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January, 2018

INSIDE: New Texas PIA Discount Program

In This Issue Looking Back 2017/Looking Ahead 2018 What’s Trending? Fresh Strategies for Your Insurance Agency 6 Ways Cybersecurity Will Impact 2018 Is your Sales Team Fat, Dumb, and Happy?

Texas PIA P.O. Box 700877 Dallas, TX 75370 (972) 862-3333


In This Issue Perspective: Looking Back/Looking Ahead

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What’s Trending?

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Tackling 2018: Fresh Strategies for Your Insurance Agency

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Consumer-Friendly Info Paper: Winter Travel

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Insuring 2018

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6 Ways Cybersecurity Will Impact Insurers in 2018

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Is your Sales Team Fat, Dumb, and Happy?

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Insurance Agents Beware: All That Glitters May Not Be Covered

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Texas News Round-Up

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David Gorman The new year brings new opportunities. This month, we’re taking a look back at the impacts to our industry that occurred over the last 12 months, and the trends forecast for the next 12 that will help us grow our agencies. PIA continues to develop products and services to help us make the most of those opportunities. For our Texas agents, we have a series of exciting and educational events scheduled. The Sales & Success Webinar Series, presented by John Chapin is completely free to PIA members, and will give you invaluable information on growing your sales and leadership. Our Texas PIA CE Day in partnership with Kaplan, is coming to three cities on three dates, providing you an outstanding opportunity to earn needed CE credit and network with fellow agents. And of course I hope that you join me at our 2018 Annual Convention & Expo May 17th-19th in Arlington for intensive learning opportunities and our ultimate networking event of the year. Wishing you the most successful year yet. Yours,


David (Red) Gorman Office: 214-374-9997 Email:


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Join Texas PIA Now If you’re not yet a member, discover the benefits! Membership in Texas PIA is an investment that provides tangible benefits & services, saving you time and money so you can increase your agency’s bottom line. As a member of the Texas Professional Insurance Agents, you are also a member of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and have access to a variety of valuable benefits and information that can support you in the growth and success of your business. Our focus is entirely on you, the professional Texas agent. Member Benefits Include: •

Insurance products to sell

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Together we’ve formed an alliance of experts to deal with any type of issue or question you may face. Visit for more information. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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2017: Looking Back In Review Insurers hopes for accelerated growth and improved bottom-line profitability were tempered throughout 2017 by the emergence of major speed bumps, both natural and man-made. US property-casualty (P&C) insurers saw underwriting losses more than double, to $5.1 billion, for the first half of 2017 compared with the year before—an even more dramatic downturn when you consider the industry was in the black on underwriting by $3.1 billion during the same period two years ago. Soaring loss costs, led by higher catastrophe and auto claims, drove net income down 29 percent in the first half, and this was before huge third-quarter disaster claims from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. These storms reverberated globally, particularly within the reinsurance sector, as did claims from other massive natural disasters outside the United States, most notably September’s earthquake in Mexico. On the other hand, a soft market beyond auto and property-catastrophe lines continues to prevail, with global insurance renewal rates falling for the seventeenth consecutive period in the second quarter of 2017. This appears mainly due to an overabundance of capital, particularly in the US market, with industry surplus as of June 30 at an all-time high of $704 billion. Even record storm losses would be unlikely to put more than a temporary dent in those reserves, most likely making recent hurricanes earnings events rather than serious capital concerns for most primary insurers—although reinsurers and those issuing insurance-linked securities may be harder-hit over the long term as mounting catastrophe claims are settled. On the life insurance and annuity (L&A) side of the business, most carriers seemed to enter 2017 expecting small, but steady US interest -rate increases to put their portfolios on a more solid foundation. However, those expectations likely quickly abated, given the economic headwinds keeping the Federal Reserve from taking more aggressive action, thus leaving rates at historically low levels and undermining industry profitability. Stubbornly low fixedinvestment yields are prompting L&A writers to cut the crediting rates offered to policyholders.

2017 General Insurance Industry Highlights


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2018: Looking Ahead According to Deloitte’s 2018 Insurance Outlook, insurance company leaders have a lot on their plates. Political and regulatory upheavals around the world are changing some of the ground rules about how carriers may operate. An accelerating evolution in the way business is conducted is being driven by innovation and higher customer expectations, while disruptive newcomers are looking to take market share from incumbent insurers. In particular, carriers have been racing to keep up with insurance technology development. In preparing their annual insurance outlook, they recognize that most in the insurance industry remain focused on two overarching goals: growing top-line sales while bolstering bottom-line profitability. Standing in the way of insurers achieving these objectives are a wide range of challenges. Not all of them are within the industry’s control, such as rising interest rates and catastrophe losses. But how effectively insurers anticipate, prepare, and adapt to their shifting circumstances, both strategically and operationally, is well within their control, and can help differentiate them in the market.

Growth Prospects on the Horizon In addition to expected hikes in property-catastrophe premiums, particularly for reinsurance, look for a large share of US P&C premium gains to be generated by higher auto insurance rates (which were already rising in 2017 due to worsening loss frequency and severity). Even with price increases, however, profitability could remain elusive, given the multitude of emerging risk factors confronting auto carriers, such as the rise in distracted driving and the proliferation of more expensive sensor-laden vehicles. Recent disaster losses are exacerbating this trend, as Hurricane Harvey is believed to have damaged more vehicles than any storm in history—perhaps as many as one million. On the L&A side, insurers can still recover their footing in 2018 if interest rates are raised on a more regular basis. There are already some positive signs. The gap is widening between what consumers can earn on fixed annuity contracts and bank certificates of deposit, with annuity holders having the added benefit of tax-deferred status on gains. And while the life policy count fell by 4 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and 3 percent in the first half, new annualized premiums were actually up 4 percent in the first half. The individual market is just one channel where L&A insurers can seek growth. Group life sales—which have the advantage of guaranteed issue and little, if any, direct contact with the insured—have surpassed individual policy purchases for the first time. There remains plenty of room for expansion across the board. While nearly five million more US households had life insurance as of 2016 than in 2010, those gains were fueled by population growth rather than higher market penetration, which remains at its record low of just 30 percent. However, to accelerate growth, L&A insurers should consider simplifying their products and streamlining their application process to make policies easier to understand, underwrite, and purchase.


