Consumer and Insurance Groups Disagree

An effort by state insurance regulators to raise investment-advice standards for annuity sales appears to be driving a wedge between consumer organizations and a life insurance trade association.

In light of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners established a working group in April to review its suitability standard for annuity sales...

August 2, 2017 | By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Cold Calling Tips & Scripts for Insurance Agents

First off… let’s clear the air.

Cold calling works, it still works for today’s insurance agents, and it produces tremendous results. Just because the fear of rejection might be lessened in other forms of prospecting and marketing doesn’t mean cold calling is ineffective. Not in the least

Cold calling is not dead....

August, 2017 | By PermissionGroup

Louisiana Man Sets Woman's House on Fire With Children Inside

   A Louisiana man who authorities say set fire to his ex-girlfriend's house while her six children were inside has been arrested.

   The Times-Picayune reports 41-year-old Demond Sampson was arrested July 7 and charged with violation of a protective order and aggravated arson of an inhabited dwelling. He was also booked on a separate simple battery charge....
July 13, 2017 | By The Times

Want more success in insurance sales?

   Every one of these is critically important and will improve your odds for success; however, the one thing you can do to most improve your odds for success has nothing to do with the prospect with whom you are about to meet, or even the sales conversation you will be taking to them...
July 13, 2017 | By Kevin Trokey, Merrill Lynch

Indiana Gov. and State GOP Form Joint Fundraising Effort

   Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has started a new entity to raise money for his campaign committee and the state Republican Party. The Team Holcomb political action committee that was launched in late June will split contributions, with 70 percent going to Holcomb's campaign and 30 percent to the state GOP...
July 10, 2017 | By The Journal Gazette


The No. 1 reason most people buy insurance from you

June 7, 2017 | By BRENT KELLY

Several years ago as an active insurance agent, I become curious about why my current clients selected me as their agent.

Let’s face it, there are countless agents to choose from both locally and online. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter on how I earned their business.

I set out to ask the simple question, “What is the No. 1 reason you chose to do business with me?” I didn’t send out an email or use Survey Monkey. I either asked them directly in person or on the phone.

I had several theories in my head on what the most common responses would be ranging from low price, toreputable agency, to having customized program. While some of these responses made the top 2 or 3 reasons, very rarely did they list any of them at No. 1.

Agents and advisors: Salespeople or problem solvers?

Customers in any value-oriented sale are much more focused on solving their problems than acquiring your solutions.

So, out of 25 responses, what was the No. 1 reason that people bought insurance from me?

They liked and connected with me.

Yep, that was it and it was both surprising and refreshing. Over 90% of the people I asked said that they simply liked me, enjoyed doing business with me, and felt connected to me.

Now, does this mean that experience, product knowledge, and competitive pricing doesn’t matter when it comes to buying insurance? Of course not, all of those factors are important. However, none of those factors were as important as making a connection.

It’s been reported that we say an average of 6,000 words per day. That’s like speaking a large book every week. The question you must ask yourself is, “How many of my words really count and how many are just fillers?”

Why is connecting so critical?

Why was connecting the No. 1 response I received from my clients? I thought about this for long-time and now looking back several years later, I have come to this conclusion: The ability to connect increases your influence in every situation.

Think about it. What if you connected better with all of your prospects? What if you connected better with all of your clients? What if you connected better with all of your company partners? What if you connected better with your centers influence? What if you connected better with your community leaders? What if you connected better with yourself?

Where can you start?  

The first step of becoming is better connector is reflecting on your current situation.

As I write this, I can think of several of my own relationships that need more attention both personally and professionally. I am sure you can think of relationships you would like to improve as well.

Take some time now and think about how becoming a better communicator and connector would improve your business.

Think of the best connections you have now? How did they become such a strong connection? Think of your other people you struggle to connect with. Why aren’t you able to connect? By reflecting on these questions honestly, you will soon realize what helps you connect with others.

Colorado hailstorm on pace to be most expensive in state history

May 24, 2017 | By Jayleen R. Heft

 The monster hailstorm that pounded Colorado’s Front Range on May 8th is on pace to be Colorado’s most expensive insured catastrophe.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) is estimating the preliminary insurance losses for the hailstorm at approximately $1.4 billion. This storm would surpass the $845.5 million July 20, 2009 storm and the July 11, 1990 storm, the most expensive in adjusted costs for today’s dollars.

200,000+ auto & homeowners' claims

More than 150,000 car insurance claims and 50,000 homeowners' insurance claims are estimated to be filed. The size of the hail caused auto damage that means many of the cars can't be driven and some people may have to wait months before their vehicle is fixed because local repair shops are "backlogged into the summer," according to local television station 9News. 

Golf ball and baseball-sized hail damaged homes, cars and businesses when storms swept across the Front Range during the late afternoon and early evening hours. The largest hail pelted areas west of Denver, including Wheat Ridge, Golden and Lakewood.

