Oregon Agent Winter 2017

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IIABO 2018

Annual MidWinter



How to Get & Stay

Motivated When Selling

Turn Angry Customers into

Customer Evangelists

What Do You Do When a

Producer Doesn’t Have

Time To Produce

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Winter 2018



Page 8

Page 12

IIABO Office

6 Centerpointe Drive, #430

Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Phone: 503-274-4000

Fax: 503-274-0062

Toll Free: 866-774-4226

IIABO Staff Directory

Executive Vice President

Jim Perucca


Sr. Vice President

Marketing & Communications

Barb Demings


Vice President

Education & Finance

Tyra Dressel


Asst. Vice President

Agency Products & Services

Abby Kahl


IIABO Lobbyist

Roger Beyer


The Oregon Agent is a publication of the

Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers

of Oregon and is published quarterly by Blue

Water Publishers, LLC. IIABO reserves the right

in its sole discretion to reject advertising that

does not meet IIABO qualifications or which

may detract from its business, professional

or ethical standards. IIABO and Blue Water

Publishers, LLC do not necessarily endorse any

of the companies advertising in the publication

or the views of its writers. The publisher cannot

assume responsibility for claims made by

advertisers, content provided by the editor, or for

the opinions expressed by contributing authors.

For more information

on advertising, contact :

Eric Johnson

Blue Water Publishers, LLC

phone: 414.708.2059

fax: 414.354.5317




Page 18

Message from the President, Brett Slater

8 Turn Angry Customers into Customer Evangelists

10 IIABO Board Leadership

12 How to Get and Stay Motivated When Selling

16 IIABO 2018 Midwinter Education Symposium and


18 How to Communicate Effectively During the Sales


20 What Do You Do When a Producer Doesn’t Have Time to


22 ACT: A Decade of Progress

26 No More Paper Policies

28 Introduction to Property & Casualty Insurance

Anderson and Murison 14

Berkshire Hathaway Guard 26

Burns & Wilcox 9

Grange Insurance Association 5

Griffin Underwriting Services 2

Imperial PFS 14

Page 20

Insurance Agency Network 15

Liberty Mutual 32

Mutual of Enumclaw 31

Preferred Property Program 27

Risk Placement Services 3

Western National Insurance 7

4 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

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Visit us online at grange.com


Brett Slater

President, Slater & Associates Insurance, Inc.

IIt is remarkable that I’ve already reached the midway

point in my term as president of the IIABO. Besides being

a great honor, it has also given me the opportunity to see

how membership in the Independent Insurance Agents and

Brokers of Oregon (IIABO) provides a vast array of benefits.

Most are included in your dues, and some are available at

a very modest cost. I think it’s important to step back on

occasion and see just what membership brings to an agency.

The IIABO provides a very strong voice both in Salem

and Washington, D.C. This is vital to agents, not just as

producers, but as business owners. Agents are represented

in Salem by IIABO’s lobbyist, Roger Beyer. Roger spent

eleven years in the Legislature both as a representative and

a senator and served one term as Senate Minority Leader.

My responsibilities as IIABO president have also taken me

to the national Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

Your dues support an incredible lobby in the nation’s capital.

Each year over 1,200 agents attend this event to spend a

full day on the “hill” visiting with legislators. This year we

had a personal meeting with Senator Merkley. We also

met with Representatives Bonamici, Walden and Schrader.

Congressman Walden also joined us for dinner.

The Virtual University is a member’s only resource that brings

a wealth of information to your fingertips, including coverage

information, sample ISO forms, business practices, check

lists, charts, and white papers. You can even “ask an expert”

by posting questions and then receiving answers from a

panel of insurance experts.

The Big I Virtual Risk Consultant is an online set of tools

that enhances the professionalism of agency staff.

Information includes commercial risk assessments for over

650 industries. There you will find checklists to identify

exposures and create proposals. The site has a complete

library of forms, court cases and explanation of coverages.

Marketing and prospecting template letters are included.

Finally, members are able to access the Westport/Swiss

Re agency E&O program. This IIABA risk purchasing group

provides an E&O program with the finest in claims service,

broad coverage and competitive rates. Local personal

service is provided by staff right here in Oregon.

If you are a member of our organization, I thank you for your

support and would encourage you to take advantage of

these programs. If you aren’t, you should consider joining

our ranks and participating in these programs. The IIABO

sponsors three important events each year; the Annual

Convention, the Forecast Breakfast and the MidWinter

Education Symposium.

This issue of the Oregon Agent features the MidWinter event

and includes information and registration forms. Make plans

now to join us and our instructor, Jerry Kennedy, March 8-9,

2018, at the Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City.

If you are interested in membership, call Barb Demings or

Jim Perucca at 503-247-4000 or visit our website, www.


Brett Slater, President, Slater and

Associates Insurance, Inc.

