Rank #1: “Technology & Talent” Decisions Face Carriers
What’s on the minds of insurance carrier CEOs? Hear about that from industry insider Bob Rusbuldt, IIABA’s CEO. Listen as he outlines both opportunities and challenges around “the two Ts,” or technology and talent. Carriers also are concerned about the rapid pace of M&A activity in the independent agency system. Large insurance organizations such as Brown & Brown and Gallagher were the acquirers 20 years ago; today, there are myriad private equity and venture capital firms in play, and these “names you’ve never heard of” could be a long-term issue for the system, carrier execs say. Regional carrier execs are concerned about the proliferation of networks, aggregators and clusters, Rusbuldt adds. But while change is difficult for the industry, “The status quo is not acceptable from either the agent’s or carrier’s side,” he says. “There has to be constant evolution in the marketplace, or the carrier or agent will not survive.” Rusbuldt also comments on Nationwide’s “very exciting” move to 100% independent agent distribution. To wrap up, he reviews implications on agents and brokers of looming federal legislative issues, including tax reform.
Apr 01 2019
Rank #2: The Customer Is the Product
Our repeat guest Dennis Moseley-Williams is a fascinating, fun and informative personality – don’t miss this episode in which he outlines danger lurking for firms that aim to improve service and efficiency – all for the sake of convenience alone. Dennis is a speaker and author on the Experience Economy, where it’s not so much about speedy service. “Services and experiences are not the same thing. Service isn’t the experience. People try to improve service instead of improving experience.” He asserts instead that, in the Experience Economy, “the customer is the product.” Focusing on the insurance product alone isn’t going to sustain organizations. Dennis offers excellent suggestions on educating consumers, reducing paperwork, and – wait for it – insurance jargon. You’ll enjoy this installment.
Apr 29 2019
Rank #3: Larger Agencies, Commercial Lines Will Dominate
In five to 10 years, the primary insurance sales channel will be direct to consumer, predicts Ed Majkowski, Ernst & Young’s insurance advisory leader for the Americas. In this provocative discussion, Ed walks through five key issues facing carriers and agencies. “We’ll always have agents, but there will be far fewer, they’ll be larger, and they’ll invest in technology and their brands,” he says. Meanwhile, no carrier eventually will be able to avoid the direct-to-consumer channel. Personal lines will decline, Ed says, so carriers might need to pivot to commercial lines, to a direct channel, or to a specialty line of business where returns traditionally are much higher. Meanwhile, “insurtechs are gaining traction across all parts of the value chain,” he says. “They’re pushing carriers to provide a better customer experience. Across all types of carriers, they’re nervous about how much investment it’s going to take to move faster. They all see the writing on the wall.”
Jul 08 2019
Rank #4: Avoiding ‘Garage Sale Communications’
Meet Dave Gordon, CMO of Gallagher Bassett, the claims servicing organization. He’s not your average marketing exec. He originally wanted to be a doctor. Then he went into acting and accomplished a few interesting things. Next was experiential marketing. Along the way he developed a passion for why people should pay attention to their personal brands vis a vis their corporate brands. You’ll thoroughly enjoy this installment as a high-energy Dave dispenses a number of valuable tips originally expressed during his keynote at the 2019 Insurance Marketing Communications Association conference. “You are the CEO of the ‘brand called you,'” he says.
Nov 25 2019
Rank #5: Citizens CEO Gilway: Expect Major Changes from AOB Reform
Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer of last resort, is preparing for big changes from the recently passed and signed House Bill 7065, also known as assignment of benefits reforms. Citizens has borne the brunt of the abuse of the policyholder benefit, particularly in South Florida where AOB lawsuits have exploded over the last 10 years. Thanks to the new law, on June 19th the Citizens Board approved an updated rate filing requesting an overall statewide rate increase of 2.3% rather than the 8.2% increase it requested late last year. The filing has yet to be approved by regulators. In this interview conducted before Citizens announced the updated rate filing, Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway discusses how the insurer is preparing to comply with the provisions of the new law and what agents need to know.
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Jun 24 2019
Rank #6: Who Wants Agency Debt? You Might!
Borrowing can be a good business decision for agencies looking to expand. But which are the best bets? You may want to hire new producers, invest in technology, or buy a book of business or agency. These choices help ensure agency debt is productive and doesn’t leave you over leveraged. On this installment, InsurBanc CEO David Tralka talks about some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to borrowing. “Every agency should put itself into a position to borrow cash,” says Dave. “Even if it doesn’t need it, the process is important. If you can tell a good story to a bank, that’s valuable. Using credit and debt can be a powerful driver of growth.” Dave also sees more owners selling off pieces – rather than the entire agency – to recapitalize the firm and watch the value grow.
