Follow me to YALI
by Carrie Shaw
9/6 at 2:47pm: I'm 6 hours from Grand Rapids and YALI 2023. Pulled over to do some client service on the way. How do you, as a young agent, service your clients uniquely?
UPDATE 9/6 at 5:07pm: Fun fact: it's 45 minutes faster to go through Canada to travel to Grand Rapids. I opted to stay in the U.S. and was slowed down by an RV fire on highway 90 in Ohio. Who can tell me what part of an RV policy would cover that incident?
UPDATE 9/6 at 6:37pm: Welcome to Michigan! Third and final state for the day.
UPDATE 9/7 at 7:52am: Big I Michigan Young Agents golf tournament at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. It's a chilly 65 degrees outside this morning... brrr.
UPDATE 9/7 at 9:09am: A visit from Indy, the Trusted Choice mascot, at the golf tournament!
UPDATE 9/7 at 1:12pm: A big thank you to the Big I Michigan Young Agents Committee for hosting this great golf tournament! The oven mitt challenge was fun!
UPDATE 9/7 at 8:05pm: A great night... YALI Night Out included a visit from Indy, duckpin bowling and mingling with other young agents.
UPDATE 9/8 at 7:57am: Being on the road isn't easy, but coffee is essential. I got 2 to help me tackle client work and get ready for the conference today!
UPDATE 9/8 at 9:20am: YALI 2023 begins!!
UPDATE 9/8 at 2:46pm: Big I's YALI event brings together the best and brightest leaders from around the nation to mastermind how to solve our industries most pressing issues and strengthen our ability to inspire others together.
I am taking my career places with Big I involvement. Don't wait for your career to take you places. Be in charge.
This is a national conference with 110 young agents from around the nation and 53 of them are first-time attendees! What are you waiting for?
This panel is a little special to me. I was chosen as a mentee for the 2023 Big I Young Agent Mentorship program and my mentor, Will Lemanski of Meiers Lombardini and Lemanski is on stage sharing his gift of experience with others.
You get out what you put in, so get going!
UPDATE 9/8 at 3:39pm: Networking & snacks!
UPDATE 9/8 at 4:51pm: Time to recognize the work of outstanding young agents committees across the country!
UPDATE 9/8 at 5:45pm: NY brings home some hardware. Way to go, NextGen!
UPDATE 9/9 at 9:34am: The most valuable session of the conference is the young agent idea share about what’s working and not working in their states for their young agent committees!
Thanks for following me this week. If you’re interested in learning more, we can’t wait to hear from you!
It's back to school season so let's talk Project InVEST.
How can we as an industry encourage high school and college students to check out how awesome insurance is? Let's face it- most of us ended up in insurance by accident- so they can too! Planting the seed can start with one interaction. Looking to impact your community? Approach your local high schools or teacher friends and see how your industry experience can add value to their curriculum! Insurance is an incredible opportunity for students to explore and no college degree is needed! I travel around the state talking to students about my career and how unique it is! Your experience is worth sharing too! With so many different types of jobs in the industry, we have something for everyone. Educating teachers and community leaders on this is our first step to impacting a student's industry and job choice. A high school could just need a guest speaker, or maybe a several-week program to supplement their lesson plans- we can help!
Big I NY is full of resources to help Project InVEST succeed on a local level and you can be a part of it? Contact us if you'd be interested in presenting to students or if you know of a high school that could benefit from Project InVEST.
Carrie A. Shaw, CIC
Let's get out there and tell the world!!
Tell The World?? Ok, how about at least the next generation how awesome the Insurance Industry is....
Over the next ten years, thousands of jobs will be available for the teens and young adults of today. We need to do a better job educating them about the wonderful career that we all know and love; too many kids (and adults too) only know about insurance by what they see on TV... the boring desk job selling insurance. In reality, there are SO MANY
career paths in the insurance industry! We need to step up and show them about the other aspects of the industry; sales, support, IT, marketing, accounting, claims, analytics, nursing, engineering, forensics, etc. When you choose a career in insurance, so many doors open up.
How do we start to tell the world? Visit your local school, community college or BOCES. We have a lot of material for you to use; videos, powerpoints, handouts, sample letters, you name it! It could be a 20 minute guest speaker presentation, participation in a career day, a Q&A session, or telling a story about what you like about being in insurance. Easy peasy!
Take these steps to get started...
- Check out Our Invest Page
- Identify a school near you: do you know a teacher, guidance counselor, administrative staff? Reach out to see if they have any upcoming career fairs or opportunities to speak. Ask if you can stop in to hang a flyer on their bulletin board.
- Contact me to discuss the best approach. I'd love to help you get the word out!
And if you're already out spreading the word about the amazing industry we're a part of, we'd love your feedback HERE
. Tell us how we can help!
