Give Your Agency a Comprehensive Health Check at the Small Agency Conference


IIAT’s Small Agency Conference, Sept. 23-24 in Waco, addresses many of the unique issues small agencies face. During the day-and-a-half event, agents can network, earn CE and explore practical solutions and strategies to immediately put to work in their agencies

Agency Operations Workshop: A Comprehensive Health Check

Do you look at your agency as a “production system?” IIAT President &  Executive Director Marit Peters will spend the first afternoon of the Small Agency Conference afternoon facilitating an essentials workshop that will have you conduct your own comprehensive health check on your agency’s operation. did-somebody-say-free-ce_-2

Topics will include: culture & values, process integrity, recruiting & hiring practices, sales & marketing, the customer experience, business planning, training and more. Marit will provide a methodology for evaluating your current state of maturity and help you develop a set of priorities and goals to help you grow in the coming year.

Learn more about the Small Agency conference and view the full schedule. Register today!

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Contact Congress: Renew NFIP

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is scheduled to expire in two weeks, on July 31, unless the U.S. Congress acts to extend the program. Please take a moment to call your federal legislators (below) with the following message. You will likely speak with a staff assistant that will just take your message down so don’t be intimidated to make a quick call! 37289205_10155737623827957_6441019293961289728_n


“I’m calling to encourage Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires on July 31st. A lapse in the program, especially during the height of hurricane season, will leave millions of Americans at risk.”

Find Your Legislators

Senator John Cornyn
Phone: (202) 224-2934

Senator Ted Cruz
Phone: (202) 224-5922


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Texas Extends Use of Negotiated Experience Modifiers: What Your Impacted Clients Should Know

TDI has approved a petition filed by IIAT to extend the use of negotiated experience modifiers in the NCCI Experience Rating Plan Manual to July 1, 2019. Without a change, the use of negotiated experience modifiers in Rule 4-C-4 would have expired July 1, 2018. View the TDI Order.

What You Need to Know

  • The ability to negotiate mods has been extended one year to 7/1/19
  • Many Risk Managers use 1.00 e-mod as an absolute access to work
  • E-mod should be one part of an overall “safety rating” not the exclusive barometer

Encourage Your Clients to Contact their Trade Associations Now!
Share this Document.

  • Primary industries affected include: Petrochemical, Construction and Oil and Gas.
  • Ask clients in these industries to push back against the use of e-mod as sole criteria to work.
  • Let all of your clients with a negotiated WC e-mod know that they alone can get the needed changes made.

For more information contact IIAT Governmental Affairs Director Lee Loftis at 512.493.2418.

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3 Reasons Clients Need Personal Umbrella Coverage

There are at least three reasons for an individual to buy a personal umbrella policy.

To begin with, the primary policies otherwise available generally do not provide liability limits commensurate with the exposure such individuals may face.

Second, the cost of this excess coverage is comparatively cheap.

Third (and perhaps most importantly), umbrella policies not only provide coverage when losses exceed the available primary limits, but add coverage for certain types of losses, such as “personal injury” claims that are generally not covered by primary policies.

Although the limits of homeowners insurance and other forms of personal primary insurance have increased, most only provide coverage with “per occurrence” limits of $300,000 or $500,000. Substantial as that sum may seem, it is hardly sufficient to satisfy the liability an insured may face due to a serious accident.

Umbrella coverage is also surprisingly affordable. As a result, umbrella insurers are willing to quote coverage of $1 million to as much as $10 million at rates that are proportionally cheaper than primary insurance. Umbrella carriers can quote coverage with confidence that statistics show their insureds are unlikely to be sued, and any resulting suits are likely to be resolved within the limits of the insured’s primary coverage.

Umbrella insurance not only boosts available coverage limits at a relatively advantageous cost compared to dollar limits on primary policies, but it does so with respect to a portfolio of primary risks. Thus, an insured has excess coverage available for serious auto or premises liability claims without having to pay to increase limits on primary insurance policies that would insure these separate risks.

Umbrella policies not only provide insurance coverage once the primary limits are exhausted, but they drop down to provide primary coverage for certain types of losses that may not be covered under the insured’s primary policy.

Personal umbrella policies can help customize insurance coverage by filling gaps in a client’s coverage profile and raise the limits of coverage to safer levels. In short, the answer to the question of whether an insured should buy personal umbrella insurance is not “yes, you should” but rather, “why on earth would you not.”

IIAT Advantage Offers Stand-alone personalrli-tmb-thumbnail umbrella program through RLI Insurance Co.

IIAT offers a standard market program for stand-alone personal umbrella policies through RLI. It is a perfect solution for hard to place personal lines accounts.

Learn more and contact Polly Middlebrook at 512.493.2424.

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Does your Culture Foster Independent Learning?


During the summer months, look around your agency — Do you encourage the team to learn constantly? Do you demonstrate agility and continue learning with them?  How do you create a learning culture from day one for a new hire?

“The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture,” says Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte in Oakland, California.

As you onboard new talent, set expectations early by encouraging independent learning application and critical thinking. When teaching new hires, spend the discussion time on the “how” not on the “what.”

You can start with online learning to tackle the “what” of the new hire’s training. Online learning will cover the insurance terminology, coverage principles and the essential business skills to get started. Independent learning starts with the new hire completing assignments such as readings, eLearning modules, case analysis, etc. They may need help with time management to stay on track. Provide them with the learning objectives and ask them to schedule learning incrementally each day.

Independent learning instills accountability. Engage the new hire by requesting that they reflect on what they have learned and help them apply the knowledge.

Where to start with new hire training?  Check out IIAT’s online New Hire Training packages


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Ask Regina

Q. We have an insured who had hail damage to their roof almost a year ago and didn’t reginarealize it until they had a roof inspection. Their policy has replacement cost but the company is only paying ACV because of the late reporting of the claim. Can they do this?

