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From the Editor
"Ask an Expert" Briefs
This is a new section of the VU research library where we plan to include tips, techniques and legal caveats that you can follow during the hiring process, advice on how to identify, hire and retain quality employees, and sample proficiency tests for new employees, promotions or cross-training.
Testing for Producers...How to Find the Fourteen Percenters
Is there a Sales Personality? Yes. That’s why it takes a charismatic person to become a good salesperson. And, unfortunately, some sales personalities don’t end up in sales roles in their lives. What that means is that most of the salespeople we encounter do not have the unique set of traits that would only make 14% of them successful.
What’s the Value of Happiness?
Two decades of research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and economics have finally converged, giving us a broader and more detailed picture than ever before about the power of emotions - how feelings trigger specific responses in the brain and impact what a person values. Wouldn't you know, the collective results of years of studies now definitively link a happy thriving work culture to better business performance.
What's in a Name?
Many agency owners try to make producers out of employees simply by giving them the title “producer.” Even if these employees are not producing, they are given the title “producer” –– and voila! they are magically producers! Once that title has been bestowed, agency owners will often go to great lengths to rationalize their producers’ lack of success.
40 Hours and I'm an Insurance Agent
In my state, a manicurist has to complete 600 hours of classroom and supervised work experience to get licensed. An insurance agent? Put in 40 hours and you could be licensed to bid on General Motors’ account in the morning and Microsoft’s in the afternoon.
Agency Dress Codes
When I first started in this business, my employer required not only a coat and tie, but also a HAT! My how times have changed. In many organizations now, 'business casual' is the order of the day. However, what constitutes 'business casual,' like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a result, without some guidelines, things can get out of hand.
Are You and Your Clients Ready for a Pandemic?
We've been hearing about it for months now, about the allegedly very real possibility of a worldwide pandemic. Is the threat for real? And, if so, what have you done to prepare your agency to continue to operate in a highly infectious environment? If such an event occurs and impacts your business clients, are they insured for what could be a catastrophic loss of income?
Can Personal Lines CSRs Handle BOPs?
We were recently asked our opinion about whether personal lines CSRs could also handle small business accounts written on BOPs. While some CSRs can make the transition, it is fraught with perils. Find out what the VU experts think about the realistic expectations of such a change.
Can You Teach a Dog to Quack?
Experienced employees gravitate to those areas for which their talents are best suited. Forcing CSR's to sell, forcing salespeople to adhere to detail oriented efforts, and forcing management responsibilities on stockholders who have never been inclined to manage are counterproductive efforts. In this article, I'll explain why you should not force a round peg into a square hole.
Employee Retention...It's the Only Way to Go!
All managers should be held accountable for employee turnover and the costs involved. Unfortunately, employee turnover cost awareness is not communicated to managers and therefore is not a priority. These costs should be a part of every department's profit and loss statement and an integral aspect of each department's budget. Currently, there is very little (if any) accountability placed on management's shoulders for employee retention. What is the cost of employee turnover and what can you do about it? Keep reading (we've included a link to a site that let's you estimate the cost of bad hires and employee turnover!)....
Should the Agency Receptionist Be Licensed?
An agency receptionist transfers phone calls, takes messages, opens mail, directs clients to CSRs, and accepts direct bill payments from clients. She allegedly does not discuss coverage with clients. Does she need to be licensed?
Who Should Be Licensed in the Agency?
Is it an E&O exposure for a licensed agent/CSR to review and sign applications for an unlicensed CSR? If you have a CSR who is not licensed mailing out endorsements to an insured, can he/she sign his or her name on the endorsement's cover sheet? Or, is it better to be signed by a licensed employee? These are common questions we get, with the bottom line question being, 'Who needs to be licensed in the agency?'
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.
127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
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