Filed Under:Agent Broker, Personal Lines Business

GPE, BTA and A&H

Take a personal approach to selling commercial insurance

Is your agency taking full advantage of the personal insurance opportunities afforded by your commercial customer base? Few would argue that it is challenging to find quality new personal lines customers using traditional lead sources. Some agencies are bucking this trend, however, and are successfully using new methods to grow their firms.

A consultative approach that addresses the corporate risk of individual employees may afford new sources of growth for your agency. The line between the individual and business insurance sales can become blurred, particularly when a commercial customer desires one contact with its insurance brokerage. Also, agents can establish themselves as trusted counselors by tailoring some commercial products and services to meet their clients’ personal and professional needs.

Accidents happen, and lawsuits are common in today’s litigious society. Each of these scenarios could lead to a substantial lawsuit and potential reputational damage to the employer if the incident is not properly addressed. If a high-net-worth individual is involved in an accident and then sued for an amount greater than his or her existing liability coverage, then the assets—including home, belongings, investments and future earnings—could all be at risk.

Who needs higher limits of liability coverage? Employees, family office members and affluent members of a defined group who typically have significant insurable assets and unique or highly sophisticated insurance needs could benefit from group personal excess insurance.

Travel risks represent a low frequency but high-severity exposure. Agents and brokers can speak to their clients who own their own businesses or act as risk managers for corporations about business travel accident (BTA) insurance for themselves and their employees. When recommending insurance benefits to clients, agents and brokers can remind them to consider the following:

  • BTA insurance protects employees against catastrophic accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control, statistics show that at younger ages death is more likely to occur as a result of an accident than sickness. And when death occurs at younger ages, people are at the stage in their lives when they have the highest amount of financial responsibility.
  • As an essential part of a company’s benefit/risk management program, BTA attracts or retains talented employees. Providing BTA insurance has a positive impact on a client’s corporate image, allowing them to say, "We care about your family. We insure you."
  • As a supplement to life insurance, BTA is a cost-effective way for clients to obtain loss-of-life coverage.
  • BTA policies frequently include advisory services that provide referrals to highly qualified medical professionals around the world, and can arrange emergency evacuation transport where needed.

Fred Wittenbaum, agency principal with S P Agency Inc. in Cincinnati, said that cross-selling between commercial and personal lines is a must for today’s agency. His agency sells accident and health (A&H) products and services. "Cross-selling involves knowing the products in the marketplace and then making those options known to customers, so that they can be an informed buyer," he said. "It also involves spending time with clients to get to know them and their lifestyle." This allows the agent to tailor products for their clients’ individual needs.

Consider the following loss scenario:

An international software company executive from the U.S. attended the company’s worldwide sales meeting in Cancun. While out on a group horseback riding excursion, he was thrown from his mount. A local medical facility diagnosed multiple contusions, a broken back and possible spinal damage. A colleague immediately contacted the company’s travel assistance provider for help, who determined that it was crucial to move the patient to a higher level of care. Ground ambulance transportation to and from the airport was arranged, and the patient was taken via air ambulance to a specialist in Miami for treatment. Travel for the patient’s spouse was arranged so that she could join him at the hospital. In Miami, the executive received extensive treatment, and then the travel assistance provider again arranged for his return trip home to Michigan to continue rehabilitation. Despite countless hours of therapy, he was left paralyzed from the waist down.

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