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TDI Issues Draft of Hail Litigation Report

Posted By Chris Prewit, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An interesting article by Bill Kidd appeared in the latest issue of The Insurance Record


There is growing involvement from attorneys and public adjusters in the litigation of Texas hail damage claims. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) staff revealed their initial findings to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on October 5, 2016.  Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has directed the committee to monitor “the number of lawsuits related to property claims filed as a result of multiple hailstorms and weather-related events across Texas”.  The committee was directed to examine “negative consumer trends that may result in market disruption such as higher premiums and deductibles, less coverage, non-renewals, and inability to insure coverage due to insurance carrier withdrawal from the state”.  The committee was to then make recommendations on legislative action that is needed. TDI issued a data call on May 20, 2016 to collect information on hailstorm residential property claims litigation with response due August 19, 2016.  Approximately 140 separate insurance companies submitted responses. The data highlighted the following information. Before 2012, known attorney or public adjuster representation “was about 0.4% (one in 250 claims)”. “After 2011, known attorney or PA representation was about 4 to 4.5 % (one in 22 to 25 claims), or an increase of about 10 times or 900%. The data also revealed that the rate of lawsuits increased.  Before 2012, the lawsuit rate was about 1.5 to 2% but after 2011, the lawsuit rate increased by 1,400%. The TDI warned that “the results should be considered preliminary.” The TDI’s results are based on 40,000 randomly sampled windstorm and hail claims.

 

The data also indicated a majority of claims with attorney or PA involvement are in South Texas. “South Texas accounts for 4% of all sampled windstorm and hail claims and about 53% of claims with known attorney or PA involvement” TDI reported.  Seven insurers stated that they “intentionally reduced, limited, or stopped writing policies in Texas as a direct result of increased claims litigation from weather related perils.”  Two of those companies also opted not to renew policies.  Counties affected include Hidalgo, Maverick, Potter, Randall and Webb. One company increased its minimum wind deductible for new business policies statewide. “Twelve companies stated that they have increased rates for residential lines of insurance as a direct result of claims litigation” TDI Reported. TDI plans to finalize its analysis before the 2017 legislative session.

Tags:  articles  blog  business  hail  industry  Insurance  litigation 

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The Insurance Indusrty is Facing a Talent Crisis

Posted By Chris Prewit, Monday, October 3, 2016

Article written by Robert Crosby CIC CRM, Executive Director at IIASA

 

The baby boomer generation is not only aging, but dying faster than actuaries had forecasted. By 2020 there will be serious deficiencies in qualified and experienced individuals to fill the ranks of the baby boomers leaving the industry and going into retirement. To be exact there will be a need to fill 400,000 insurance positions by 2020. Despite the deficiencies, and the opportunities, among the future job pool, high school students, are not interested in pursuing an insurance career. A solution to the dilemma is for the industry to develop a relationship with future employees at a young age. It seems the agencies, insurance companies and associations spend too much time doing their own thing around this topic and we need to stop fighting against each other. The solution is to pull together and work for a common cause.  This is what your association will be doing over the next year by combining our efforts with the IIAT and other local Texas insurance associations. Please stay tuned.

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Big “I” Sues to Halt Misguided Overtime Rule

Posted By Chris Prewit, Monday, October 3, 2016

Press release originally published by the IIABA

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 20, 2016—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 12 other national trade associations in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Labor (DOL) to halt its recently promulgated overtime rule. A coalition of 21 states also filed a separate challenge to the rule.


“This misguided overtime rule will negatively impact independent insurance agencies and their employees,” says Bob Rusbuldt Big “I” president and CEO. “The Big ‘I’ believes the lawsuit highlights the burdens this regulation places on many businesses across the country, and the harm it will do to many employees who will lose the flexibility and benefits traditionally associated with exempt employment positions. This rule is a jobs killer and it needs to be fixed.”     

The DOL overtime rule, finalized in May, includes raising by 100% (from $23,660 to $47,476) the monetary threshold at which employees can qualify for the so-called “white collar” overtime exemptions. The rule also pegs the threshold to inflation. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and asks the court to set aside the new rule. The lawsuit is also seeking injunctive relief barring the DOL from implementing the rule until the court has finished reviewing the case. The rule is currently set to go into effect on December 1. 

“The lawsuit takes aim at the arbitrary and excessive 100% increase in the monetary threshold required to be exempt from overtime, as well as the mechanism for automatically updating the threshold,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “The Big ‘I’ is the only insurance trade association to join the lawsuit. We believe this lawsuit is a necessary step to help protect our members, many of which are small businesses, against unreasonable regulatory overreach by the Department of Labor.” 

