article, I want to focus on discrimination in the hiring process. The ADEA prohibits statements or specifications in job notices or advertisements of age preference and limitations. An exception to the rule exists in circumstances when age is a bona-fide occupational qualification. However, it is unlikely that such a qualification exists in the insurance industry.

So what does this mean for you? What should you not put in a job advertisement? The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for the enforcement of the ADEA, has found terms such as “recent college graduate,” “young,” and “college student” violate the ADEA and constitute age discrimination. We can assume using the term “millennial” would elicit a similar ruling from the EEOC. In addition, advertisements containing a ceiling for experience may be considered to be discriminatory (e.g., an ad that requests applicants with no more than three years of experience might be construed to deter older, more experienced applicants from applying for the job). It is important to avoid using such terms and experience requirements. A better strategy might be to state that no experience is required or to use terms like energetic and entrylevel position.


bradford j. lachut, esq. Government affairs counsel, PIA Management Services

It is important to note the ADEA only applies to those who are 40 and older and only to employers with 20 or more employees. However, many states have enacted similar laws covering employers with fewer than 20 employees and applicants and employees of younger ages. New York and Vermont both have age discrimination laws covering individuals 18 years or older. The



New York law covers employers with four or more employees. While the Vermont law covers all public and private employers. New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Tennessee have all passed age discrimination laws as well. Each state has retained the ADEA’s 40-yearold age level or is silent on the issue. Each of these state’s laws cover more employers than the ADEA. The New Jersey law covers all employers regardless of size. New Hampshire covers employers with six or more employees while Connecticut covers employers with three or more employees and Tennessee covers employers with eight or more employees.

What happened to MySpace Tom? Age discrimination isn’t the only issue of which employers should be mindful. Another easy trap to fall into involves social media. Around the time Gangnam Style by Psy was the biggest song in the country, there was a movement among some employers to ask job applicants for their passwords to social-networking sites. While only a small number of employers participated in this practice, it generated publicity and discussion in the media. In response, numerous state legislatures took action by either proposing or passing legislation restricting this practice. Since then, nearly every state has considered some form of legislation to prohibit employers from requiring applicants to turn over their socialmedia passwords—most attempts to do so have failed. However, some states have passed measures to address this practice, including Vermont, Connecticut and Tennessee. Vermont passed a law to establish a committee to look at this issue in 2013. The committee issued a report in 2014, but ultimately, it could not reach a consensus on the issue of social-network privacy provisions and was unable to make a recommendation for proposed legislation. The state has not examined the issue again. Connecticut and Tennessee were both successful in passing legislation to bar the practice of requesting passwords. In both states, it is illegal for an employer to: • request an employee or applicant’s social-media passwords; • require an employee or applicant to access their social-media accounts in front of the employer; or • require an employee or applicant to invite an employer or accept an invitation from the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee or applicant (i.e., an employer can’t force an employee to friend him or her on Facebook). It also is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee or applicant for refusing to comply with any of the above requests. If you are not from Connecticut or Tennessee, you might be thinking: “I can be creepy and demand my employees’ friend me on Facebook!” While this would be true (legally), there are consequences of asking for an applicant’s password or utilizing social-networking sites as part of a background search.



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

If an agency uses these practices in its hiring process, it risks losing talented applicants. Privacy is important to people and job applicants may refuse to reveal their passwords even if they have nothing to hide. Applicants may decide they would prefer to withdraw their application from consideration rather than sacrifice their privacy. Further, it may harm the company’s ability to attract applicants in the future. Just as the internet can be a tool for an employer to research an applicant, it also can be a tool for an applicant to research an employer. Any negative feedback concerning a company’s hiring process could affect its ability to attract qualified applicants. Employers also must be concerned with the morale of their current staff. A “Big Brother” policy on social-networking sites in the hiring process may have employees looking over their shoulders and wondering how long until their employer starts to monitor their social-networking activities. None of this should read as an attempt to discourage agencies from seeking out young, diverse professionals. Attracting and hiring young and diverse individuals into the insurance industry is vital to the growth and survival of the trade. It is just important to remember to avoid some of the pitfalls discussed above so you stay out of trouble. Remember, diversity is not actually an old, old wooden ship. Lachut is PIA’s Management Services’ government affairs counsel.