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L&A insurers should embed digital technology across their organizations—as part of an offensive strategy to expand their market share and defensive measure to fend off potential competition from nontraditional InsurTech companies. By harnessing and harvesting big data sources—perhaps with the help of third-party managed services specialists—insurers can streamline their often cumbersome and expensive operating models while both improving customer experience and lowering costs. According to Deloitte, for improving the top and bottom line, there are some trends to consider: Life and Annuity Carrier Strategies to Break the Mold An age-old enigma is how to overcome buyer reluctance to purchase life and annuity products. The stage is seemingly set, with nearly half of the US population uninsured or underinsured, and a similar percentage of US families having no retirement account savings, yet sales of L&A products remain relatively sluggish.

As digital capabilities infiltrate nearly every industry, there appears to be a big opportunity for L&A companies to transform their business model. In fact, unless the industry commits to integrating transformative technologies more rapidly into their operations, L&A companies could risk not only continued stagnation, but potential leakage to InsurTech innovators as well. Tech Upgrades Drive Added Value, New Risks for Auto Insurers The conventional wisdom among stakeholders in the emerging mobility ecosystem is that one day universal deployment of autonomous vehicles could reduce the likelihood of auto accidents to near zero. In the meantime, a variety of factors—including record numbers of miles driven in an improving economy, and a proliferation of expensive, embedded technology in vehicles— seem to have created a perfect storm for higher frequency and severity of auto insurance claims. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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In an increasingly crowded and commoditized market undermined by minimal customer loyalty, many auto insurers are looking to differentiate their value beyond price to maintain or raise customer satisfaction. Otherwise, they could risk declining retention. The real-time data furnished by auto telematics offers a way for insurers to become an integral daily influence for connected policyholders through offers of frequent, mutually beneficial value-added services to establish brand stickiness. This doesn’t seem to be a pipe dream, as price satisfaction scores are higher among customers who participate in auto telematics programs, even when they have experienced premium rate increases. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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IoT Shifts Value Proposition for Homeowner’s Carriers Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity is surging and the technology’s potential to reshape the way homeowners insurers assess, price, and limit risks appears quite promising. Eighty-million smart home devices were delivered globally in 2016, and expectations of a compound annual growth rate of 60 percent could result in over 600 million such devices in use by 2021.

This also presents a unique opportunity for insurers to transform the insurer/customer dynamic from a defensive to an offensive posture, by helping policyholders prevent losses and driving down claims costs.


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While 24/7 connectivity may be an insurer’s Holy Grail, facilitating both higher profitability and stronger customer relationships in the long term, to get to that point more consumers will likely need to be convinced of the value and ease of opting into such invasive monitoring programs. Transparency would be necessary so policyholders understand exactly what type of data are collected and how the company plans to use the information. Effective marketing to highlight opportunities for loss prevention, education on product benefits and use, and incentives for reducing risk are additional strategies insurers can deploy.

Cyber Risk Regulations Set New Standards for Insurers While more carriers and agencies look to break into the cyber insurance market, or expand on what they’re already writing (see “6 Ways Cybersecurity Changed in 2017” in this issue), the data-rich insurance industry itself is a prime target of cyberattacks. As a result, there has been increasing pressure to enhance cyber security vigilance and resilience. The market for cyber insurance has persistently been slow to develop, leaving the bulk of companies without coverage or underinsured, and denying the P&C industry what is likely to be its biggest organic growth opportunity. A recent survey by the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers found that only one third of their members’ clients have bought cyber coverage of some sort, while a global study by the Ponemon Institute revealed that companies have only insured 15 percent of the potential loss to their information assets.

Insurers should account for multiplying compliance demands, which could be especially challenging for midsize and smaller companies that lack in-house cyber talent, expertise, and resources. Finding enough qualified talent to handle cyber exposures seems to have been as daunting for many carriers as it has for their commercial policyholders. Similar to the industries they cover, insurers will likely need to bolster their in-house capabilities with outside talent and managed services, particularly loss control specialists to enhance risk management, recovery, and compli- Download full report for many more insights and details ance programs. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Industry Forecasts For many companies, insurance is one of their largest costs. When you add up premiums for Property, General Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation, Employee Benefits, Life Insurance and other lines of coverage, it can often total five percent of their revenues or more. Joseph C. Peiser, head of Broking for Willis Towers Watson North America, urged organizations to begin preparing now for changing market conditions. “Now is the time for organizations to catalog the positive differentiators in their risk profile to set themselves apart from the pack at renewal time,” he said. He also recommends that insureds “define their risk tolerances so they know where their ceiling is” if rates and retentions spike. To help your clients prepare for the next 12 months, you can play an important role to give them the insight to proactively manage them, and to forecast their costs as you look into their next fiscal year.

As we know, the only way they can lower the cost of risk is to lower the frequency and severity of claims that drive both their premiums and the indirect costs. This guide can assist you in assisting them to assess their insurance needs for the coming year.


