Millennial Business Owners Most Likely to Work with Insurance Agents

As reported by, millennial business owners are more likely than other generations to work with insurance agents on a wide variety of insurance and financial issues, according to recent survey data.

According to Nationwide’s fourth annual Business Owner Survey, 69% of millennial business owners work with an insurance agent, followed by boomers at 66% and Gen X at 59%.

The most common reason for working with an insurance agent among all generations is the trust that business owners place on the guidance and expertise from an agent.

Further, millennials are relying on agents for guidance in more areas than other generations, especially boomers. Retirement (37% vs. 26%), banking (25% vs. 4%) and succession planning (21% vs. 9%) show a wide generational gap.

Use of insurance agents is widespread among business owners.

  • Over six-in-ten business owners (63%) report having an insurance agent, while almost seven-in-ten millennials have one (69%).
  • Business owners with between 100-299 employees are most likely to work with an insurance agent (80%), those with fewer than 50 employees are least likely (57%).
  • Guidance and expertise (41%) are the driving forces behind the agent relationship, more so than practical considerations like level of coverage (25%) and efficiency (23%).

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Congress Passes Farm Bill

Last week, Congress approved a five-year Farm Bill, which President Trump has indicated he intends to sign.

The bill passed with strong support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, with votes of 87-13 and 369-47, respectively. Earlier in the week, the Big “I” and several state associations submitted a letter for the congressional record urging passage of the bill.

The Farm Bill reauthorizes many farm support programs and legalizes hemp production—meaning hemp farmers will be eligible to purchase federal crop insurance. Among other things, the bill also reauthorizes the supplemental nutrition assistance program, commonly referred to as SNAP, with only minor revisions, and does not make major changes as the House had previously contemplated.

Of note for Big “I” members, the Farm Bill protects the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP). The bill mostly maintains status quo for the program, with only relatively minor changes and no substantive cuts. Over the past year, the Big “I” and several Big “I” state associations successfully advocated against multiple amendments to the Farm Bill that would have limited participation in crop insurance, made insurance more expensive for farmers, or harmed private-sector delivery of the FCIP.

In another win for Big “I” members, during negotiations to finalize the Farm Bill, the Big “I” and other agent trade associations worked together to obtain language to address a recent court decision that could potentially expand rebating in the FCIP, which the Big “I” opposes.

The conference report—a document that helps show legislative intent and give direction to the USDA and Risk Management Agency (RMA) on how to implement the Farm Bill—included language noting that rebating is “strictly prohibited” in the FCIP, with only “specific limited exceptions.” The report also commended RMA, which oversees the FCIP, for taking rebating prohibitions seriously.

Following the successful passage of a Farm Bill that supports a strong FCIP, the Big “I” will continue to work with Congress to avoid future attempts to make cuts to the program though the budgeting process or otherwise. The association will also work with RMA to help ensure that the crop insurance title of the Farm Bill is implemented appropriately.

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Fore! Avoiding Bogeys on Golf Course Coverage


A golfer shouting “fore!” is a warning to others that trouble could be on its way – usually an errant ball headed in the wrong direction.  For an agency looking to procure coverage for a golf course, there are several warning signs and red flags to look “fore” prior to placing these risks.

There are roughly 35,000 golf courses in the world, 45% of which are in the U.S., with eo-2018-we-got-your-back_400x400Florida having more than any other state.  E&O experience tells us that both Mother Nature and mankind can wreak havoc on these expensive pieces of real estate, which are often underinsured.  For an insurance agent, knowing the various types of exposures that require insurance and to what limit can help minimize or even avoid E&O claims.

Damage to golf courses can be caused by flood, hail, ice, wind and even vandalism. Even so, an agent who is experienced in the placement of golf course coverage – something not many can say — may wonder, ‘How much can it cost to replace a few trees and replant some grass?’ The answer, it turns out, is ‘quite a lot’. Recent hurricanes along the Gulf Coast as well as heavy flooding in the Northeast have caused extensive damage to entire golf courses, properties that average 75 acres, with some up to double that size.  On that scale, the loss of trees, shrubs, grasses, sand in sand traps and landscaping can amount to millions of dollars in replacement costs – plus debris removal — after a severe flood or storm.

An agent ought to know the specifics of each golf course. Are the trees large and established or young and easily replaceable?  What is the value of the shrubbery and landscaping? What grass types are there in the fairways, rough and greens? Is the sand in the traps from a local supplier or is it an expensive, imported ‘high-angular’ product?  What type of irrigation system is in place or not in place?  Knowing the make-up and value of the course is a must.  In addition, knowing the climate, weather patterns and geographic location is essential in properly assessing exposure. Is the course in a coastal area?  A flood plain?  An earthquake region?