President, IIABO

Your association staff:

Executive VP Jim Perucca 503-274-0583 jimp@insureoregon.org

Sr. Vice President Barb Demings 503-274-4000 ext. 126 barbd@insureoregon.org

Vice President Tyra Dressel 503-274-4000 ext. 131 tyra@insureoregon.org

Asst. Vice President Abby Kahl 503-274-4000 ext. 123 abbyk@insureoregon.org

Toll Free Numbers: 1-866-77-IIABO or 1-866-774-4226

6 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018



By Shep Hyken


just returned from speaking at the International

Franchise Association convention. This was my

sixth year speaking at this great organization’s

conference and I decided it should be more of a

conversation than a speech. While there was plenty

of content in the session, I asked our audience members

to share their best practices that related to the various

topics that were in the presentation.

One of these best practices came from Jim Brown, the

Chief Operating Officer of Handels, a chain of homemade

ice cream and yogurt shops. By the way, you should

know that this chain of ice cream shops has numerous

accolades including listed as being number one in the

world for ice cream according to the book, “The Ten Best

of Everything: The Ultimate Guide to Travel” published by

National Geographic.

His best practice had to do with complaints. My first

response to Jim, after he told me about Handels, was

how many complaints does an ice cream store typically

receive? Probably not many, but when Jim does receive

a complaint from a customer, the first thing he does

is what most of us do. He apologizes to the customer

and discusses what he can do to make the situation

right. So far, that’s nothing special at all. But then he

does something interesting, if not somewhat unique. He

invites this complaining customer to be part of his secret

shopper program. He actually turns his complainers into

mystery shoppers!

What a brilliant idea. He not only apologizes and fixes

the problem. He enlists their help to ensure a positive

experience for other customers. And, the customers love

doing this. Sure, they get some free ice cream for helping,

but they also get to feel like part of the Handel’s team.

He turns these complaining customers into customer


This idea is so simplistic, but the results are excellent.

Most of the time when there is a complaint, we want to

resolve it and restore the customer’s confidence in doing

business with us. This takes it one step further. This

almost guarantees that the customer will not only come

back, but become loyal as a result of the “bond” that

develops when the customer becomes part of the team.

I’m constantly amazed at how many different ideas

people and companies use to amaze their customers.

What ideas do you have that turns complainers into

evangelists? Send me an email and I may just include it

in my next book.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional

speaker and New York Times bestselling business author.

For information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.hyken.com.

For information on The Customer Focus customer service

training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.

com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken (Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep

Hyken.) Copyright © MMXIV Shepard Presentations, All

rights reserved. Reprinted with permission

8 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018



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The IIABO Board of Directors is a diverse group of insurance professionals representing the

varied interests of agents throughout the State of Oregon. We would like you to learn more

about these volunteer leaders and the years of experience they bring to the association.

Brett Slater

President, IIABO

Chief Operating Officer,

Slater & Assoc. Insurance, Inc.

Tualatin, Oregon - 26 years

Steve Smelley

President-Elect, IIABO

Chief Operations Officer,

PayneWest Insurance

Beaverton, Oregon - 25 years

Debbie Flores

Vice President

KPD Insurance, Inc.

Springfield, OR - 29 years

Kay Hunkapillar

Past President, IIABO

President, Wheatland Ins. Ctr., Inc.

Pendleton, Oregon - 46 years

TJ Sullivan

Legislative Chair, IIABO

Huggins Insurance Services

Salem, Oregon - 18 years

Keith Blackerby

Finance Chair, IIABO

Chief Operating Officer, Bisnett Insurance

Offices throughout Oregon - 28 years

Ed Davis

National Director, IIABO

Maps Insurance Services

Salem, Oregon - 49 years

Lyndsay Kooistra

Young Agents Chair, IIABO

LaPorte Insurance

Portland, Oregon - 14 years

Mark Atkinson

Board Member

President, Atkinson Insurance Group

Portland, Oregon - 25 years

10 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

Trish Fulwiler

Board Member, IIABO

President, J.D. Fulwiler & Co.

Portland, Oregon - 24 years

Gary Githens

Board Member

Data Breach Specialist

Brown & Brown NW

Bend/Portland, Oregon - 35 years

Greg Horner

Board Member

Commercial Lines Producer,

Insurance Partners, LLC

Portland, Oregon - 20 years

Joe Hubbard

Board Member

Managing Partner, The Protectors Insurance

Medford, Oregon - 31 years

Marty Kantola

Board Member

Owner, Chet Hill Insurance

Portland, Oregon - 30 years

Debbie Krambeal

Board Member

President, CAL/OR Insurance Specialists, Inc.

Brookings, Oregon - 32 years

Matthew Pidcock

Board Member

Co-Owner, Valley Insurance

LaGrande, Oregon - 17 years

John Timm

Board Member

President, Timmco Insurance, Inc.