In the property market, where insured losses from recent catastrophes are expected to exceed $100 billion, Willis Towers Watson experts expect “some type of market correction” after insurers have a chance to estimate their ultimate losses. However, the pricing impact to buyers will likely not be manifest until the first or second quarter of next year. While there is still a high degree of uncertainty, rates are forecast to potentially rise 10 percent to 20 percent for catastrophe-exposed risks and 20 percent to 25 percent for catastropheexposed risks with recent losses. Other property insurance buyers can expect flat rates or low single-digit increases. Meanwhile, according to the report, several factors could dampen the upward pressure on rates, including still-abundant capacity and what experts view as “still eager” alternative capital providers.


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With the exception of auto premiums, these lines should stay relatively flat. Auto experience has deteriorated recently, and it is estimated that State Farm lost over $7 billion on their auto book in 2016! The deteriorating results are attributable to increased claims frequency (distracted driving) and increased severity. The increased severity is driven (no pun intended) by higher medical costs which affect bodily injury claims and higher physical damage costs to repair damaged vehicles. The cost to fix a sensor and camera laden bumper today is a lot more than it cost to just replace the bumper ten years ago. On top of that, it is estimated that over 500,000 vehicles have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey alone and flood damage is not excluded on most auto policies.



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The report anticipates many specialty insurance lines of business will “follow their own supply and demand curve.” For example, the directors and officers (D&O) liability marketplace outlook is “not as soft,” as underwriters are mindful of potentially adverse D&O claims activity and looking for ways to avoid compounding the year-over-year impact of declining rates. For terrorism insurance, buyers should expect flat renewals rather than the decreases they have seen in recent renewals. Meanwhile, in the environmental insurance market, the high double-digit increases for combined environmental-casualty programs have begun to ease. In the cyber liability insurance market, demand continues to rise and supply of capacity is “more than keeping up,” according to the report. Despite a string of high-profile breaches, cyber insurance program renewals for both primary and excess cover are averaging only single -digit rate increases. Underwriters have offered premium decreases to organizations that are able to demonstrate increased levels of security and internal policy controls. The report forecasts rate increases of up to 5 percent for 2018.


he Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law. A number of “repeal and replace” bills have failed to pass so the law will continue to be enforced. We are still waiting on information about the Cadillac Tax and if regulations will be implemented. For 2018, the number of age bands is likely to change. Currently, for small groups (2-99 employees), most insurance carriers have one rate for children under 20 years old. In 2018, insurance carriers will divide the 0-20 age group into seven bands: 0-14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20. As a result, premiums for age 20 and below could see significant increases of 20-50%. Rates for all “small” employers will be based on the employee and their dependents’ individual ages, plan design and location of the company. For example, a family of five will pay for each family member based on each individual’s age and the plan they select. Some younger employees or families with one child may realize lower premiums. All of the small group plans have changed to conform with the law and most have higher deductibles and copays, therefore, employees will have to pay more when they use the services. The actuaries at all the major insurance companies have determined that, to stay in compliance with the ACA’s metallic tier guidelines, they must change plan benefits every year. The ACA guideline gave a percentage requirement for each tier – 90% = Platinum, 80% = Gold, 70% = Silver and 60% = Bronze. As costs increase, the value of the percentage changes and therefore the plan benefits change. Using the Platinum Plan as an example, if the actuarial value of a plan this year was $1,000, then the Platinum Plan has to cover 90% ($900) and pass 10% ($100) to the plan member. In the second year, if the actuarial value goes up to $1,100, 10% ($110) can be passed to the plan member and the benefits will change. This will always be a moving target until the values are fixed or the law is changed. Captives, self-funding and partially self-funded plans are becoming more popular and should be considered for companies with over 50 employees. Industry trust plans for all size employers could lower the overall cost and stabilize the benefits. Other ways to reduce cost include buying a Bronze Level Plan and supplementing it with Cancer, Hospital, Accident and Critical Illness plans. Dental, Life, Vision and Disability continue to be very popular benefits with employees. See source information for this article on page 30 TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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What’s Trending? A Look at Factors Impacting Insurance this Year

by Moshe Beauford, December 19, 2017, A review of 2017 finds it was littered with everything from natural disasters to large-scale public acts of terror that injured and claimed the lives of thousands in the U.S. alone. Swiss Re, a wholesale provider of reinsurance, released a study showing that weather extremes like thunderstorms and tornadoes accounted for some of the heftiest losses, with four weather events creating more than $1 billion in damage. According to its preliminary assessment of loss for the first half of 2017 – total economic losses of global natural and man-made catastrophes resulted in $44 billion in losses, although the majority of damage was covered by insurers. This is lower than the first half of 2016, where losses reached well over $100 billion. However, the second half of the year will see significantly higher numbers as loss totals from multiple hurricanes, wildfires and various acts of terror are tallied. The study also found that total insured losses for the first half of 2017 reached $23 billion. The human cost was high as well, as nearly 4,400 people lost their lives or went missing during natural disasters, however it was still lower than the 4,800 losses that occurred during the first half of 2016. There were a number of other contributing factors that impacted the industry, including acts of terror, the now 29 states where marijuana is legal for either recreational or medicinal purposes, cyber security, travel, short-term medical coverage, auto insurance and autonomous vehicles. Each of these will influence the insurance landscape in the coming year. Acts of Terror Terrorism is on a steady rise worldwide, increasing by 25% each year, and in October, we witnessed one of the most heinous acts of domestic terror on U.S. soil. In the attack, a lone gunman opened fire during a Las Vegas, Nevada, country music concert. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 and injured more than 500 others before taking his own life. For insurers, this incident raised a whole new set of questions that could one day lead to an all-inclusive terrorism insurance package that extends beyond property damage and loss of business to include coverage for loss of life, limb and more. Early estimates indicate that this event alone could cost insurers more than $1 billion. This was followed several weeks later by a truck attack in lower Manhattan that killed eight people and injured almost a dozen more along a bike path. The ISIS-inspired terror attack was the worst one New York City had seen since 9/11. Less than a week later, a lone gunman killed 26 people in a tiny church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. While not deemed a “terrorist” attack, the shooter killed almost half of the church's congregation. (Insurance exposures for either event had not been released by press time.)