Safety First! When it comes to keeping your clients’ employees protected on the job, you need more than an insurance company,



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Professional Insurance Agents magazine

Dan WeeDin, CiC, CRM President, Toro Consulting

Reach the next generation


Take advantage of the opportunities

he next generation of both clients and employees has arrived. Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunity? I’ve written three books in my career. While that fact is not relevant to help your agency sell more insurance, the concept of whom you write a book for and to whom you sell insurance is applicable.



When I was coached on how to write a book, it was hammered into me to address the reader as the person who would be my ideal client 12 months in the future. The reason is simple: It takes a year to publish a book commercially. By the time it finally makes it into a reader’s hands, it is important that the subject is relevant. To that end, I had to strategize to identify what my ideal client would look like in one year. It might sound overly simplistic, but it’s not. My ideal client has changed drastically over the years due to shifts and re-inventions in my business. Professional, independent insurance agencies also change and reshape their focus and target markets. The world is more volatile and the straightforward act of selling insurance has completely changed since I first became an agent nearly 30 years ago. Technology, shifts and changes in risk, movement of insurers, innovation in industries and ease of doing business are all factors. If you’re not identifying who your ideal client is in five to 10 years (or maybe even more), you may become as obsolete as the author of a book for the wrong audience.

Identify your ideal client You probably can rattle off exactly to whom you want to sell insurance to today. But, what about in three years, five years, 10 years from now? Your insurance buyers of tomorrow are likely college students today. Maybe they are in their first jobs in corporate America. Heck, for all you know they still live in their parents’ basements.

The problem I see with insurance agencies is too many of them think tomorrow’s ideal client will look like today’s version. After all, that’s pretty much been true over the past decades. There are three main reasons that is changing radically: 1. Ease of entry into entrepreneurship. Technology makes owning your own business easier to start and develop. Young people don’t have to earn their stripes for a decade working “for the man.” They can be innovative and start their own thing. 2. New replaces old. Old standard businesses are closing because new businesses are being introduced. My book of business used to include privately owned video stores and office-supply stores. Technology and consumer need are creating new and innovative types of business.

PO $ N LI 150 EW For Dwelling Fire/Mobile Home Insurance, put your trust in CY L ,00 IM 0 a company that has been insuring homes for over 50 years. IT S National Security Can Provide You With: • $150,000 MAXIMUM POLICY LIMITS • AAIS Basic Form 1 Policy • Direct Contract with National Security • 15% New & Renewal Commission • Partnership Profit Sharing • Fast Online Policy Issuance • Tenant Schedule Option • Easy Payment Options National Security has provided competitive, affordable insurance to policyholders for over 50 years, but we also provide a lot for our agents, with competitive commissions, excellent customer service and experienced company adjusters. As an admitted Southeastern based regional company, National Security prides itself on fast, efficient service from a friendly small town company, and online access for all agents, providing fast quotes, online policy issuance, online dec page printing, and real-time policy information. Find out more by calling Sharon at 1-800-239-2358 x213 or visit



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

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3. They are stealth. Bricks-andmortar businesses are under siege. Home-based business, coworking facilities and cloud-run businesses are cloaking prospective buyers. In an era of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions and cyberinsurance sales, traditional independent agencies must strategize to identify future clients and begin to make changes in their marketing and hiring to stay relevant and not go the way of the video store.

