Following more than 35 years as a senior executive with four different P&C insurance organizations, including serving as CEO, I was offered the rare opportunity to run a midsize independent agency in northern Indiana. Although I had relied heavily on my grasp and knowledge of independent insurance agencies in building successful insurance companies, I didn’t realize how little I actually knew about life at the agency level.
After two years in my role as president & CEO of the Silveus Insurance Group’s P&C division, I feel as if I have completed an MBA degree in insurance-company operations. While some of my experiences have been affirmations of approaches I had experimented with in my years at carriers, other lessons have shown me that the importance I once placed on certain agency-company interactions was far greater—or smaller—than what is truly required or desired by agency principals and their organizations.
Imperative #1: A Coke, Smoke and Joke: Marketing Representatives That Waste Our Time
Imperative #2: Say What You Do, Then Do What You Say
Imperative #3: Just Because You Want an Organization with ‘Silos,’ Don’t Expect Your Agencies to Buy the Farm
Imperative #4: Speaking of Profit-Sharing Agreements, Did You Hear About the One Designed by an Actuary and Written by an Attorney?
Imperative #5: Trying to Take the Easy Way Out Will Work—If You Don’t Get Caught
Imperative #6: Remember, Agency Principals Have a Company to Run—and It’s Not Yours
Imperative #7: Is Your Agency Appointment Strategy Well-Defined and Comprehensive, or Does It Lead to Shotgun Weddings?
Imperative #8: Ease of Doing Business Is Important—But Not as Important as You Believe
Imperative #9: Now Turn to Page 57 in Hymnal 13
Imperative #10: Don’t Forget to Put an Underwriting Department in Your Company