Oct 28 2019
Rank #7: From Sticky Notes and Coffee Stains to Digital Claim Files
Kevin Quinley, founder and principal of Quinley Risk Associates, describes the evolution of claim file documentation and how digital files impact claims handling.
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Feb 12 2019
Rank #8: Agency Aggregation “Future of IA Channel”
In this recording, we catch up with our good friend Steve Brooks in Southern California. In 1989, Steve launched an agency from scratch to focus on high-net-worth clients; a few years ago he sold to fast-moving Acrisure. He’s a big fan of the Acrisure model, noting that it isn’t venture capital backed – and thus looking to flip the investment. Nor does it demand changes of acquired firms. Management and affiliate agencies own 83% of Acrisure, which has grown to $1.6 billion in premium and 400 locations. “We don’t change anything about the agencies we acquire,” Steve says. “We don’t change the name. We are still maintaining our entrepreneurship and our prospecting. We don’t lose those carrier relationships that are still very valuable for me. We don’t have lots of levels of management. We still decide the day to day in our own offices.” Acrisure does support back-office functions, such as licensing, EPLI and E&O, and, optionally, technology. Steve outlines how the group operates, including the capability to refer business among partner agencies.
Jul 22 2019
Rank #9: Higher Education for Intrepid Agents
Independent agency owner Andy Thompson is a restless soul, and always has something up his sleeve. Sure, there’s the business of his firm, The Thompson Group, based in a small(ish) town in Indiana. But now the self-described “insurance ninja” has wandered to the mountains outside of Denver, where at 8,300 feet there is fresh air and space to coach other agents on how to find their true north. Two types of agents attend Andy’s two-day boot camp: Younger people new to the business, he says, and agency owners “who get tired, lose their path, and forget what they really need to do to become successful.” Listen as Andy outlines classic “avoidance” behavior of prospects and how to break through the communications clutter. Hear, too, about the fascinating growth of the cannabis industry, with Colorado on the vanguard.
May 27 2019
Rank #10: Insurance Industry Should “Challenge Status Quo”
Ryan Collier, chief digital officer of wholesale broker Risk Placement Services, says he’s on a mission to “break a broken industry.” Commercial insurance transactions take 60 days to complete, he says, unlike any other industry. On this entertaining recording, Ryan breaks down how his team challenged the status quo and dramatically reduced the online application process for cyber coverage to minutes with only four questions. The industry needs to get away from binders, Ryan says. “Customers don’t want 60 or 90 days. They want a policy.” Insurance professionals need to “eThink Insurance,” says Ryan. “One of my frustrations is to see people protect their jobs. They say, ‘I’m going to color inside the lines. I’m not going to fail.’ I fail a lot at RPS, but thankfully we succeed more than we fail.”
Nov 11 2019
Rank #11: How the Program Business Market is Utilizing Insurtech
Program managers are more entrepreneurial and more willing to deploy new technology than other segments of the insurance industry, says Brian Harrigan founder and CEO of insurance industry technology provider InsurIQ. In this interview from the Target Markets 2018 Summit, Harrigan discusses how the program business segment is utilizing new technology and encouraging their carrier partners to take the leap as well.
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Feb 15 2019
Rank #12: Florida’s New Insurance Consumer Advocate Investigating Michael Claims Delays
Florida’s new Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter has been busy since taking office August 1. With more than 12,000 Hurricane Michael claims still open, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, one of Carter’s top priorities has been to investigate the reason for the open claims from the devastating Category 5 storm and how the recovery process can be improved going forward.
Carter, who has been with the Florida Department of Financial Services for 17 years, said in her new role she is looking at opportunities to advocate on behalf of all insurance consumers.
Carter spoke with Insurance Journal about her priorities, what she thinks the insurance industry could do better when it comes to working with their policyholders, and opportunities for the industry and her office to work together.
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Nov 14 2019
Rank #13: The Future of Insurance Claims Litigation
Litigation management has evolved as a result of technology. Wesley Todd, former insurance defense attorney and CEO of litigation management tool CaseGlide, explains why claims litigation departments should be concerned with the changes happening at plaintiffs’ firms across the country. He addresses the value in focusing on litigation management holistically.
Jan 30 2019
Rank #14: Can the Industry Disrupt Itself?