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What will Autonomous Cars mean for Insurance Companies?

Posted By Chris Prewit, Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Article originally written by James Bryant

 

What happens when driverless cars catch on? As much as $160 billion per year in insurance premium could vanish amid improved vehicle safety and reduced vehicle ownership.

While autonomous car technology is years away, driver-assist technology is here today and has already made an impact on the reduction of accidents and premiums.

There would be a shift from individual liability insurance premiums to the auto manufacturer and their suppliers who develop the software that drives these cars.

The car manufacturers would then accept the liability for accidents involving their driverless cars, which would mean the individual is only responsible for comprehensive and collision.  A 2015 report by KPMG estimated that the personal-auto insurance industry would contract 40% within 25 years.

Part of the erosion comes from direct completion from the automotive industry. Instead of competing with each other they should join forces to share data and other valuable information. For example, Toyota formed a joint venture with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance. The two companies are working together to develop insurance products based on driver behavior data.

In the driverless car future, there will have to be different actuary models that eliminate the human factor of driving a car.

There is time to figure all of this out according to KPMG. They expect a fully self-driving car to be widely available by 2025, however the Wall Street Journal quoted that we are still operating in an era of millions of recalls for the simplest of technology, such as ignition switches failure, floor mats and air bags. This paints a picture that is not so optimistic for the autonomous car.

Tags:  autonomous cars  autonomous driving  best practices  insurance  insurance articles 

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Critical Policy Provisions for Commercial Property Owners

Posted By Chris Prewit, Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Written by Matthew R. Pearson, Gravely & Pearson Law Firm

 

Some of your clients are probably familiar with certain provisions of insurance policies such as premiums, deductibles, and depreciation because they expect to negotiate those terms when they purchase the policy.  However, there are several critical policy provisions that policyholders seldom notice until they experience a loss.  These provisions are often buried in language the policyholder might overlook, misunderstand or not even know exist.  This article discusses a few of these provisions -- appraisal, mediation, arbitration, forum selection, choice of law, and cosmetic exclusions.


As a professional agent, it is beneficial for you to be aware of these provisions in each of your clients’ policies and to call these provisions to their attention at the time they buy the policy. First of all, advance knowledge of these provisions will assist your clients in planning for covered losses and thus, add value to your services.  Secondly, keeping your clients well informed protects you from liability should any of these provisions preclude coverage or prove problematic when your policyholders suffer a loss. 

Post-Loss Appraisal


Post-loss appraisal clauses are very common in Texas Homeowners’ and Commercial Property Policies.  For almost a hundred years, there were very few lawsuits addressing the appraisal clause in insurance contracts.  However, in the past few years, multiple state and federal court cases have addressed this issue, largely as a result of Hurricane Ike.   An “appraisal” is a process prescribed by the policy for arriving at the post-loss value of a disputed claim or loss.  That sounds simple enough, but courts continue to wrestle with where appraisal fits into the claims adjusting process.  Some courts and insurance carriers promote appraisal as a process designed to help the carrier and the insured come to an agreement without the need for a lawsuit. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.


The precise terms of the appraisal clause may vary from one policy to the next, but typically it requires each party -- the carrier and the insured -- to designate a qualified and independent appraiser. The two designated appraisers then select a third person, known as an umpire.  Next, each appraiser evaluates the loss.  If the appraisers do not agree on the value of the loss (or some part of the loss), then the appraisers submit the disputed part to the umpire. If the umpire agrees with the value submitted by one of the appraisers, the agreed-upon value establishes the amount of the loss. According to Texas law, appraisals are generally binding on the parties. Once the amount of the loss is determined, the award of damages generally cannot be set aside if the appraisal is free from errors.


There are a number of issues with the appraisal process. For example, the parties are supposed to designate appraisers who are “independent.” In contrast with the policyholder who may very rarely go through an appraisal, carriers engage in appraisals on a routine basis. Carriers not only have the advantage of experience, but also have the opportunity to hire the same appraisers over and over. Therefore, there may be a serious question about the “independence” of a carrier’s appraiser who has worked for, and who aspires to derive future income from, the same carrier. Courts have indicated that an appraiser who derives substantial business income from a carrier may taint the process to the extent that the appraisal is invalid.