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Legal Marijuana

With the legalization of marijuana in 29 states and the District of Columbia for either medicinal or recreational purposes, it seems the U.S. is on track to legalize the substance in every state over the next few years. This is because cannabis has many proponents, but seemingly far more who oppose its legalization. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is one such opponent, and has been described by the LA Times as “fiercely antimarijuana.” This seems to be the antithesis of popular public opinion following votes in multiple states to legalize the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. According to Pew Research Institute, 57% of Americans say marijuana should be legal.

Intensive care specialist Dr. Ariel Steinberg says cannabis advocates have to do their duediligence before the substance is fully-approved for medical purposes. He also says that when it is legalized, insurers would be wise to offer coverage to policyholders, as it has many inherent medical benefits. “Regarding the use of medical cannabis – it has some time before it is fully-legalized, but there is evidence that clearly spells out its many medicinal benefits. Things like seizures have been treated with cannabis, but documented cases are isolated, and before a full medical recommendation is issued, larger and more thorough evaluations are needed. On the other hand, there has been more concrete evidence in cases of terminally-ill patients and the treatment of patients with chronic pain. Cannabis has even been known to improve the quality of life for those with eating disorders, anxiety, etc.,” Steinberg said.

Cyber Security Nationwide recently revealed that 58% of companies were affected by some form of a cyberattack in 2017, yet many were unaware of it. Among the companies hit were a number in the insurance industry. Cyber security experts at Sixgill, a company that specializes in monitoring and interpreting activity on the Dark Web, say insurance companies are at risk of further attacks, and the number of attacks will only continue to rise. “Insurance companies are at risk, as are other financial institutions. In fact, the amount of breaches only continues to rise, with records set in 2017, and currently on track to be worse in 2018. In 2017, insurance companies were among the worst-hit industries in terms of attacks. We saw things like data leaks and data being sold for extortion purposes on the Dark Web. Recently, we learned of an attempt to blackmail a major financial institution in Israel," said Avi Kasztan, co-founder and CEO of Sixgill. "The main threat was to divulge client identification details. There was also a large healthcare breach in Australia where user identities were put up for sale on the Dark Web. While not an insurance company in this case, the risk, threat and outcome are exactly the same. There are numerous dumps of such information for sale on Dark Web sites literally all the time," says Kasztan. Kasztan further warns insurers of the dangers of the ever-growing Dark Web, and how its constant monitoring can contribute to catching criminals red-handed with stolen information. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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“One of the main places that needs to be monitored and analyzed to receive this sort of intelligence picture is the Dark Web, which is perhaps the place where cyber criminal activity can be detected the earliest. It is also the place where stolen or leaked data can turn up for sale, and relatively quickly after a breach. Even if it is too late to prevent an attack – it is good for organizations to have the intelligence so they can take the appropriate measures and begin to mitigate the damage,” Kasztan added. Travel Medical Insurance “With a rise in terror, world-wide travel still hasn't seen much of a drop,” said Andrew Bard, senior vice president and general manager Americas at travel medical insurance provider Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group. With his office seeing over 300,000 claims annually, he says its international travel plan for both students and nonstudents has seen the largest increase over the past year, with inpatient and emergency room visits seeing the greatest spike. Bard says it should not only be insurer's goal to reduce claims, but to accurately adjudicate them in a timely manner as well. “The claims process should be simple, and we have been able to expedite the process through our electronic claims form submission. We also see value in updating policyholders throughout the claims process, and have created a unique portal for just that. I also think we will see insurers focusing on improving the customer experience in 2018 – from initial shopping and purchase to claims settlement – making it easier, less confusing and producing better overall response times,” Bard said. Severe Weather

Alexandra Wallach owns the Indianapolis-based Farmer's Insurance agency, and says her company sees 900 claims each year. The majority are related to auto, home, life and luxury items such as boats, as well as commercial and business insurance (like workers’ compensation). From all of the claims that came through her office in 2017, severe weather claims were among the agency's highest, which in Indiana, means water damage, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Looking at the country as a whole, we also saw destruction from an overactive hurricane season, where Harvey and Irma caused billions in damage, displacement and a plenty of claims. Analysts from IHS Market estimate damage caused by Harvey will eventually total somewhere between $60 and $100 billion USD, and that Irma will total roughly $30 billion. “Oftentimes when a client receives an estimate of damage done to their property (whether it's an auto accident or hail damage), the damage is typically only slightly more expensive than their deductible, although it is often less. If these policyholders chose then not to file a claim and pay out of pocket for damage – their next insurance renewal would not be affected,” Wallach said. Looking to 2018, Wallach says although her agency doesn't deal directly with autonomous vehicles, she is creating a plan of action that consists of educating actuaries and insurers about the risks involved in insuring autonomous vehicles. Continued on page 30 TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Tackling 2018: Fresh Strategies for Your Insurance Agency

by Barry Seigerman,, December 21, 2017 Developing and Refining Your Business and Personal Plans are Essential to Growth By now it's probably too late to make any major impact on 2017. The review of the year's goals and objectives and the must-dos and dealing with unforeseen events are, most likely, over. Certainly you have already started and possibly even finished your plan for next year in terms of growth, profit, expense budget, and important organization and internal issues. These are critical, and are based primarily on financial projections. Beyond thinking about the “same old, same old” tasks to do at year's end, why not consider 2018 as a great year for a fresh start? Think through the things that you can do to initiate and implement fresh ideas for growth, profit and fun in the New Year. Why not resolve to bring some excitement and new rewards to your business? Consider New Objectives

If you have all your financial projections and metrics in place, put them aside for now. This is the time to stimulate your thinking and to inspire your staff to consider some new objectives to add to your business plan for 2018. •

Revisit and re-state your mission statement. Do you have one? Is it still the same? Should you ask for employee input? How about input from trusted advisors?

