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January 2019

In This Issue Insurance Agency: Past, Present & Future What’s Your Plan? Goal Setting: It’s Not Always Easy to Get It Right The 10 Commandments of Time Management

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


In This Issue

David Gorman

Insurance Agency Past, Present, and Future Page 3 What’s Your Plan?

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Goal Setting: It’s Not Always Easy To Get It Right

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Setting and Tracking Goals for Agency Producers

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The Ten Commandments of Time Management

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Insurance Agents

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Have your Best Sales Year in 2019

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Ordinance and Law: Are You Discussing This Coverage With Your Clients? Page 31 Texas News Round-Up

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As hard as it is to set goals, keeping them often proves even more difficult. In this issue, we share practical strategies to ensure a more productive 2019. You’ll find insight on prioritizing, time management and creating effective habits. Our own National Director, Jimmy Beathard, shares his thoughts on the future of independent insurance agencies. Speaking of priorities, we hope that you make the 2019 Texas PIA Convention & Expo one of yours. It will be held at the Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter from May 8-10th. A great time and place to learn, explore and connect with your fellow insurance professionals.

Welcome to our newest members

Wishing our industry and you personally a rewarding 2019.

Eddie Carter, Owner Carter’s Insurance Agency, Yoakum



Marc Cisneros, Jr., Owner CS Innovative Insurance Solution, San Antonio Amy Lee Comer, Owner Xunann, Inc., Grapevine Ruy Soto, Account Manager Soto Agency, Houston

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

Rick Tinker, Owner Rick Tinker Insurance, Pearland David Ubak-Offiong, CEO ANC Insurance Agency, Houston


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Insurance Agency Past, Present, and Future by Jimmy Beathard, National Director, Texas Professional Insurance Agents Several years ago a competitor agent who wanted to my purchase my agency told me, “agents are dinosaurs and soon folks will sit at home at night in their underwear and buy insurance over the internet”, so they’ll no longer need an agent. Fast forward to now and he’s out of the insurance agency business altogether. While he was correct that some people will purchase insurance over the internet, informed consumers know better. Those who get insurance solely because they must have it are likely to buy it online, because all they want is the best deal regardless of coverage. However, when things go wrong who can they turn to for advice? Professional Agents will be there, and they will continue to guide, counsel, and willingly serve clients as their personal risk manager, something the online buyer won’t get from website sales. A big problem with online sales is they were set up by investors from other types of financial institutions and really don’t know much about things like adverse selection, poor loss ratios, error and omissions, and expensive acquisition costs per policy. Most online insurance agents are not friends, neighbors, and volunteers in the community, but local Professional Insurance Agents are. “Main Street Agents” are trusted advisors when it comes to finding the right insurance coverage at the right price and moreover we deliver what the internet cannot. Professional agents listen, are open to client concerns and offer genuine solutions to solve real problems. Try getting that over the internet! Clients of the future will come to expect more from their Professional Independent Insurance Agents. Some will want to communicate with us in ways other than face- to- face contact. So my fellow agents embrace technology such as email, text, and smart phones to help us to communicate, sell and service clients more efficiently. In the future, as now, most clients will want a relationship or some type of personal connection with their insurance agent or service representative so embrace it. Clients really don’t like speaking to a different agency representative every time they call for service. Remember, this connection means they value and respect your expertise and want to consult with you when they have a problem or have a need for additional coverage, not some artificial intelligence on an insurance website. It’s possible some of you reading this may be retiring in the next five to ten years. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone, the majority of agents and their employees are baby boomers and over the age of fifty-five. We as Professional Insurance Agents must step up our recruiting efforts and encourage younger, smarter, and techno savvy people to get into this business. The insurance agency business still holds opportunity for the few who are wise enough to jump in, but they need a jump start from insurance agency veterans.


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What’s Your Plan? The New Year gives everyone a chance to reflect on this past year. As you do, you may possibly give thanks for continued prosperity, and make plans to enter 2019 with a new resolve. Because it’s true: nothing happens unless we make it so.

What do you want? Have you decided to allocate adequate funds for marketing in next year’s budget? Have you decided on a specific direction for your practice? What do you want to accomplish for your clients? If you have decided to sell more product than last year, how much more, and do you have a defined plan to go forward? Is such a plan in writing? Do you know how much you earned in 2018? Are you satisfied with the production? If not, why?

Self-inventory Look, whatever circumstances you have been hiding behind up until now need to be discarded. It may be time for a serious inventory of your motivations, your current status, your habits, and even your direction. Are you proud of what you do for a living? If not, either declare the reasons to be proud of your work or change direction completely.

