Outstanding PCR Clean-Up Challenge

It is not uncommon when working with my clients to find a whole bunch of follow-ups or un-posted items in their agency management system. Such is the case at one of my clients. During the committee meeting discussing the standards and process for ordering and checking endorsements we found that there were in excess of 100 un-posted Policy Change Requests (PCR). There was the usual moan and statement, yet another backlog to solve.

Challenge Doodles

Generational Issues in the Insurance Workplace

This morning I am reading a great  article from “Property Casualty 360” titled As Older Agents Try to Adapt, Younger Agents Want to Be Heard. Over the years I have worked in a number of firms that were family owned with children becoming part of the firm or small firms adding young producers. Even though today’s internet and social media issues did not exist, some of the same conversations did exist. Those of you that were the “young” guys then are the “old” guys now. You need to think back and take stock. I heard more than one of your bosses say you would never make it.

Shakespeare  Punk

Change With A Positive Attitude

This past week was my 1st visit to a new client. Over the past few years agencies in small towns have taken a real beating.

  • Shrinking businesses in their town and surrounding area = less clients and prospects.
  • Businesses and families struggling to make ends meet. Insurance needs my come last and be bare bones.
  • Insurance carriers cutting agencies that can’t meet production standards.
  • The continuing soft market.
  • Difficulty finding qualified employees.

Frequently I often find everyone from the owner to the receptionist depressed or pessimistic or both.

So how does an agency remain above the fray, survive, thrive and keep up that positive, optimistic attitude?

Never Give Up

Insurance Agency Goals for 2012

2011 seemed to be a really slow year for insurance agency initiatives. Most of my clients updated document templates as necessary, updated a website or two and seemed to do only business improvements that were necessary. Reasons I have heard are:

  • Budget constraints.
  • We need to work and write business and not make improvements or changes.
  • Nothing new happening with our systems so no updates or changes needed.

I get the budget constraints. But the other “reasons” are not valid in my opinion. If you are sitting still you are falling behind.

Old Covered Bridge

Change Can Be Good

At the Dallas Women of Faith a few weeks ago, Patsy Clarimont was telling the story of her son’s very serious and lengthy illness. Several weeks into his stay in the hospital, she and her husband arrived at the hospital one morning to find that their son was going to be moved from intensive care to a different unit.

She questioned if it he was ready yet and would he have everything he might need in the new unit.  As would be expected, she had lots of questions and uncertainty about what was going to happen. As is often the case in hospital, there is lots of reassuring with minimal information and answers.

Patsy said that in the back of her mind she kept hearing “Change can be good”. Since there seemed to be no option but to move forward that is what she did. When her son was moved to the new unit, a new doctor and her team arrived in the room. The doctor made it very clear that she did not want to hear from anyone unless she specifically asked them a question. Parents included.

Changing fish bowl

We Did Pretty Good

On this week’s America’s Got Talent (July 13, 2011) the judges were very lukewarm on their comments for the arial act. The judges said that the performers didn’t step it up in this performance. They said the performers actually took a step back. One judge told them that they were very disappointed as they had shown such promise previously.

After their performance, Nick Cannon (the host) asked them how they thought they did. The young man said he thought they did “pretty good”. I think that is the point the judges were trying to make. You just did pretty good, not great. They are competing for a million dollars. The act that wins that has to be great, not pretty good. What does this have to do with an insurance agency?


What Color is the Language in Your Office?

I haven’t thought much about this lately as the offices I have been visiting the last few months seem to have little if any “blue” language.  However, in the Parade Magazine in our newspaper this week there was a short piece on “Gordon Ramsay, Meanest Man on TV?”  For those of you that might not know this TV personality, his shows are all blue language.  I don’t watch his show, however, on one of our recent visits to a hospital emergency room, his show was on.  I was surprised and offended.  There were a number of children present and felt that it was certainly inappropriate viewing for these young people.

Curse Words.jpg

Who Is On Your Agency’s Team?

Last week there were several news reports about ladies in their 90s receiving Master Degrees.  One such lady is Helen Small show graduated from University of Texas Dallas.  Here is an article on this amazing lady. http://tinyurl.com/29rrbhb.  So what do people like this have that others don’t?  Why do they keep learning when they could be doing leisurely things all day?  When working with agencies I hear a number of excuses related to learning.

Woman w laptop holding head.jpg

Should There Be Creativity In An Insurance Agency?

This article was created after reading “Driven by Distraction – How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive Workers” from the March 2010 WIRED Magazine. I would encourage you to read the entire article.

My prospects and clients often tell me that they want everyone in their agency to do things the same way. That is what they expect me to accomplish when they engage my services. Well, what exactly does that mean? Do they want a bunch of robots that can’t think for themselves? It is very important that an insurance agency has standards, procedures and workflows and that everyone follow them. But these defined standards, procedures and workflows address processes. What about thinking, negotiating, customer service, marketing and a host of other situations that arise everyday?

Robot heads.jpg

Blogging for Insurance Agencies

Over the past couple of months I have been having my website re-done into a blog forward site.  I want to share my thoughts and experiences on:

  • Best Practices for insurance agencies.
  • How to integrate and maximize your technology.
  • Discuss issues relating to agency culture and attracting and retaining the next generation of staff.
  • And other subjects of interest to you.

I want to hear from you about the subject that interest and concern you.  I am using Intense Debate for comments.  You will find this a more interactive format for comments and discussions.