Portland, Oregon - 39 years

Brian Wilbur

Board Member

Owner, Pacific Insurance Partners

Forest Grove, Oregon - 21 years

Insurance carriers and service providers do not serve on the IIABO board of directors,

but support the association as Associate Members, Sponsors and Exhibitors. If you

want to learn more about the IIABO, or if you would like to get involved, please contact

any of these individuals. If you are not a member, please email Jim Perucca, jimp@

insureoregon.org for information on membership.

Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 11

By John Chapin



Sales is a profession that

requires you to be “up” and

motivated most of the time.

It is also a profession in

which you can get knocked down very

quickly from the amount of rejection

that’s required for success. As a result,

one of the biggest questions I get from

salespeople is: “How do I get and stay

motivated?” Here’s my answer.


There are only four forms of

motivation. They are: external

negative, external positive, intrinsic,

and peer motivation.

Motivation Source #1: External

Negative - Or as my first manager

used to say, “If I put a gun to your

head, you’d do business.” This is a

negative consequence or penalty for

not doing something. This was third

place in “Glengarry Glen Ross,” or as

Alec Baldwin’s character said in the

movie, “Third prize: You’re fired!” This

motivation is all about accountability

and consequences.

When motivating others, a sales

manager usually starts with a

probation period followed by loss of

one’s job for failing to do the necessary

work or make quota.

When motivating oneself, the most

effective form is usually a financial

penalty. For example, when putting

off some scary calls to big prospects, I

finally told a friend that if I didn’t make

the calls in the next 30 days, I owed her

$1,000. By the way, I made the calls on

day 29. Yes, sometimes I struggle with

this stuff too.

Motivation Source #2: External

Positive - External positive was first

and second place in the Glengarry

Contest: “First prize: a brand new

Cadillac. Second prize: this fine set

of steak knives.” This is a reward for

work done or a goal achieved. This is

not as powerful as the first motivator

12 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

as generally we respond more to pain,

but is still a way to get leverage on

ourselves and others.

To motivate others this could be $100

for the person who makes the most

calls in the next hour or a limo lunch

for whoever closes the most business

this week.

To motivate ourselves this can be

dinner at our favorite restaurant,

a dream vacation, or some other

indulgence upon the completion of a


Motivation Source #3: Intrinsic -

This is the most powerful motivation

among high-achievers. This form has

the most potential power and, if strong

enough, can be used all by itself. This

is the “personal WHY.” In other words,

what are the personal reasons you

need to be successful?

To motivate yourself, decide what you

really want out of life. What do you

want your life to ultimately look like?

What do you want for your family and

your kids? What do you want to do

and be? If you had no limitations on

time or money, how would your life

be different? What will your perfect

day look like 20 years from now? What

drives you? Is it your dream lifestyle,

taking care of your kids and future

generations, to leave a lasting legacy,

a combination?

To motivate others, help them find

their WHY. Where do they want to be

in their career 5, 10, or 20 years from

now? Ask them: If they had no limits

on time or money, what would they

have and do with their life? What is

their endgame? Do they want to retire

and to where?

Motivation Source #4: Peer Group

- This is who you spend your time

with personally and professionally.

People usually rise to, but rarely above

their peer group. “Birds of a feather

do flock together.” This also relates

to your environment. If you have an

office of negative people in which no

one is held accountable, any success

will be fleeting or completely nonexistent.

To motivate others, provide a work

environment that is positive and

professional and one in which people

are held accountable. Have them look

at the people they hang out with.

Aaron Hernandez and Tom Brady

had/have different peer groups.

To motivate yourself means hanging

out with positive people who have

goals and are achieving big things.

It also means getting rid of negative

people and negativity in general.



• Write out your goals in the morning

and at night and have them in front of

you during the day.

• Create a vision (dream) board.

• You can’t watch the news and be

positive. Keep negatives out and put

in plenty of positives through books,

thoughts, images, and inspirational

and motivational ideas.

• Have rituals and routines in place to

create self-discipline.

• Announce goals to friends, family,

and in public forums, and have people

hold you accountable.

• Have a coach, mentor, or mastermind

group hold you accountable to your

goals and dreams.

• Accept that there will be problems

and see them as challenges.

• Have a support system in place,

People who are positive and upbeat

and will help you turn around a tough


• Take 100 percent responsibility for

your life. Where you end up will come

down to you and what you do, not

the economy, the job market, who’s

president, or anything else.

• Realize that doing what you need to

do is ultimately a question of character

and integrity.

• Who wins when you win and loses

when you win? Who is for you and

against you? Make sure the right

people win.

• Every call gets you closer to a sale.

If a sale is $1,000 and you have to

make 100 calls, each call is worth $10

regardless of what happens.