Here are some other questions to consider as you look to the New Year: • • • • • • • • • • •

What will your production be in 2019? Are you satisfied with your work ethic? Is your spouse satisfied with your work ethic? Can it be improved? How much improvement can be made? Is your quality of life what it should be? Does it need an upgrade or a renewal? Are you or your spouse driving a 16-year-old car because “it’s paid for,” and you ‘e proud of it! Would a new Lexus or Mercedes be more appropriate or comfortable? Does the old homestead need new furniture, or maybe you need a new homestead? Is it time to go after that dream home? Have you succumbed to the negativity of the debates or political candidate campaigns or worrying over the economy or any other crutch that may be holding you back?

Be honest with yourself When creating your New Year priorities checklist, it is imperative that you are honest with yourself. You must decide on the parts of your practice that are satisfying to you. Does what you do truly serve your clients and do you enjoy your practice as it is? Be careful to begin this process now, instead of procrastinating. If you just stop and plan only and don’t begin your new year now, you may hit a wall when it comes to executing your plan. Lost momentum, however small and slow, is hard to regain. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Resolutions Don’t Work Resolutions don’t work. Think about the thousands of people who sign up every year with a local health club, resolving to go a minimum of three times a week for the year to finally get in shape. The owners and managers of those clubs love this time of year because they know that by February, most of those people will have stopped coming on a regular basis, but they’ll have to continue to pay on their contracts until year’s end.

Difference is in the details As you’re reading this, financial and insurance professionals everywhere are making 2019 New Year’s resolutions to make more calls, or to make and keep more appointments — to make more sales. But by the end of January, those resolutions will most likely have been forgotten as well, and these professionals will be back to the habits of 2018. This year, create a real, detailed, working business plan. The difference is in the details. Resolutions fail because they are the expression of a wish — something you want to try to accomplish. They don’t include details, planning, an analysis of where you are and what needs to change, smaller process goals and periodic milestones. These are things that go into a business plan. If you want to move from the incremental growth of 2018 (if you had any growth) to exponential growth in 2019, a resolution won’t cut it — but a written, detailed, working business plan will give you a fighting chance. I’m not talking here about the kind of business plan that someone prepares for investors. I’m talking about something that will make 2019 your best year ever.

Here’s what you need to do to create a business plan: 1. Determine what your mission for the year will be. What’s your ultimate goal? How many new applications do you want to open? How much more do you want to add to assets under management? How much more money do you want to earn? How many people do you want to help so that they can retire comfortably when they’re ready? What’s your “burning desire” — as Napoleon Hill called it — for 2019? 2. Identify your sales and personal goals. What are the smaller goals that fit into that mission? Do you need to get healthier to improve your available energy to meet the mission? What sales goals will be key performance indicators? 3. Analyze what’s working for you, what isn’t. In the business world, this is called the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What are you good at that you can leverage, and what opportunities are out there that you can take advantage of? What will hold you back — internally, and in the world around you? You’ll need to address all of these.


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4. Choose the client you will build your plan around. Your ideal, target client should be clearly defined before designing your plan around this prototype. 5. List and schedule the activities that will get you there. Starting with the end in mind, figure out what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to accomplish your mission by the end of the year. 6. Set milestones. Where should you be at the end of every month? Know where you are now and adjust what you need to adjust to get where you’re trying to go at each checkpoint.

7. Have someone other than you hold you accountable to stick to the plan. Most advisors — most people — aren’t sufficiently disciplined to hold themselves accountable. Give someone a copy of your plan and report your progress to him or her, both when you’re on track, and when you’re not. Source Materials: “Resolutions Don’t Work. Create a Business Plan Instead”, by Sandy Schussel , December 30, 2016, “Start Your New Year’s Business Plan Now”, by Kim Magdalein, December 9, 2016,




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Goal Setting: It’s Not Always Easy To Get It Right You want to be your best so you can serve your clients at the level they deserve. In order to achieve that, you need to have a goal. Goals let you see where you want to go, how you want to improve, and in what ways it will benefit both you and your clients. However, you need to be careful when it comes to goal setting so you don’t let your goals actually undermine your progress.

The benefits of goals: •

Gives you something to aspire to

Pushes you and your team to achieve them

Sets where you want to go and what you want to achieve

Helps keep you on track

Keeps you honest by setting deadlines

Increases productivity

The downfalls of improper goal setting: •

Gives you goal-based tunnel-vision

Depletes morale and performance if the goal is too lofty

Promotes unethical behavior and cheating

Changes goals to “demotivators”

Now, this doesn’t mean that goals are bad and that you shouldn’t set goals—quite the opposite actually. You should set goals. Goals are especially important in sales-centered careers like insurance because they help create the drive to grow your business. Plus, our brains are wired to seek rewards and achieving your goals is one of the best rewards you can earn. There are ways to set goals that will help lessen the threat of the goal side effects; you just need to be mindful of your goals and how they are affecting you and your team. If you’re a little wary, here are some things you can do to make goal setting and goal pursuance as positive as possible.


