IIAT’s New Insuring Truckers Class Coming to a City Near You this Summer


IIAT’s new Insuring Truckers commercial lines CE class is designed to help agents and support staff understand the trucking risk and create new opportunities for insuring profitable trucking accounts.

Insurance for trucking risks can be extremely confusing to insurance agents unless they are prepared. Insurance professionals must have knowledge of trucking insurance as well as underwriting and compliance issues that are critical to motor carriers.

Many commercial auto insurance products used by non-specialists can quickly become errors and omissions claims. Understanding the exclusions as well as endorsements available to change policy coverage, as well as the MCS90 endorsement required by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 is essential to proper insurance and regulatory compliance.

Topics covered in the class include:

  • Regulation and compliance for the trucking industry
  • Underwriting for the trucking industry by line
  • Primary Auto Liability
  • Non-Trucking Auto Liability
  • Physical Damage Coverage
  • Motor Truck Cargo Coverage
  • General Liability Coverage
  • Underwriting for non-standard proprietary forms

Insuring Truckers stops in a city near you!

The class costs $155 for members and is approved for 7 CE credits.
Austin – June 5 (sponsored by LevelFirst)
Houston – June 6 (sponsored by Litchfield Special Risks, Inc)
San Antonio – June 20 (Sponsored by LevelFirst)
Corpus Christi – June 21
Tyler – Aug. 15
Lubbock – Aug. 16

You must be logged in to iiat.org to register. Call 800.880.7428 to register by phone.

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Kate Innocent Promoted to Vice President at LevelFirst

kateLevelFirst, the service-based wholesale broker and MGA binding facility owned by IIAT Services Co., is pleased to announce the appointment of Kate Innocent to Vice President.

The promotion coincides with Innocent receiving a Life and Health license.

Innocent joined LevelFirst in 2014 as Associate Underwriter and most recently served as Assistant Vice President. She also holds the designations of  Commercial Insurance Counselor and Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist.

“This is a well-deserved promotion and recognition of Kate’s dedication to both the company and clients,” says LevelFirst Executive Vice President April Moeser. “We also recognize her commitment to advancement and personal growth in pursuing the Life and Health license.”

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Ready, Set, Go…Lend a Helping Hand at the ELITExas Olympics Community Service Project

IIAT’s Annual Conference & Trade Show is proud to host the ELITExas Olympics – A Community Service Project benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Don’t miss a morning of fun games and races at this special community service project hosted by ELITExas, Saturday, June 17.  Kids from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program will be participating in the competitions.

Learn More and Volunteer Now!

The ELITExas Olympics Community Service Project
Saturday, June 17th, during IIAT’s Annual Conference & Trade Show

Fort Worth Convention Center
8 – 10 a.m.

ELITExasHeader_Email Blast

Sponsored by
ELITExas 2016-17 sponsors-01

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The Advantages of a Team-Selling Approach: If It’s Good Enough for Hyenas…



It can be advantageous to have a pack mentality with your team members when selling… Just as long as you don’t have beady eyes and slobbery tongues hanging out of your mouths.

What do hyenas, lions, wolves and coyotes have in common? All of these successful predators, when hunting large prey, hunt in teams. Are you missing out on the benefit of team selling?

Selling to larger, more complex accounts often requires a multi-dimensional approach because there are multiple decision makers and influencers. It’s easier to meet this challenge with a team selling approach.

An agency sales team can be horizontal, with two or more producers working on the same account, or vertical, involving different levels of staff functions such as account managers, account marketers, etc.  While multiple people within an agency are involved in closing all sales indirectly, team selling brings those people from the background to the forefront and leverages their personalities and expertise for maximum effectiveness. Here are some of the advantages to team selling:

  1. A more relaxed, confident presence
    The mere fact that a comrade is along will reduce the stress associated with a selling situation.
  2. Learning more about the prospect
    Involving others in the sales process increases the possibilities for gaining helpful information. One team member talks and listens while another takes notes. Comparing notes later allows you to engage in creative brainstorming on how to move forward in the sales process.
  3. Greater chance of relating
    Sales training emphasizes the importance of adjusting selling style to a given personality. With a team approach, there are greater chances to match buyer and seller personalities in a natural way, including common interests and experiences. One selling partner may offer insights to the prospect that the other lacks.
  4. Mentoring inexperienced producers
    Newer producers will have a learning experience and seasoned producers may benefit from the fresh enthusiasm of a developing disciple.
  5. Obtaining peer feedback
    A selling partner may be able to offer constructive criticism to help improve sales skills.
  6. Signal depth, status, and stability 
    Involving others in the selling process conveys that the agency has resources, is willing to commit them to the prospect and will not miss a beat in the event the lead producer is out of pocket. This can be a great source of differentiation over competitors not employing a team approach.
  7. Lower overall selling time and costs
    Despite having more people involved, anecdotal evidence suggests that the team approach can be more cost-effective with shorter selling time and higher hit ratios.

Some things to consider before embarking or experimenting with a team-selling approach:

  • A minimum account threshold 
    Compensation will have to be allocated somehow among the selling team members, even if there are only two. Reserving the approach for accounts with enough revenue will make that chore easier.
  • Who to bring along
    This will require understanding a little about the buying process of the prospect and developing a strategy before going out. Outnumbering prospect personnel by too many could be intimidating to the buyer.
  • How to split success proceeds
    This will depend on the roles. In most agencies using the team approach, a lead producer is designated and the commissions allocated accordingly. Some experts even suggest having some sort of “prenuptial” understanding of what happens if the team is not working out down the road and changes are necessary.


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Special Hotel Room Rates for IIAT’s Annual Conference Going Fast

Time’s running out to get a special discounted rate on your room at the Fort Worth Omni Hotel for IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show, June 15-17. Book your room online or call 817.535.6664, and ask for the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas conference rate of $179 single or double deluxe guest rooms.

Reservations will be handled on a space-available basis until rooms at the special rate are sold out or until the reservation cut-off date of Friday, May 26, 2017, whichever comes first.

Register for IIAT’s 120th Annual Conference & Trade Show.



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Big “I” Honors Bob Shepard for Outstanding Legislative Efforts at National Conference

The Big “I” honored IIAT member and former IIAT Chair Bob W. Shepard of Shepard Walton King Insurance Group with the 2016 Barney Burns Award for outstanding work for InsurPac at the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

“Bob Shepard served on the InsurPac Board of Trustees for three years and continues to be actively involved in fundraising for both InsurPac and the Independentshepard Insurance Agents of Texas political action committees,” said Lee Schilling, Big “I” government affairs committee chairman, in presenting the award. “During his time on the InsurPac Board, Bob helped Texas significantly increase its support of InsurPac and capture three National Championship Awards. Not only is Bob Shepard a prolific fundraiser and contributor, but he also serves as a key grassroots contact for a number of federal officeholders.”

Shepard is the board chairman of Shepard Walton King Insurance Group in Harlingen, Texas.

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Texans for Lawsuit Reform Issue Statement on Final Senate Passage of HB 1774

Texans for Lawsuit Reform issued the following statement regarding the final Senate passage of House Bill 1774, the consumer protection bill to stop rampant weather-related lawsuit abuse:

“The Texas Senate has sent a strong message to storm-chasing lawyers who exploit our legal system for their own gain – Texas will not turn a blind eye to any type of lawsuit abuse in our state,” TLR Communications Director Lucy Nashed said. “By passing House Bill 1774, the Senate has put Texas property owners first, ensuring they are protected from all of the bad actors, whether that’s an insurer that unfairly denies and delays claims or an unscrupulous storm-chasing lawyer. We are grateful for Lt. Gov. Patrick and Sen. Hancock’s leadership on this critical issue, and look forward to seeing HB 1774 on Gov. Abbott’s desk.”

For a list of organizations endorsing HB 1774, please visit https://www.tortreform.com/reports/hailstorm-resolutions-support.

To learn more about hail-related lawsuit abuse, please visit www.tortreform.com/hail.

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Run, Hide, Fight: Planning for a Situation Involving an Active Shooter

Nothing can completely prepare us for a situation involving an active shooter. Yet, as many recent events reveal, the threat is real.