Back to the future An era of consolidation is not a dire situation for the small agent. In fact, it’s a tremendous opportunity. Contrary to popular opinion, millennials (i.e., your future clients) thrive in building relationships. While they

are technological, there is a deep need to have a personal relationship and that’s what you’ve been doing for years. Conventional wisdom says you need to be digital; however, when doing so ditching relationships is foolish. Here is my Seven-Step Strategy you can implement immediately to help your agency take advantage of this “new frontier:” 1. Recruit-hire-mentor. This is the Holy Grail for all industries, especially insurance agencies. Finding young talent is hard, but not impossible. Start by including a “Careers” section on your website. Make it interesting and interactive. I promise you prospective employees are silently interviewing you online. The insurance industry can’t afford to be viewed as old and stuffy. Start a summer intern program. Get people working in noninsurance activities (e.g., social media, technology and research). Introduce them to the value of insurance outside of sales. Aggressively seek out young people and once hired, then mentor them. Gone are the days of throwing them to the wolves. If you want to keep them and return your investment, then invest in a formal program of mentoring to accelerate their growth. 2. Change your face. Once you’ve started hiring people under 30 years of age, then utilize what they bring to the table. Query them on how their peers buy insurance; what they seek out in professional relationships; how they get their information; and how they are influenced. These young people have skills your veterans don’t have, so it would behoove you to have them teach you. The face of your business (e.g., your employees, your office and your marketing) should not be dated.

Solid. Strong. Steady. Our products put us ahead, but our people set us apart. Our expertise is your advantage. We provide independent agents with diverse markets, competitive rates, quality service, and real solutions like in-house financing. We want to be the first call or click you make and the last managing general agents and surplus lines brokers you’ll ever need. M. J. Kelly Company-Arkansas 800.873.8374 I

Finance with BARCO, M. J. Kelly’s premium in-house financing.



3. Make your website interactive. While personal relationships are important, so is ease of contact. What resources can you make available to your clients online? Can they request document sharing for ease of auto identification cards; certificates of insurance; or actual policies? How about offering an online chat option? While you might need to invest in an agent to monitor the website and its services, I doubt the responsibilities would be overwhelming and it will add value to your agency. Finally, add photos for your employees including LinkedIn profile links, direct email and phone links. 4. Use social-media marketing. Invest in marketing with advertisements. Hire a social-media expert to help you create campaigns on Facebook and other platforms to target those ideal future clients today. You can take advantage of cutting-edge visuals, videos and targeted messages. This will return a greater investment than putting your face on a grocerystore shopping cart or even small ads on the online version of your local newspaper. Don’t try this by yourself; there are experts who can return better results and more than pay for their services. 5. Think outside the box. It seems few agencies are interested in small and start-up businesses because of lower levels of commission income. If I were an agency owner today, I’d find a young producer interested in seeking out entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, start-up technology, etc. Maybe they can develop their own program. What starts small often gets much bigger and desirable.

Why not start on the ground floor? There will be less competition and you can cross-sell personal and life insurances. Get cozy with private-equity investors and see what is out there as an opportunity. 6. Stop selling, start helping. Your new prospects can smell a pitch from a mile away. This is when you educate your agents to focus on a value proposition, not a sales pitch. Regardless of the line of insurance (e.g., personal or commercial), be laser-focused on how you are improving the condition of the other person. If sales people (and you) are focused on contingencies, company relationships and bonuses, then you’ll be chasing business and your tail for years.

EXPLORE THE BENEFITS OF THE CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENT DESIGNATION Earn E&O credit while earning Tenn. credit. Plot your course below. CPIA 1: POSITION FOR SUCCESS Feb. 22, 2017 — Knoxville, TN April 25, 2017 — Nashville, TN

The CPIA program is an excellent way to earn your state‑mandated CE credits; participants need not pursue the designation to receive CE credit. The CPIA designation is approved by Utica Mutual for E&O loss prevention credit. This credit is applied once the designation is achieved. To earn the designation, developed by the American Insurance Marketing and Sales Society, candidates are required to  complete all three, one‑day Insurance Success Seminars (in any order.) Participants leave with fresh ideas that will produce results.

CPIA 2: IMPLEMENT FOR SUCCESS April 26, 2017 — Nashville, TN




April 27, 2017 — Nashville, TN Sept. 20, 2017 — Memphis, TN



: 8:45 a.m.; Class 9 a.m-5 p.m.

REGISTRATION FEES $135/$142 for members; $175/$182 for non‑members, per session. Registration fee includes refreshments, instruction & materials.