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Break the goals down. If you have big, lofty goals, then break the goals down into smaller, bite-sized chunks that are more easily digested. Smaller goals and deadlines help you and your team feel better about pursuing lofty goals because they’ll provide steps along the way. They will also keep you on track to help you complete the goal, so you are less likely to suffer the pain of goal failure.

Make the goals flexible. Once you set your goals, make sure the deadline and the goal itself are somewhat flexible. If you start to notice that your team can’t achieve the goal in the allotted time, brainstorm about what you can do to modify the goal so you can achieve success. Have regular meetings with your team to see how everyone is feeling about the goal and work together to decide if your goals need tweaking.

Work as a team. If you have a team around you, then make sure you include them. It makes the whole process easier and more fun. Use each other to stay motivated and remain positive. A couple of bad months doesn’t mean the end— it’s just a chance to learn.

Stay in touch with reality. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are goal-focused, and it’s also really unhealthy. Give yourself mental reality checks to remind yourself of the big picture and why you chose this goal. It will help you avoid goal-based tunnel-vision and keep you from cutting corners in pursuance of that goal.

Make them meaningful. Don’t copy and paste someone else’s goals, or adopt a goal because a book or someone else tells you that should be your goal. Think about your overall purpose in your business, what is meaningful to you & what


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your definition of success truly is, not what you may be told it is. Making sure your goals reflect your individuality and purpose increases the likelihood you will reach them.

Goals are important, but just because you don’t achieve them does not mean you’re a failure. Keep in mind goals are made to challenge yourself and push yourself. If you chose something too big, then re-focus and tone it down. Regardless, do what feels best for you. If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

Beware of Setting Too Many Goals The agency business has a love affair with goals. Some focus on sales, while others deal with company volume demands and operational and financial ratios. It’s a lot for any small business to establish and monitor, much less achieve. So, focus first on producer and personal lines representative (CSR) sales-related goals. Successfully hit these numbers and many other targets will fall into place. Plus, by concentrating on only a few, you avoid aspirational burnout. Producer Goals

For outside producers, goals focus mainly on prospecting and production. These targets are often established for multiple time periods: weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually – but if you go this route, your producers have four sets of goals to achieve, which is far too many. To minimize overload, use calendar quarters as your producers’ interim objective. That’s only four goals a year. Combined, they equal your desired annual total, with target terms long enough to allow for some slow time and short enough to maintain urgency. Goals for each quarter don’t have to be equal. They simply have to add up to your annual amount. Set these numbers with input from your agents and recognize they expect you to provide marketing, sales and tech support. Prospecting Goals These goals represent actions needed to feed and ultimately generate the desired sales. They might feature the frequency and views of social media posts, plus other digital and traditional marketing efforts, including emails. There can also be goals for the resulting contacts made, expiration dates collected and proposals delivered.


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expiration dates collected and proposals delivered.

Sales Production Goals These numbers are fairly straightforward, as they mainly relate to the number of sales made by the producer, premiums booked, and commissions written or earned. As such, they’re simple to set and track, but not always easy to achieve. See more in Setting and Tracking Goals for Agency Producers, page CSR Goals Focus primary personal lines goals on cross-selling activities and retention. Others to consider include upselling, new personal lines sales, and prospect identification for commercial lines and financial services. Cross-selling goals are set to achieve the desired number of policies per insured. Not everyone needs every policy, so these have to be flexible. Retention goals are easy to establish and track when one rep is responsible for a specific book of business demarcated by an alphabetical allocation of clients. It’s harder to hold CSRs responsible when the agency follows a “first available” service format. Agencies that compare their own numbers against benchmarks for P/C firms often find their operations wanting. This disparity can motivate improvement. But consider what’s important to you and your office. If, as agency principal, you want to enjoy more personal time, your numbers may be impacted. Think of benchmarks as guideposts instead of absolutes. Continued on page 32


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Setting and Tracking Goals for Agency Producers by Alan L. Shulman, from Every inexperienced agent and seasoned producer is hired with some general production goals in mind. In the first few weeks and months that follow, their managers diligently watch over their new hires, much like they check the Web, minute by minute, after buying a new stock. However, as time passes, their attention is often diverted to other pressing matters, leaving the agent to fend for him or herself. And while producer self-motivation and self-sufficiency are laudable qualities, it’s a mistake not to establish and monitor prospecting and production goals for everyone who sells for you. It’s wise to expect certain levels of activity from your agents. However, there is much more to setting an attainable goal than just picking a dollar amount. This column discusses some of the basic elements of the process.