According to the FBI, in these situations, your survival may depend on whether you have a plan. Adequate preparation includes knowing what to do, knowing escape routes, and taking precautions long before a situation arises.

Situations with active shooters are unpredictable and evolve quickly. In many cases the situation is over within 15 minutes — often before law enforcement officials have arrived. Preparing both mentally and physically to deal with such a situation is critical.

The Department of Homeland Security outlines three courses of action in its pamphlet Active Shooter How to Respond: evacuate, hide out and as a last resort, take action. Go here for complete suggestions.

For human resources professionals, preparation for such a situation is ongoing. Consider that virtually all individuals who commit acts of violence exhibit warning signs before doing so and tell at least one, and sometimes up to three people, before doing so. (1)

Preparation involves conducting effective employee screening and background checks, having a system in place for reporting of potentially violent behavior and having an emergency action plan in place. (2)

Related: Damage Caused by a Shoot Out: How’s It Covered?
from Texas Agent, July 28, 2016

The role of facility managers can also be critical. Building access controls, availability of floor plans and the general physical security of the building are components important to preventing such events as well as effectively reacting to them.  The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling kits containing radios, floor plans, first aid kits, flashlight as well as a staff roster with contacts.

An article on the topic provided by Church Mutual Insurance Company in its Risk Reporter Spring 2017 suggests keeping a database of “red flag” behavior could help connect the dots in order to predict violent tendencies. These include abrupt changes in personality from loud to silent, frequent filing of complaints, social media posts about violence, insubordinate behavior, concerning texts and emails and consistently poor work relationships. More information on behavioral threats can be found here.

When prevention fails, a crisis-communication plan can save lives. Social media, texts, and apps can be used to issue alerts and inform large groups of people of dangerous situations.

No one wants to believe that danger could happen nearby. However, it does occur all too often. Recognizing the threat, raising awareness and creating a plan can help save lives in the event of an active shooting situation.

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Time Running Out to Register for Elevate 2017

Agency Nation Elevate 2017, the first-of-it’s-kind insurance sales, marketing and technology conference, is rapidly approaching.


What is Elevate 2017?

Hosted by the folks at Agency Nation and TrustedChoice.com, Elevate 2017 is a two-day conference dedicated to educating, entertaining and inspiring insurance professionals to improve their customer experience through sales, marketing and technology.

They’ve set out to build the insurance conference you’ve always wanted to attend. That means heavyweight insurance insiders sharing their experience and expertise on how to drive growth, with a dozen interesting breakout sessions led by experts sharing their battle-tested ideas and tons of time for networking.

The conference will be held June 4-6 in Milwaukee at the majestic Pfister Hotel. With 10 super sessions from heavyweight insurance insiders, dozens of breakouts by industry thought leaders, panelist discussions and networking, you’ll gain battle-tested ideas for inbound sales, digital marketing, technology and customer experience development–all geared to the independent agent. You’ll also meet forward-thinking insurance professionals from around the country who want to grow their business digitally.

What’s included

  • Two-day, all-access event pass
  • All meals, including welcome reception and Brat Bonanza at Harley-Davidson Museum (6 meals total)
  • Ten keynote-style super sessions from world-class insurance thought leaders
  • Dozens of breakout sessions with lifetime access to all session recordings
  • Networking with 250+ IA decision makers

Visit www.agencynation.com/elevate17 to purchase your ticket and learn more about Elevate 2017.

Simply enter ‘elevate10” promo code at checkout for a 10% discount, but do it fast–this event will sell out soon.

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InsurBanc On the Future of M&A Activity

InsurBanc’s President and CEO, David Tralka recently sat down with Insurance Journal to discuss the future of the M&A market. In recent years, the number of announced transactions has been record setting. What does this mean for 2017?

Listen to this podcast as Dave shares his insight on future trends for M&A activity in 2017 and the factors that will impact the market.  For those agency owners looking to sell, Dave offers advice on ways to leverage your agency and positively impact your agency’s value. Listen to the full interview.

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