• If it will ultimately take 10,000 hours

of work for success, every hour you

put in gets you closer.

Continued on page 14 >>

Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 13








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Fall 2017 • The Oregon Agent 15

16 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 17



By John Chapin

In theory sales is pretty simple: communicate the right way with

the right people, and you’ll make sales. It’s in practice that most

people complicate the issue. So how do you keep it simple?

Assuming you’re selling

something where someone

has to deal with you for

any length of time. In other

words, you’re not selling batteries

at Walmart. You need to get several

points across: you care; you’re

trustworthy; you understand their

problem; and you’re competent and

can solve their problem.

That said, effective communication

begins with mindset. First, you must

be completely sold on and have

confidence in your product, your

company, and you. Next, you have to

have empathy for the people you’re

selling to and you must put them first,

before your company, your product,

the sale, and even before you. If you

enter the sales conversation with

confidence, caring, and compassion,

putting the other person’s needs first,

you’re off to a good start.

Next is preparation. You need to

know your product, the competition,

how to identify the needs, wants,

and desires of the prospect, how to

present your product solutions, how

to answer to objections, and you

must be able to close.

Once you have the proper mindset

and are prepared to sell, here are the

other communication rules to follow.

Rule 1: Be honest and authentic.

Rule 2: Agree with people. Never

argue or debate. Rarely will you

get anywhere by beginning a

conversation by disagreeing with

someone. When you push back, most

people dig their heels in even further.

Start by agreeing, let them be right,

build some rapport, and then start to

shift the conversation.

Rule 3: Listen well. The better you

listen, the more people will like you

because most of us are not listened

to during the day. While we are

speaking, the other person is thinking

about what they’re going to say.

Especially on initial calls, you want to

be listening far more than you speak,

about 70 to 80 percent of the time.

Take notes if necessary and make

sure you actually hear what is being

said. Read between the lines and wait

five seconds after someone is done

talking before you speak.

Rule 4: The most important part of

communication is the mindset of the

audience. What is going through their

brain? What are they thinking? If they

think it’s green and you think it’s red,

you’d better figure out why they think

it’s green and how you may be able to

educate them as to why it’s actually

red. If you’re going to connect and

communicate effectively, you need

to be able to see things from their


Rule 5: People listen via their favorite

radio station – WIIFM (what’s in it for

me). Focus on the other person and

what they are interested in. Why

should they be listening to you? Why

should they care about what you’re

saying? Use “you” versus “I” language

and ask good questions to find out

what’s important to them.

Rule 6: Always speak in benefits. Never

give a feature without the resulting

benefit. Again, what does the feature

mean to them? How does it save

them time, money, effort, energy,

headaches, or make their life better?

Rule 7: Be extremely responsive

and answer client/prospect

communications as quickly as

possible. Also answer calls and emails

at night and on the weekends.

Rule 8: Do what you say you’ll do when

you say you’ll do it. Then go one more

step and go above and beyond, doing

more than you promise.

Rule 9: Everything affects your

communication and how people hear

you. You will be judged what you wear,

how you speak, the car you drive, the

pen you use, and everything else that

the senses can pick up.

Rule 10: Make sure your body language,

facial expressions, eye movements,

tone of voice, and words match the

point you’re trying to get across. Most

of communication is non-verbal.

Rule 11: Don’t use industry-speak,

18 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

jargon, acronyms, or words the other

person is not familiar with.

Rule 12: Speak intelligently about your

product or service. If you don’t know

the answer to a question, be honest,

and then follow up with an answer as

quickly as possible.

Rule 13: Deliver important

communication in person and don’t

delegate it.

Rule 14: Document communication

when necessary.

Rule 15: Be scripted and know exactly

what to say in each and every prospect

and client situation. Role play and

practice your scripts constantly with

others and yourself.

Rule 16: In most cases too much

communication is better than not


Rule 17: Don’t wait to communicate.

When there is a potential issue, the

more time passes, the worse the

situation usually gets.

Rule 18: Always follow an email with a

phone call or text message (whichever

medium the person prefers) and

sometimes a physical mailing. You

can’t assume they saw your email.

Rule 19: Communicate based upon

facts, not assumptions. Clear up

assumptions by asking questions. An

email in all capital letters may mean

it’s easier to proofread emails before

they go out, not that the person is

mad at you.

Rule 20: Communicate based upon

facts, not opinions. “It’s cold in the

room,” is an opinion. “It’s 65 degrees,”

is a fact in that it can be proven to be

either true or false. When people start

to argue opinions such as religion

and politics as facts, that’s when we

end up in wars. When someone says,

“I can’t sell in my territory because

of our pricing structure,” the first

question to ask is, “Is that a fact or an


Rule 21: No negative talk. Prospects

don’t want to hear about bad traffic or

the latest bad news on the radio. Keep

prospect and customer interactions

positive and upbeat. People like to do

business with positive people.