Intrigued by the “what ifs” of an insurance industry completely starting over with the agent and consumer experience? Then you’ll love these comments by two industry pundits and frequent conference speakers. Steve Anderson and Rick Morgan, volunteers with IIABA’s Agents Council for Technology, are posing interesting questions, such as: What if we launched an initiative to stop all paper in the insurance industry? No paper applications, ACORD forms or ID cards. No paper for agents. No paper for policyholders. Not even PDFs of policies. Rather, agents, carriers, insureds and any other stakeholder or relevant party would access policy information from the cloud – a central or even several dispersed repositories for all risk-related information (underwriting, risk management, claims, billing, all documentation). Steve says: “This is not about technology; the technology is available. It’s about business processes and the reluctance of some people to change.” Rick adds: “You keep hearing about disruption from insuretechs. We need to disrupt ourselves. The paper paradigm is holding us hostage. We need a C-suite level discussion to take steps to move forward for our industry.”
Mar 04 2019
Rank #15: How the Program Market is Tackling Cyber Risk, Other Emerging Exposures
The program business segment is known for being able to find insurance solutions for unique risks, but emerging risks like cyber and technology are still a challenge for the industry. In this interview with Arthur Seifert, president of Glatfelter Program Managers, the program division for Glatfelter Insurance Group, he discusses how Glatfelter is approaching cyber exposures and others like catastrophic weather and insurtech.
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Feb 08 2019
Rank #16: User Experience Simplified
Just as highway traffic will slow down when the road signs are complicated, consumers navigating apps and websites often will give up when they’re presented with too many instructions and words. Less can be more, according to Allstate’s user experience content lead, Clifton Simmons, who led a spirited conversation at the 2019 Insurance Marketing Communications Association (IMCA) Conference. On this podcast Clif reprises some key points from that talk, including an overview of how his team dramatically increased usage of the Allstate claims app. Claims reported via the app went from 3,400 to 70,000 per month when Allstate added live chat and removed “the sea of words we were throwing at them.” Claimants trying to deal with fixing their cars “need baby steps,” Clif says. “If you give them too much at once, it becomes noise. It leads to confusion.”
Oct 14 2019
Rank #17: California Deputy Insurance Commissioner’s Role Tackling Climate Change
Michael Peterson is California’s deputy commissioner for climate and sustainability, a post that’s believed to be the nation’s first executive-level position focused on engaging the insurance industry in the fight against climate change. Peterson, a scientist by training, has been in the post for five months. He spoke with Insurance Journal about his conversations with the industry.
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May 16 2019
Rank #18: Impact of Artificial Intelligence “Massive”
The insurance industry’s recent rounds of rules-based automation pales in comparison to the “massive shift” to insurance work offered by artificial intelligence, says Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer of global consulting firm Genpact. With AI, he says, “I don’t program the computer. I show it the problem, and you, the computer, find out how to program yourself.” In this fast-paced podcast, Sanjay urges the industry to apply AI learnings, tenets and capabilities and automate “that last mile to take it to the workforce.” The evolution of AI first in language, and then conversation (e.g. intent analysis). Next will be expanded use of sight (e.g. photos and video); and, finally knowledge, offering major opportunities in areas such as FNOL and claims handling. “How do we capture all of the knowledge that insurance adjusters have today?” Sanjay asks. He also offers some other key insurance trends for 2019 in this recording.
Feb 18 2019
Rank #19: SPONSORED: How to Prepare for Hurricane Season
Jun 10 2019
Rank #20: “Discussion Partners” Are Strongest Client Relationships
Former insurance agent and now speaker and management consultant Troy Korsgaden has lots to say on organizational change, and you’ll embrace the energy on this podcast. Troy recently authored a new book, “Discussion Partner,” and is president of Korsgaden International. For anyone in a small or large company, in the field or home office C suite, in a sole proprietorship… “It doesn’t matter where – you’ve got to be a profit center,” he says. “If you’re not, you’re a cost center. You have to have more customer interaction to be a profit center.” Troy outlines four different relationship types, with the ideal one being a “discussion partner.” He says: “These people don’t want to be sold and they don’t want to be told. These are the people who want you to discuss options with them. They’ll decide. Position yourself as an advisor, a client partner.” Troy’s other three relationship types are very different, and he outlines how salespeople must approach them. Troy suggests “retooling,” as in “retooling my team, my technology, my relationships, everything. It doesn’t always mean radical change.”
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Apr 15 2019