Pick two of the most important things from last year's plan that you intended to accomplish but did not. Are they still important or even relevant?

Decide on the two most important non-financial objectives you want to achieve in 2018 and assemble a team for each one. (These objectives could be anything from working conditions, employee benefits, agency hours and incentive plans that could energize your staff.)


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Do you hold regular monthly sales and marketing meetings? Do you really want to? Is there someone who fills the role of Sales Manager? Do you manage sales by results and accountability? Do you invite customers and insurance company people as guests?

Do you conduct employee performance evaluations, and are they separate from salary reviews?

Do you hold at least semi-annual and annual agency meetings, with lunch provided, to review the agency's progress and goals? Are you open to modifying these goals as necessary? Do you welcome and encourage active participation from staff?

Does your agency help to support one or more local non-profits, and do you encourage employees to participate with local organizations?

Have you scrapped outdated and obsolete marketing activities of networking (usually salespeople with other salespeople), cold calling, direct mail, giveaways (calendars, letter-openers, pens, etc.) and instead are committed to social media for PR and communication with customers and prospects?

Have you identified your 25 most valuable customers and at least six of your best Centers of Influence and scheduled meetings with each of them?

Have you thought about your own exit strategy yet — in terms of both money and what you’d like to see yourself doing after the insurance business? This is really a great thing to think about — I have thought about every year for the past 53 years I’ve been in the insurance business!

Whether your business is a start-up or established, you might like this additional idea: Even small agencies can achieve great results with good leadership, emphasis on teamwork and maintaining high esprit de corps (morale). Create teams for three or four sales and marketing campaigns during the year and combine employees from different areas on each team to include one or more CSRs & producers from personal, commercial, life, benefits, administration, etc., to compete on everything from adding additional lines of business (account rounding), to increasing limits of insurance via policy reviews, or cross selling (personal from commercial from benefits and vice versa). Don't keep score by premium or revenue: Measure the number of total “wins” — it's the team's activity you are trying to generate. At the end of three months, identify the winning team and reward them with a day off and a $50 gift card each. Be creative. Engage everyone, especially younger staff. And remember what Max Dupree said: “We cannot become what we need to be, remaining what we are.”

Outside the Box: Employee Engagement Ideas Lunch & Learn Create an opportunity for employees to lunch and learn one-on-one with the owner.

Walk a Day in Someone Else’s Shoes What better way to help employees see the big picture than by having them walk around in another employee’s shoes? Encourage Healthy Competition Make it fun! Practice Feng Shui Since we tend to spend a lot of time in the office, having an organized office space is a must.


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New Consumer Info-Paper No matter what the reason for winter travel, there are plenty of safety tips to keep in mind when traveling during the cold winter months. Exclusively for PIA members, a new consumer-friendly issue paper has been developed, to be distributed to clients, or for use on your website or social media posts. Winter Travel Tips comes in the following formats, available for download (requires member log-in): •

PIA branded (PDF)

Customizable (PDF)

Infographic (JPG)

Article in copy/paste format (Word)

Social media post

To browse the entire library of PIA’s Consumer-friendly Issue Papers visit their webpage. Not yet a member? Now’s the time! Join PIA of Texas today. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Insuring 2018 The Importance of the Annual Policy Review

It’s the new year, and most of your clients have great intentions of launching the year on a strong note. They promise to eat healthier, exercise more and maybe even work a little less. While these changes in lifestyle may be important, the first of the year is also the ideal opportunity for them to get their financial house in order, and an evaluation of their insurance policies should be a big part of that. As their agent, it should be made clear from the outset that insurance protection should not be a one and done event. We’re well aware that significant life changes can dramatically impact the amounts and types of coverage an individual needs. Without appropriate levels of protection, a single claim event can have major financial implications. Our unique position as independent agents makes us an invaluable resource to our clients in helping them evaluate and adapt to the ever-changing landscape. Not only client’s milestone events, but the evolution of potential risks, and available products to address those risks warrant a beginning-of-year review. This process is not only beneficial to your client. The annual review provides you with the ideal opportunity to connect or reconnect with your client, and to prevent a possible perception that a new agent might better serve their needs. WHY Do It? • • • • • • • • •

Doing any type of policy review will: Put a face to a name Build loyalty Remind your client why they’re paying for this policy Remind your client what their policy covers Allow you to point out gaps in their coverage Allow you to determine if a policy change is needed Allow you to cross-sell (thus building even more loyalty) Give you a chance to gather referrals

It’s tempting to think that your time is better spent signing new clients (and earning more commission), however the time invested will pay you back tenfold because you’ll be: • • • •

Dodging chargebacks Increasing your chances of selling more policies to this client Building a trustworthy reputation, which your client may relay to others Asking for referrals, which will allow you to build sales with great leads


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WHEN To Do It?

Review on an annual basis. A lot can change in a year, and you want to be there to explain those changes. It’s possible that your client has no clear idea of what their policy covers. It’s up to you to let them know if there’s a gap somewhere, and to educate them on possible solutions. Your client may not want to pay for the additional coverage, and that’s OK. But if you explain the problem in a clear-cut way that makes sense to your client you’re much more likely to be successful. And in any case you’ve provided them with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Do not wait for the annual election period. If you’re crushed for time, getting in front of the client will be that much more difficult. And you’ll be more likely to make your client feel rushed, whether you mean to or not. Setting a time well in advance makes your client the priority, which they will appreciate. Set a time limit for the review. If the client expects a 15-minute meeting and it takes over an hour you’ll likely lose their attention. If they’re expecting a 2-hour presentation and you’re in and out in 10 minutes they’ll feel unappreciated. We suggest a 1-hour time limit on a policy review, and to let your client know beforehand what to expect.