John Chapin is a motivational sales

speaker and trainer. For his free

newsletter, or to have him speak at your

next event, go to: www.completeselling.

com John has over 29 years of sales

experience as a number one sales rep

and is the author of the 2010 sales

book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia.

You can reprint provided you keep

contact information in place. Email:


Reprinted from The PIPELINE, the

national newsletter for agency

principals. The PIPELINE is published by

Agency Consulting Group, Inc., leading

consulting firm for independent agents

in the U.S. for over 3 years. Call 800-779-

2430, email info@agencyconsulting.

com, or visit www.agencyconsulting.

com for information about the content

of this article or PIPELINE subscription


Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 19



By Al Diamond

When I explained the issues involved and the simple solution, my friend asked, “But will

it cost more?” Cost more than what? Currently she’s paying for partial coverage and all

kinds of headaches in the event of a claim involving her daughter. What is a few dollars

more or less for real coverage? What is the difference between a fake policy and a real

policy? No price comparison exists. It is not even apples to oranges. It’s dog food to caviar.

The insured is a smart, welleducated

person. She trusted her

either stupid/imbecilic or cheating

agent to take care of her insurance.

She trusted because like 99 percent

of consumers, she is not educated in

insurance. The dreariness of reading

an insurance policy dissuaded her

from wanting to learn more. While

this cluster wreck is especially

egregious, such incompetency is not

uncommon. It happens so often that

some company underwriting offices

probably have weekly contests for

the stupidest agents. Sometimes

they probably have the equivalent

of photo finishes. If potential E&O

claims or actual claims could be

published, the title might be (think

Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a

redneck…”), “You might need your

license revoked if you’ve done…”

I am not throwing all agents under

the bus by any means. The industry

has many excellent agents. I am

only throwing the idiots under the

bus. Readers up to this point likely

fall into one of three categories. The

first will not believe other agents can

be that stupid/lazy/incompetent.

Another category is upset with me

and their fellow agents. They are

upset that I’m writing about the

problem and they’re upset with

their fellow agents for being so poor

at their jobs. The third group has

not a clue that I’m pointing out their


Their incompetency ruins lives so

I have no problem being direct.

20 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

They ruin lives when insureds

need coverage but do not have the

right coverage because the agent

was too stupid/deceitful to even

offer the right coverage. I am not

writing about some unusual gap

or even the occasional mistake. I

am writing about the obvious and

continuous. These agents ruin it for

the good agents because they’re

the epitome of one bad apple. One

reason commoditization occurs

is the public begins believing all

agents/insurance companies are

incompetent. What is the price

difference between one bad policy

and another bad policy is really

what my friend was asking.

The solution: The good agents need

to find a stronger voice to point out

the mistakes of the incompetent.

Quit You are not alone! This happens

a lot!

You hire a producer, whether a

fresh and new producer or an

experienced producer. They spend

several years diligently creating

new clients for the agency. You

use our Producer Acquisition and

Management Program to acquire

them and our Producer Validation

Program to assure yourself that

they are as active as needed to both

support themselves and the agency

as they grow your book of business.

Then, when they reach a hundred

or a few hundred clients, you notice

that their New Business production

diminishes each year. They are still

active, but they spend their time

managing their client relationships

to keep the clients happy and

renewing. Something is happening

that needs to be addressed if you

agree that a producer’s job in your

agency is to build an ever-growing

book of clients for the agency. But

there are two types of producer

personalities and each must be

treated differently if you want to

continue to grow your business.

The producers with a true Salesman

Personality are complaining that

they don’t have time to get out

and sell anymore – their time is

occupied by the existing clients in

service, relationship management

and renewals. The second type of

producers is a Service Agent. This

persona is comfortable when he

has reached his compensation

level. Once his goal is reached, the

agency’s production will slow down

or new business will plateau. Hence,

that producer is now satisfied to

become a Service Agent, tending

a book of business. They simply

haven’t told the owner that they are

no longer producers.

It’s important to identify which

category of producer you are

facing when the time comes that

their New Business production

has diminished. Both types can be

motivated to regain their posture

as New Business producers, but

the motivating factors are a little

different for each type.

If you have a true Salesman

Personality in your producer,

the correct action is to take their

lowest five percent of clients (by

revenue size) and re-assign them

to an Account Manager or to an

Account Executive. Your goal, of

course, is to retain as close to 100

percent of your clients every year

AND, simultaneously, have your

production team both replace

lost clients and grow new clients

every year. The advent of Account

Managers for smaller accounts in

partnership with the producers and

Account Executives who assume

an entire book of business with

the goal of maximizing retention

will take much of the producers’

workloads away, allowing them

time to prospect and penetrate

new customer relationships. Once

true producers realize the luxury of

more time, they will penetrate more

(and usually larger) accounts, paying

themselves and the agency better

for their efforts.

