Trusted Choice® Brings Consumer Brand to CNBC Prime Time

Trusted Choice® is bringing the independent insurance consumer brand to CNBC with a sponsored content partnership.

The new partnership will place the consumer brand on one of CNBC’s hit television shows, “Billion Dollar Buyer.” Tillman Fertitta, billionaire restaurateur and host of the show, will “endorse” Trusted Choice agents during the spring premiere, presenting three 30-second vignettes that will highlight the importance of:

  • Equipment breakdown insurance
  • Employment practices liability
  • Use of personal property

Trusted Choice content will air throughout CNBC’s business day and primetime windows alongside Fertitta’s popular show. The brand will also appear in digital placements on CNBC-Make It properties and CNBC affiliate properties like Conde Nast, and will receive mentions and promotion from “Billion Dollar Buyer” social media handles.

Trusted Choice also plans to promote and host content to Trusted Choice-owned and -operated web properties, including Trusted Choice social media channels, the Big “I” website, state association websites and

The campaign flight is scheduled to last nine months, beginning with “Billion Dollar Buyer’s” season premiere in January 2018. For more information about the Trusted Choice sponsored content partnership, contact Demarcus Johnson.

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Protecting Business Data During Natural Disasters

In the aftermath of a serious disaster, businesses face the risk of downtime due to damaged equipment and lost company and client data. The most important thing that every company needs is a frequently updated copy of its data that resides far away from its headquarters, either in the cloud or in another region of the country. It’s surprisingly affordable to accomplish this. If your office floods and your server drowns, your data had better be somewhere safe and dry. Businesses also need a plan for recovering downed systems and files as quickly as possible.

Read More (CFO)

Disaster Recovery Services for Insurance. Protect your promise. Be there for your clients.

Disaster has no schedule. Nothing tests an insurance agent’s ability to meet a client’s needs like an unforeseen disaster, occurring without warning and creating unpredictable damage. Insurance agencies have an obligation to their clients to be available when disaster strikes. For more than 21 years, IIAT-endorsed business partner Agility has ensured that insurance agents are there for their clients.

Learn more.

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Ask Regina

Q. If a certificate of insurance has been issued and later a notice of cancellation is issued reginafor non-payment, does a notice of cancellation have to be sent to the certificate holder?

A. If the policies are endorsed with the endorsements that give the certificate holder notice of cancellation, then the company should be sending them notice of cancellation when they send it to the insured.

If the policies aren’t endorsed so that the company gives the notice, then for the sake of courtesy as well as E&O avoidance, send a letter or a copy of the certificate with “Canceled” stamped on it. This applies only if the policy is actually canceled and you are not expecting reinstatement.

For additional information on certificates, see Best Practices for Certificates of Insurance.

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Sharpen Your Soft Skills with IIAT’s Online, On-demand Customer Service Training

Technical expertise is essential in the insurance business, both as a competitive differentiator and for agency E&O loss control. Likewise, customer service skills are just as essential.

The insurance business is a highly-intangible service and sometimes the only way customers perceive quality is through their interactions with staff. Achieving competitive differentiation through consistent service quality produces higher retention rates, more business from current customers and increased referrals.

According to experts who research the topic, there are five general service attributes that influence customers’ assessments of service quality:

  1. Reliability: The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
  2. Responsiveness: The willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service.
  3. Assurance: The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence.
  4. Empathy: The application of caring and individualized attention to customers.
  5. Tangibles: The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communications materials.

All but the last of these are customer service soft-skills.


IIAT’s online, on-demand collaboration with New Level Partners includes three great customer service soft skills training bundles.

These courses can be taken individually, or agency teams can take them together and conduct discussions on how to apply the key topics and concepts to real agency situations.

This training package features five courses that introduce communication styles and guidance on how to create a positive impression. It also includes courses on agency errors & omissions best practices. Cost $80

A five-course foundation series that includes essential elements of business writing, verbal communication and time management. Cost $80

This training package features four courses on elevating negotiation skills, building credibility with clients, delivering powerful messaging on professional relationships and developing and strengthening an elevator pitch. Cost $80

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The Hill Newspaper Names Big ‘I’ Leaders Among Top D.C. Lobbyists

The Hill, a leading political newspaper, has named Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, and Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external, industry and government affairs, among the top trade association lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

The Hill piece noted the Big “I” was “a force to be reckoned with” as it battled for a wide array of flood insurance legislation in 2017, including a long-term extension of the NFIP.

“Recognition from a leading political newspaper highlights the strength of our government affairs team,” says Vaughn Graham, Big “I” chairman and president of Rich & Cartmill, Inc., headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Thanks to the hard work of president & CEO Bob Rusbuldt, Charles Symington and the entire government affairs staff, the Big ‘I’ is consistently named one of the most influential associations in the country.”