To register, call PIA at (800) 875-7428 or log on to



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

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7. The errors of commission. Commissioned sales leads to pushy producers; self-centered thinking; increased errors and omissions; and often desperation. Research indicates sales professionals are more confident when they aren’t panicked about eating. Just like command-andcontrol leadership tactics no longer work well in corporate environments, commissioned sales in insurance are no longer the best future for privately owned small independent agencies. You’re more likely to find young professionals eager to sell insurance if the focus is on building strong relationships and delivering value to their peers.

Rinse and repeat Use the seven steps in this article and make them your agency’s annual strategic activity. You must look forward and implement now for ongoing change in the future. If small, privately held independent agencies are going to survive in the 21st century, they need to adapt, change and innovate. Sticking to 20th century practices in recruiting and training employees; seeking out new business; and retaining clients is a certain way to being acquired by a larger public brokerage. There is a place for traditional agencies as long as they break free from tradition and embrace the new opportunities for profitable growth. The time to begin making changes is now, because the future is today. Your opportunity to build your business is to infinity and beyond. Weedin is a Seattle-based consultant working with privately held businesses that want to dramatically grow and prosper. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance industry as a commercial producer and consultant. He’s authored three books, with the latest titled, Unleashed Leadership. He can be reached at (360) 271-1592 or


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



Doing The Right Thing Since 1964

The Roe Family

Patrick, Jim, Katie and Andy

It’s the right thing to do. To keep your agency relevant, you just need the right products and the right people. Our team of dedicated and attentive professionals can help you fill the gaps in your insurance offerings, providing more opportunities for sales. The more you get to know us, the more you’ll see the possibilities.

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jennifer dawson Contributor, xocial

Build a winning team Engage millennial employees with competitive kindness

Millennials are the largest cohort in today’s workplaces and the least engaged generation of employees—a situation insurance professionals recognize as a problem. However, professional, independent insurance agents can give millennials a reason to come to work by using competitive kindness—a new approach to employee engagement that blends competition and altruism in a way that makes everyone a winner. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, millennials will account for almost half of U.S. employees by 2025. (They’re already 60 percent of the global workforce at Big Four accounting giant Ernst & Young.) But, a recent Gallup poll tells us only 29 percent of millennials are engaged at work. And, 16 percent of them may be actively sabotaging your business. For professional, independent insurance professionals, these issues may be even more pressing. The average age of insurance agents today, according to McKinsey & Co., is 59. Twenty-five percent of them will retire by 2018. It’s these older insurance professionals, and not the new millennial hires, who feel the most positive about the insurance industry, according to a study published in 2012.

Whether this is a human-resources disaster or a business blessing in disguise depends on what you do about it. Here’s our best tip to get—and keep—your millennial employees performing to their full potential.

What millennials want Leadership opportunities breed loyalty. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, 66 percent of all millennial employees and 57 percent of millennials in senior positions expect to have moved on to another job by 2020. Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of those who plan to leave their current employer in the next two years say they’re unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed. Good employers are good corporate citizens. Corporate social responsibility is important to millennials. The 2016 Millennial Employee Engagement Study by Cone Communications indicates almost two-thirds (64 percent) of millennials won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong corporate social-responsibility commitments. Three-quarters of millennials would work for a more responsible company, even if it meant a pay



cut. In comparison, around half of U.S. employees overall factor corporate social responsibility into their employment decisions. Wanted: A home for digital natives. Millennials are the first generation to enter the workforce with a better understanding of technology compared to their bosses. In a 2016 Microsoft survey, 93 percent of millennials said the latest technology was an important factor when choosing their employer. In a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, 73 percent of millennials said access to their preferred technology makes them more effective at work. As an interesting aside, Facebook’s research shows millennials check their smartphones an average of 157 times a day. Yes, there is an ‘I’ in team. Gamification and team-building activities are popular among millennials, who seek interesting workplace experiences and opportunities to get to know their co-workers in a fun way. A poll by The Go Game, a San Francisco-based team-building business, showed 79 percent of millennials felt team and culture-building activities helped retain talent, compared to 46 percent of baby boomers. Millennials, raised on participation medals and gold stars, thrive on rewards and recognition in the workplace. In a 2015 online article, David Coons, vice president of insurance industry talent provider, The Jacobson Group, suggests insurance companies appeal to millennials by “embrac[ing] a mindset of ‘everybody gets a trophy’ where the trophy recognizes achievements at all levels, not just the standard ‘win.’”

