Ask Regina

Q. Our insured had a total loss on their auto and the adjuster is not paying sales tax. Is that correct?

A. No, the company owes sales tax to the insured on a total loss, it is part of the insured’s reginafinancial loss. If they don’t pay it they haven’t made the insured whole. The insured paid sales tax when the vehicle was purchased so compensating for the tax when the vehicle is totaled is part of the loss.

The TDI BAP or PAP do not address sales tax in those policies, but the ISO BAP states:

“If we pay for the loss, our payment will include the applicable sales tax for the damaged or stolen property.”

The ISO PAP states:

“If we pay for loss in money, our payment will include the applicable sales tax for the damaged or stolen property.”

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Insurcon 2019 Preview: The Difference Between Customer Service & Customer Experience

By Kelly Donahue-Piro
Agency Performance Partners, President
Agency Appeal, Co-Founder

When I first got into the insurance space I remember many agency owners telling me the same thing: “We give good customer service.” I started thinking, if everyone gives good customer service, what is the difference? Why should I buy my insurance from you vs. the agency down the street? Customer service never exactly sit well with me.

My first challenge is that my version of good customer service is very different than my mom’s, my husband’s or my best friend’s. So how does an agency deliver good service when we are all very different? My second challenge with good customer service is: how is it tracked? As I pondered this with a few agency owners, the result was that good customer service was a feeling, rather than a measurable metric shared with the agency. This meant good customer service was a self-analysis rather than engagement with the client.

Then comes in customer experience, and it all clicked for me. Customer experience is a defined, replicable, easy to communicate process that everyone delivers. It’s not a reactive event; it is a proactive expectation that you can set to all of your team members and your clients. Customer experience is in response to what your customer communicates is best for them, and then you in turn determine how you can rise to that occasion. Any agency wanting to create their customer experience starts by outlining every activity in their agency, then thinking outside of the box. Detail out how you can be a concierge to the client and how you can best serve them.

For example, let’s take claims. Many agencies opt to send the client to the company to report the claim. You are giving good customer service by getting the claim reported quickly and not having the client repeat themselves. Customer experience would change that process. In a customer experience you would review coverage with the client, warm transfer them to the company, then send them a note to make sure they are ok. You would call 3 days later to make sure they are in contact with an adjuster, then 30 days later you would send them a survey to get their opinion of the process. Customer experience is customer service 10x!

One of the main reasons agencies need to focus on customer experience is that by nature we are not very convenient to deal with. Our competition has better hours and better technology. We need to focus on listening to our customers and connecting with them to exceed their expectations and make them feel how much we care. We need to blast through the client indifference and make them raving fans by delivering on a customer experience that is ridiculously amazing!

180x150-banner-01See Kelly Donahue-Piro at Insurcon 2019!
Presenting Designing & Tracking Your Customer Experience and 5 New Agency Challenges and Their Solutions


About the Author

Kelly Donahue-Piro is the founder and president of Agency Performance Partners. She iskelly-donahue-tmb-small a no-nonsense effectiveness expert who has helped hundreds of insurance agencies identify and capitalize on sustainable improvement opportunities. Over the past several years, Kelly has worked with small businesses across the country to build and implement successful programs to boost revenues, profits and efficiency. In 2014, she created Agency Performance Partners with a mission to “partner with insurance entrepreneurs who dream to take their business to the next level – and beyond – by relentlessly pursuing excellence in world-class service and sales strategies.”
More info

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Your Baja Bound Clients Might Need Mexico Tourist Auto


During Spring many of your clients will be traveling to Mexico for vacation. They might need to be reminded that they will need a separate Mexican Tourist Auto policy while they are there.

IIAT Advantage and International Insurance Group (IIG) offer IIAT members an instant quote, print and purchase online policy service for travel in Mexico. By providing only “A” rated Mexican underwriters, your client will not only be legal according to Mexico law, but insured by a quality financial stable trusted insurance company while traveling. Liability insurance is required, with options to additional coverage like collision and theft. Legal assistance and roadside assistance is included in ALL policies.

The IIG online system is quick and easy to use. Your client can purchase online, or with you directly. IIG provides you, the agent, a custom direct-to-client link that you are able to post on your website or social media. It is a consumer-friendly way for them to self-issue at home or after hours, while you still make commissions! And of course, if a customer wants to purchase with you, in-office or over the phone, just log in and start up a quote.

Terms available are as short as a day or as long as a year. If your client is ready to purchase, just take payment and print out their proof of insurance. Or if they prefer to wait and purchase later, you can email them the quote to finish up online at their own convenience. Quote, compare, buy online; allowing your customer get proper proof of insurance and hit the road in just minutes!