The scope of the appraisal is defined in the appraisal clause in the policy. It is generally used to establish the value of the loss, not the cause. This is a very important but overlooked distinction. Appraisals generally cannot decide issues of coverage, causation or ultimate liability. Because the appraisal is binding and allows the carrier to avoid the unwanted scrutiny of a jury on the issue of value, carriers frequently attempt to expand the scope of the appraisal. For example, in a hail damage claim, the carrier’s appraiser may state in his decision not only the amount of the damage (value), but also that the damage was caused on a certain date, outside of the policy term, or that it was not caused by hail at all. This finding could potentially relieve the carrier from coverage. It is crucial for the policyholder (or its attorney) to understand the precise scope of the specific appraisal clause as it is defined in the policy and to be vigilant against any attempt by the carrier to go beyond the scope and confuse issues of value with causation or liability.

Mandatory Mediation and/or Arbitration

Mandatory Mediation and/or Arbitration provisions are becoming more common in surplus lines policies and may become the norm in standard policies.  The unequal bargaining power of the policyholder and the insurance carrier is usually not problematic in a mediation but can make arbitration a manifestly unjust process.  

Mediation is an informal process by which a specially trained or experienced mediator, often a former judge, assists the insured and the carrier to come to an agreement as to issues such as coverage, scope, and damages.  The mediator does not make decisions on the issues but advises the parties of the strength and weakness of their positions based on his or her experience.  If the parties reach an agreement on any or all issues discussed during mediation, they may choose to formalize the agreement into a binding settlement agreement.  However, if the parties fail to reach an agreement, their negotiations are not binding.

Arbitration, by contrast, is only fair when both parties are on equal footing with respect to power, money and sophistication.  Generally, the insurance company (in drafting the policy) sets the terms of the arbitration proceeding, selects the entity that will choose the arbitrator, and pays the arbitrator.  Often, the policy allows that either party can refuse to use a particular arbitrator, but since insurance companies are repeat customers, arbitrators may have an incentive to keep the carriers happy.  If these advantages were not enough for the insurance companies, most arbitration provisions do not allow for an appeal, review, or even disclosure of the final arbitration decision.  

One carrier recently proposed to offer an optional binding arbitration endorsement in selected areas in exchange for what they characterize as a premium discount.  In July, the TDI held hearings on the matter but has not yet published a decision.  This raises many concerns in the insurance industry that consumers may opt for a discount without being fully aware of the arbitration process nor the constitutional rights, including the right to trial by jury, they would forfeit.  It would be difficult for regulators to discern if the carrier makes the “optional” endorsement effectively mandatory by refusing to sell or offer policies absent the arbitration endorsement.  Additionally, the rights lost by the consumer might not be adequately offset by the premium discount offered.  


Forum Selection and Choice of Law Clauses

Increasingly, insurance policies contain a forum selection clause or a choice of law clause.  A forum selection clause dictates where a policyholder may sue an insurance company if a dispute as to coverage arises.  A carrier might require a policyholder to file suit in the state in which the carrier maintains its home office, even when the insured and/or the covered property are in another state.  Furthermore, laws in some states are more protective of policyholders’ rights, and by using a forum selection clause, an insurer can contract out of being sued in those states.  In effect, by dictating a distant forum, the insurer greatly reduces its risk of being sued due to the added expense of the litigation to the policyholder and the added challenge of selecting a distant attorney.

Likewise, a choice of law clause in a policy can greatly influence the outcome of a case.   For example, under a choice of law provision, a court in Texas might apply the law of Oklahoma as dictated by the policy.  Because the substantive law of each state addresses issues such as trigger of coverage, late notice, the duty to cooperate, exclusions, and damages, a court interpreting the very same policy language under the substantive law of two different states could reach entirely different results.  
 

Cosmetic Exclusions

Cosmetic exclusion endorsements are optional and often negotiated in exchange for a lower premium.  These policy endorsements exclude coverage for exterior surfacing of walls, roofs, doors, and windows for solely cosmetic damage from wind and hail.  The policyholder is still covered for any functional physical damage that affects the components’ ability to keep weather-related or other elements from entering the structure.

Despite the fact that “cosmetic damage” is defined in the policy, issues still arise with these endorsements.  For example, a hairline crack in a wall resulting from hail or wind may not trigger coverage under the cosmetic exclusion endorsement, but over time it could result in serious damage that might have been prevented with immediate repairs at the time of loss.  Likewise, at first glance, hail dents to a metal roof may seem merely cosmetic, but they can also harm the roof’s water shedding capability, damage seams between panels, and otherwise reduce the lifespan of the roof.  