New or renew? Setting producer goals involves multiple managerial decisions. Begin by determining whether to include both new business and renewals. Keep in mind that it is significantly easier to set and track goals for new business only. This approach offers a simplified and reasonably accurate gauge of what a producer is up to. Adding renewals to the formula complicates what is otherwise fairly straightforward recordkeeping. Naturally, a producer’s existing book and policy renewals are important for understanding the total value that he or she brings to the agency. However, renewal revenue is a separate consideration from the agent’s new business activities. You can’t afford to have producers sit on their books instead of seeking out fresh accounts. Centering producer goals on new business helps to deliver this message. Besides, you can always monitor an agent’s renewals through your management system and take corrective action if you spot a downward trend.

Prospecting and production goals To be effective, goals realistically establish a producer’s desired prospecting and selling activities. Prospecting goals include setting the number of actions needed to achieve positive sales results, such as marketing pieces sent, contacts made, x-dates collected, proposals delivered, etc. In contrast, production goals mainly relate to sales made and commissions booked. However, both vary by line of insurance. For instance, personal lines sales focus on expiration dates, quick quotes, and the selling of individual policies, whereas decent-sized commercial sales involve on-site appointments, extensive proposals, and entire accounts. Furthermore, since personal lines usually requires a larger number of prospects than commercial to generate favorable results, the anticipated hit ratios of proposals delivered to sales made varies between the two. Each agent’s individual selling style and prospect class further impacts these ratios. Therefore, ideally, establish separate sets of prospecting and sales goals for every producer, for each major line they solicit. Use commission dollars as the center of your production goal structure. Pick an annualized amount that factors in a favorable bottom line return for the agency and fair compensation to the agent. Additionally, set distinct goals for each major personal lines policy type and commercial account size (small, medium, and large). These numbers help to guide your producer towards a more balanced book of business. Sub-goals are important control elements as too many personal auto policies or small commercial sales may not fit into your agency’s TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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overall strategy. Always set sales count goals in addition to commission numbers to arrive at each producer’s optimal mix.

Quarterly tracking Regardless of how carefully a producer’s goals are set, they are meaningless unless they are tracked on a continuous basis. Meeting with producers every week helps managers to understand and measure each agent’s actions. The accumulated numerical data that results reveals their goal achievement to date. Freely share and discuss these tally numbers with the agent. Still, remember that every producer is entitled to a bad week or a slow month. These abbreviated time units are too small to set as the target for the weekly discussions. Instead, use the four calendar quarters as interim goals. Combined, they equal your desired annual total while making the goal terms long enough to allow for some misfortune and short enough to maintain a sense of urgency.

Conclusion Goal setting and tracking is simultaneously a science and an art. Desirable producer actions are seldom decided by executive fiat. Negotiated targets and numbers tend to generate better results. So freely involve your agent in the details of the goal-setting process. But, once everything is agreed upon for the year, don’t modify these objectives unless some cataclysmic event demands it. And these seldom happen; no matter how often some underproducing agent claims it.


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The Ten Commandments of Time Management by Bryce Sanders, For independent agents, errors and omissions (E&O) allegations can surface any day or week but the risk is heightened in the days following natural catastrophes. Insurance agents and advisors are often terrible at time management. I speak from personal experience — I’m easily distracted. Time is money, yet have you ever met an advisor who hasn’t complained about not having enough time or sales support? We need a “10 commandments of time management” to keep us focused.

I. Thou Shalt Have a Plan for Each Day You write a plan before you leave the office the preceding day, when everything is fresh in your mind. It should have several measurable goals including calls mad, LinkedIn Messages sent, appointments schedules and sales made. Keep score.

II. Thou Shalt Not Put Off the Difficult Tasks. Prospecting is rarely everyone’s favorite activity. Get it out of the way first, when you are fresh and energetic. If you are having an issue with a difficult client, make that call first thing in the morning. The person you are calling is also starting a new day. They should be in a good mood.

III. Thou Shalt Remember to Prospect Every Day. It’s easy to set aside the “important” tasks for the “immediate” ones. Someone stops at your desk saying “This paperwork must be completed immediately.” What if you were out that day? It would wait. Prospecting is important. It fills the pipeline, it gets your name out there.

IV. Thou Shalt Honor the Time-Blocking Concept It’s so easy to get distracted. You plan to prospect two hours in the morning, then the phone rings. It’s a client with a service question. A friend calls. Suddenly the two hours is gone. If you prospect by calling businesses swap desks with a colleague or go to a conference room and shut the door. Focus on the task at hand.

V. Thou Shalt Not Kill Time by Surfing the Internet It’s been said that the average smartphone user checks their phone about 120 times a day. We spend time on Facebook, we check for travel deals, we trawl through Ebay. We check email constantly. Try pretending email is similar to surface mail, which is delivered once a day. Try limiting yourself to only checking email once or twice a day.

VI. Thou Shalt Not Squander Small Blocks of Time. Someone is meeting you at the office for lunch, but they arrive 10 minutes late. You’ve been waiting, doing nothing. Have a group of small projects you can knock out (writing a letter or email) or work on a little bit at a time (organizing and updating the slides for a presentation). You’ve made good use of that extra time.