If you have issued Mexico policies with IIAT in the past, just log in, and your client’s vehicle information is saved and ready to go. Merely plug in the new travel dates and take payment. If you are unsure of your login credentials, or this is your first time, not a problem.

For more information contact Polly Middlebrook or start by filling out the Mexico Producer Application here.

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Maximize Your Agency with IIAT’s Operational Improvement Review


Did you know IIAT’s Continuous Improvement Director Angela Ford offers hands-on consulting services for IIAT members? An IIAT Operational Improvement Review conducted by Angela provides an objective, systematic review of critical agency operations and practical recommendations to help improve your agency’s performance.

During the review, the following critical agency workflows are evaluated:

  • Marketing, advertising and prospecting – What’s your ROI?image003
  • Quoting, proposal and binding
  • High-level accounting procedures
  • Applications and submissions
  • Policy review and delivery
  • Policy renewal
  • Policyholder servicing: policy changes, cancellation, nonrenewal and reinstatement
  • Claims handling
  • Certificate of Insurance

An operational Improvement Review assesses your agency’s exposure to E&O risks. You’ll get proven recommendations to help you streamline critical processes to reduce potential E&O threats. Plus, you could get a discount on your E&O policy, per carrier approval

Get key findings and recommendations.
IIAT will provide a final report of findings, identify opportunities for improvement, and recommend best practices to improve agency performance.

Get Started and Request More Info



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4 Common Misconceptions About Accepting e-Payments

With 40% of online transactions happening on mobile*, one of the biggest conveniences an agency can offer to their clients is collecting premium payments online. It’s one of the simplest but most effective way to improve the overall client experience.

As co-founder of ePayPolicy, every day I’m talking with agency decision-makers across the country and field the many questions about offering an e-pay option.

Currently, there are many electronic payment misconceptions across the industry, but today I want to dispel the top four so you can see how simple it is to meet your clients where they want you to be, digitally.epay

#1. Checks work.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?”

On the surface, accepting check as the only form of payment may not seem broken, but sometimes what’s broken isn’t always apparent.

Take typewriters; they work great and can still be used today. But why don’t agencies use them? That’s a no-brainer. It’s easier and way more efficient to communicate and do business with a computer.

Like typewriters, accepting e-payments is a similar transition.

Sure, paper checks work, but the cost of paper-check processing is hidden: you have to bill your client, you wait for the check to arrive, you have to wait for the check to clear, and you have to endure all the excuses that come with them—slow pays, partial pays, not filled out or signed, no non-business hours processing, etc., which can make the process of managing them feel about as slow as molasses running uphill in the winter.

On top of the potential hassle of check processing, your personal and commercial insureds want the convenience of online payments, including credit card and ACH (automated clearing house) options.

And last but not least, the cost of processing paper checks is a hidden drag on your bottom line.  There are various studies out there that estimate the cost of check processing, which varies from a few bucks up to $20. A good middle of the road estimate by the Aberdeen Group places the cost at $7.78—5x more than e-payment processing.

With a digital payment option, you can cost-efficiently fix your agency’s hidden ‘broken’ revenue leak lost to check payment processing and managing related hassles.

#2. I can’t afford to eat the 3% processing fee.

In insurance, where most revenue is commission-driven, you can’t afford to give up 3 percent just to accommodate a client wanting to rack up points and miles.

We get it.

That’s why, with our system, all fees are passed through to the payer. Plain and simple.

You can offer your clients two e-payment options, with a 3.25% fee on a credit card transaction or $3 per ACH. Plus, clients aren’t the only ones who appreciate the convenience of online pay. Accountants do too because we only net-fund the amount you are seeking from the payer. This amount lines up with your outstanding agency invoice, so there’s no sweep later for transaction fees. In a nutshell, it’s simple funding.

#3. Onboarding online payment technology is a nightmare.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard from others that automating your online payment system with your local bank is an absolute pain to onboard and implement.

Or your concerned that tech implementations are hard on your agency staff.

Or you don’t want the hassle of accepting credit card information or dealing with swipe machines at your office.

You can toss those concerns out the window. We’ve streamlined our online sign-up process to just five steps, so getting started with our system is the easiest thing you’ll do today. Plus, there’s no set-up fees, no cancellation fees and no contracts. And if you need a hand, you can call in and speak to a person about getting started or hit our chat window—whatever works for you.

Bottom line: There’s no tech to onboard, no added fees to you and no contracts for our service. It couldn’t be simpler.

#4. Online payments can be unsecure.

We know that you want zero liability associated with accepting online payments, and we defend against your risks by eliminating them, in various ways.

When you empower your clients with online payment options, you eliminate the paper shuffling that comes from having to manage client’s sensitive payment data via email or phone. No more encrypting, collecting or exposure to their data.

