As you pushed yourself away from the Thanksgiving dinner table, did you wince when thinking that just a month later it would be very close to the end of 2017 or did you smile? Now that 2018 has arrived, do you have a game-plan ready?
Over the past year, did you find ways to improve yourself as an insurance professional? If the year was just a blur, here are some suggestions to contemplate embracing for the New Year.
- Prepare all year-end documentation for tax filing. It will be due before you know it!
- Organize all client files – making sure that your documents are in chronological order.
- While reviewing files, put those aside that are due for a letter giving them a brief description of the insurance you placed. For example, if you wrote Long Term Care Insurance, contact the insurer for current values of their benefits and share that news with your clients. Often times, clients are very pleased with how their inflation protection has grown their benefits. Hopefully, you included inflation protection on every sale and if your client opted not to have it, you carefully pointed out the reasons why that would not be a good choice and had them sign off on their decision. Make sure this and any similar documentation are part of your client files.
- Schedule phone calls to your clients, usually around a birthdate so that you can extend a greeting and also see if they have any questions.
- Make time to ask current clients for referrals and be sure to thank them and treat each referral like gold.
- Educate yourself fully on your companies’ new product offerings. Do not sell what you do not know.
- Makes sure that you are working toward fulfilling your Continuing Education requirements and don’t let that effort wait until the last minute.
- Check your current E&O Insurance and mark your calendar so that you can be certain it is renewed and you avoid any gaps in coverage. Gaps in your E&O coverage will have you losing coverage for any professional services you rendered in the past… and, loss of prior acts coverage would have you funding your own defense in the event of an E&O claim.
- Perhaps it would be smart to work toward an industry recognized designation that reflects your commitment to continued learning.
- Volunteer – find a way to give back to your community and support those in need.
By taking time to make sure you have updated your files and touched base with clients, you will be using a great E&O risk management tool that may very well work in preventing clients from becoming claimants. Educating yourself is always time well spent and so much can be learned through on-line coursework.
Having a plan in place for the New Year will support your goals to accomplish more sales by setting out on clutter free path to continued success!
Often times, you will be looked to for sound advice and asked to recommend an insurance solution for your clients. You should provide more than one product option and take the time to explain all ramifications, especially if your clients currently have insurance in place and are contemplating making a change or possibly surrendering a policy. It certainly would be wise to provide something in writing regarding your discussions with clients and keep a copy for your file.
When it’s nearing your favorite time of year you’ll need to have a plan in place to be sure that your E&O Insurance is renewed in a timely manner. You should set a pending in your calendar at least 30 days prior to the renewal date to be certain that you have received the proper information you need in order to renew. You’ll want to be sure that you know who your E&O contact is.
Don’t be caught off-guard with having to pay the annual premium. The premium expense can and should be part of your business’ budget plan. Also, keep in mind that as the cost to defend E&O claims increases, at some point, you are likely to have an increase in your premium. Allow for a cushion in your budget.
Only advise your clients and potential clients what is covered under their policy; they do not need to know what their policy excludes.
Research has shown that clients and potential clients are more interested in what is not covered by their policy than what is. A good practice is to provide specimen policies and riders with proposals. This will help clients and potential clients have a better understanding of their policy benefits. This will also allow the client or potential client to identify any concerns. By furnishing this information, clients and potential clients may ask you to sell them additional protection.
Sell your clients and potential clients what you want them to have and do not ask them what they actually need.
Failure to provide proper insurance is one of the top causes of errors & omissions claims. Be sure to conduct an analysis of your clients’ insurance needs and what they hope to accomplish by having you handle their insurance. Have the client or potential client sign-off on any insurance recommendations you make which they elect not to purchase.
You have E&O Insurance in place in the event you are sued for having rendered covered professional services. However, doing business through the use of a computer has opened a whole new world of exposures to insurance agents.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the vast amount of articles regarding businesses whose computers and websites are getting hacked, you should.
Cybercrime is on the rise. A recent survey revealed that ransomware isn’t only after big businesses, it’s targeting small businesses too.
To many, this question leads to the thoughts of exciting getaways and vacations. While “the many” will be doing just that, a smart agent will use the summer months to sprinkle seeds, develop meaningful relationships and cultivate potential clients.
As graduation parties and weddings are taking place, an agent should keep their eyes on those announcements.
Agents should also check the notices regarding homes that are sold in their marketing area. Summer time is moving time especially for families with children.
Insurance Specialties Services, Inc. is pleased to offer a streamlined process for Life and Health Insurance Agents to obtain affordable Errors and Omissions Insurance Coverage. Our agency is the administrator of the new A+ E&O Insurance Program, which is underwritten by Berkley Insurance Company. Berkley Insurance Company is rated A+ (Superior) by A. M. Best, W. R. Berkley Corporation was recognized as one of the 2014 Ward’s 50 Top Performing P&C Insurers.
Documentation is the most important key to your defense when your E&O carrier has their Claim Department or an assigned law firm handling an E&O claim.
What is your documentation process? Do you have a routine process? Are having meaningful file notes something you think you should have but don’t commit to practicing?
It’s very important to train yourself and your staff to routinely document every conversation that you have with your clients and prospects. If you are not paperless, make a specific form that you use just for this purpose and give it a title; even consider using a different color paper so these notes are easily accessed. If you are paperless, take the time to update your file notes so that your files tell a detailed story.
Experience has demonstrated there is a lot of confusion on the part of many producers and agents concerning the operation of their Claims Made and Reported Errors and Omissions coverage. This confusion can be costly and allow the agent to become a victim of one or more potential pitfalls, which exist. We hope the following information will be helpful.
Key terms you should know:
Occurrence – An event or chain of events that ultimately causes a claim. Example: The sale of a policy
There is much talk in the insurance industry regarding the possible upcoming Department of Labor Fiduciary Ruling and the impact this will have on insurance agents and advisors. Whether the new administration approves or does not approve the proposed ruling, many companies have indicated they will still be implementing best interest contracts.
The basis of the ruling really comes down to how an insurance agent or advisor is compensated by the insurance company so that the insurance agent or advisor is working in the best interest of the client and not swayed by the compensation offered by different products available. Much information regarding the ruling can be found here.