Two for Tuesday Header

In This Issue:
Putting on the Ritz...Carlton
Bonds Under the Clock
Special Feature: Join ACT Meeting LiveStream Event
Additional Items:
Parting Shot
Last Week's Most Clicked
Sale of the Week

Putting on the Ritz...Carlton
I was very recently invited to a large black-tie charity ball as a thank-you for the volunteer work my wife and I have done over the years. Once there I realized it was an even bigger deal than I had thought. Some of the gowns were spectacular, featuring expensive fabrics and fine details, including lots of tiny sparkling things I assumed were crystals and gems. I was horrified to see another guy wearing the same tuxedo as mine. The patrons who attend events like this may have spent several thousand dollars on a designer dress, handbag, and shoes. They may also own several designer dresses and a multitude of shoes and handbags, very likely stored in closets like these. It got me thinking about whether or not these dresses were covered!

Designer dresses, or couture, can take thousands of hours, incorporate rare and expensive fabrics and be inlayed with up to thousands of precious stones. The most expensive dress ever made cost $30,000,000 and included a borrowed 70-carat red diamond. Most couture dress don't come close to that, but many easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Do you assume your clients wouldn't spend that kind money on a dress, handbag, or even a pair of preciously priced shoes? You might be surprised. An informal internet poll showed better than half of women owned at least one high end handbag. It stands to reason the average high-net worth homeowner will own several at least and why not, it's supposedly good for you to buy a luxury item now and then.

Whatever the reason for owning them, AIG recognizes the need for protecting these collections and is offering their unique Wearable Collections for your high-value clients. Covered items:
Specific coverages include: AIG recognizes the value of preventing a loss with their proactive risk management which includes; vulnerability assessment, emergency planning and referral services. AIG's Private Client Group homeowner coverage is available for $750k or more with a minimum of two lines of business.

Policy Features:
The AIG Wearable Collections Program is currently available in AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA & WA. Nationwide availability expected before the end of the year.

AIG's Private Client Group homeowner coverage is available to registered members in all states. Log into to learn more!

* Includes a $500 deductible, $5,000 per item limit, and $15,000 aggregate per year. Diminution of value is excluded.  
Special Feature:
Register Now to Join ACT Meeting LiveStream Event
By Elif Wisecup, Director of Marketing of Big I Advantage®

Can't make it to Scottsdale for the Feb 17 & 18 2016 ACT Meeting?

Watch the ACT Meeting-live!

Want to learn more about the most important technology trends and topics affecting independent agencies and the insurance industry? Watch the Agents Council for Technology meeting without having to leave your desk.

The live streaming event, sponsored by Citrix ShareFile, will broadcast on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm MST (3:00-7:00 pm EST).

Highlights of the Feb 17 ACT meeting opening session include:
Register now to join the live streaming event!

To learn more about the meeting agenda, visit the ACT website.  
Bonds Under the Clock
By: Lori Olson New Business Intake Manager Goldleaf Surety Services, LLC

Every time an insured calls your agency for a surety bond, you enter a race and a clock starts running against you. At the end of the race is your agency's reputation for knowing the marketplace and getting things done - and perhaps, your insurance relationship with that client.

That clock is your enemy. Can you really afford to put your agency's reputation and insurance commissions at risk for even one surety bond?

The risk might be worth it if surety bonds represented a great revenue opportunity for your agency. However, that is not the case for many Big "I" members. Unless an agency is very large and has a strong book of construction contractors, surety tends to create a negative force on an agency's profit and loss statement. Surety represents only 1.0% to 1.2% of the premium opportunity in the property & casualty sector of the insurance marketplace - and far less if you add life and health revenues into the total - and the time spent in handling bonds applications and marketing and re-marketing them tends to be very high.

Part of the problem is that surety is not like insurance. Surety bonds are credit instruments (not insurance), and they require a different set of forms, a whole different way of underwriting, and usually a very different list of potential markets than what your agency typically has available to meet your clients' insurance needs. This makes surety far more difficult and time consuming for most insurance producers and CSRs.

With all of those difficulties, surety bonds become time-consuming, costly and embarrassing process for many Big "I" members across the country. Producers and CSRs face a steep learning curve if they want to handle the product. They are not familiar with the hundreds of different classes of bonds out there, they do not know what forms to use, do not know what information to request from the insured, and they do not know what markets are the most likely to write that particular class of bonds. And worse, they do not know where to turn for help.

All this puts your agency at great risk. Most bonds are time-sensitive, and clients do not understand why your producers and CSRs send them multiple sets of forms to be filled out and multiple requests for information - while still not getting their bond placed. All the while, the clock is running on your insured's bond need, along with your agency's reputation and future relationship with the insured.

Did you know there is an alternative - one that relieves your agency of the burden of dealing with surety bonds altogether while also ensuring a prompt, thorough and professional response every time an insured calls for a bond?

