ICT Kicks off 12th Annual Hurricane Tour

hurricane-1The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) will lead a team of insurance experts and meteorologists in educating coastal Texans about the need for insurance coverage and hurricane preparedness as part of our 12th annual Hurricane Tour.  ICT wants to ensure that coastal homeowners and businesses are prepared in the event of a hurricane.  Hurricane season began on June 1 but the peak of hurricane season is now through November 30.Mark Hanna,

Mark Hanna, spokesperson for ICT, will be accompanied by meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NWS), Manuel Villarreal, who serves as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) ombudsman for the Texas Department of Insurance, and independent insurance agents in Beaumont and Clute. The group will discuss recent predictions for an active hurricane season, steps to take to prepare for a hurricane, insurance coverage, and the insurance market along the coast, including TWIA and the private market.

The hurricane tour starts in Beaumont on Sunday, August 20, and continues over the next five days with three dozen media interviews in 19 coastal cities.  The group’s message is expected to reach an estimated three million Texas coastal residents from Beaumont down to Brownsville.  Their stops include Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Houston, Baytown, Pasadena, Galveston, Clute, Bay City, Victoria, Port Lavaca, Rockport, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen, Pharr, Harlingen and Brownsville.

“If you live along the coast, you should review your insurance coverage, inventory your personal property and have an evacuation plan,” said Hanna.

Coastal Texans need two or possibly three different types of insurance coverage for their homes to be fully protected.  Flood insurance protects homeowners from rising waters such as a storm surge.  A residential fire policy protects homeowners from not only fires, but burglary, theft and liability.  Some private insurers may offer homeowner policies that include wind.  If your homeowners policy does not include wind coverage, you may also need windstorm insurance which protects homeowners from the damage caused by hurricane-force winds.   Now is the time to check with your agent or insurance company and make sure you have the proper coverages and coverage amount in place.

Although it has been nearly nine years since the Texas coast was struck by Hurricane Ike in on September 13, 2008, coastal residents should not become too complacent.  Interestingly, meteorologists say September 13 is the height of the hurricane season in Texas. Make sure you are prepared if another storm were to strike Texas.  Hurricane Ike caused approximately $12 billion in insured losses along the coast and throughout other parts of the state.

Coastal homeowners should be aware of some recent legislation affecting new construction and property litigation. 

HB 2439, which took effect January 1, allows engineers to certify that new homes have met coastal building code requirements through a post construction certification. This certification comes with a WPI-8 form allowing homeowners to qualify for windstorm insurance coverage from TWIA.

HB 1774 takes effect September 1.  This new law requires trial attorneys to notify insurance companies within a specific period of time that they are filing a lawsuit over a weather-related claim.  The suit must specify what damage was not repaired and what monetary damages the client is seeking.

For more information contact Mark Hanna at 512.326.7616.

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Ask Regina

Q. We recently have had mortgage companies requiring the full loan amount for reginainsurance coverage that exceeds the replacement cost of the dwelling. Aren’t they prohibited from doing that?

A. Yes, the Texas Insurance Code Chapter 549, Sec. 549.0551 states”

“(a)  A lender may not require as a condition of financing a residential mortgage or providing other financing arrangements for residential property, including a mobile or manufactured home, that a borrower purchase homeowners insurance coverage, mobile or manufactured home insurance coverage, or other residential property insurance coverage in an amount that exceeds the replacement value of the dwelling and its contents, regardless of the amount of the mortgage or other financing arrangement entered into by the borrower.  (b)  For purposes of this section, a lender may not include the fair market value of the land on which a dwelling is located in the replacement value of the dwelling and its contents.”

Also the Texas Finance Code, Chapter 180, Sec. 180.153 states:

“An individual or other person subject to regulation under this chapter may not:

15) cause or require a borrower to obtain property insurance coverage in an amount that exceeds the replacement cost of the improvements as established by the property insurer”.



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Discover Strategies for Building a Profitable Book at the Small Agency Conference


Building your agency with the right kind of accounts can pay long-term dividends: reliable access to good markets, higher retention rates and better profit margins, to name a few.