The small biz advantage There is a lot for millennials to love about small- and medium-sized workplaces—it’s simply a matter of spreading the news to compete with the recruitment budgets and fancy benefit plans of bigger employers. For example, smaller businesses have fewer barriers between senior and junior staff and more opportunities for meaningful in-the-moment feedback and informal mentorship. The new recruit can be on a team with a director or vice president during work hours, then play in the afterwork Ultimate Frisbee league with his or her bosses. That’s not so likely at a company with 500 employees. Decisions can be made more quickly in smaller workplaces. This allows millennial employees to have their

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Professional Insurance Agents magazine

voices heard on subjects they care about—technology, transparency, corporate giving, social activities, flexible work schedules—and they can see fast action on their feedback. Millennials expect their employers to help them develop their skills. They’re quick climbers and smaller businesses have a shorter ladder for them to scale, plus opportunities for formal and informal cross-training will help them expand their skill set and enlarge their work experience.

Competitive kindness So what’s the best tip for small businesses looking to engage and retain their millennial employees? A promising new approach is competitive kindness: a way to channel the universal human drive to be the best into actions that make the world a better place. Competitive kindness appeals to the millennial’s desire for individual recognition and drive to make a difference. It blends the best of team building, game-playing and giving back. A business that makes its competitive kindness initiative digital has the all-important technology piece covered, too. For millennials, making a difference isn’t exclusively about money. Simply passing around the proverbial cup for charitable donations won’t cut it to get millennial employees fully invested in a cause or committed to a company’s culture. Rather, they need to see a direct, hands-on connection with the problem, issue or goal being addressed. Millennials are looking for experiences. They’re looking for fun. They’re looking for new. And they’re motivated to give of themselves and their talents—not just their money.

One online platform, xocial (pronounced soh-shuhl) brings competitive kindness to businesses and organizations of all sizes, making it fun and simple to engage millennial employees to achieve corporate responsibility goals and build a socially conscious, cause-minded company culture. To initiate a campaign, a company simply sets up a xocial page to promote a particular goal or cause of its own choosing. The company also specifies various “challenges” employees can complete to earn points in support of the campaign’s goal or cause. For example, if a company’s goal is to improve staff health, challenges might include skipping the elevator and taking the stairs, drinking eight glasses of water a day, or taking an exercise class during lunch. As challenges are completed, points are tallied and a leaderboard is displayed on the company’s campaign profile page. Visitors to the page—not just employees, but customers and potential customers—can see what the company and its employees have accomplished. Whether a small business works with third-party solutions or creates its own in-house program to engage millennials using competitive kindness, it’s an opportunity to strengthen corporate culture; connect teams using technology; inspire leadership; and enhance corporate social-responsibility programs—all things millennials say matter to them—without a big investment in infrastructure or time. In short, it’s goodness delivered as a game—and in the eyes of a millennial, that might be as good as it gets. Dawson is a freelance writer and community activist who has covered subjects as diverse as community gardens, industrial insulation and men’s socks. To find out more about xocial, visit

Millennials and the industry Turns out millennials don’t know a whole lot about the insurance industry. A 2012 survey by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and The Institutes found 42 percent of millennials said they were “not at all familiar” with the insurance industry and 36 percent said they were “not too familiar” with it. Forty-one percent of millennials said they were “not at all interested” in an insurance career, compared to 46 percent of older respondents. Asked to explain their lack of interest, 54 percent of millennials said they didn’t want to sell insurance and 44 percent said the industry “sounds boring.” Interestingly, more than twice as many millennials as older respondents said they were “very interested” in the idea of working in the insurance industry (9 percent versus 4 percent).