Some carriers specialize in coverage for golf courses (private, public and semi-public,) country clubs and resorts.  For the course itself, “Tee-to-Green Coverage” insures tee boxes, fairways, greens and other golf course property, including sprinkler systems, ball washers, signage, benches, cart paths, fountains, etc.

Structures including clubhouses, golf cart sheds, restaurants, lounges, pro shops, and other amenities present their own set of exposures: Commercial Property, Commercial General Liability, Liquor Liability, Auto, Crime and Inland Marine (golf carts, mowers, etc.) Golf course insurance packages can include these coverages as well as coverage for Directors & Officers liability, Business Income Loss, Employment Practices Liability Insurance, and Pollution coverage (arising from the runoff, etc., of the use of pesticide and herbicides).

The need for stand-alone flood and (where appropriate) wind policies should be evaluated and discussed in detail with the proprietor. Exploring umbrella and excess flood coverages is very important, as well. In fact, special attention should be paid by an agent in the assessment of potential exposure for each of these risks.

And yet, it is not uncommon for golf course policies to have just a $1 million limit, which would be woefully inadequate to cover damage sustained as the result of a massive natural event or catastrophic injury to a patron.  Good luck finding a club to get you out of that sand trap.

This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose.  Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article.  The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice.

About the author
Julie Carter is an assistant vice president, claims specialist with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and works out of the office in Kansas City, Missouri. Insurance products underwritten by Westport Insurance Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri, a member of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.


Have questions about your E&O or need a quote? 
Contact IIAT Advantage E&O’s Cari Senefsky or Gunnar Kephart at 800.880.7428.

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Ask Regina

Q. Does IIAT have any checklists when reviewing or recommending coverages to an reginainsured?

A. Yes, IIAT’s Agency Guide to E&O Loss Control contains helpful Surveys and Checklists on Best Practices for Marketing and Selling insurance.

Also, the Client Lifecycle section of the Agency Guide on E&O Loss Control features sample letters and documents that might also be helpful when communicating with your clients.

Remember, you must log into to view the content.

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Announcing IIAT’s 2019 Compensation Benchmarking Survey – Your Input Needed!


One of the most common requests IIAT gets from members is information about compensation benchmarking. The job market is competitive, and compensation is an important factor for recruiting and retaining the best talent – We don’t have to tell you that.

IIAT is partnering with IntellAgents to leverage agency data and design tailored products that empower IIAT members to make fact-based decisions to grow their business. Conducting a Compensation Benchmarking Survey is the first step to creating a comprehensive report on relevant insights and strategic recommendations for independent agencies.

As we complete the study this next year, you will be able to gain insights on the following metrics for your agency:

  • Operational Product Mix
  • Employee Age Distribution
  • Generational Health Mix
  • Employee Compensation Comparison
  • Top 5 Carrier Impact
  • Organic Growth Drivers

We hope you’ll join us on this journey!

We appreciate you taking the time necessary to complete the Compensation Benchmarking Survey by clicking the link below.


We hope that you will participate in the compensation study –
We need at least 400 agencies to participate for the results to be meaningful
The information you provide is completely confidential and the results will be reported in aggregate to maintain anonymity. The survey results will be presented at the Joe Vincent Management Seminar (Jan. 27-29, in Austin) and participants will receive a customized report summarizing the survey results.
For questions, please contact Marit Peters at 512.493.2422
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RLI Launches New Online Producer Portal  

RLI has launched a redesigned portal offering producers an improved digital experience in a user-friendly, self-service format. If you’re a licensed sub-producer for RLI’s Personal Umbrella or Home Business products your invitation to register for the portal and set up your account is in your inbox or will be on its way soon.

The revamped portal was initiated to update RLI’s existing portal technology and create a consistent, end-to-end, service-focused experience for producers.

Some of the changes that producers experience on the new site include:

  • A modern, clean and simple design and navigation
  • One point of access to manage their RLI business using a single login.
  • New features like enhanced site search, form and marketing materials, emailing capabilities and more

RLI producers should have already received an email from RLI with instructions on how to register for the new portal. Once registered, you can use the new RLI Portal as your primary source for managing your business with RLI.


Navigating the New Portal Instructions

Stand-alone personal umbrella program through RLI Insurance Co.

IIAT offers a standard market program for stand-alone personal umbrella policies. It is a perfect solution for hard to place personal lines accounts. The program is administered in Texas by IIAT and underwritten by RLI Insurance Co., rated “A+” (Excellent) IX by A. M. Best. LEARN MORE.

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You’re Invited to Texas Mutual Insurance Company’s 4th Annual Casino Party!


Texas Mutual invites all IIAT members to their 4th Annual Casino Party on the first evening of the Joe Vincent Management Seminar, Jan. 27, 2019. It all starts after the Joe Vincent seminar reception where you can enjoy a live music performance and play casino games. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019
@ the Joe Vincent Management Seminar
Renaissance Hotel, Rio Grande Ballroom
9721 Arboretum Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78759

Guests who pre-register will be entered to win prizes at the party!

