ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Equilibrium

Cats versus dogs. Men against women. Good versus evil. Producers against CSRs. All are natural enemies, but they all have to co-exist. If you are an agency manager you have probably heard customer service reps say:

1) The producers aren't doing what they are suppose to be doing, or

2) We're here to service the clients, not be slaves to the producers.

Producers, on the other hand, feel that:

1) The CSRs are there to serve the producers, and

2) The CSRs should do whatever the producer wants them to do.

What is the proper attitude to have an efficient, team-oriented agency? It's an attitude somewhere between these extremes. But how do you achieve this delicate equilibrium?

In many instances job descriptions can be used to clarify the lines of responsibility. More often than not, job descriptions do not detail each step in writing a new account, renewing an existing account, or the daily servicing of an account.

While management always has the prerogative to decide who is responsible for what steps in the new business or renewal process, listening to employees opinions can help build a consensus as well as making employees feel that they had a say in the decision-making process.

One such way to gather this information is to list all the steps in writing a new account or renewing a piece of business. The steps may or may not be the same for commercial lines as for personal lines and may vary depending upon the agency or the agency's carriers. Once you have written down the steps have each producer and CSR mark each step as:

P - Producer's responsibility

C - CSR's responsibility

E- Either the producer or the CSR can perform this duty

B - Both the producer and the CSR should perform this task

S - Support staff (clerk, typist, receptionist) can handle this task.

Below are sample outlines for new business and renewal business. Adapt them to your use and see what response you get from your producers and CSRs. Once tabulated, the difference of opinions may surprise you. As management, you make the final decision. Make sure you communicate it to all the employees and consider incorporating these steps into your agency's job descriptions.

NEW ACCOUNTS

_____ 1. Make contact with prospect in person or by telephone.

_____ 2. Solicit data necessary to underwrite the account.

_____ 3. Fully complete applications for all lines requested.

_____ 4. Gather loss runs, financial statements, property diagrams, advertising material, and/or any other "helpful data" (pictures), rate if applicable.

_____ 5. Prepare underwriting submission brief.

_____ 6. Determine viability of markets; select markets to send account to.

_____ 7. Make copies of applications & data.

_____ 8. Mail applications and pertinent data to selected markets.

_____ 9. Follow-up call to underwriter within 7 days.

_____10. Determine from underwriter if account should be rated in office and forwarded, if yes, do so.

_____11. Respond to underwriter's requests for additional data.

_____12. Obtain premiums from each market (ideally one week prior to proposal date).

_____13. Do comparative quote study.

_____14. Determine client's financing needs, either set up carrier payment schedule or outside finance agreement.

_____15. Complete finance agreement.

_____16. Develop proposal.

_____17. Type and assemble proposal.

_____18. Present proposal to client.

_____19. Client gives order - bind coverage with carrier.

_____20. Set up new customer file.

_____21. All underwriting data transferred to new client file.

_____22. Binders issued.

_____23. Issue binder billing.

_____24. Submit finance agreement, if applicable.

_____25. Issue necessary certificates.

_____26. Send binders and/or certificates to mortgagees and/or additional insureds.

_____27. Mail binders and certificates.

_____28. When policies are received in agency, check for accuracy.

_____29. Confirm binder billing as needed.

_____30. Assemble policies for delivery along with any additional billing documents.

_____31. Deliver policies to customer.

32. Handle daily needs of customers:

_____ Issuing certificates

_____ Confirming coverages

_____ Claims

_____ Billing inquiries

_____ Policy changes (endorsements)

_____ Adding policies

_____ Canceling policies

_____ New lines of coverage on existing accounts

_____ Presenting & following-up on loss control recommendations

_____ Responding to underwriter requests

RENEWALS

_____ 1. Review expiration list.

_____ 2. Determine if contact is to be made in person, by telephone, or letter.

_____ 3. Make contact with client.

_____ 4. Determine any changes necessary for renewal; i.e. new location, new exposure basis, deletion or addition of coverages.

_____ 5. Determine if renewing with current carrier or if account should be re-marketed.

_____ 6. If account is to be re-marketed, begin with step #3 as outlined in "New Accounts". If not, continue with next step.

_____ 7. If account is renewing with current carrier, submit renewal data to underwriter for policy issuance.

_____ 8. Determine if formal proposal is necessary, if so, prepare proposal.

_____ 9. Determine financing needs.

_____10. If applicable, prepare a finance contract.

_____11. Present proposal and/or financing to client.

_____12. Client gives renewal order - begin with step #19 as outlined in new accounts listing.