Big "I" Markets and its national surety partner, Goldleaf Surety Services, are teamed up to provide your agency with great capacity for surety bonds. They deliver access to better than two dozen surety markets - all rated "Excellent" or better by A.M. Best Company - coupled with the professional underwriting help that can make the difference for your agency and your insureds.

With the great capacity and range of the Big "I" Markets solution for surety bonds, there simply is no good reason to put your agency at risk anymore. The reward is not large enough to cover the risk to your reputation for getting things done.

Big "I" members can contact Goldleaf by logging onto (select the appropriate bond type from the bond options on the commercial markets menu) or by calling Goldleaf directly at 1-888-294-6747 (ask for Lori Olson).  
Big "I" Virtual University Webinars

Don't miss the following education opportunities provided from the Big "I" Virtual University experts that focus on topics agents need to know to make a smart start in 2016. For more information, contact national staff.
  • February 24. Emerging Insurance Pricing Mechanisms..The End of Underwriting? This two-hour program examines past, recent, current, and emerging pricing mechanisms, from the inception of judgmental underwriting to class rating to data analytics and predictive modeling. Click here to learn more and to register.
  • March 7. "First Monday LIVE!" a free monthly webcast hosted by the VU's own Bill Wilson and guests on the first Monday of the month, to discuss the wide world of insurance. Each 30-minute webisode will cover "what's going on" (drones, car sharing, concealed weapon laws, legalized marijuana, legislative issues) and the implications along with hot topics, your feedback and more. The March session covers "The Worst Insurance Policy in the History of Insurance.". Click here to learn more and register.
  • March 23. "Horrible Commercial Lines Policy Forms and Endorsements to Avoid or Be Wary Of" This program examines dozens of commercial lines policy forms and endorsements that business entities should avoid in their insurance programs if at all possible. Discussion topics range from why be concerned to who's to blame, to Non-ISO and ISO Policy Forms and Endorsements and what to do, along with time for questions and answers. Click here to learn more and register.
DocuSign for Big I Members: Keeping Business Digital with eSignatures

Join us to learn more about DocuSign for your agency. We'll show you how you can use DocuSign for everything from new policy applications to coverage election forms. We'll cover the basics, including how to take advantage of your exclusive Big "I" member price discount, and leave plenty of time for you to ask us questions:
  • Legality and security: We'll show you how DocuSign is a best practice in keeping you and your clients safe
  • Ease and convenience: See what your clients will see when you send documents through DocuSign, and learn just how easy it is to sign
  • Sending, templates and account management: We'll get you up to speed on setting up your account, short cuts with document templates, and account management 101
We'll see you there!

Click the date to learn more and to register:  
Remember that you can view the following webinars 24/7 by checking out the BIM Webinar Library. To do that log onto Big "I" Markets and click on "Publications".
  • Personal Liability Trends - Fireman's Fund
  • TravPay
  • Commercial Lessor's Risk
  • Affluent Homeowners
  • Travelers Select Products (series)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Community Banks
  • XS Flood
  • Real Estate E&O
  • RLI Personal Umbrella
  • Affluent Homeowner
  • "Oh, by the way...Flood Sale"
  • Habitational
  • Non-standard Homeowner
  • Student Housing
For all you folks who recently registered for Big "I" Markets, remember you can participate in a webinar from the comfort of your office to help you learn how to navigate around the system. Every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EDT we'll show you how to navigate the Big "I" Markets platform, including how to submit a quote! A recording of this webinar can be found under "Publications" after logging into Big "I" Markets.
Advertising vs. Contingency Payments - Which is Greater?
By Paul Buse, President of Big I Advantage®

Last week we looked at Super Bowl advertising and the insurance industry and we promised to contrast what P&C insurers spend on advertising and what they spend on contingency payments. Below are those payments for the last 10 years. Insurer expenditures on advertising have steadily increased. Contingency payments dipped after the Eliot Spitzer investigations in 2004 and 2005 but have since rebounded. Which do you think brings a P&C insurer the most value per dollar spent? My answer would be "it depends." Email your thoughts if you'd like to share to
Click for larger version

Source: A.M. Best Aggregates and Averages, Insurance Expense Exhibits for 2005-2014  
Last Week's Most Clicked Links
Here are the top three items that got BIM agents clicking from our last edition... see what you missed!
  1. Environmental Liability Article - What To Look For
  2. Bizarre Christmas Claims
  3. Horrible Commercial Lines Policy Forms and Endorsements to Avoid or Be Wary Of Info & registration (3/24)
Big "I" Markets Sale of the Week
Congratulations to our agent in North Carolina on a real estate E&O sale of $2,790 in premium!  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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TFT is authored by Michael Welch
Big "I" Markets Marketing Assistant