WHAT Does It Take? •

Policy Basics       

Type of Policy Insurance Carrier Policy Number Date Issued Premium The Insured The Beneficiary

Policy Details  Policy features?  When will it take effect?  How would I qualify for benefits?  Who much do I pay?  How do the benefits work?  What are the restrictions?  Is there any duplicate coverage?  Are there gaps in coverage?  Do I need this much coverage?

You also need to make sure their coverage amount is sufficient and that it will last for the time duration they want. For example, term life is bought to cover a specific number of years in the event of an untimely death. If the insured dies, would the mortgage be covered? What about income replacement to live? What about the kids’ college education? If you can comfortably answer to these questions and scenarios, you’re ready to hold the review. If there is any part of this that you are unsure of, make sure you find the answer beforehand. WHERE To Do It? Your review should be in person if at all possible. Avoid doing policy reviews over the phone if you can. If you live too far away to meet in person, ask your client if they can meet via video chat. Even seniors are more likely than ever to have a smartphone, and the use of Skype among the elderly is rising, so at least ask. We recommend meeting your client at his or her house. They’re in a comfortable space and you’re showing your desire to be on a more intimate level by taking the initiative to come to them. If you work in an office space or at home, you can always give your client the option to meet you there as well. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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HOW To Do It? If you’re a seasoned agent, you probably already have this down. You know how to structure your meeting, you’re really good with small talk, and it feels like a completely normal event. However, for new agents or agents that have never done a policy review before, we’re going to get down to the essentials so that you have a guide to work with. Feel free to tweak our suggestions and add your personality to our script examples, but use these recommendations to help steer you in the right direction. Here is the general order of operations to follow for the most success: •

Begin by outlining everything this meeting will cover. If you start the meeting by setting expectations, your client will have a good sense of where you are in the process, which makes for a great meeting. You can say something like this: “So, we’re going to review your policies, and we should be done by about [name approximate time here]. To give you a general idea of what we’re going to cover, I want you to know that I’m first going to go over the basic information about your policy. I’ll then ask you if you’ve gone through any major life changes so that we can make sure this policy still makes sense for you. Then, I’ll go over the details of your policy, such as what it covers and any important changes like rate increases. Once we finish that, I’d like to point out some areas where you aren’t currently covered to make sure you’re aware of these potential disaster zones. If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to stop me and ask. I’m here to help you, so please don’t hesitate at any time.”


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Go over the basics of the policy at hand

This step will be really easy for you if you have your cheat sheet ready to go. This is largely a refresher for everyone. You’re making sure you’re both on the same page while also getting the conversation started in a way that makes sense. •

Ask about any major life changes Make sure you cover the following:    

Has your marital status changed? Have your dependents changed? Has your living situation changed? Has your income changed?

Get into the details of the policy

Discuss gaps and general suggestions If you’ve spent some time in the planning stage, you have a good idea of where this portion of your meeting is going. At the heart of this discussion is your ability to make a case and close the sale.

Answer any questions, close the meeting and ask for referrals. Thank them for their time and consider scheduling next year’s meeting on the spot. Before you leave — and this is really important — you need to ask for referrals. Sales Associate Michael Sams explains: “Everybody has friends and family they know that can benefit from you. I need the reminder as much as anybody. Don’t be afraid to get in the habit of asking for referrals.” See source information for this article on page 30


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6 Ways Cybersecurity Will Impact Insurers in 2018 by Dawn Illing,, December 14, 2017 Businesses Will Start to See Security as a Key Commercial Risk Rather than an IT Issue While cyberattacks are deeply concerning, there's a silver lining for the insurance industry in 2018: opportunity. Here are several ways cyber risks will affect insurers in the coming year. 1. Businesses will start to get more serious about cyber insurance; premiums will inflate. Cyber-insurance will continue to grow at a fairly steady pace as companies begin to adopt not an “if” but “when” mind set for attacks. A successful attack can cause major damage – not only to a company's bottom line, but to its reputation and consumer trust. 2. An increase in cyber attacks means more opportunities for insurers and advisors. The variety of attacks and the technologies and processes deployed to prevent them will be noticeable in 2018, adding more confusion for companies. However, this will become an opportunity as businesses seek advice, and insurers become critical influencers in future buying decisions. 3. Moving insurance from risk protection to prevention. Due to a growing awareness of cyberattacks, in 2018 businesses will start to see security as a key commercial risk rather than an IT issue that affects every facet of their business. A holistic process will begin to be adopted from the boardroom down to change cultures and take positive steps company-wide to protect digital systems. 4. The rate of security breaches will continue to increase. Previously, a degree of blame has always been placed on the end-user when a breach occurred; however, companies will begin to adopt policies that make it easier to report breaches within the company. The focus will shift from how to respond to how to detect the breach. In turn, reinsurance support will grow in response to better data and tools, supporting the overall growth of the market. These issues should also be considered for any portable device since 2018 is likely to see more breaches of these devices and the business data stored on them. 5. Fear of a breach builds business opportunity. As regulation increases, banks and insurers will require systems that are quick to evolve and can keep up with changes. Therefore, buy-in to technology will increase as institutions find it increasingly difficult to stay ahead and readjust to ever-evolving risks and regulatory landscapes. 6. RegTech to the rescue? Three major areas related to regulation will be the key focus for the next two years: Data security, data privacy and cyber security. Insurers will continue improving their ability to harness data while also re-establishing trust with customers by offering a better customer experience. The benefits of a digitally transformed client lifecycle management process are very compelling such as: • • •

Faster on-boarding Efficient remediation Digitalization of data management and integration.

