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Renewal Questionnaires: Right for Your Clients?

By: Elizabeth Sedlock | Posten on: Sep 19, 2012 10:42:00 AM

One of the issues many of you face as a personal lines insurance agent is keeping up with changes to your insureds policies.  Unfortunately, not every insured is aware that they need to alert their insurance agents when they make a major purchase or change in their life.  For example, if your insured buys a new tractor or an engagement ring, do they immediately let you know so you can amend their existing policy to reflect the purchase?  Probably not.  If you run into this problem, don’t worry, you are not alone. 

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The good news, however, is that, in the majority of cases, you are not at risk.  In a recent court case in California, a judge decided that personal lines insurance agents are NOT responsible for reminding clients to make monthly payments, renew, or add coverage for a new item not previously insured unless the agent has done so in the past.  This case was more focused on the renewal of coverage and whether or not the agent is responsible for making sure the insured is aware of coverage cancellation if the insured has been alerted by other sources (for example, the carrier).  In the end, you, the agent, are not liable but that doesn’t stop people from holding you at fault.  That is why you should take as many steps as possible to protect yourself.

Insurance Agent Errors & Omissions

First, you need professional liability insurance (also known as errors & omissions coverage).  YOU need it, not just your clients.  According to My New Markets, the general understanding in the industry is that 1 in 7 insurance agents will be sued sometime in their careers, and the average settlement of those lawsuits is approximately $16,000.  Whoa.  That is why professional liability insurance with First Dollar Defense is so important for you.

Renewal Questionnaires

So, how else can you protect yourself?  One great way is to institute a policy where you send out a questionnaire EVERY renewal period.  We recommend sending the questionnaire out approximately 1 and ½ months before the renewal date.  That gives your insureds plenty of time to answer.  Another way to get more responses is to pitch in for a self-addressed, stamped envelope to go with the questionnaire.  That makes it incredibly easy for your insureds to get it back to you.  Many of the carriers we work with already have really detailed renewal questionnaires.  You can either use one of those or make your own.

Here is a great example SafeCo questionnaire that will give you an idea of direction in case you want to write your own version.  You can also check out this Travelers checkup for more ideas.

 

 

Topics: personal lines insurance, Stuckey & Co., high value homes insurance

Tools to Grow Personal Lines Insurance Business

By: Elizabeth Sedlock | Posten on: Apr 13, 2012 4:05:00 PM

Did you know that specialty personal insurance lines of business tend to be the most profitable of all personal lines policies? Did you know that you can increase your retention by 9% when you cross sell additional personal insurance policies? The more lines of business an insured places with you, the better chance you have to retain that customer for years to come. Yearly reviews of your insured’s needs are crucial to retention.  Each year, the insured may purchase something they did not even think of placing insurance on through you: a motorcycle, a boat, a piece of fine art or a valuable piece of jewelry that may not be insured properly. Cross selling can help you close coverage gaps for customers and make sure they are adequately protected; not to mention customers can see significant savings and discounts when they combine multiple policies.

One of our carries, Safeco, calls this process “relationship marketing” and provides tools on their website to help you.  You can order generic note cards that say “Happy Birthday”, “Thank You”, “Happy New Year”, etc.  Here is a brief glimpse of the HOW IT WORKS section:

How it works

  • Safeco provides you with an automated cross-sell campaign to target and cross-sell your monoline auto and home policyholders.
  • You can choose to mail your entire book of business, self-select which policyholders you want to target or mail to the same policyholders you did in the prior campaign.
  • Then select the letter or postcard you want to mail and Safeco will complete the mailing on your behalf.
  • We also provide you with call scripts and follow-up letters to help with your conversion process.
  • Safeco now provides you with an automated umbrella cross-sell campaign.
  • Safeco now offers an automated Motorcycle, Watercraft or RV cross-sell campaign.
  • To initiate your cross-sell campaign, simply click on the link below

Safeco also offers an Insurance Checkup form for you to use.  Contact Shelli at shelli@stuckey.com to learn about ways the other carriers can help you properly cover all your insureds!

Topics: Stuckey & Company, personal lines insurance, high net worth, high net worth insurance, high value homes insurance

High Net Worth Insurance - Consider the Worst Case

By: Elizabeth Sedlock | Posten on: Jan 13, 2012 3:20:00 PM

Are all home owner insurance policies the same?  Although most large insurance companies would like you to think so, all policies are NOT the same.  This is a particularly important issue for high net worth individuals with high value homes. 

Why?  Because the average home owner policy does not adequately protect against the worst case scenarios that surpass the standard liability limit, which is $500,000 in many cases.  When unfortunate accidents happen to someone with a high net worth, like pool accidents, personal injury or property damage, general policies might not cover all the costs associated.

Example of a High Value Home

That is where Group Excess Coverage can really help your high net worth clients.  This is a great opportunity for you to get a group of professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) together under one umbrella policy, eliminate gaps in coverage, and save them money.  The liability limits on these umbrella policies can be as high as $50 million. 

Like it or not, high net worth individuals are much more likely to be the victims of lawsuits, frivolous or not.  These group excess coverage plans, like Chartis’ or Chubb’s Group Personal Excess Liability Insurance policies, save your clients money and protect them against the worst case scenarios. 

Learn more about these types of policies at Stuckey & Company’s personal insurance site.

Topics: Stuckey & Company, stuckey and company, HIgh Value Homes, personal lines insurance, Stuckey, Stuckey & Co., stuckey and company, Stuckey and Co., high net worth, high net worth insurance, high value home insurance, high value homes insurance, estate planning, non standard home insurance

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