RSVP Here.


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Joe Vincent Seminar Preview: Your Clients Are Harder to Please

If you remember the opening line of a hit song by John Cougar Mellencamp that goes, “I was born in a small town,” then you’ve heard about the community where I was born, too – and where my Mom worked as the assistant to an independent insurance agent.

When I would visit the office, I observed how my mother was helping the clients of the Dailey Insurance Agency – and, in almost every case, how pleased they appeared to be with the service and coverage they were provided.

However, as we all know, the insurance industry – and, in fact, every business – has changed a great deal over the past few years. While an agriculture cooperative may not sound like it has much in common with an independent insurance agency, I was struck by a comment made by an executive from that industry.

Doug Brunt is Senior Vice President of Agriculture Customers for Land O’Lakes. At a meeting I recently attended, he made a statement to his organization that applies to the insurance industry as well.

“It’s not hard to predict in this highly competitive and rapidly changing marketplace,” he said, “that our best customers are going to be harder to please in the future than they are today.”

Pausing for effect, Doug then added this important insight: “…and that is wonderful!”

(I’ve got to admit — I did a double take! Who wants customers that are harder to please?)

Then, Doug explained his reasoning: “If somebody is already your best customer — and they become harder to please — who is in the best position to thrill them? Logically, it should be YOU.  And, that should make them an even better customer than they are today!”

It makes sense in insurance, as well. If they’re one of your best clients:

  • You should know and understand them more deeply than any competitor.  
  • You should be able to plan more strategically how to help and serve them than your competition. 
  • You should be better equipped to leverage your products and services to become their partner in achieving their goals and objectives. 
  • And, you should know exactly what they desire, so you can deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience ® — while your competition is still playing the game of mere “customer service.”

However, this phenomenon also means that as your client enhances their expectations, you have to improve your delivery of the client experience to maintain and expand upon your positioning with them.

Most of us probably don’t want our clients to become even more demanding than they already are. Many of us would love for them to keep doing business with us the way clients of the independent agency that my mother worked for did many years ago.

However, distinctive agencies and insurance professionals should welcome it.  They know that more demanding clients can be both a wonderful opportunity — and a major impediment to your competition.

We must do is what the late, great Jim Rohn suggested: “Don’t wish it was easier.  Wish you were better.” When we become better at delivering a client experience that surpasses others in our respective marketplace, we have taken the first step in creating distinction.

About the Authormckain-scott-hr-photo

Scott McKain has designed and delivered high impact keynotes for the world’s most dynamic brands and has helped companies enhance profitability and loyalty by teaching how to sell uniquely and serve remarkably.

See Scott McKain at the Joe Vincent Management Seminar for his keynote presentation: “Create Distinction: What To Do When “Great” Isn’t Good Enough To Grow Your Business.”
Get more details and register.

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Should Your Agency Use AI Solutions for Customer Service?

As reported by Independent Agent magazine, more than half of insurance policyholders grow frustrated if a chatbot has yet to provide them a clear path to resolution within five minutes, according to a recent survey by Globant. By contrast, 34% of policy holders 20180314112937-shutterstock-1029020818want to switch to a chatbot if they’ve been on hold with a live agent for five minutes.

Confused? Don’t be—although it may look contradictory on the surface, the research suggests there’s a specific time and place for artificial intelligence-based customer support.

“What consumers are looking for is the combination,” says Sean Kennedy, principal digital architect at Globant. “They want the speed and the simplicity of working with a chatbot solution on their terms, and they want to know it’s backed by a human who will empathize with them, understand them and really be on their side.”

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Big “I” VP Analyzes Possible Impacts of Election on P&C Insurance

Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for external, industry & government affairs recently talked to Insurance Journal about what the mid-term elections could mean to you.

Kicking off the discussion, Symington described the new landscape where each party has claimed some turf.

“I would almost call the election a tale of two races. You saw at the very least a blue rising tide in the House, and it looks like at the end of the day Democrats will most likely gain close to 40 seats in the House of Representatives, right now 38, 39 is probably the best guess. So that will give them a comfortable margin in the House of along the lines of a 16, 17 seat majority,” said Symington.

“And in the Senate, like I said a tale of two races, you see Republicans picking up two seats, subject to a runoff in Mississippi where the Republican is expected to win. So, the margin in the Senate for Republicans will be 53/47. They’ll have that three-seat cushion.”

The agency system lobbyist then added some color: “I will say while there may not have been a blue wave, although one could probably reasonably argue there might have been one in the House, there certainly was a green wave, and Democrats took advantage of that. In terms of the fundraising, Democrats had a very significant advantage in the House. A lot of times money talks, and I do think that … was a contributing factor.”

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