Related: Hail-related insurance claims by the numbers

“The enormous size of the hail hitting densely populated areas of the Denver-Metro during rush hour has contributed to the magnitude of damage caused by this storm,” says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the RMIIA. “Add to that Colorado’s population boom, escalating costs to repair high-tech cars and more expensive homes, the insurance price tag on our hailstorms can be expected to continue to rise.”

Here's a look at Colorado's 10 most costly storms, to date:

California to Investigate Racial Discrimination in Auto Insurance Premiums

May 19, 2017 | By ProPublica Julia Angwin

The state’s insurance department is following up on our findings that eight auto insurers charge more in minority neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods with similar risk.

This story was co-published with Consumer Reports.

The California Department of Insurance has launched an investigation into whether eight auto insurers in the state discriminate against drivers in minority neighborhoods.

The investigation was prompted by an April 5 article, co-published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports, which found that the eight California insurers were charging more for auto premiums in minority neighborhoods, on average, than in non-minority areas with similar accident costs. California law prohibits insurers from charging rates that are excessive or unfairly discriminatory.

“We have taken these pricing allegations very seriously,” Deputy Commissioner Ken Allen wrote on April 28 to an attorney at Consumers Union, the policy and action arm of Consumer Reports. “… All necessary information to complete a thorough analysis on a file-by-file basis has already been or will be obtained from the eight insurers. The Department’s analysis will determine if there are inequities with respect to the pricing and treatment of any ZIP codes by these insurers.”

At the time our article was published, the California insurance department disputed ProPublica’s analysis. “The study’s flawed methodology results in a flawed conclusion,” the regulatory agency said in a statement.

But after hearing from groups including Consumers Union, Public Advocates and Consumer Watchdog, the department decided to initiate its own investigation. It will make the results of the review public, Allen told Consumers Union.

It’s not clear what data and methodology the department will use in its review, or whether it has the necessary data in-house. Allen wrote that the department will ask the eight insurers to submit “filings of their auto class plans and rating methodologies for review of discriminatory rating practices,” but the department regularly collects much of this information anyway.

The eight companies under scrutiny are subsidiaries of three major national insurers: Nationwide, USAA and Liberty Mutual.

Liberty Mutual and Nationwide both said that they don’t discriminate and that they cooperate with any review by the California insurance department.

“We support and embrace an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination in the workplace and in our businesses,” said Liberty Mutual spokesman John Cusolito. “… We are committed to offering drivers fair and competitive priced car insurance coverage options.”

“Nationwide develops its rates based on sound actuarial principles, relying on loss and expense experience and utilizing permissible and nondiscriminatory rating factors in compliance with each state’s ratemaking laws,” said Nationwide spokesman Eric Hardgrove.

USAA did not respond to a request for comment.

“We sincerely hope the California Department of Insurance will reaffirm what they had originally referred to as ‘flawed methodology’ that led to ‘a flawed conclusion,’” said James Lynch, chief actuary of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group.

Lynch said the institute hired an actuarial firm that has reviewed ProPublica’s data. That study has not been made public.

In California, which is a highly regulated insurance market, eight of the 21 insurers we examined had pricing disparities of more than 10 percent, led by Liberty Mutual. Its premiums were on average 33 percent higher in zip codes where most residents are minorities than in whiter neighborhoods with similar accident costs. The disparities at USAA and Nationwide were 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Disparate pricing was more prevalent in three other states, where insurance is less regulated.

In Illinois, 33 of the 34 companies we analyzed were charging at least 10 percent more, on average, for the same safe driver in zip codes where most residents are minorities than in other comparably risky zip codes. In Missouri and Texas, at least half of the insurers we studied charged higher premiums for a safe driver in high-risk minority communities than in comparably risky non-minority communities.

ProPublica could only examine insurance payouts in four states because they are the only ones that release the type of data needed to compare insurance payouts by geography.

As a result of ProPublica’s reporting, two Illinois lawmakers have proposed barring car insurers there from using a driver’s zip code to determine premiums. Six Democratic members of Congress have also urged the Treasury Department to appoint a director for the Federal Insurance Office, which monitors insurance pricing and availability in minority neighborhoods.

Richard Marcantonio, managing attorney for San Francisco-based Public Advocates, said the California regulator’s actions may not go far enough. “We don’t know exactly what information he has asked for,” he said. “The whole thing is happening in a black box.”

He said that the department’s investigation should be conducted publicly, and the data used for its analysis should also be made available to the public. “It’s just too important an issue to have the public see conclusions without having any basis for understanding what went into them,” Marcantonio said.

Allen assured Consumers Union that this investigation is only the beginning. “The Department will continue this focus on ZIP code treatment in all subsequent class plan filings made by any insurer,” he wrote.