During the Building a Profitable Book session at the Small Agency Conference, you’ll learn prerequisites to developing a profitable book of business, such as grooming the account and aligning prospects with carrier appetite. Also, find out what underwriters are looking for when they are trying to build a profitable book.

The Small Agency Conference and Meet With Markets Trade Show is the premier event for agents from smaller Texas insurance agencies. Insurance agents from across Texas attend the event each year to explore the special issues and unique challenges that many smaller agencies face that larger ones might not. View the conference schedule.

Interested in exhibiting at the Small Agency Conference?
Visit the exhibitor resource center or contact Jennifer Beltran at 512.493.2400 for more information.

Register for the Small Agency Conference, Sept. 24-25, in Waco.

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Hurts Independent Agents

This article originally appeared in Independent Agent Magazine.

The Big “I” submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that outlines how the fiduciary rule negatively impacts association members and limits consumer access to retirement advice.

The fiduciary rule is a complex federal regulation that tightens conflict of interest rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It requires insurance agents and brokers who give guidance about certain retirement investments, including some annuities and health savings accounts (HSAs), to adhere to a fiduciary standard of care.

The DOL is currently reviewing the rule for potential changes and asked stakeholders to provide new information on its impact since it began taking effect June 9. In July, the Big “I” surveyed members in 25 states to better assess the rule’s impact on independent insurance agencies. The survey was part of the association’s ongoing regulatory and legislative advocacy efforts related to the rule.

The survey found that the DOL rule is harming independent insurance agencies and small businesses across the country. Almost half of survey respondents who sell impacted products indicated that as a direct result of the rule, they have already exited or plan to exit the market on or before Jan. 1, 2018. This exodus of independent insurance agents from the market will limit consumers’ ability to have a trusted adviser who is able to assess all their financial and insurance needs holistically.

According to the survey:

  • The rule is proving too onerous, costly and complicated for small businesses to achieve compliance.
  • Some insurance agencies will stay in the market, but will change the way they do business in a manner that limits access to financial advice—such as no longer servicing clients with lower account balances.
  • Agencies are uncertain about how the rule impacts HSAs, referrals and fixed annuities.
  • Some agencies are observing increased costs related to obtaining retirement services and advice for their employees.

The Big “I” conveyed this information to the DOL and asked it to amend and clarify the rule to limit its negative impacts on independent insurance agents and brokers. Meanwhile, the DOL issued a new FAQ document.

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August InfoCentral CE Webcasts: Commercial Lines Trends & Intro to Dwelling Fire

wc_iconEach month IIAT’s Jim Gavin presents two 1-hour webcasts covering personal lines and commercial lines issues. Register for the next IIAT InfoCentral CE webcasts. Each hour-long webcast costs $25 for members and is approved for 1 CE credit.

Commercial Lines Trends

Thursday, Aug. 24 | 10-11 a.m. | 1 CE Credit | $25

Explore market trends in Texas and Legislative and Regulatory changes that will affect the commercial lines market in Texas. A brief review of the latest ISO form revisions will also be included.


Introduction to Dwelling Fire

Thursday, Aug. 24 | 2-3 p.m. | 1 CE Credit | $25

Although not a major product offering, most agencies do occasionally have to use a dwelling fire policy. Learn the differences between the various forms and why one should be considered for specific customers.


You must be logged in to iiat.org to register for these webcasts. If you have trouble registering, please call member services at 800.880.7428.

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Why So Much? 


Homeowners customers occasionally ask how much insurance they need for their home. More often they ask why the amount of insurance is so high. How should you answer? Check the Client Communications section of InfoCentral for the answer.


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Time’s Running Out: Apply Now to be Part of the Ultimate Insurance Leadership Training Program


Apply by August 15 to join a strong line-up of high-caliber applicants!

If you couldn’t participate in this past spring’s Leadership Academy, you now have the opportunity to signup for the fall program starting in September*

Now in its ninth year, IIAT’s Leadership Academy has provided MBA-quality curriculum to 80 participants from some of the top agencies across Texas, including most Best Practice agencies.