We are pleased to offer you a one-page handout that will help you explain Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance to your clients. A law that took effect on August 1 makes this coverage automatic on auto insurance policies unless the insured requests that it be removed. Previously, the coverage was available as an option but the insured had to ask to have it added.
The file is a one-page document in Microsoft Word format and is suitable for copying and pasting onto your letterhead. It is structured as a series of questions and answers. We have posted it under the Coverage Questions heading on the Auto Insurance page in the Answer Center.
Download the handout
Jan. 16, 2023 post about the law
May 12, 2023 post about related ACORD forms
On Monday, August 7, an insurance carrier that has written a significant amount of personal auto and homeowners coverage in New York informed its agents that it intends to withdraw its primary underwriting company from the preferred home and auto insurance market in all states. Since that announcement, we have received questions from members about the rules the carrier must follow in New York as it implements its exit.
The bottom line is that any carrier providing personal property and casualty insurance must have a withdrawal plan approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). They cannot implement that plan without approval. Here are the details:
The applicable law is Section 3425 of the New York Insurance Law, titled Certain property/casualty insurance policies; cancellation and renewal provisions; agents' contracts and brokers' accounts. Download the complete text of the law.
Subsection (o) of that law sets requirements for “(a)n insurer that intends to materially reduce its volume of policies written …"
A regulation that the law required DFS to issue regarding withdrawal plans for homeowners insurance (there is not a similar regulation for auto insurance) defines “material reduction of volume of policies" as:
- a reduction in the net number of homeowners insurance policies written, by 20 percent or more, or a reduction in the net number of such policies by 500, whichever is greater, during a five-year period; or
- a reduction of the net number of homeowners insurance policies in force, by 4 percent or more, or a reduction in the net number of such policies by 100, whichever is greater, during a one-year period.
- That number does not include any policies that the law permits the insurer to cancel mid-term under one of the handful of permitted reasons, such as non-payment of premium.
Subsection (o) sets two sets of rules for such an insurer – one set for personal auto, the other for homeowners.
The insurer is required to submit to the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) a detailed plan that describes:
- What they want to do
- Why they're doing it
- What they will do to minimize market disruptions, and
- Anything else DFS may require.
The regulation mentioned above defines “minimizes market disruption" as “actions to be taken by an insurer which intends to materially reduce its volume of policies to provide for the orderly reduction in homeowners insurance coverage." These may include:
- measures such as locating alternate insurers to provide coverage, and determining the effects of the replacement coverage on insureds' coverage and premium costs;
- efforts by the insurer to maintain a service force in affected areas during the exit period;
- efforts to inform insureds of options available for replacement of coverage with admitted insurers;
- efforts by the insurer to prevent the increase in the volume of policies issued by the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA) in affected areas which may result the exit; and
- any other actions serving to minimize market disruption.
The regulation sets very detailed requirements for what must be in the plan. For example, the carrier must inform DFS of the number of policies to be canceled or non-renewed in each county; areas within a mile of the salt shoreline in Westchester County and the four New York City boroughs other than Manhattan; and areas where policy volume written through NYPIUA has increased significantly since 1992.
The insurer must submit the plan to DFS at least 30 days before it intends to implement the plan for personal auto, and at least 60 days in advance for homeowners.
DFS has 30 days to act on the plan. The plan is acceptable if it “it demonstrates that the material reduction is accomplished in a manner that minimizes market disruption." DFS must explain any reasons for rejecting the plan, and the carrier has 15 days to respond to the objection. Once DFS approves a plan, the carrier must implement it and provide periodic reports to DFS.
The carrier may still cancel auto policies for any reason during the first 60 days of the first policy term, and it may cancel after that for non-payment of premium, suspension or revocation of an insured driver's license, or fraud and material misrepresentation.
If the carrier writes more than 750 auto policies statewide, it is limited to non-renewing up to 2% of its policies in each rating territory in addition to its ability to cancel policies.
If it writes less than 750 policies and intends to non-renew them, it must submit to DFS a market withdrawal plan similar to that required for homeowners.
The carrier's communication to agents said it will “begin developing plans for the reduction of business and will communicate with you about the impact to your agency and customers as plans are finalized." We encourage any of you who are affected by this action to carefully monitor future communications from the carrier about its exit plans. We also suggest that you begin the process of locating alternative markets, in the best interests of your clients, as soon as possible.
More information about carriers' ability to terminate or change policies is available from the Cancellations, Nonrenewals & Conditional Renewals page in the Answer Center of our website.
Check 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.
- An overview of market conditions
- Expert advice for surviving a hard market from savvy independent agents
- Talking points for clients
- Client email templates
- Frequently asked questions from clients
- A general communication timeline to keep your agency on track
- Remarketing strategy including standards document (fill-in template)
- Renewal process outlines and strategy
- Personal lines and commercial lines renewal forms
- Customizable videos and graphics to help your agency stand out
ACCESS THE TOOLKIT HERE
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.
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 …
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 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 www.agency-focus.com or emailing email@example.com.