When deciding whether to bargain for a cosmetic damage exclusion, the policyholder should consider potential decreased market value from cosmetic damage and whether any applicable HOA rules require repairs for purely cosmetic damage.


Conclusion

Your clients generally do not think about the ramifications of a loss when they are purchasing insurance.  As an insurance professional, it is in your best interest to identify potentially problematic insurance provisions in the event of a loss and to advise your clients in advance.  

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Fraud Fighters: How Agents Can Lead the Charge Against Workers’ Compensation Claim-Related Fraud

Posted By Chris Prewit, Monday, August 1, 2016

By Samuel V. King, Vice President, Fraud Investigations for EMPLOYERS®

 

In 2015 alone, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) received more than 13,500 reports of suspected insurance fraud.1​   While it may not readily come to mind for most business owners, workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime that can negatively impact Texas’ businesses, their employees and the overall workers’ compensation system.  

Independent insurance agents can play an important role in the fight against workers’ compensation insurance fraud by helping their clients understand, detect and prevent it in their organizations.

There are two main types of workers’ compensation fraud: policy-related fraud and claim-related fraud. Policy-related fraud occurs when a policyholder or insurance agent misrepresents the insured business (such as its payroll, employee classification, or the nature of the business) to obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy at less than the appropriate cost. Claim-related fraud occurs when an employee, policyholder, or a medical provider or vendor falsely claims a work-related injury or illness, or exaggerates an existing injury or illness, to gain a workers’ compensation benefit. Sometimes referred to as worker benefit fraud, this is the most common type of fraud referred to and investigated by the Texas Workers' Compensation System, according to the TDI.2  

This article focuses on claim-related fraud, which can hurt the bottom lines of law-abiding businesses by increasing their insurance costs. How can agents equip their clients with knowledge and resources to defend themselves against this crime? The most important thing agents can do is to make sure their clients know the top “red-flag” signs of fraudulent activity. Signing a new client or renewing a policy often offers the perfect opportunity to have a conversation about workers’ compensation claim-related fraud prevention.

Know the warning signs

Here are 10 common “red flags” that agents and their clients should watch for as potential warning signs of workers’ compensation claim-related fraud. Although these potential indicators alone do not signify fraud, the presence of two or more occurring within the same claim may warrant further examination.  

  1. Monday morning (or start of shift) injury reports. The alleged injury occurs first thing on Monday morning or late on Friday afternoon, but is not reported until Monday.
  2. Employment change. The reported accident occurs immediately before or after a strike, job termination, layoff, end of a big project, or the conclusion of seasonal work.
  3. Suspicious providers. An employee’s medical providers or legal consultants have a history of handling suspicious claims, or the same doctors and lawyers are used by groups of claimants.
  4. No witnesses. There are no witnesses to the accident and the employee’s own description does not logically support the cause of the injury.
  5. Conflicting descriptions. The employee’s description of the accident conflicts with the medical history or injury report.
  6. History of claims. The claimant has a history of suspicious or litigated claims.
  7. Treatment is refused. The claimant refuses a diagnostic procedure to confirm the nature or extent of an injury.
  8. Late reporting. The employee delays reporting the claim without a reasonable explanation.
  9. Claimant is difficult to reach. The allegedly disabled claimant is difficult to reach at home and does not respond promptly to messages.
  10. Changes. The claimant has a history of frequently changing physicians, addresses or jobs.

In addition to helping policyholders recognize these potential indicators of fraud, agents need to know how to help their clients respond appropriately when fraud is suspected. Suspicion of potential fraud should be reported immediately to the claims department, special investigations unit or fraud investigations department at the policyholder’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  Policyholders can also reach out to the Texas Department of Insurance’s Fraud Unit as a resource.

When reporting a suspicious claim, agents should advise their clients to gather as much information as possible, including identifying witnesses, gathering any available security camera footage of the alleged injury, and evidence of any inconsistent statements from the claimant.

If the claimant is subsequently convicted of insurance fraud, the agent can help the policyholder get the fraudulent claim or the fraudulent portion of the claim removed from their experience modification rating.  This could help reduce policy premiums.

Workers’ compensation claim-related fraud can be a costly crime. At a minimum, agents should be able to answer policyholder’s general questions about it and its “red flags,” as well as know how to report potentially fraudulent activities to the proper authorities.  By creating awareness of the issue and helping their clients prevent it, agents can play a meaningful role in the fight against fraud.