If companies are able to cut their compliance costs by leveraging technology and overcoming these challenges, this will become an even bigger driver during marginal compression. However, will technology hinder good judgement and human input on risk management decision-making processes? Only time will tell. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Is your Sales Team Fat, Dumb, and Happy? John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: E-mail:

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all, and 10 is a perfect description, how does your sales organization rate according to the following definitions? Fat: Enough clients and business to sustain you for the short term coupled with no consistent effort at chasing new business. Everyone is simply living off of current accounts and otherwise killing time during the workweek. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Dumb: Mediocre to poor sales skills with no interest in developing good to great sales skills. No training initiatives for professional or personal development. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Happy: Comfortable because everyone can pay their bills and they’re not missing any meals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A 6 or higher on any one of these is a big problem. A 6 or higher on two of these is a major problem. And a 6 or higher on all three is an extremely urgent problem and a recipe for disaster. Sales organizations that have problems in the above areas usually also exhibit one or more of the following traits: •

Top producers are supporting bottom producers

No accountability

Allowing negativity and slackers in the workplace

Very little or no actual sales training

More than content with 1 to 3% organic growth in the largest economy ever created on planet Earth

So how did your organization rate? If you have a problem, is it something you want to address, or are you “happy” with mediocrity and simple survival? Usually at this point I’m hit with something like: “We should improve BUT,…” one of the following excuses: “It’ll be too much work”, “I’m wearing too many hats and I have no time”, and/or “My people won’t change and I can’t force them to.” First, none of those are true. It doesn’t take a Herculean effort or take a ton of time and your people will change if they see a benefit to changing. That said, step one is to make the decision. If you’re considering staying poor or average, let me give you some food for thought. For starters, we all know it’s better to be at the top, winning. Just ask any of the top sports teams or top organizations in any industry. You might also want to ask the ones at the bottom what it’s like to lose. It sucks. But if you’re fat, dumb, and happy you’re already experiencing anywhere from a little to a lot of suck. Next, do you feel like you have an obligation and a duty to the organization you take money from? What about your obligation to the people affected by how well or badly your organization runs? If your organization is sub-standard, the client is being hurt. You also have the TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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people who work at the company and their families. Finally, what about you and the people who are important to you? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? The college educations, the weddings, perhaps taking care of your parents, or being able to absorb a catastrophic health issue for you or a loved one? How about the dream home, the vacations, retirement, or maybe a lasting legacy that lives on long after you’re gone? Mere survival doesn’t allow any of those. Finally, is your time on Earth going to be defined as “mediocre”, and is that going to be your legacy once you’re gone? Just some things to consider. If, on the other hand, you’ve decided to change, here are three steps that can go a long way: Step 1) Set the vision and ask everyone for their help. Ask people what kind of organization they want to be part of. Highlight the fact that we spend more waking hours at work than at home and ask if it might be better to enjoy the process a little bit more. Ask if we (the whole team) have an obligation to clients, our families, and ourselves to do the best job possible and have the best lives possible. Ask what example we want to set for our kids and the other important people in our lives. We want our kids to give their best in school and other activities, should we be doing the same at work? I mean, if the job’s worth doing, is it worth doing well, or do we want to be average? Do we want to be the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers (insert favorite, great team here), or the Cleveland Browns (or other losing team)? Let them choose to get on board and be part of, or not be part of, a new positive, growing organization. Step 2) Set expectations and hold people accountable to those expectations. When you set the expectations, you have to let people know that sales is not a 9 to 5 job. If they’re going to make it, it’s going to take a ton of work, resilience, and persistence. Especially in the beginning they’re going to need to learn the product, your procedures, and maybe even the industry if they’re new to it. Depending upon their sales skills, they may also need to spend a lot of time developing those. You should have set those parameters in the beginning, but if you didn’t, some veterans may have to get to work too. Also, in the new atmosphere, we’re now going to hold people accountable to their quotas. You know who can sell and who can’t. You’ve known since the first week based upon attitude and motivation level. You’re going to have to get tough here. If you’d like, you can delegate this by hiring a great sales coach who can take on the responsibilities of training, monitoring results, and holding people accountable. The key here is to require the slackers to step up or step out. Step 3) Provide training, tools, and resources. Put the support people and systems in place and provide sales training. You want your producers spending their day on sales activities, not paperwork and administrative details. Also, when they are selling you want them as effective as possible. This is an upfront investment that will return tenfold and make you one of the top organizations around. The choice is yours. You know you need to change. If not now, when? The year 2000 was 18 years ago. Seems like yesterday. Tomorrow is 2036. Change before it’s too late. It simply takes a commitment to raise your standards, reset expectations, and ask others to raise their game… If for nothing else, for themselves and their families. To prove to themselves and others what they’re capable of. To ensure that at their end of their lives, they’re not on their deathbed with regrets, wondering “what if”, and neither are you. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Insurance Agents Beware: All That Glitters May Not Be Covered By Dan Hammond, Director of Errors & Omissions Claims and Melane Humphreys, MS, CPHRM, Casualty Risk Management Specialist Jewelry is a common type of personal property, and unfortunately, it is also a common source of insurance agents Errors & Omissions (E&O) claims. A standard Homeowners Policy has limited coverage for theft of jewelry. Obtaining higher limits and broader coverage through Inland Marine policies, or a rider to the Homeowners Policy with schedules of specific items, may be the best option depending on your client’s needs. Typically these E&O claims involve a failure to obtain coverage or inadequate limits, and a surprising number involve diamond engagement rings. Here’s some advice to remember when clients get engaged. •

Be sure your client has an insurable interest in the engagement ring.