2017 PIA of Tennessee Convention Join us for the Annual Convention in Pigeon Forge,TN June 22nd-23rd. To make your stay memorable and beneficial there will be many fun activities, opportunities for professional development/CE, and networking. Register and reserve your hotel TODAY at

Why businesses can’t get marketing right Marketing rarely fails because of a lack of interest, ideas or even adequate resources. However, it always fails when it doesn’t turn prospective buyers into believers. Marketing derails when it’s little more than a series of loosely strung together and uncoordinated “tactics”—email campaigns, promotions, presentations, blogs, social-media engagements, charitable support, newsletters, collateral pieces, webinars, events and all the other stuff intended to get the message out to the intended audience. While this is a high activity picture, it’s also a fruitless one. However, it helps to explain why marketing budgets are cut and market managers last a year or two before they move on to another business, where the story is repeated. There’s another way to look at marketing: Helping customers enhance their lives and fulfill their aspirations. When someone makes a purchase—large or small—it’s as if they’re saying, “I believe.” Far more than spending money, they are putting their trust in a business or a brand.

Make marketing work So, what will make marketing work for your professional, independent insurance agency? What should you do to get its marketing on the right track and keep it there? You can find the answer if you ask the right questions. Question 1: What’s your message? Does your agency have one that your employees can verbalize if they are asked? Most importantly, could your customers express it? Like so many other businesses, you may be letting others define your message. If so, it’s time to take charge. That begins with asking questions and gathering information. Here are a few starters: Why should anyone want to do business with you?; What sets your company apart from the competition, if anything?; and What are your customers’ complaints? What do they like about you? How do you know what your customers think about you? Ask them. Get on the phone, use surveys or go see some of them in person. They’ll get excited to see you, instead of an invoice. By now, you may have figured out that marketing has nothing to do with your company or what it sells. Marketing is 100 percent about what customers want and what’s in it for them. To put it bluntly: If you talk about your company, visitors will run. Why? They care about themselves. We can learn from companies with a customer-focused message: (e.g., Walmart: Save money. Live better.;

Toyota: Let’s go places.; Burger King: Made to order.; and Capital One: What’s in your wallet?)


john graham Principal, GrahamComm

Now, take it a step further. Focus on what’s important to your customers, such as responsiveness, transparency, ease of access, keeping promises, helpfulness and caring. Next, come up with four or five customer-focused messages. Then, survey your clients and prospects, asking them to select the message that best represents your agency. You will gain valuable information, and let them know you care. Question 2: What’s your strategy? Once you’ve developed a compelling marketing message, the next task is to decide how to deliver it to customers and prospects. In other words, how do you go about pulling them closer, so they want to do business with you? Here are possible components of a marketing plan. Each one has its own strategy and customer-focused content: Social marketing. Choose and nurture the social-media platforms that work best for your agency. Don’t dilute your efforts by trying to be everywhere. Explore Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Yelp.



eNewsletters. Capture interest by sharing your knowledge and experience, as well as customer testimonials, along with periodic helpful alerts.

Agency E&O



Events, webinars and podcasts. Make sure the content is customer-focused. Group presentations. Identify and contact relevant groups, along with asking customers for suggestions. Charitable support. Partner with a charity that will allow you to leverage your agency’s capabilities and make it your corporate mission.



Advertising. Both online and print ads do well if your choices are well researched. Consider Facebook advertising. Website. Your website is a resource to attract clients. Focus the content on their interests, what they want to learn, not what you want to sell. Bylined articles. Demonstrate your competence with both short pieces and longer articles. Post on LinkedIn and send to trade and general online and print publications.

has a market for your agency and specific risk

Videos. Create videos that are 45 to 90 seconds long. They can include demonhas a market for your a market your strations and customer testimonials, buthas avoid talking for heads.