The MBA-quality courses of study have been condensed to three, 2-1/2 day sessions over three consecutive months and are taught by award-winning professors who are also leading practitioners in their respective fields.  Upon completion, participants will earn a certificate from the University of Dallas College of Business.

Fall 2017 Leadership Academy class dates:

September 6-8, 2017 |  October 11-13, 2017 | November 8-10, 2017

The Leadership Academy gives students thorough insight into the following topics and concepts:

  • The leadership imperative


    Sponsored by

  • Strategic analysis
  • Negotiating and influencing skills
  • Strategic financial management
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Branding and customer service
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Performance management & building teams

Class size is limited and the deadline for applications is August 15th, so reserve your spot by applying today. For more information including tuition, course descriptions and faculty bios go to the Leadership Academy section of iiat.org.

“The Leadership Academy was very beneficial to me and would be for other leaders, whether they are seasoned veteran’s or new in the leadership role. I appreciated the fact that all of the professors had real-life experience prior to beginning to teach. During the three-month course, I developed new leadership skills that have aided my professional growth and I made great connections with other insurance professionals. This was a very good investment all the way around!”

– Joy Larson, Co-CEO SWBC Insurance Services

Learn more or contact Rick Bondurant at 800.880.7428 for more information

*A minimum of ten people must register for the fall Leadership Academy for the program to take place.


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Register for MarshBerry’s Free Strategic Business Planning Webinar

On Tuesday, Aug 15 (10-10:30 a.m.), MarshBerry Executive Vice President Albert Lloyd will present a free webcast on strategic business planning. A lack of meaningful business planning is one of the leading causes of agency consolidation. During the webinar, Lloyd will provide tips on how to develop and implement a solid and effective business plan.

Register for the free webinar.

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Trusted Choice® Social Media Campaign Raises Money for Make-A-Wish®

One click is all it takes to help grant wishes.


Trusted Choice® is proud to kick off its seventh annual social media campaign to raise money for Make-A-Wish®. During the month of August, Trusted Choice will donate $10 to the wish-granting organization for each post you share from the Trusted Choice® Facebook page.

“Trusted Choice is proud to continue using Facebook in such a wonderful effort to raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish,” says Kevin Brandt, Trusted Choice executive director.

Since the first campaign in 2011, Trusted Choice has sponsored wishes for 54 children with life-threatening medical conditions. Before the end of this year, it will also provide 55 grants through a local sponsorship initiative, totaling $412,000 for Make-A-Wish chapters.

This month, Trusted Choice is committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $150,000 with this year’s campaign. Past campaigns have raised more than $920,000, while the local grant sponsorships have raised an additional $2.1 million. Collectively, Trusted Choice has donated more than $3 million to Make-A-Wish since 2011.

“Trusted Choice and the Big ‘I’ are honored to continue our relationship with Make-A-Wish,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Trusted Choice president and Big “I” president & CEO. “Make-A-Wish is there for wish kids and their families during their most difficult times. This annual project is an important opportunity for our entire membership to join forces for a very worthy, national cause.”

“Trusted Choice independent insurance agents and brokers have a strong track record of active participation and charitable giving in their communities,” Rusbuldt adds. “This wonderful project for Make-A-Wish is a key, unifying component.”

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From Charismatic Persuader to Knowledge Broker: The Evolving World of Sales

salespeopleToday’s successful sales professional can no longer expect to show up, fill the room with personality, and win based on a persuasive presentation of features and benefits.

The accelerated rate of change in the sales environment is evident in both how buyers are buying and how organizations are hiring salespeople. Now, more than ever, the success of your sales people is critical.

Caliper, an employee-assessment and talent-management-solutions company, has spent over a decade researching the competencies required for success in various job roles – sales included. Download Caliper’s free white paper to learn more about the evolving world of sales, Caliper’s Research into sales job models, and the competencies required for success in distinct sales disciplines.

Take advantage of discounted pricing for Big “I” members, or contact IIABA’s Brett Sutch for more information.

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