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Jul 26
Looking for Support on How to Communicate in this Market?

HardMarket_Toolkit_Image.pngCheck out the Hard Market Toolkit brought to you by Trusted Choice

During these challenging times of rising premiums in a hard market, independent insurance agents are more important than ever.​ Trusted Choice has designed the Hard Market Toolkit with you in mind.

Resources included:

  1. An overview of market conditions
  2. Expert advice for surviving a hard market from savvy independent agents
  3. Talking points for clients
  4. Client email templates
  5. Frequently asked questions from clients
  6. A general communication timeline to keep your agency on track
  7. Remarketing strategy including standards document (fill-in template)
  8. Renewal process outlines and strategy
  9. Personal lines and commercial lines renewal forms
  10. Customizable videos and graphics to help your agency stand out


Jul 20
NY Work Comp Loss Costs Dropping Again in October


The New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board announced ​last week that the state Department of Financial Services (DFS)  has approved a reduction in Workers' Compensation insurance loss costs. New York employers will see an average 2.6 percent decrease in the loss costs used to calculate their premiums effective Oct. 1, 2023.

You can find the new loss costs in the board's announcement

Jul 18
Are You An Insurance Nerd? Some Thoughts on National Insurance Nerd Day


I'm told that today, July 18, is national Insurance Nerd Day​. I had no idea. The Hallmark people must have forgotten to print cards for the occasion this year. I will take that matter up with them later. In the meantime, because it is a slow news day Insurance Nerd​ Day, I have been begged bribed threatened asked to pen a few words about this revered date on the calendar.

What is an insurance nerd? How do you know if you are one? Well, if you didn't figure it out when you entered kindergarten, here are some signs. With apologies credit to that famous American philosopher Jeff Foxworthy​, you just might be an insurance nerd if …

… The words “all risk" sound to you like a dentist's drill.

… You've considered ending a friendship with someone who refers to automatic additional insured endorsements as “blanket additional insured" endorsements.

… You've explained the definition of “flood" in a National Flood Insurance Program policy to relatives. During Thanksgiving dinner.

… Your spouse had to talk you out of naming the children “Primary" and “Non-Contributory."

… When entering a building for the first time, you instinctively glance at the ceiling to see if there is an automatic sprinkler system.

… Your first thought upon hearing about a fire is to wonder who insures the building.

… You understand the coinsurance condition in property insurance policies.

… You've always thought that “primary-non-contributory-waiver-of-subrogation" was one word.

… You're passionate about debris removal coverage.

… You get chest pains when you hear that a friend's college student child is driving for Uber.

… You know and can explain the ways that ISO has changed liability coverage for riding lawn mowers in the Homeowners policy since the year 2000.

… Someone in your life is not speaking to you because you insist that Business Income insurance does not cover COVID losses.

… You sincerely believe the movie “Cedar Rapids" was unjustly overlooked when Oscar nominations were handed out in 2012.

… You actually understand how a contractual liability exclusion really provides contractual liability coverage.

… When anyone in your office/family/circle of friends has an insurance coverage question, they come to you because they know they'll get a correct answer.

So, on behalf of myself, a proud, card-carrying, fine-print-reading, insuring agreement-quoting Insurance Nerd, and on behalf of those of us at Big I New York who aren't on vacation this week, I wish all of you who share my pathology fascination with insurance coverage a happy and joyful Insurance Nerd Day. 

Now, given Hallmark's neglect of the occasion, I'm speaking with an attorney about suing them for discrimination. As any insurance nerd knows, third-party discrimination suits may be insured under Employment Practices Liability Insurance …

Jul 07
Managing Carrier Risks in Your Book of Business


By: Colby Allen

As an insurance agency owner, managing risks within your book of business is crucial for ensuring long-term success and profitability. With so many places facing hard markets, it's essential to adopt strategies that safeguard your top and bottom lines while providing excellent service to your clients. In this article, we will explore three key areas that can help you effectively manage risks and actualize your agency's potential.

Aligning with Multiple Partner Carriers Can Help
De-Risk Your Top and Bottom Lines

One of the most effective ways to manage risks within your book of business is by aligning with multiple partner carriers. When it comes to best practices, there are some ways to manage your placements to ensure you aren't overly exposed during market cycles. Relying solely on one carrier exposes your agency to significant risks, such as limited market options, and vulnerability to market fluctuations. By diversifying your carrier relationships, you can reduce these risks and enhance your agency's stability.