VII. Thou Shalt Not Allow Friends in the Office to Steal Time from You.


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Ever have another agent drop into your office, grab a seat and start talking about their weekend? It’s as if they are saying: “I don’t feel like working, so I’m going to talk with you instead. I’ll just interrupt your work flow.” They are stealing time. If you site in an open plan office, start by removing the visitor chair. If you have an enclosed office, pile papers on the seats. If they ask: “Can I move these?” explain you are busy right now, but can talk after 4 p.m.

VIII. Thou Shalt Keep Track of Time Spent on the Phone. Ever have a client who calls just because they like to talk? Do you know someone who can’t get to the point? If your phone has a timer, keep an eye on it. If not, the three-minute egg time with sand running through it works well. You need a strategy to get off the phone. When I was done, I would say: “Gotta hop!” One of my clients complimented me: “You call. You make your point. You get off the phone.”

IX. Thou Shalt Do Paperwork After Hours. During the day, you can get clients and prospects on the phone. In the early morning or early evening, it’s difficult to get people because they are having their morning coffee or commuting. That is the time to catch up on paperwork and enter data into the computer.

X. Thou Shalt Delegate. Which jobs can be done by you and only you? Making sales presentations and selling product is an example. Paperwork can be done by someone else. Research too. You are a professional. You should focus your time on activities providing the greatest return in business revenue, new clients or client retention.

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 Insurance coverage for you Agency Marketing Guide Agency Revenue Tools Agency assistance Industry advocacy DocIT for Agents Member discounts PIA Market Access

Together we’ve formed an alliance of experts to deal with any type of issue or question you may face.


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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Insurance Agents by Ryan Hanley, Why are some insurance agents successful, while others flounder? Their habits. It’s the little idiosyncratic routines, methodology and philosophies which dictate their daily activities which create highly effective insurance agents. Bestselling author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, is famously quoted as saying: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The individuals quoted in this article are just a few of the highly effective insurance agents you should want to spend time with. Take heed of their advice, seek out and follow their work, then apply what you can to your own efforts.

1)Hungry I habitually wake up every day with two equal thoughts.

First and foremost, highly effective insurance agents are hungry.

1) I am the best, and no one can touch me, and nothing can stop me.

When times get tough, the unsuccessful want to circle the wagons and hunker down into safe and cozy, “Way it’s always been.”

2) I am the worst, and I better step my game up in the way I work and think, or I am out of a job. One gives me confidence without the fear of learning or doing unconventional new things, while the other makes me desperate, humbled and hungry to always learn things in order to be successful. Humbled and hungry to execute in order to be successful.

– Nicholas Ayers, Chief Financial Officer, i80 Insurance Solutions, San Francisco Bay Area

Unfortunately, life isn’t designed to be cozy or safe. Times change, people change, the marketplace changes, methodology changes. Life rewards those who take risks and venture forth in hustle mode. Highly effective insurance agents have a sense of urgency about them. They know how to embrace hustle mode when it is necessary. Being a “Hungry” insurance agent means never looking back at work not done with regret for unachieved goals. Highly effective insurance agents are hungry.

2) Available We no longer live in a world where we as insurance agents can dictate the terms of communication with our prospects and clients.

I will always make time to return an email or a phone call.

Highly effective insurance agents make themselves available, not when it is most convenient for themselves, but rather those they would meet with.

Because when someone reaches out to me, it’s because they couldn’t find an answer by themselves.

Being available takes many different shapes. It could mean hiring a call center for after hours or allowing for text message communication. Being available could mean chatting with prospects and clients via Facebook Messenger or Snapchat or Twitter. Maybe being available is as simple as getting rid of your phone tree and having a human being pick up every phone call.

It gives me an opportunity to add value and my personal touch to that person in an otherwise transactional business.


You want to impress a customer? Return their phone call!

– Sharon Robles, Agency Owner, Sharon Robles Agency, Chicago, IL


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The simple act of returning a phone call can set you apart. It’s easy to make excuses and find reasons why you don’t have time to be available for prospects and clients. Highly effective insurance agents find time to be available.

3) Value Driven I have built my business by delivering an exceptional client experience and educating my clients that there is more to the insurance purchase than just the price of the product. Showing them the insurance value proposition builds loyalty and creates raving fans. Work hard and ALWAYS do what is in the best interest of the client. And, when they have a claim – be there for them.

– Spencer Houldin, President at Ericson Insurance Services, Greater New York City

Highly effective insurance agents seek to genuinely help and care about their clients and community. Rather than pushing the hard sell, they sit with clients and understand their needs. Because of the relentless pressure to drive revenue and close business, insurance agents are very familiar with the temptation to relent on price in exchange for bound policies. Highly effective insurance agents do reach for the dangling deal carrot. They understand that their success (and that of their agency) relies on a quality brand reputation in the marketplace.

