Working with specialty insurance markets

Taken from an article by Terry Quested, Associated Risk Managers – for P&C Insurance Agents

Here’s what we know about achieving results from Managing General Agents, wholesale brokers and programs

If there is one way to win the heart, mind and hard work of the wholesale insurance intermediary it is in providing them with superb quality submissions.

Nothing is more crucial to success than the quality of the information you provide. Agencies who demonstrate their superior ability at developing submissions have the most success with wholesalers.

The following summarizes issues you should review every time you send out a submission.

  • The quality of your submission has more impact on the result than the quality of your insured!
  • Complete, precise accurate information is the key to obtaining the best possible quote and the fastest possible turnaround
  • Good submissions start with a brief narrative about the insured and their business operations, mention anything that is good, bad or ugly.
  • Use Acord applications and complete as much information as possible, this includes the expiring carrier and premium, for GL the payroll, sales and sq. ft. sections, for older Property don’t forget the updates…it affects the premium!
  • Show real effective dates, using “ASAP” rarely result’s in an account being moved up the underwriters “to-do” list!
  • Use supplemental applications – nearly every specialty class has one and for quoting purposes any relevant one will usually suffice.
  • Obtain loss runs, even if there are no losses.
  • Pictures tell a thousand words
  • Email is faster – faxes are going the way of telex machines!
  • Respond to ALL questions and requests as completely as possible

Of course, simply having the best submission doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a prerequisite for establishing confidence in your abilities, demonstrating why your next submission should be swiftly dealt with, and for obtaining the service standards all markets will hold themselves to performing.

This is what you should expect from a good wholesale insurance source:

  • The names of the carriers the party will approach to insure your risk
  • How long you should expect to wait for a response.
  • Any additional information required to underwrite your risk should be requested as soon as the party receives the submission, or as soon as a company’s underwriter has responded.
  • A formal written quote describing coverage’s, forms, exclusions, warranties, fees, commission, taxes and surcharges (if any), carrier information and ratings
  • Assistance in understanding coverage’s.
  • Professional, courteous, service.

The Specialty Insurance Marketplace

Whatever the reason you are using a wholesale insurance provider, be it a broker, an MGA or any other entity, it helps to understand some of the truths and ground rules of working with them, especially in a so called ‘hard market’.

  • Relationships, at least in insurance, don’t happen overnight.
  • The quality of a submission is important, every time
  • There are no short cuts
  • Good insurers require High Professional Standards of Operation from the agents, brokers and MGA’s that represent them
  • When an insured is transitioning from a standard carrier’s product to a specialty insurers product he should not expect the same level of coverage’s, and he should expect his agent to know the differences.
  • In a hard market specialty lines underwriters have more business to quote than they can accomplish, consequently some risks do not get quoted in time, or at all. To minimize, refer to the first three points above!

According to the Academy of Producer Insurance Studies here are guidelines for working with wholesale sources of coverage

Do

1. Establish a continuing, working relationship with the Wholesaler.

2. Make a complete submission, including the completed application signed by the insured, with adequate supporting data.

3. Determine the application requirement of the Wholesaler PRIOR to submission.

4. Learn and observe the account payment needs of the Wholesaler.

5. Make a timely submission. Consider the nature of the risk, know the condition of the market and be aware of the complexity of the risk in order to give the Wholesaler adequate time to provide a market.

6. Provide a prompt and adequate follow-up to requests for additional information.

7. In case of duplicate submission or the replacement of the existing Retailer, submit an Agent of Record letter signed by the insured. Determine which market the Wholesaler will use to avoid making a duplicate submission.

8. Provide evidence of rejection from the primary marketplace

Don’t

1. Abuse the Wholesale Market by flooding the market with duplicate submissions.

2. “Tie up” the Wholesale Market.

3. Submit different sets of data to different Wholesalers, hoping to secure a lower quotation.

4. Drop the ball once the risk is bound. Be certain to follow through to policy insurance.