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.

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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.”

Read More

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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.”

Read More



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E&O Risk: Agents, Carriers Urged to Review Web Copy

A website can be an effective consumer marketing tool. But have you thought about it eo-2018-we-got-your-back_400x400also as an E&O risk?

E&O carriers are concerned about emerging issues with agency websites, according to industry veterans Joyce Sigler, account executive and systems administrator at Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency, in Fairlawn, Ohio, and Angela Ford, IIAT’s continuous improvement director.

In a presentation at the ACT fall meeting, Sigler and Ford said statements made on agency websites and social media posts are fodder for plaintiffs’ lawyers, depending on how a particular state’s laws view the concept of “marketing” online.

And it’s not just current online information and statements that can be trouble. It’s what you may have said years ago.

Lawyers can pull information off an internet archive, such as the Wayback Machine, which retrieves assertions agents have made to long-term clients on earlier versions of websites. “Words such as ‘expert’ are litigious,” said Sigler. Or, “We check with you always to be sure you get a great deal.”

“It’s better to use, ‘I advise,'” Sigler said.

The speakers urged agents to use technology to minimize litigious words. Audit the website and add a disclaimer. Double-check your promises on social media. Have a written social media plan and guidelines, and make employees aware of the E&O risk.

In an impromptu survey of the ACT meeting audience via the “Poll Everywhere” app, 62% of respondents said they are using technology to cover their E&O concerns. Another 17% were not, and 21% weren’t sure.

Access ACT’s social media guidelines and resources here. 


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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Become a Best Practices Agency

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Since 1993, IIABA’s Best Practices Study has examined top-performing agencies across the country.  For these agencies, inclusion provides the prestigious status of “Best Practices Agency” and opens the doors to many benefits.
​The purpose of the research is to compile the operating statistics of the country’s leading agents and brokers.  This is provided to the industry to provide benchmarks, operational information on growth, profitability, productivity and financial stability.
The Process 
  • Once every three years the Big “I” requests agency nominations from state association and company partners. This is taking place now until January 2019.
  • Nominated agencies are invited to participate in February 2019.
  • Agencies that choose to participate submit detailed financial and operational information which is scored and ranked objectively. Responses to management and industry-related questions also requested with data. The invitations will go out to those nominated in February 2019. The nominated agencies must submit their data by Mid-April 2019.
  • The top agencies in the six revenue categories are included, notified and deemed “Best Practices Agencies.” Participants will be selected and notified in June 2019.

  • The Best Practices Agency names announced to the industry in September 2019.
  • The Study results are released annually. For the 2019 cycle: 2019, 2020, 2021.
  • To retain status, each agency must submit year-end results each year.  There is no other commitment. 
Find out how to become a Best Practices Agency, learn more about Best Practices products online,  or email Best Practices staff with questions.
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Joe Vincent Management Seminar Preview: The Risk & Rewards of the Sharing Economy


Did you know that a car rental agency is the original form of car sharing? Are you familiar with the 3 periods of TNCs? What do AirBnB and VRBO have in common? If a sharing economy risk contacted you for coverage, do you know what information to collect?

The concept of the “sharing economy” is not new but it has exploded over recent years for peer-to-peer sharing. Online social networks and mobile electronic devices have created an environment to easily match consumers for peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services. 

The sharing economy is an ever-changing space with little to no regulation, therefore, insurance carriers are struggling to create best practices and products in a timely manner. Many agents are unsure of what questions to ask and are opening themselves up to E&O exposures. Likewise, consumers are open to risk as they are unaware of exclusions on their policies. The economy is also being impacted on several scales – such as rental car companies, hotels, motels and B&Bs.

During her presentation at the Joe Vincent Management Seminar, Insuring the Sharing Economy – The Risks and Rewards, Munich RE Sr. Vice President Maureen Brown will address the insurance implications of the sharing economy, explain its risks and rewards, and describe what is needed to procure coverage.

Learn More and Register

About Maureen Brown, CPCU, RPLU

maureen-brown-tmb-smallMaureen Brown, CPCU, is Underwriting and Operations Lead for Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.’s Incubator, a strategic business unit responsible for identifying, researching and recommending new areas of growth for the company’s US P&C operations.

Prior to transferring to her current role, Maureen was a casualty underwriter in the Chief Underwriting Office of the Specialty Markets division. In that role, she supported both the Programs and Alternative Market units as a referral casualty underwriter focusing on emerging issues such as drones, terrorism and cyber. Previous to Munich Re, Maureen held management positions in both Underwriting and Operations. In addition to her insurance company experience, Maureen spent several years at an MGA as the Chief Underwriting Officer for a national program for landscapers and arborists.

Maureen is the current chair of the CPCU Society’s Excess, Surplus and Specialty Lines Interest Group. Her committee focuses on addressing current and relevant issues for this community through webinars, articles and annual meeting sessions.



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