If one carrier is more exposed to adverse market factors or decides to change its underwriting guidelines, your agency won't be as affected because you have more than one market to rely on. This strategy can help protect both your top and bottom line, ensuring a more consistent revenue stream even in challenging market conditions.

Takeaway: It's easy to double down and maintain a high velocity of new business with one good carrier, but working with multiple partner carriers allows you to spread your risks while providing options for your clients. Best practices recommend the 80/20 rule that approximately 80% of your business should be placed within the top 20% of your markets. For smaller agencies this is often only a couple, so if one carrier underwrites a large portion of your clients you may need to review your production strategy to spread your risk. If one carrier underwrites considerably more than your agency's profitability goal, that should be an indication that if a carrier changes its underwriting appetite your profitability could be at risk.

Aligning with the right carriers also helps to optimize profit sharing. No one should ever advocate for steering clients with the purpose of better profit sharing because it is illegal in most states. However, concentrating your efforts and placements with a few carriers that align with your client's needs provides you with economies of scale to optimize potential profit sharing within your normal placement process with your partner carriers.

It's Not That You Need More Carriers, You Need the Right Carriers

While having access to numerous markets can be beneficial, it's essential to focus on quality rather than quantity. It's not about having more markets; it's about having the right markets for your agency's target market and specialization. Understanding your clients' coverage needs and preferences will help you identify carriers that align with your agency's goals and provide the right coverage options.

When evaluating potential partner carriers, assess their appetite and track record for the core lines of business you want to offer to your clients. In addition, be sure to understand the carrier's growth goals and their financial security. Partnering with carriers that have a proven track record in your niche markets will not only enhance your agency's credibility but also mitigate risks associated with mismatched client needs and carrier offerings.

Takeaway: A couple of insights from my prior experience managing carrier relationships at a national agency – smaller agencies or growth-minded producers often fall into the idea of “needing more markets." Many larger agencies have a real problem trying to manage too many relationships, which can add indirect costs to your agency through too many meetings or unproductive quoting activity. As an owner, you should focus on finding the right markets for your clients so that they have the coverage they need at a reasonable price.

Winning one or even a few policies by AOR with a market you don't currently have may seem like a good idea, but unless you have other clients or a pipeline that aligns with their appetite you are incurring admin costs for contracts, commission processing, and other indirect costs that may erode your profitability for that one account.

Maintaining Good AMS Data Will Set You Up to Be Proactive and Protect Your Revenue

Agency Management System (AMS) data is a goldmine of valuable information that can help you proactively manage risks and protect your revenue. By maintaining accurate and up-to-date data, you gain insights into your book of business, identify potential risks, and make informed decisions.

Especially in a hard market, it's critical to have an accurate book of business in your AMS to identify clients and risks in the event you need to act quickly to market news. Having the proper policy type, effective and expiration dates, Billing Company, and Issuing Company coded to your policies positions you to instantly pull a report to plan your re-marketing strategy for affected clients.

Takeaway: Carrier appetite guides are great for reference, but having accurate data in your AMS can give you a more accurate appetite guide from your client base. Seeing which carriers write which types of policies for your client base can also give you guidance on which other carriers to approach if one changes their underwriting guidelines. Having the ability to pull this report also positions you to respond quickly when receiving a communication from a carrier they are no longer writing a certain line of business or even geographic area.

In the agencies I worked for, it was a regular occurrence to analyze the book of business due to a carrier changing their program, exiting a territory, or even terminating a contract. However, having the data available turned a potentially disastrous situation into a manageable process.

To summarize, managing risks within your insurance agency's book of business requires a proactive and strategic approach. By aligning with multiple partner carriers, focusing on the right markets, and maintaining good AMS data, you can minimize risks, enhance profitability, and deliver exceptional service to your clients.  

Remember, effective risk management is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation, adaptation, and collaboration with your carrier partners. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate the dynamic insurance landscape with confidence and set your agency up for long-term success.

Colby Allen

Financial Analyst

Colby Allen has over 10 years of experience working in analytics for insurance agencies and carriers. He's worked with hundreds of producers on understanding the data within their book of business for growth and profitability. Want to review your book of business to understand these risks and enact a plan to be more resilient?

Schedule a free consult by visiting​ or emailing

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