Be aware of jewelry sub-limits on the client’s Homeowners Policy.

Be aware of changes to the jewelry insurance during carrier changes.

Obtain higher limits and broader coverage through Inland Marine policies or a rider to the Homeowners Policy.

Proper valuation is key. Get updated appraisals from your client.

Be sure your client understands the valuation method.

The most common engagement ring issues begin with lost or stolen rings while on vacation. After the loss, the customer often discovers the jewelry limit on the policy is less than the value of the item, or that his or her policy does not cover the disappearance. Issues also arise when the schedule does not list the missing jewelry. This is especially problematic when a schedule drops at the time a policy transfers to a new carrier. Proper valuation is key. Be sure to get an appraisal or bill of sale upon issuing the policy. Request an updated appraisal if switching carriers, or if there is not a current appraisal on file. Since scheduled items may appreciate in value, an appraisal is needed to reflect any changes in value. Also, valuation methods vary by carrier and by policy. Explain to your clients how their insurance carrier will value their jewelry. After all, there may be a significant impact if it is actual cash value versus agreed value. Depending on state law, the individual who gave a ring to his or her fiancé may or may not have an insurable interest in the ring. Be sure your client has an insurable interest in the engagement ring. Even more complex issues can arise involving whether the giver or receiver owns an engagement ring, especially if the engagement is broken off before marriage. The answer varies depending on the applicable state law. If the engagement is mutually ended, the majority rule is that the owner of the ring is usually the giver of the ring. If one party calls off the engagement, some states do not examine which party is at fault and typically find ownership of the ring to be the giver of the ring. In other states, the party who is not at fault for ending the engagement owns the ring. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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If asked to insure an engagement ring, the agent should consult with the carrier regarding which party’s policy the ring should be insured under based upon the applicable state interpretation of ring ownership. The agent should make sure that the customer provides a current appraisal for scheduling the value of the ring accurately. The agent may consider highlighting any exclusions, such as disappearance. If the customer declines to procure specific coverage for the ring, the agent may consider highlighting the limited coverage provided by typical Homeowners Policies. The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not for purposes of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. From “What’s Trending”, page 17

“Although we could likely see a decrease in accidents, and the price of auto insurance will likely begin to decrease accordingly – we may also witness a rise in cyber liability coverage. The more integrated technology becomes in vehicles, we simply run a higher risk of cyberattacks. Thieves could theoretically remotely unlock a car or take the computer system for ransom by blocking it from starting,” Wallach said. For insurers, closing 2017 should be bittersweet after seeing billions in losses, although 2018 is already positioned to be an interesting year as insurers continue dealing with the aftermath of many of these issues. Source Materials: Perspective, page

Insuring 2018, page

“2018 Insurance Industry Outlook”, Deloitte

“5 Keys to Insuring a Safer 2018”, by Patricia L. Harman, January 3, 2018,

“What to Expect for Commercial Insurance Pricing for 2018: WTW’s Marketplace Realities”, November 6, 2017,

“The Complete Guide to Annual Policy Reviews for Independent Insurance Agents”, New Horizons Insurance Marketing

“Marketplace Realities 2018”, by Joe Peiser, November 6, 2017, WillisTowersWatson

“The Importance of an Annual Insurance Review”, by Jerry Nicklow, December 23, 2014, Huff Insurance


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Texas News Round-Up Texas Added More People Than Any Other State in Past Year Texas added more people than any other state from 2016 to 2017, according to national and state population data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau....more Corpus Christi and Brownville in Top Ten U.S. Cities with Lowest Natural Disaster Risk Level WalletHub, compared more than 180 cities across 35 key indicators of safety. One of the three key dimensions WalletHub analyzed was a city's natural-disaster risk....more AG Paxton Files Lawsuit Against Business that Caused Bastrop Complex Fire Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a lawsuit accusing Asplundh Tree Expert Company of neglect in connection with the 2011 Bastrop Complex Fire. The vegetation management company, contracted by Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (BEC), neglected to keep easements around local powerlines clear of trees and debris, which led to the disastrous fire….more New Year’s Fireworks Cause $1.2M in Damage in Texas’ Harris County The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office says a dozen fires blamed on fireworks in unincorporated areas of Texas’ most populous county over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day caused about $1.2 million in damage ...more Governor Greg Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration For Texas Counties Affected By Hurricane Harvey Governor Greg Abbott has extended the State Disaster Declaration for Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey. All Texas counties declared disaster areas will continue to be eligible for assistance as they recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey...more HB 1774 and a Hailstorm of Controversy Hurricane Harvey left many homeowners in chaos with a loose understanding of how the hailstorm bill would impact their insurance claims....more Texas Workers’ Comp Commissioner: Post-Harvey Deadline Extensions to End in January Division of Workers’ Compensation has issued a bulletin announcing a date for the end of extensions for workers’ comp deadlines and procedures related to Hurricane Harvey … more Texas Surplus Lines Stamping Office to Accept ACH Payments in Early 2018 The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX) announced it will begin supporting Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, effective early first quarter 2018, as part of the new electronic filing system that will be released by SLTX next year.…more Houston Metro Continues to Wrestle with Rail Safety Collisions remain a constant along the Metro’s light rail track despite a monthslong effort to improve rail safety in the Houston, Texas area….more 2017 Texas Surplus Lines Premium Up 6.5% over Previous Year Surplus lines premium in Texas increased to $5.46 billion in 2017, up from $5.12 billion in 2016, according to data collected by the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX) ….more Do you have news to share? Email with your story.


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Texas connection january 2018  
Texas connection january 2018