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How Brexit will affect the insurance industry

Posted By Chris Prewit, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An article written by Sara Tatelman, Associate Editor, Benefits Canada at Rogers Communications

This article is from The Canadian Insurance Broker

 

The numbers are in and the UK is out. A very small majority (51.2%) of Britons voted to leave the European Union in last Thursday’s Brexit vote, a decision certain to affect the insurance industry.

“There are likely to be a number of medium-term changes,” Steven Mendel, CEO of peer-to-peer insurer brought by many in London, told Top Broker. Also Lloyd’s chairman says Brexit will be “no regulatory nirvana.”

To begin with, premiums are likely to shoot up because “the last thing that any financial services company wants is uncertainty and there’s lots of that right now” Mendel says. After news of the Leave victory, for example, the pound plunged to a 30-year low. So to make up for the lack of currency certainty, premiums will climb.

“...The vote brings with it some short-term uncertainty, and for this reason investors are assuming higher risk premiums and hence lower prices,” Andreas Gruber, chief investment officer at Allianz, said in a release. Nevertheless, “we believe market disruption are short-term”

Mendel also points out some of the lower-cost insurers who do business in the UK are not domiciled there. After the UK leaves the EU, they will have to be, and the move may cause their pricing to permanently increase.

In total, Brexit puts 34,000 insurance jobs at risk. As for UK insurers-such as Bought by Many- that work in other parts of the EU, Mendel anticipates they will have to get regulatory permission from every other country in which they do business, which can be both lengthy and expensive process.

“The Lloyd’s & London Market and General Insurance Market make extensive use of passporting,”   Jonathan Howe, UK insurance at PwC in London, said in a release. “The loss of these rights could see insurers being forced to restructure and facing large operational, regulatory and tax costs as they adapt to such a change.”

Mendel doesn’t expect European insurers to withdraw from the UK just because of Brexit. The UK is, after all, Europe’s second largest insurance market, but it is highly competitive, especially for home and auto coverage. “But I think if the business is already looking a bit uncertain, this may be a good justification for it.”

German Insurer Allianz, for their part, remains “committed to the UK market.”

Brexit has awakened dangerous forces in the world economy. Furthermore, London may lose its prominence as a global financial hub. “Many non UK insurance companies from areas such as the USA and Asia currently use the UK as their European headquarters and as a gateway into Europe thought EU/EEA passporting, “Howe said “There is a real risk that these rights could be eliminated and insurers will be thinking about the best location for their bases in the future”

Michael Menhart, chief economist at Munich Re, agreed. While Brexit will affect insurance less than other industries, “London will lose influence as a financial center to hubs such as Singapore or New York, “he said in a statement, “and this will also affect insurers.”

 

Original Article: http://www.citopbroker.com/news/how-brexit-will-affect-the-insurance-industry-10641

Tags:  Brexit  Impact  Insurance  World Issues 

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Celebrate National Safety Month by Helping Clients Create a Culture of Safety

Posted By Chris Prewit, Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Celebrate National Safety Month by Helping Clients Create a Culture of Safety

By David Quezada, Vice President, Loss Control Services, EMPLOYERS®

 

June is National Safety Month, which means agents have an opportunity to help their clients establish or improve their workplace safety. Helping clients understand the importance of taking a strategic approach to workplace safety is one way that agents can provide value and deepen their client relationships.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), a strong safety culture has the single greatest impact on reducing workplace accidents. Workplace injuries and illnesses can have direct and indirect costs, including wage replacement costs, lost productivity, replacement hire costs and regulatory fines. All it takes is one serious workplace injury claim to potentially ruin a business. On the other hand, it has been estimated that businesses can expect to save four to six dollars for every one dollar invested in a safety program.  

Below is a four-step framework that agents can recommend to their clients to help build a culture of workplace safety.

1. Assess and Evaluate Hazards

Agents can encourage clients to conduct initial hazard assessments to identify potential risks in their workplaces. OSHA defines a workplace hazard as “a condition or activity that, if left uncontrolled, can result in injury or illness.”1 Slippery floors or uneven walking surfaces that could lead to slips, trips, or falls are examples of potential hazards that could impact most types of businesses.

Agents can also encourage business owners and managers to do periodic walk-throughs of their work sites during business hours to look for potential hazards. Once these have been identified, they must be documented. Having proper documentation is necessary in the event of an OSHA inspection.