Congressional leaders regularly tap the Big “I” federal government affairs team for its political acumen. The team regularly sits on congressional steering committees, raises campaign dollars, hosts political events and strategizes to help members of Congress better serve their constituents and advance top issues. A vital component of the association’s advocacy efforts is InsurPac, the Big “I” political action committee. It routinely raises well over $2 million each election cycle and disburses that money across the aisle to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives campaigns that are supportive of the independent agency system.

“The Big ‘I’ government affairs staff stood out as the only group listed that represents insurance agents and brokers,” says Angela Ripley, Big “I” government affairs committee chairman and president VW Brown Insurance Service in Columbia, Maryland. “We’re fortunate to have such a well-respected team representing the agent and broker community on Capitol Hill.”

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The 20 Percent Claim Solution

Texas has had a proportionate responsibility law for some time. The purpose is to prevent someone from recovering the amount that their own negligence contributed to a claim. This is codified in the Civil Practices and Remedies code which requires the “trier of fact” to determine the percentage of responsibility that a claimant’s actions contributed to a loss. Several recent examples reported to IIAT indicate that many adjusters tend to assign a common 20 percent for many auto accidents.

In one case the insured was driving down the road when someone turned directly in front of him. The other company offered to pay 80 percent of the claim based solely on their customer’s comment that the insured seemed to be driving “kind of fast.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When reporting an at-fault accident, most people try to portray the facts in the light that is most favorable to them. Few will admit they were distracted by a cell phone, cheeseburger or changing channels on the radio. It’s the adjuster’s job to estimate how the claim would be handled if it was being litigated. Perhaps it’s chance, but most examples presented to IIAT have involved the same estimate of contributing negligence – 20 percent.

What should you do if your customer is in this situation? First, remind them that this reduction is based on an estimate. Have them contact the adjuster and ask what evidence is being used to reduce the amount of recovery. If that fails, your customer can always file a collision claim and let your company argue about the percentage during subrogation. In some cases, the deductible may be less than the reduction of the claim amount.

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Kyle Dean of Dean & Draper Shares his Agency Perpetuation Story

IIAT member Kyle Dean, president & CEO of Dean & Draper Insurance Agency in Houston, is one of three agents featured in a recent Independent Agent magazine article on agency perpetuation. Following his father’s unexpected passing in July 2013, Kyle took over as president & CEO of Dean & Draper. A family business since its inception in 1980, deanDean & Draper has grown to become an insurance powerhouse.

“The transition tasked me with managing and advancing the company to remain competitive. Preparing for perpetuation is always difficult, but managing people, money and leadership in the wake of such a monumental change is even more challenging for any new leader to handle,” said Kyle.

At age 37, Kyle is one of the youngest CEOs at an agency the size of Dean & Draper. “The perpetuation process hasn’t always been easy, but my father’s foresight—paired with careful consideration on my part, and support from my leadership team—helped guide the agency into its next generation of leadership, said Kyle.

Read “In Our Own Words: 3 Real-Life Perpetuation Stories” to learn more about Kyle’s and Dean & Draper’s perpetuation story.

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Experts Suggest Reviewing Website Language with E&O in Mind

devices insurance and rates comparatorYou’ve got a super website with all the right marketing phrases, but is the language E&O safe? Experts say it may be worth looking at again, this time with E&O in mind.

A website is not just a marketing tool. Unfortunately, thinking of it only in marketing terms can leave you exposed. Even safe wording and reasonable descriptions of your business model can be used against you in a court of law or mediation if the picture you paint on your site does not match the reality of your operation.

A recent article in IA Magazine reviews common phrases and suggests rewording that helps limit E&O exposure. Also offered are best practices language recommendations that are easy to incorporate into an existing site or new one.

Read More 

Call IIAT’s Gunnar Kephart at 800-880-7428 to learn how IIAT Advantage E&O can help protect your business against E&O claims.

Learn More

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Ask Regina

Q. We have a carrier that is making a charge on a homeowners policy for “Recoupmentregina Fee Volunteer Rural Fire Department Assistance Program.” What is this charge?

A. Section 2007.001 of the Texas Insurance Code provides for an assessment for rural fire protection which is applicable to an insurer that writes homeowners, fire, farm and ranch, private passenger physical damage, commercial auto physical damage and commercial multi-peril insurance.

An insurer may recover the assessment by reflecting the assessment as an expense in a rate filing or charging the policyholder. If the policyholder is being charged, the insurer has to provide a notice regarding the amount of the assessment being recovered. The notice may be included on the declarations page, renewal certificate or billing statement.

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Electronic Auto Claims Filing has Room to Improve/Grow

car accidentInsurers are investing in technologies, but policyholders aren’t in such a rush to use them. That’s the finding of a new survey by J.D. Power.  For example, only 12 percent of Gen Y policyholders report a claim digitally, and many who did file digitally had a lower satisfaction rate than those who filed by phone. Read More at Property and Casualty 360°.


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