November 2017

What is BIA?

Business Insurance Advantage is an eight-week educational course developed by SIAA and available exclusively to SIAA members. The course focuses on targeting and writing small commercial business that your carriers want to write. This is done through a series of one-hour lessons that are accessed on-line and weekly telephone calls with the BIA administrator, Jamie DeStefano, who helps students stay focused and on track. The program identifies what local businesses to target and how to market to them, as well as cross-selling and rounding techniques.

Why take BIA?

As we have recently learned, the world of insurance is going through some dramatic changes, especially with regards to Personal Lines. This includes volatility in premiums, and changes in commission schedules. Meanwhile, the world of commercial has remained relatively stable, with our carriers wanting to grow in commercial lines, especially in small commercial. The numbers show that while SIAA is up 16% for small commercial with our partner carriers, BIA members are up 27%, or 11 points higher. BIA members are up 22% on commercial commissions!

How Much Time Does BIA Take?

BIA is not an intensive product training course. Participants must invest 5 hours a week for training and a half hour a week for the telephone call. Additionally, some advance work is required. Continuing to conduct marketing campaigns post-training is the key to long-term success. Be aware that success does not happen overnight. BIA members build data on ex-dates, call backs, and early discussions with prospects. Commercial prospecting takes time!

When Can One Take BIA?

Courses start each quarter. The next one starts at the beginning of January. MSAA has three spots left for the January course at this time.

How Can One Get More Information on BIA?

Please contact Dan Kerns to set up a short webinar with head of BIA, Steve Tombarelli from SIAA. You can email Dan at or call him at 304-925-0255 X 1006.

Recently we attended the SIAA National meeting in Boston. At these meetings we always learn about new markets and strategic partners as well as updates on our strategic partners. We also learn about trends in the insurance industry, and how we can best position SIAA members to take advantage of the trends or to be ahead of them.

First, let me congratulate all of our members for being part of a 7.1 BILLION Dollar enterprise! That’s right, SIAA has now eclipsed the $7 Billion (with a B) mark. More importantly, we now have over $3.4 Billion with our Strategic Partnership Carriers, resulting from 713 million GROWTH! That comes from 15.1% growth rate with our SPCs over the last 5 years.

While we do not have the Year over Year numbers in on growth with our SPC’s, we are having an awesome year, with good growth with most of our carriers. Most importantly, we have solid Loss Ratios, which allows us to lock-in for profit sharing. We have already locked in our profit agreements with several carriers, including SAFECO, Liberty, Travelers, Encompass, and Grange. Others will follow. Our local loss ratio with SAFECO is at 45%. To maximize your 2017 profit sharing compensation, remember to continue to place quality business with Safeco and the other SPCs.

One issue which we have spoken about before has returned; the threat to our agencies posed by cyber attacks and the liability it brings to both our agencies and our customers. I have sent further information out about this in a separate blog. Please check the RPS website for further information or contact us a MSAA for more information.

UPDATE: SIAA has a scheduled webinar with RPS that addresses the scope of the problem and the coverages available in the policy. PLEASE attend this webinar this FRIDAY, November 17th at 11:00 am. If you do not have the link please contact us. Also, please remain on the webinar at the end for helpful hints on how to best navigate the RPS website for quoting and learning modules.

While at the SIAA conference we spent some time looking at the Training and Learning Center and the addition of new courses in the TLC, as well as the enhancement and updating of existing courses. If you have not been into the TLC recently, please log in and have a look. The TLC WILL BE UP even when Netweb is shut down for 3 weeks. Remember, you can start a course and stop it, and then pick up where you stopped later. It is a wonderful way to grow your insurance knowledge. Just twelve minutes a day equals a full hour of learning at the end of a five-day work week.

While at the State Auto breakout one of the presenters was Clinton Houck, their Senior Agency Marketing Specialist. He had some interesting tips. One I will now share is this: Call your five best customers and ask them to give you a great review in Google (they must have a Gmail account to do this, but Gmail accounts are free and easy to obtain). This will move your agency up in hierarchy of area agency listings in Google. We are scheduling a webinar with Clinton for more hints to help your agency grow through use of technology. Stay tuned for an email invite that is coming out shortly to you.