From Dan Ramsey:
I just finished a book, Above the Fray, by Larry Parman. He identifies 12 Tenets of Successful Business Owners: Courage; Adventurous; Vision; Knowledgeable; Present Focused, Future Directed; Adaptability; Committed to Continuous Improvement; A Yes, Now Attitude; Promise Keepers; Decisive; Creative; and Authentic. It’s a great list – one that every agency owner should take to heart. Successful business owners possess all of these traits and more. I have always believed that independent insurance agents represent the highest ideal of small business entrepreneurialism. It is this entrepreneurial spirit that has kept Big I members successful. In these changing times, these tenets for success will become even more important for agents to continue to meet the production demands of their carriers and the service delivery demands of a new generation of consumer. As Mr. Parman says, “an entrepreneur isn’t just someone who knows how to take advantage of an opportunity…an entrepreneur is someone who can create those opportunities where none existed before.” Step back and take a look at the list – where do you stand? It is important that the successful agent of the future know and understand these traits. If you are falling short, I encourage you to begin working on them. I also encourage you to pick up a copy of his book. I guarantee it will open your eyes and make you look at your agency in an entirely different way.
It was a big song that rocked the 1960s for Jerry Lee Lewis and his pounding piano, but today, it is the sign of an earthquake! Many consumers are unaware that the basic HO policy does not provide standard exclusions such as flood and earthquake. They turn to you. Is earthquake coverage available or do you need to search the MGA markets to see what they have available? You might want to do some checking so that when the call comes, you will be ready. And your commercial accounts may be calling asking the same question. If you need information about earthquake coverage or any other insurance matter, try your exclusive member benefit provided through the Ask An Expert feature of the Big I Virtual University.
2014 is election year for all statewide offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, Insurance Commissioner, etc.), all State House seats, and half of the State Senate seats. It is critical that OKPAC continue to provide financial support for these races, but we must have your help! We have a goal to have $50,000 to invest in these races, but currently only have $16,000 on hand. Candidate filing dates and primary elections have been moved up several months, so we need your help earlier than ever - in fact, we could use it today! I receive announcements daily about fundraisers, but need to hold off until I know how much we will have on hand. You can go to the Government Affairs menu and drop down to OKPAC to make your contribution. We can take checks or credit card payments - Oklahoma law does not allow us to take corporate contributions. Please help us today! Your support is needed in order for independent agents to continue to have success at the State Capitol on matters important to your agency.
On 11/16/13 Malinda will have been with IIAO for 15 years! She has done a tremendous job of keeping our books in order, checks deposited, and bills paid. Malinda was the first person I hired when I took this job - and it was one of the best decisions I made. She has been a key ingredient to IIAO's success - we are very fortunate to have her providing leadership for the IIAO team. Congratulations and thanks, Malinda, for a job well done!
Dan Ramsey, with help from legal counsel, has drafted a disclosure form for you to use when presenting your clients the new option with regard to workers' compensation. This form aims to help protect you from E&O claims.
As always we will keep you updated with any changes and challenges that the workers' compensation system faces.
DISCLOSURE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CONCERNING WORKERS.pdf
For the past year the IIAO Board of Directors and Staff have been devoting a great deal of time to the determine the value IIAO brings to its members. The best way for us to know, however, is for our members to tell us. We can use these statements to let others know, as well as focus our efforts on increasing the value of your Trusted Choice IIAO/IIABA membership to you. Won't you please help us by completing the following statement, "I Belong to IIAO because......." ?
Fran Tarkenton is an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, but since retiring, he has created some outstanding tools especially designed for small businesses. I highly recommend you go to www.SmallBizClub.com and find some tips you might find helpful for your agency. It's a free website - think it might be worth a visit!
From: Dan Ramsey
Uninsured drivers beware! As you will recall, the legislature passed HB1792 this past session that will allow law enforcement to begin seizing license tags from vehicles that are being operated in Oklahoma without liability insurance. The law is to become effective on 11/1/13, but the Oklahoma Sheriff's Association and the Oklahoma Insurance Department are going to use the period from 11/1/13 until 12/31/13 to train law enforcement officials about the requirements under the new law. There are no plans to begin ceasing tags until 1/1/14. Hopefully, Oklahoma will see a significant reduction in the number of uninsured drivers operating vehicles on Oklahoma streets and highways. Currently, approximately 25% of the vehicles in Oklahoma are being driven without liability insurance. This legislation was modeled after a similar measure in Louisiana which saw the percentage of uninsured drivers drop from 30 percent to 13 percent after the law was implemented.