agency and specific risk

agency and specific risk

If you think such a list is daunting, you’re right. First, address the tactics that are most critical to your agency. Then, set realistic deadlines for implementing new initiatives. Question 3: How can you keep your marketing on track? Marketing tactics often begin with enthusiasm, but quickly fade away. This happens when the purpose isn’t clear. Keep asking, “Why are we doing this?” and “Is it helping us pull customers and prospects closer to the agency?” If the answer is “no,” evaluate and make changes to your plan—this will keep your initiatives on track. Remember: The effects of marketing are cumulative, not instantaneous. Sure, early adopters are quick to jump aboard, but it takes more time for others. They want to be sure before they buy and that doesn’t happen quickly. Unfortunately, too many marketers fall into the trap of quitting too soon. What’s important is being there when customers are ready to buy. Even so, competitors are always ready to strike, and that’s why consistency is marketing’s “secret juice” that goes a long way in bulletproofing customers. When customers know why they are doing business with you, they stay with you. They also are more likely to make referrals to people they know. There’s no magic to marketing and there are no gimmicks. Marketing delivers the right results when it pulls customers closer so you can understand them and they can appreciate why doing business with you makes good sense— their way of saying, “I believe.” Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales strategy consultant and business writer. He is the creator of Magnet Marketing and publishes a free monthly eBulletin No Nonsense Marketing & Sales Ideas. Contact him at jgraham@, (617) 774-9759 or

Contact Kristopher Fisher 800-875-7428



[EDITOR’S NOTE: PIA Creative Services writes, designs and produces original and on-target promotion, building on a fundamental understanding of the insurContact Contact Kristopher Fisher Fisher ance business—for a fraction of what you’Kristopher d pay an outside firm. Contact PIA 800-875-7428 800-875-7428 Creative Services at (800) 424-4244 or]

Professional Insurance Agents magazine

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504 Autumn Springs Court Suite A-3 • Franklin, TN 37067 Phone: 615-771-1177 • Fax: 615-771-3456 Contact: Kristopher Fisher, Visit:


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

7 AmTrust North America 18 Arlington/Roe 8 EMC Insurance 2 MidSouth Mutual Insurance Co. 15 M.J. Kelly of Tennessee 14 National Security Fire & Casualty Co. 11 NHRMA

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Show your true colors

BC PIA Branding Program 22 PIATN 2017 Conference 24 PIATN Agency E&O 16 PIATN Education—CPIA 20 PIATN Trust Insurance Plans 17 Summit 26 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-3 • Franklin, TN • 37067



Professional Insurance Agents magazine

Enhance your ad with the impact of color. Reach our sales representative at (800) 875-7428. .


PIATN officers and directors OFFICERS


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

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

President-elect Herbert Montgomery Clay and Land Insurance Memphis, TN (901) 767-3600, ext. 107

Greg Augustine, CPIA The Augustine Insurance Group Clarksville, TN (931) 503-0015

Vice President Adam Cox, CPIA Adler & Cox Inc. Chattanooga, TN (423) 877-3536 Secretary Tina Hutsenpiller, CPIA Hutsenpiller Insurance Mt. Juliet, TN (615) 218-8370 Treasurer Chris Mills, CPCU, CIC Mills Insurance Agency Nashville, TN (615) 620-4452 Immediate Past President Bill Richards, CPIA, LUTCF Community Insurance Greeneville, TN (423) 638-1422


Llew Boyd Southern Insurance Associates Chattanooga, TN (423) 296-0626 Kyle Bradley The Bradley Agency Monterey, TN (931) 544-3598 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 Michael T. Morat, CPIA, LUTC Mike Morat Insurance Service Inc. Germantown, TN (901) 755-8858

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, CPIA, LUTCF Executive Director (615) 771-1177 Jessie Litkenhus Program Administrator (615) 771-1177 Pam Cass Executive Administrator (615) 771-1177

The PIA Branding Program

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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.

Learn More


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.

National Association of Professional Insurance Agents 400 N. Washington St. • Alexandria, VA 22314-2353 (703) 836-9340 (phone) • (703) 836-1279 (fax) •

Whether you’re a PIA member now, you’re an agent who has yet to join, or you’re interested in company sponsorship, head on over to PIA National’s website to see the ads and get all the details about the PIA Branding Program:

2017 PIATN Spring Edition  
2017 PIATN Spring Edition