A. Yes, they can. IIAT addresses this issue in the Roof Claims Issues in Texas publication:

“A recent and developing issue – at least with one company – is whether a claim reported long after the damage actually occurred should be paid on an actual cash value basis with no option to receive the difference between ACV and RC after the damaged property is repaired or replaced.

The Texas homeowners Form B requires replacement of the damaged property within 365 days after the loss unless the insured requests additional time in writing. The ISO forms require the insured to notify the insurer within 180 days after the loss that recovery on a replacement cost basis is intended.

If the loss occurred more than 365 days (Texas) or 180 days (ISO) prior to the first notice of loss, is the insurance company obligated to pay on a replacement cost basis? At least one company says “no.” TDI officials told IIAT they believe the company’s interpretation is correct.”

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Build a High Commitment Organization with J. Lee Whittington

Join J. Lee Whittington, Ph.D., for a one-day session that will give you the tools and best practices to create a committed workforce. This workshop is designed to provide a tested and tailored approach to enhancing employee engagement and involves a wide variety of assessments that will help participants develop their own engagement enhancing skills.

Learn More & Register 

Houston: September 26, 2018 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

About J. Lee Whittington, Ph.D.

Dr. WhittingtonWhittington is a Professor of Management in the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business. His research has been published in The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Management, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of Business Strategy among many others.

Whittington’s industry experience includes over 20 years in manufacturing and distribution, including executive positions in marketing, logistics and general management. Whittington has spent over 20 years executive coaching and consulting for various organizations including Nokia, FedEx-Kinko’s, RadioShack, Siemens, Life.Church, Reynolds Metals, Ball Container, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Valor Telecom, City of Arlington and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Sponsored by United Fire Group

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ICT: Hot Dry Summer Sets Stage for Potentially Dangerous Wildfire Season

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According to the Insurance Council of Texas, an early start of scorching temperatures and a lack of rainfall is placing much of Texas under high wildfire conditions. The Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) has identified many areas of Texas, including central Texas, and portions of north and southwestern Texas, as being under moderate to severe drought and at risk of danger for wildfires.

TFS spokesman Phillip Truitt says conditions will worsen rapidly if the areas don’t receive substantial rainfall soon. Truitt says some areas near Abilene and in the Texas hill country are “dry as a bone.”

“These areas have a lot of dry grass and plenty of fuel for wildfires,” said Pruitt. “Low humidity, strong winds and continued dry conditions could make for some very dangerous situations.”

This past weekend, central Texas firefighters battled grass fires while some area residents were urged to evacuate their homes. Pruitt recommended that residents living in rural areas make contact with their fire departments to realize what protection they have and steps they made need to take to provide their own protection.

If you live in a rural area, farm and ranch homes may be miles away from volunteer fire stations.  In addition to checking your coverage, you should also take steps to protect your home in the event of a wildfire.

“We lose more homes from burning embers landing on roofs than we do from homes being directly hit by flames,” said Pruitt. “That’s why removing dead leaves and vegetation from roofs and gutters is so important.”

In 2011, massive wildfires struck Bastrop and Palo Pinto Counties causing loss of life and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The Bastrop fire, which was the eighth costliest fire in United States history, burned more than 34,000 acres, causing $530 million in losses, and unfortunately killed two and injured twelve. Texas has continued to experience thousands of wildfires each year. For example, according to information from the Insurance Information Institute, in 2017, Texas ranked first in the nation for the number of wildfires.

Helpful Tips to Share with Your Customers

The Insurance Council of Texas recommends homeowners take these steps to protect yourself and family members and to mitigate wildfire losses.

  • Have every family member aware of an evacuation plan.
  • Establish a perimeter around the home that provides little to no fuel for any wildfire.
  • Remove all dead leaves and vegetation from both the roof and under the deck of your home.
  • Make sure trees, shrubs and grass are trimmed to prevent the spread of flames.

Given the high risk of fire throughout Texas, ICT urges homeowners to check their insurance policies for coverage amounts. Typically, homeowners’ policies include fire coverage dwelling and your personal property.  You need to make sure you have enough coverage in place to rebuild your home, if destroyed by fire, and to replace your valuables. Also, make an inventory of your valuables to help expedite the process in the event you have a fire and have to file a claim for your personal property. If you have any questions about your policy coverage amounts, check with your insurer and/or your insurance agent.

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Register Now for the Small Agency Conference


Smaller insurance agencies face many unique challenges that their larger counterparts don’t. IIAT’s Small Agency Conference, Sept. 23-24 in Waco, addresses many of these unique issues. During the day-and-a-half event, agents can network, earn CE and explore practical solutions and strategies to immediately put to work in their agencies.

Small Agency Conference highlights include:

  • An Agency Operations Workshop: A Comprehensive Health Check
  • Industry Trends & Challenges (Filed for 1 CE)
  • Agents-Only Peer-to-Peer Roundtables
  • Hospitality Suites Crawl
  • Texas Law: Certificates & Liability Transfers (Filed for 1 CE)
  • Personal Lines Claims Issues (Filed for 1 CE)
  • Financial & Business Planning: What Your Numbers are Telling You
  • E&O Basics for Personal Lines (Filed for 1 CE)
  • Discover Markets Trade Show

Learn more about the Small Agency conference and view the full schedule. Register today!

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Updated Company Appointment Guide Now Available

IIAT staff recently surveyed IIAT member insurance companies in Texas to update their agency appointment strategies, resulting in the updated edition of IIAT’s Company Appointment Guide. Find out which companies are considering additional agency representation in various parts of the state.

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