This means, on occasion, deals will be lost to price focused, coverage poor competition. But highly effective insurance agents know the clients willing to pay for the coverage they need, will return that value tenfold over time. You can’t fake a desire to add value to other people’s lives. It’s almost as if prospects and clients can smell authenticity. When you have it, when you believe deep down in delivering value before ever asking for it in return, an entire new world of opportunity opens up. Highly effective insurance agents are value driven.

4) Willing to Fail Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress.” Fear is paralyzing. When our mistakes stare us in the face, we often find it so upsetting we miss out on the primary benefit of failing: the chance to come back bigger, stronger, faster and smarter.

Many of us avoid the prospect of failure. In fact, we’re so focused on not failing, that we don’t aim for success, settling instead for a life of mediocrity. Highly effective insurance agents believe failure is another step on the road to success. Instead of shying away from failure, they embrace their misses, learn, adapt and try again. Fortune favors the bold.

Nothing slows us down more than the fear of failure, but if we look carefully at our greatest successes, it was likely when we decided to act in spite of the fear. I think as agents we’re trained to be risk averse, but that shouldn’t stop us from taking calculated risks in our own businesses. Even though failure can be scary when it’s used correctly, it can also teach us how to succeed and in trying different business models or approaches you might just stumble on that idea that takes you to the next level.

– Alexander Dopazo, Partner at Dopazo

Highly effective insurance agents are not afraid of bold moves.


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5) Measured Highly effective insurance agents have a sales pipeline fueled by activity, not hope. These agents define their activities within the larger lead generation process. They know the metrics required to achieve their sales goals. Not enough of the right kind of business in the top of the sales funnel, guarantees there will not be enough of the right kind of business coming out the bottom. The average insurance agent can‘t handle the truth. They are uncomfortable with sales pipeline reviews and evaluation sessions because results are sporadic and unpredictable. Highly effective insurance agents understand that the secret to success is in the numbers – good or bad – because those numbers always have something to teach us.

Focus on the results. Insurance agents are flooded with opportunities to become better marketers, provide better customer service, and improve the operational efficiency. At Effective Coverage we are a firm believer in evaluating and testing those opportunities, but then measuring the impact of those opportunities on the agencies results.

– Eric Narcisco, CEO of Effective Coverage, Albany, NY

Highly effective insurance agents measure everything.

6) Focused My one great habit is also my greatest piece of advice. Live in the moment-while at work, work hard. When with a client, listen to their needs. When home with your family-enjoy them. My greatest success comes when I stay focused on the moment.

– Jill Roth, Executive Vice President Marketing at Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, Washington, DC

The most successful independent insurance agents on this planet are highly focused. They pay attention to the present moment and present tasks. They do not allow distractions to become excuses for low productivity. This habit ensures they are fully engaged in activities, get more done and deal with challenges efficiently. Highly focused people are simply mindful. They don’t stray from the tasks that will grow their agency.

Focus takes work. Highly effective insurance agents don’t make excuses for the distractions they’ll inevitably be faced with every single day. Instead, they create processes to create distraction-free time to get important work done. Highly effective insurance agents are focused on the task at hand.

7) Persistent Building a successful insurance career isn’t always easy. Sometimes–like when you lose a big sale or a big customer–it can be downright depressing. But, even in the worst of times, success is often right around the corner.

You can’t get lucky without hard work but a key ingredient is persistence.

Rather than give up, highly effective insurance agents concentrate on all of the reasons they can succeed. And they find a way to win.

– Chris Paradiso, Owner of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services, Stafford Springs, CT

Sitting in the office, making phone calls and excuses is the easy way to get through another day as an insurance agent. Highly effective insurance agents go beyond what is expected.


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Have your Best Sales Year in 2019 by John Chapin Warning: if you’re looking for a short cut or easy way to your best year, you probably won’t like this article. What I have to say is not what the majority of the population wants to hear. That said, it is what you need to hear if you what to have your best year in 2019. Two tips for having your best year:

Tip #1: Work Harder This is the tip most people won’t like. Here’s the thing about hard work: the harder you work by making more sales calls, the more your sales will increase. Want to increase sales by 20%? Simple, increase your sales calls by 20%. If everything stays the same: your contact rate, your closing ratio, the quality of prospects you’re calling on, your sales skills, etc., and you simply call on more people, you will automatically increase sales by the percentage of increase in the number of calls you make. So what that means is: whatever percentage increase it will take to have your best year, simply increase your calls by that number and you’re guaranteed the result. The most successful people on the planet, in any walk of life, are the hardest workers. No exceptions. The top athletes, the top musicians, top actors and actresses, and top ditch diggers, all work harder than everyone else. Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes, and they are just that: the exceptions. Follow the rule not the exception. The exception is the person who got rich winning the lottery. You don’t want to rely on those odds. Stop looking for the short cut, the easy way, the care-free, painless way. In the long-term those are the longer ways. They are more expensive mentally, physically, and financially, and ultimately the short cuts are a waste of time. Follow the tried-and-true path and work hard. The above said, it is also a good idea to increase the effectiveness of your sales calls. If you get better at all aspects of selling: getting to the decision maker, getting their attention, differentiating yourself, finding their pain, creating a solution, building rapport and long-term relationships, etc., now an increase in sales calls will grow sales exponentially. Even if you only get better in one or two areas, your sales will increase at a higher rate than if you simply increase the number of calls. In addition to getting better at selling, you should also follow Tip #2.

Tip #2: Be Disciplined The most important activities of a salesperson are: prospecting, presenting and closing. The most important thing you do during the sales day is talk to people who can give you business. It takes lots of discipline to stick to these activities during prime calling hours. You’ve got to make hitting your numbers every day your number one priority. This means you’ve got to guard your time closely against your biggest enemy: distractions. Distractions come in many forms: phone calls from friends and family, text messages, e-mail chimes, social media, chasing a fly around your office for five minutes, paperwork you should be doing off-hours, and other urgent/unimportant tasks that steal your attention during the day. While most of these distractions simply pop up, many of us are also guilty of intentionally placing distractions smack in the middle of our day. Don’t do that. Don’t schedule doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, appointments with your financial planner, CPA, or anything else at these times. Obviously there are times when you can’t avoid that, but you want to stick to TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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this rule as much as possible. Also, again, don’t do paperwork and other non-time sensitive activities during prime calling time. You also want to look for other time wasters. I had one insurance agent who was going to every Chamber of Commerce, BNI, and networking event for years all while getting very little business. When we got her to go out and knock on 50 new prospect doors a week and follow up with phone calls, her efforts over the next 12 months produced more than 40 times the results she got from attending all those events. It’s simple, she was no longer hoping the same people she saw every week for three years, who were at the networking events primarily to ‘get’ as opposed to ‘give’ business, would have a new lead for her. She was now proactive with in-person visits and phone calls to prospects. Was is harder to knock on the doors and ring the phones and face rejection from strangers? Yes. And as your parents told you growing up, the most difficult thing to do is usually the right thing to do. In-person visits and phone calls are also still the fastest ways I know to grow a business quickly. That said, if you still want to go to the networking events you can, but only after you’ve gotten all the prospects you need from phone calls and visits. In addition to the above, put up two signs, one in your office and one in your car, that say, “Am I working on my most important sales activities right now?” If it’s 5 a.m. and the answer is “no”, that’s fine. If it’s 11 a.m. on a Wednesday, and most of your prospects are on a standard work schedule, and the answer is “no”, that’s an issue. Finally on Tip #2, part of being more disciplined is also delegating activities and finding faster, better, more effective ways to do current tasks. This will free up more time for more sales activities. Ultimately there is only one question you must answer to determine whether or not you’ll have your best year in 2019: Are you willing to put in the time, effort, and energy, and endure the pain, to do the things that must be done, when they must be done, in order to make it happen? Yes? Great! Then get out of your own way and go make 2019 your best year ever!


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Ordinance and Law: Are You Discussing This Coverage With Your Clients? by Curt Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA , President – Pearsall Associates, Inc. and Consultant to the Utica National E&O Program Do you think everyone in your agency is knowledgeable about Ordinance and Law Coverage? There’s a good chance that not everyone is familiar with it. The coverage is fairly unique but is very important. Ordinance and Law Coverage is typically included on Homeowners policies. The standard coverage is usually a low percentage of the Coverage A limit, around 10% with higher percentage limits available for an additional premium. Ordinance and Law Coverage can pay not only for rebuilding a destroyed home but also upgrading the home, so it meets current building codes. When looking at a claim that involved Ordinance and Law Coverage, the lowest policy amount was not enough. The claim alleged the agency failed to procure the requested coverage for the agency’s client. The key issue was that the agency staff member was unaware of the differences in three options under the Ordinance and Law Coverage and thought the client had limits of $100,000 under this coverage when, in fact, they only had $10,000. After the client’s roof suffered hail damage, it was determined the building code had changed and required the client to add a membrane coating under the roof. The client was seeking $100,000 under the Ordinance and Law Coverage, far more than the $10,000 policy limit. The client sued for the additional $90,000 alleging the agency failed to procure the requested coverage and did not properly understand the options/coverage provided. An E&O claim was brought against the agency. Could this type of claim happen in your agency? Ordinance and Law Coverage can include three separate types of coverage:

Coverage for Loss to the Undamaged Portion of the Building − In some jurisdictions, the building code may require that a partially damaged building be demolished. This type of coverage states that if this type of ordinance is in place and enforced by the local authorities, the insurance policy will treat the claim as a total loss even though the building was only partially damaged.