2. Develop a Plan

Once existing and potential hazards have been identified – with critical ones being resolved immediately – the next step is to develop a workplace safety plan to mitigate those risks in the future. These plans should address the hazards documented during the initial analysis, as well as any additional potential industry or job specific risks. Plans should clearly describe the steps that should be taken to prevent accidents from occurring.

3. Promote the Plan

Businesses will not reap the full benefits of a workplace safety plan if it collects dust on a shelf. After its initial development, the plan must be put into action, maintained and refreshed as new potential risks, such as different tools or processes are introduced into the workplace. Agents can encourage clients to promote the plan by expressing the need for business owners and managers to lead by example, and to hold all employees accountable for adhering to the guidelines and processes. Agents can also help their clients by making them aware of any loss control resources available from their insurance carrier that can help employees keep safety top of mind.  Examples include safety audits, posters and payroll stuffer communications.

4. Maintain Records and Documentation

Diligent record keeping and documentation are crucial for managing risk and successfully implementing a workplace safety plan. Proper documentation allows for accountability and effective plan management. It is also important to have up-to-date records in the event of an OSHA inspection or insurance audit. Agents should check in periodically and encourage their clients to maintain the following documents:

•    Training records
•    Employee injury records
•    Accident/injury investigations
•    Inspection records / corrective actions
•    OSHA 300 Logs where required

This June, agents have an opportunity to offer themselves and their preferred insurance carriers as resources to help clients create a culture of workplace safety. By helping clients understand how taking a proactive approach to workplace safety can ultimately benefit their bottom-line while protecting both their operations and the well-being of their employees, agents can strengthen their client relationships, setting themselves – and their clients – up for success.  

 

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What Young Agents Like & Don’t Like

Posted By Chris Prewit, Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What Young Agents Like & Don’t Like

 

An article written by Andrea Wells, Editor-in-Chief of Insurance Journal.

The latest Insurance Journal features exclusive results from the 2016 Young Agents Survey in which more than 500 young agents nationwide shared their views on the insurance industry and their experience as an agent. Overall, young agents seem happy with their career choice. They enjoy the freedom and challenges that come with the job of an independent agent. Here are two top 10 lists of what young agents like Most and Least about being an independent insurance agent.

 

What Young Agents Like Most

1. Flexible schedule

2. Opportunity for professional development and community involvement.

3. Earning potential

4. The daily challenges. No two days are the same

5. Work-life balance

6. The ability to check several markets to attain the best insurance coverage for each client.

7. Establishing relationship with clientele and educating them about the importance of insurance and how it can impact their business.

8. Helping people

9. Being their own boss

10.
Residual income

 

What Young Agent Like Least

1. Doing servicing work

2. The pressure from carriers to produce for them in order to keep an appointment

3. Overcoming the negative perceptions set forth by those before me.

4. Having to regularly deal with new (revolving door) insurance carrier representatives and what seem like the constantly evolving appetites.

5. The stigma that comes with selling insurance

6. The lack of young talent in the business and awareness of our business

7. Having to negotiate many different online production/quoting systems

8. The hours can be demanding

9. The first three to five years grind as a new young agent

10. Lack of response by carriers to agent feedback

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Crashes Increase on Texas Roads, Distracted Driving is Part of the Problem

Posted By Chris Prewit, Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Crashes increase on Texas Roads; Distracted Driving Part of the Problem

 

An article written by Insurance Journal.

The number of vehicle crashes in Texas involving injuries and fatalities rose from 139,646 in 2011 to 155,844 in 2014, an increase of 12 percent. That unfortunate trend continued in 2015, the Insurance Council of Texas reported.

Distracted driving is part of the problem, the ICT says.  In 2013 when 459 people died in Texas crashes involving a distracted driver, 56 fatalities were caused by cell phone use according to data requested by the Associated Press from the Texas Department of Transportation. Vehicle crashes that killed 52 people in Texas in 2014 also involved cellphone use, the AP reported.

On average, eight people lose their lives every day in the United States due to distracted driving. Nationally in 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident if texting on the phone, according to the ICT.

While research by State Farm indicated 80 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than three years ago, few have altered their driving behavior.

Efforts to curb distracted driving have taken greater importance as there has been a nationwide increase in auto crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities, the ICT said.

Texas has no statewide ban on the use of cellphone and texting while driving, though many Texas cities, including San Antonio, have passed ordinances prohibiting those activities.

The problem still remains and distracted driving is not limited to cellphone use. Other common distractions are eating and drinking; talking to passengers; grooming; reading, including maps; using a navigation system; watching a video; and adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.

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