ALEXANDRIA, VA (Oct. 14, 2013) – Trusted Choice® and Project CAP have announced successful completion of the initial launch and testing phase of the new TrustedChoice.com consumer website. Independent agents across the country who are interested in connecting with today’s online consumers are encouraged to enroll now.
Since its launch on July 1, the new TrustedChoice.com has already hosted nearly 50,000 insurance consumers and is now being used by more than 1,500 independent agencies.
“As we complete our first 100 days, we’re not only pleased with the large number of agencies that have already signed up, but the growing number of prospects who are visiting the site each week,” says Chip Bacciocco, CEO of Consumer Agent Portal, LLC.
“Project CAP is providing consumers with a new electronic pathway to finding and doing business with independent agents,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America president & CEO. “Today’s agents need to do business the way consumers want to do business, and TrustedChoice.com provides agencies with an instantaneous presence on the Internet. The value added by independent agents will be realized whether consumers enter an agency’s door on main street America or via their virtual door on TrustedChoice.com.”
In addition to enhanced agency profiles and expanded insurance information, TrustedChoice.com visitors will also find new comparative rating options featuring coverage from six charter carriers – including Safeco, Selective, State Auto, Westfield, Central Insurance Company and Main Street America Group. This special quoting functionality is currently available in Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, and South Carolina and will become available in more states over the coming months. The site hopes to be offering comparative quoting in all states by the end of next summer. Additional carriers have also signed on for participation on a national or regional basis and will be announced in the near future.
Independent agencies interested in using TrustedChioce.com to generate exclusive prospects may do so on either a monthly subscription or per-prospect basis and can register in just minutes through the Marketing section of www.ProjectCapMarketing.com.
About Project CAP
Created through an alliance of the IIABA, Trusted Choice®, State Associations and key insurance carriers, Project CAP is an industry-wide initiative with the vision to elevate the independent channel’s online presence and enhance the independent agent’s digital marketing expertise.
About Trusted Choice®
Trusted Choice® educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies and advocacy support. Trusted Choice® is the consumer marketing identity for more than 25,000 independent insurance agencies and brokerage firms and 70 leading insurance companies. For more information, go to www.TrustedChoice.com.
From Dan Ramsey
Cha-os - ‘the confused unorganized state existing before the creation of distinct forms’ There might be no more accurate description for what the recent lawsuit challenging the historic workers’ compensation reform law could mean to Oklahoma’s economy.
Extensive and long-needed workers’ compensation reform legislation was passed by the legislature during the 2013 regular legislative session. The lawsuit, however, brings nothing but turmoil, confusion and doubt to everyday business decisions that dramatically impact Oklahoma's economy.
The state of Oklahoma is spending thousands of dollars to create a new administrative system to hear grievances from injured workers. An entirely new system must be in place, operating under new rules, while hiring and training new employees by February 1, 2014. Contractors must estimate bids for upcoming projects without knowing what their workers’ compensation costs will be. Insurance companies have no idea what the rules will be, what their product will look like or how much to charge for policies. These are monumental unknowns that beg for expediency and not chaos.
There is no practical manner for Oklahoma businesses to make sound decisions while operating under such uncertainty. If the legal challenge is successful, will that equate to the entire piece of legislation being thrown out or just a portion of it? What happens to the 14.6% reduction in rates that the National Conference on Compensation Insurance recently filed to become effective January 1, 2014? What type of a system will be in place to hear claims from injured workers - the new administrative system or the antiquated court system? Will the Oklahoma Option or the Oklahoma Arbitration Act be in place to allow employers to choose to handle workers’ injuries outside of the new administrative system? These are just some of the major questions that must be addressed in a very short time frame.
I always felt certain a lawsuit was inevitable considering the recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision to overturn the 2009 lawsuit reform bill. Now that a challenge has been filed, I implore the matter to go directly to the Oklahoma Supreme Court rather than wander through the lower court system. I urge the Supreme Court to rule quickly and Governor Fallin to be prepared to call another special session of the legislature as quickly as possible to deal with any issues determined by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. The critical reforms in the legislation must stay in place so Oklahoma businesses can flourish, and most importantly, so Oklahoma’s economy can reach its long overdue and deserved potential.