Producers who have converted

to Service Agents are motivated

differently than True Producer

personalities. While the True

Producer personality is always

looking for more money and will do

anything you permit to grow that

compensation, Service Agents are

seeking to solidify their on-going

compensation according to the

revenue levels that have permitted

them to achieve their current

comfort level.

The motivation for a Producer

turned Service Agent is to continue

to pay their residual commissions

only if the book of business grows (as

defined by either revenue growth or

customer count growth) each year.

Knowing that their income level

depends on growth, they will regain

their motivation to sell.

There is much more involved in

either the Producer Incentive

Program or the Service Agent

Incentive Program that is specifically

tailored to the producer and current

condition of the agency in question.

We invite your call to familiarize us

with your producers and allow us to

create specific incentive programs

to keep them involved in customer

growth within your agency as long

as they work for you.

Reprinted from The PIPELINE, the

national newsletter for agency

principals. The PIPELINE is published

by Agency Consulting Group,

Inc., leading consulting firm for

independent agents in the U.S. for

over 3 years. Call 800-779-2430,

email info@agencyconsulting.com,

or visit www.agencyconsulting.com

for information about the content of

this article or PIPELINE subscription


Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 21

About this article: This article is a modified version of comments Jeff Yates made at the Phoenix ACT

meeting as he anticipated his retirement at the end of February, 2014. Jeff discusses the significant

progress that ACT and the industry have made with technology over the last thirteen years and provides

his thoughts on taking ACT to the next level, as well as on the future for independent agents and brokers.

ACT: A Decade of Progress with Enormous Opportunities Ahead

by Jeff Yates

As I prepare to turn over the reins as ACT Executive Director to my very capable successor, Ron Berg, it is

a great time to take stock of the progress ACT and the industry have made over the last 13 years and to

provide my thoughts on how ACT can achieve even greater things in the future.

A Decade of Progress

Sometimes we all get frustrated with how long it takes to see a time-saving technology implemented

broadly within our distribution system. But when you view it with a longer term perspective and look

over the last decade, the progress we have made is amazing and is impacting every employee in almost

every agency across the country.

We are seeing the agencies of the future emerge right before our eyes. And the best thing is that these

agencies are willing to share their innovations and experiences with the rest of the industry, so that the

whole distribution system benefits.

Agency principals have become a lot more engaged with technology in recent years and are working

with their staffs to implement these technologies. They realize that their competitors are using

technology as a competitive differentiator and they are starting to harness these tools as well to

improve their own agency’s customer value proposition.

Real Time, Download & Going “Paperless”

Real Time has come of age over the last ten years and has so much more potential to grow in the future.

I get frustrated when I talk with agencies that have not made Real Time the standard workflow in their

agencies, because I have seen the positive benefits other agencies have realized from using this

technology. Agencies have wanted to be able to work with their multiple carriers in a consistent manner

through their management system or comparative rater for decades. Real Time is the vehicle that will

get us there.

There has been enormous progress in download in the last several years. Personal lines download is

almost universal and commercial lines download has been much improved. It is time for agencies which

have not implemented commercial lines download to take another look at it and to use it at least for

small commercial business with those of their carriers that are able to send clean downloads. IVANS

reports that 14,000 agencies are currently receiving 639,000 commercial lines download messages a


22 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

month from 95 carriers. In other words, commercial lines download is working today for many agencies

and brokers!

Direct bill commission statement download and claims download are two additional innovations over

the last decade that are saving incredible time for agencies today. The download of Activity Notes by

carriers directly into agency systems is the latest technology that will profoundly impact agencies in the

coming years. Using Activity Notes, carriers can send agencies electronic policies and documents,

important client billing notices and other needed information. This technology saves the agent having to

go to multiple carrier websites to pull these documents and information – a huge pain point.

Using Real Time, Download and the electronic filing, agencies have been able to become largely

“paperless,” particularly for personal lines and small commercial business. This trend has enhanced

agency efficiency greatly and enables employees to work from anywhere that they have an Internet and

phone connection. As a result, agencies are breaking down traditional geographic boundaries as they

look to expand.

Agencies Build Online Presence

Over the last decade, agencies have had to re-align their marketing efforts to build an online presence,

so that the 80% of consumers who now go online to do insurance research can find them. Agencies are

building websites with more content and client self-service features. They are taking advantage of Local

Search and social media tools to attract prospects and build relationships. IIABA is helping agencies

attract online consumers through TrustedChoice.com and Project CAP services, and will soon be

expanding this initiative into commercial lines.