Increased Demolition Cost − This type of coverage applies to the cost of the demolition to the undamaged portions of the building.

Increased Cost of Construction − This type of coverage applies to any increased expenses incurred to upgrade, repair, or replace the building while conforming to the current building laws or ordinances. The basic coverage in the Homeowners policy may not be enough for these associated costs, as in the claim example above. At a minimum, the agency should make the client aware of what the Ordinance and Law Coverage can provide and the limits available. Some agency staff may think the coverage is only for older homes, but that is not true. There is Continued on page 32 TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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From “Goal Setting: It’s Not Always Easy To Get It Right”, page 15

If your firm is growing, your agents are hitting their numbers, and your carriers are satisfied with your organic production, you aren’t doing badly, even if some similarly sized agencies are doing better. Source Materials: “Making Good Agents Great: Goal Setting”, by Allison Babberl, December 6, 2016 , “Beware of Setting Too Many Goals for Your Agency”, by Alan L. Shulman, August 17, 2015,

From “Ordinance and Law”, page 31

is a possibility that homes built 10 years ago could have this exposure if the municipality where the client resides has undergone some type of a building code change. Agencies should consider the following tips for Ordinance and Law Coverage: › Provide agency staff, Personal and Commercial Lines, with the necessary training to ensure they know the coverage and how to properly explain it. › All proposals should include reference to this coverage and the additional limits available for purchase. › There should be clear documentation with the client’s signature of any agreed upon coverages and limits. › Consider educating current and prospective clients on the importance and implications of this coverage, possibly in a social media campaign that could generate additional sales. Typically, when discussing Homeowners Coverage, the more prominent threats (fire, theft, etc.) are discussed. Agencies should not discount the importance of Ordinance and Law Coverage.

Mark Your Calendar 2019 Texas PIA Convention & Expo May 8 - 10, 2019 Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter

You’re invited to join the Texas Professional Insurance Agents for our annual convention and expo. Experience the Alamo City in unforgettable style while enjoying the time with your insurance industry colleagues and exploring all that River Walk and San Antonio has to offer. Mark your calendar today!


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Texas News Round-Up Texas Workers’ Comp Medical Costs Per Claim Decreased Since 2014 Medical payments per workers’ compensation claim in Texas decreased from 2014 to 2016 for claims with more than seven days of lost time, evaluated as of 2017, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI)....more Texas Water Board: Cost to Curb Flooding over 10 Years — $31.5B The cost to curtail damaging flooding across Texas over the next 10 years is more than $31.5 billion and state officials are urging lawmakers to adopt legislation meant to end a cycle of “repairing and rebuilding,” according to a series of recommendations released Dec. 6....more

Former Texas Insurance Agent Indicted for Scamming Elderly Woman Former Texas insurance agent Chia Wang has been indicted for an allegedly defrauding an elderly woman in an insurance scam. Wang is facing up to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine after a grand jury in Marion County indicted him this week for selling a fake life insurance policy to an 87-year-old woman, the Texas Department of Insurance reported…more Jury Hits Ex-Cowboys Player, Nightclub with $25M Verdict in DUI Death A Texas jury has returned a $25 million verdict against former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent and the owner of the now-defunct Beamers nightclub in the death of Brent’s teammate, Jerry Brown Jr.…more Texas Surplus Lines Industry Sees Rule Changes at Year’s End New rules for the Texas surplus lines insurance industry are coming into effect at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019. According to the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX), one of the most pressing changes concerns the untimely filing of policies....more Texas Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Fraudulent Hail Claim Lawsuits A Galveston, Texas, attorney is facing felony charges of insurance fraud, barratry, and money laundering related to several fraudulent hail claim lawsuits, the Texas Department of Insurance announced....more More than 30 Vehicles Pile Up on Texas Highway in Heavy Fog Officials in Texas say more than 50 people were evaluated for medical care after a massive multi-car pileup in foggy weather early on Jan. 1. The pileup involved 32 vehicles — two of them semitrucks — just an hour after ringing in the new year in Austin on State Highway 130 near Harold Green Road shortly before 1:30 a.m...more PIA Praises Extension of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to May 31 The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) is pleased the U.S. House and Senate have passed a bill to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31. The program was set to expire at midnight December 21. This bill will prevent a lapse of the program, which would have disrupted the lives of millions of NFIP policyholders...more PIA Applauds Farm Bill’s Commitment to Crop Insurance The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) applauds the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill and lauds its commitment to crop insurance as a key risk management tool for the nation’s farmers and ranchers...more Do you have news to share? Email with your story.


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Profile for Texas Professional Insurance Agents

Texas Connection January 2019  

Texas Connection January 2019