At the same time, your agency-branded payment page is hosted by ePayPolicy. Payments are run through ePayPolicy’s system, so there’s no sensitive data touching your agency’s system. And when integrated with your preferred AMS system, everyone benefits from an extra layer of security through double-authentication.

Security is our top priority and we’re proud to be PCI level 1 compliant, which is the highest level of e-commerce security certification required by the payment card industry. This is a third-party audit we go through on an annual basis.

Meet your clients where they are.

Taking online payments may seem optional today, but there’s no getting around the fact that we’re living in an on-demand, get-it-now digital economy.

Why put a potential wedge between you and your client when you can add an easy and fast digital payment option? There’s no better time to meet your client’s expectation today than with online payments.

* Google Analytics, U.S., based on data from Google Analytics accounts that have authorized Google to share aggregated website data, June–Sept. 2017.

Learn More about ePayPolicy


About Todd Sorrel
Todd’s been serving the insurance industry since 2001. He’s currently co-founder of ePayPolicy in Austin, Texas. When he’s not speeding up insurance receivables, he loves hanging with Meghan and their three kids, Paige, John and Redford.


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Ask Regina

Q. Our insured backed out of the driveway and hit his wife’s car. Both are insured on theregina same Texas TDI PAP and the adjuster is applying the collision deductible to each covered auto. Is this correct?

A. Yes, if it is a Texas TDI PAP, the physical damage deductible applies per covered auto when more than one covered auto is involved in a single claim. If this was an ISO PAP, only the highest deductible applies to the entire claim.

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Teach, Reinforce, Challenge – IIAT’s Online New Hire Training is Convenient, Affordable and Effective

IIAT’s online New Hire Training is a flexible, affordable and immediate solution to train new employees and current staff. Online training provides an ideal way to fit basic coverage and business skills education into the busy workday.

Training modules include:

  • Introduction to the Insurance Industry
  • Commercial and Personal Lines Coverage Basics
  • Advanced Communication and Negotiation Skills
  • Business Communication Fundamentals
  • Client Management Essentials
  • and more

Watch this short video to learn the benefits of using the online modules as a flexible learning solution for any learner.

Learn more about IIAT’s New Hire Training

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Rep. Richard Neal to Address Big ‘I’ Legislative Conference

U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) will address Big “I” members during the 2019 Big “I” Legislative Conference Breakfast on Thursday, May 9.

Chairman Neal will be a keynote speaker at the event, which occurs just prior to the association’s annual day on Capitol Hill. The event will also include remarks by a Republican lawmaker. Every year, agents and brokers visit Capitol Hill offices to educate members of the U.S. Senate and House, and their staffs, on issues that directly impact independent insurance agents and brokers and the consumers they serve.

“Big ‘I’ Chairman Joe Leahy has known Chairman Neal since the early 1970s—another example of the strong relationships Big ‘I’ members have with their members of Congress,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Chairman Neal understands the role small businesses play in our economy and appreciates what independent agents do every day to strengthen their communities.”

Chairman Neal was first elected to the House in 1988, and has served as chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee since January 2019. He is the dean of both the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation. Prior to serving in Congress, Chairman Neal was mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts from 1984 to 1988.

“We are honored to have the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee—the oldest committee in Congress—speaking to our members,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for external, industry and government affairs. “Chairman Neal will be the lead on issues ranging from taxes to health care to trade, and we look forward to hearing his thoughts on topics important to independent agents and brokers and their clients.”

The Big “I” Legislative Conference is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting. Online registration is open for this year’s event, to take place May 8-10 at the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel.

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Trust Your Farm & Ranch Clients to the Best

As an IIAT Advantage partner, State Auto Farm & Ranch offers a diverse program to write a wide range of farming and ranching clients — from cotton-to-equine boarding to cattle to confinements and more.State-Auto-2color-horiz(1)

State Auto’s superior products include:

  • Special perils on farm machinery, such as foreign objects and cab glass;
  • Additional perils for livestock, and equipment breakdown for the farm;
  • Quoting tools that make it easy for you to write business.

State Auto Insurance Companies was founded in 1921 to create a new kind of insurance company.  With over 80 years of writing farm insurance, you can trust State Auto to protect what matters most to your clients … their farm and their family.

Already appointed with State Auto? Head out to SAConnect and sign up for our live Farm & Ranch Training webinars.

Interested in an appointment? Contact Polly Middlebrook, or click here to learn more.



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Ask Regina

Q. Does the PAP cover intra-family suits should a family member be injured in the reginainsured’s vehicle in an at-fault accident?

A. The TDI PAP limits recovery to any family member to the extent of the minimum limits of liability coverage required by the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety-Responsibility Act.  The ISO PAP does not have the same exclusion/limit in the policy.

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