Agencies Adapt to New Privacy Requirements

As new state and federal privacy and data breach laws have passed over the last several years, many

agencies have taken the necessary steps to comply with these requirements by implementing secure

email with their carriers and clients, adopting written information security plans and procedures,

securing their websites when requesting personal information, and training their employees in these

procedures. This is an area that will require continued agency attention in the future as businesses

continue to experience data breaches and laws and regulations are updated to respond to these threats.

ACT Provides Forum to Promote Technology Adoption

ACT has been dedicated to advancing all of these issues by providing a forum for their discussion. We

have used ACT meetings, work groups and regular ACT articles, reports and communications to discuss

innovation and to encourage further implementation. We have also had a very active Strategic Future

Issues Work Group which has helped us keep an eye on the future and aware of the key trends that will

impact our businesses.

ACT Provides Resources

In addition to providing a forum to encourage the use of innovative technologies, ACT has created or

curated numerous resources to assist agencies and carriers with implementation. I encourage you to

take a few minutes to review the wealth of material that ACT members have created by going to

www.independentagent.com/act. A few highlights from the site include:

• 2013 Key Trends Report


Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 23

• Electronic Policy Delivery -- A Game Changer

• Videos: Agency Perspectives on the Future; Agency Strategies for Growth

• Planning Your Digital Presence & Blueprint to an Improved Agency Online Presence

• Agency Prototype Information Security Plan

People Make the Difference

ACT has had great success over the last decade because of the incredible passion and talents of its

volunteers. Agents and carrier representatives thank me all the time for the resources we have made

available to them and those resources are a direct result of the work of our ACT volunteers.

I have seen time and time again, one person step up and take leadership of an initiative and with the

support of the group, make a real difference in driving an improved workflow or technology forward.

I just got back from our ACT meeting in Phoenix and was blown away by the level of idea sharing,

camaraderie and friendships that have developed among the ACT members. This was truly the sign of a

healthy organization that has so much potential for the future.

We are always looking for new volunteers to get involved in ACT to make a difference – not only for

their businesses, but also for our distribution system as a whole. Please contact Ron Berg and let him

know of your interest (ron.berg@iiaba.net).

Taking ACT to the Next Level

I believe ACT has become a jewel for the industry. It is your forum. It can have as big an impact on your

future as you want it to have.

Dare to bring the big issues to the table that ACT needs to be discussing. That is what ACT meetings are


Be a leader in making innovation happen. If a new technology needs to be incorporated to advance our

distribution system, make it happen. Don’t just wait to see what other carriers or vendors do. Be willing

to do that Proof of Concept and then bring that innovation to an ACT meeting to demo it and encourage

the industry to adopt it.

Agents, you need to be persistent in advocating for what you need in terms of improved workflows and

technologies from your vendors and carriers. Innovation and change takes time. This is a big industry!

Keep pushing for positive change at ACT and AUGIE meetings, but also when you meet with your

marketing reps and when you attend carrier advisory councils. Most important, implement new

technologies when they become available to you. That’s the best way to encourage carriers to continue

to invest in these improvements on your behalf. Finally, remember to thank your carrier executives and

vendors when they do implement a new technology or workflow that benefits you.

Ratcheting up our Sense of Urgency

ACT has created a great foundation to build upon, but I encourage you to increase your sense of

urgency. The competing distribution systems are doing everything they can to use technology to beat us

in the market place. We need to move faster in taking advantage of new technologies and implementing

improved workflows.


24 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

All of us – both as individual organizations and collectively through ACT and other industry organizations

– need to do a better job of publicizing the new technologies that we do implement, so that the industry

begins to understand the level of innovation that is going on within the Independent Agency System,

and additional agents and carriers are encouraged to follow suit.

We should be the innovators that future reports from McKinsey & Company and A.M. Best point to, not

the competing distribution systems.

We can be the group setting the pace for future innovation in the industry, if we all work together. You

all have ACT, AUGIE, ACORD, and the vendor user groups to help support you and amplify your

individual efforts. The direct carriers and captive agent companies do not have these organizations.

A Bright Future

I believe independent insurance agents have an incredibly bright future. You have the best business

model. You have the freedom to advocate for your clients and to offer them a wider choice of markets.

You now have the technology tools that permit you to write business efficiently and those tools will

continue to improve over time.

You can build a strong online presence on the Internet if you choose to use the tools available to you.

You can’t compete with the national advertising of the direct carriers, but you can compete with them

using local search, social media and your active community involvement.

I urge independent agencies to focus on developing your unique value proposition in concert with your

employees. Why should the consumer do business with you as an independent agent rather than with a

captive agent or a direct carrier? And what makes your agency stand out from other independent

agencies and brokers? Once your have developed your unique brand, make sure your website, blog and

social media reflect that brand and that your employees articulate and reinforce that brand with every

client contact they make.

