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Thar's Gold in Them Thar Web Pages!

Author: Mike Edwards

Business customers usually have very limited patience with any sales person who hasn't taken the time to become at least a little acquainted with their business. This is even more true in insurance sales, as one of an agent's primary duties is to have sufficient grasp of the prospect's business exposures to make solid coverage recommendations, including risks the prospect may be unaware of... addition, pre-survey digging can also reveal a lot about the prospect's business philosophy, background, and possibly what type of a buyer they might be.

As an example, an agent recently relayed this story. While preparing to call on a large printing operation, the agent decided to check their web site. She found a treasure trove of information! Here are some of the more interesting tidbits uncovered:

Corporate history. The business was founded in 1881 in the old financial district of New Orleans. Their mission statement is referred to, noting that with all the changes in the printing business since 1881, the first line in their mission statement remains, "Our first commitment is to our customers." Not only can an insurance agent relate to that philosophy, it could be a primary factor in the printing company's decisions about insuring certain risks which would minimize customer disruption.

Corporate philosophy. Two themes are stressed in their web site. One, how valuable and highly trained their employees are. (An alert agent should pursue this for various employee benefits programs, to help the business retain these employees.) Second, their focus on quality work. In fact, a reference is made to their competitors, which every good agent can instantly identify with: "Unfortunately, anybody with ink and a press can claim to be a printer." (Anybody with an insurance license can sell insurance.)

Scope of operations. They describe their operation as "fully integrated digital multi-color printing, including bindery and an array of finishing options." Clearly, this is a highly computerized operation, requiring specialized coverage. In addition, if they do bindery work for smaller printers, they have a bailee-type exposure. In all likelihood, the extensive finishing work could pose some environmental liability hazards.

The web site also lists three other locations the firm has in other states. Interestingly, the square footage of each facility is even included, along with the number of employees.

Another aspect of their operations is described as a "facilities management/outsourcing affiliate, which manages on-site and off-site print centers for our clients." This is further explained as, "Using networking technology, we share resources transparently across geographic regions and between corporate entities. Using this technology, our client's in-house reprographics sites have instant access to our sophisticated pre-press, multi-color offset presses, bindery and digital printers."

This certainly bears further investigation, and has numerous exposure ramifications. In addition, pity the poor insurance agent who walks in to call on this account with only an ACORD application in hand, and no inkling of how vast and complex this account really is.

​127 South Peyton Street
Alexandria VA 22314
​phone: 800.221.7917
fax: 703.683.7556

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