Insurers increasingly use multiple distribution channels to sell their products, so an annual best practices study just released by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) is worth reading. The 2007 study shows that overall agencies are doing much more with fewer people and show an organic growth rate that is much stronger than expected. The new crop of best practices agencies were asked to what they attributed their success and overwhelmingly, regardless of agency size, they noted Ã¢â‚¬Å“the quality of our people.Ã¢â‚¬ According to IIABA, this quality is defined as a strong work ethic, expert knowledge in agency products and services, as well as high ethical standards and dedication. These factors along with advanced proficiencies with agency technologies allowed the 2007 Best Practices Agencies to push productivity levels higher than ever. The 2007 study names 195 new agencies in six agency revenue categories ranging from under $1.25 million to over $25 million. It includes a new statistic, known as the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rule of 20Ã¢â‚¬ , which provides a quick means of calculating whether or not an agency creates value for its shareholders. The leading agencies must be nominated for participation in the study. Check out further I.I.I. info on distribution.Ã‚
I.I.I. president Dr. Robert Hartwig has sent a detailed rebuttal toÃ‚ the September 2007 Bloomberg Markets cover story that claimed that insurers use secret tactics to avoid paying claims. InÃ‚ I.I.I.’s response, Dr. Hartwig notes that the articleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s premise and facts were unsound and that the insurance industry has an excellent claims-paying track record. Dr. Hartwig also notes that property/casualty insurers annually pay out hundreds of billions of dollars on tens of millions of claims. See the August 15 I.I.I. letter.
With the most active period of the Atlantic hurricane season fast approaching, a poll out of the Harvard School of Public Health Project on the Public and Biological Security is a reminder of the continuing need to get the message out on disaster preparedness. According to the survey of people in high-risk hurricane areas, one-third (31 percent) said if government officials said they had to evacuate due to a major hurricane this season, they would not leave. Of more concern, that number has increased from 2006 when 23 percent said they would not evacuate. Top reasons people give for not evacuating involve issues of safety and security. Some 75 percent said their home is well-built and they would be safe there, while over half (56 percent) felt that roads would be too crowded, and 36 percent felt that evacuating would be dangerous. The survey covered eight states: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC and TX Ã¢â‚¬“ and only included residents of counties within 20 miles of the coast. The poll included a special sample of the New Orleans metropolitan area. Check out I.I.I.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s disaster insurance information site for more info on disaster preparedness.
Insurance can be a complicated business, but an updated guide to the industry from the I.I.I. is designed to help. The Insurance Handbook for Reporters provides concise explanations of auto, home, life, disability and business insurance. Features include a comprehensive glossary, listings of hundreds of insurance organizations and a guide to insurance industry resources. This yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s glossary section includes more than 500 entries with over 100 life insurance definitions provided by LOMA, a worldwide association of life and financial services companies. So whether youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to write about annuities, expense ratios or flood insurance, the Handbook — used in conjunction with the InstituteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Web site and other publications — should make life easier.Ã‚