Thank You

Having the opportunity to work with independent agents and brokers and the IIABA staff this past 39

years has been a pure joy. Having the opportunity to work with the ACT membership this past 13 years

has inspired me and energized me. I deeply appreciate the many friendships I have formed and will miss

working with such a talented group of people very much.

I urge you to take ACT to the next level by promoting a sense of urgency, putting the big issues on the

table, exercising leadership in driving innovation, and providing Ron with the type of wonderful support

that you have provided to me.

I wish each of you every success and much happiness in the future.

Jeff Yates has been Executive Director of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) since 2001 and will

retire at the end of February, 2014. Ron Berg takes his place as ACT Executive Director and he can be

reached at ron.berg@iiaba.net. Jeff can be reached at jeffyates500@gmail.com. This article reflects the

views of the author and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.


Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 25



Electronic policy and other attachments via Activity Notifications


There’s been movement to eliminate the agent

copy of personal lines policies. Most agencies do

not receive a physical “agent’s” copy of a policy

anymore. They receive ACORD standard policy

download to maintain current personal lines

data in their management systems (although many carriers

provide access to the full policy on their agency portals).

With personal lines being almost exclusively direct bill, the

carrier sends a printed copy of the policy to the policyholder.

But commercial lines is still working to catch up. Carriers

still print, collate, and mail paper policies to the agency

– both the agent’s and the insured’s copies. The upshot is

the agency then mails the insured’s copy to them. Agencies

on the whole want to eliminate their dependency on paper

copies of policies, but they may feel a need for a copy in

order to service their customers. At the same time, many of

their customers are interested in receiving electronic copies

rather than paper.

A carrier can use ACORD XML standard ‘Activity Notification’

messages to electronically send a full copy of a policy to

an agency. These notification messages are very simple in

format, and can include a PDF attachment of the policy when

needed – which the agency can then store in their agency

management system. For the carrier, this eliminates the

cost of the printing infrastructure and postage – which can

be very high on commercial policies. As an added benefit,

the Activity Notification process works to eliminate paper

storage in the agency.

ACORD notification messages are used today by a number

of companies to send copies of policies to their agents. The

messages are currently sent via the IVANS network, just as

policy download is sent. The policies are sent separately and

do not replace the policy download.

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26 The Oregon AgentWinter 2018

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“More and more of our agents are receiving their policy

copies (agent, insured, or both copies) through daily ACORD

Activity Notifications. They love the fact that they no longer

have to scan, index, and shred paper copies in their offices.

The documents are automatically delivered to their agency

management system daily. Even those agencies not receiving

commercial lines download are excited about Activity

Notifications because there is no chance of the transaction

overwriting any data in their system, and they receive much

faster than through USPS.” — Susan LaBarre, Liberty Mutual

These Activity Notification messages are an ACORD XML

standard developed to provide secure communications

between carrier and agency. While historically carriers and

agents have shared documents via email attachments, email

is not as secure as the use of ACORD notification messages.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that focus must be put

on securing data as it travels over the Internet.

Activity Notifications can also be used for more than

policy attachments. Typically today, carriers send pending

cancellation notices (e.g., late payment notices), renewal lists,

and policy activity. Additionally, they can send claim updates

if they are not using claims download, or also to supplement

their existing claims download. This information is often

available on a carrier’s website, but an agency must interrupt

daily work flows to log in to their individual carriers to see

this data – and then manually key the information into their

management system. Using ACORD notification messages,

the agency management systems can process this data

automatically in to desktop activities.

“Activity Notifications messages are also a great way to

send agent policy updates for lines of business they don’t

receive in their carriers’ policy download. They then make

the updates to those policies in their management system

without having to log in to a carrier’s system and see what

changes were made. For example, in renewal situations,

it can reduce the changes of policies ending up in an

expiration list because they receive the renewal policy when

carriers generate the renewal. The agent then goes into their

system and renews the policy with any necessary updates.

This is a big time-saver, and can also reduce E&O.” — Caleen

Alexanderson, Agencyport

There are many benefits for carriers and agencies in using

the ACORD XML Activity Notification messages: cost savings,

efficiency, security, and timeliness of information. If you

are not using ACORD Notification messages, talk to ACORD

(standards@ACORD.org) about how to get started.

This article reflects the views of the author and should not be

construed as an official statement by ACT.

Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 27

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Insurance products underwritten by Westport Insurance Corporation, Overland Park, Kansas, a member of Swiss Re Corporate . Solutions.

Winter 2018 • The Oregon Agent 29






A PERSONAL UMBRELLA POLICY provides an extra layer of very affordable

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Abby Kahl

Asst. VP, Agency Products & Services

Insurance Association Services/IIABO

Phone: 503.274.4000 x123

Toll Free: 866.774.4226 x123

Email: Abbyk@insureoregon.org

The RLI Personal Umbrella Policy is

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program administrators in all 50 states.


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