By Ken Kukral
Having over 27 years of insurance experience under my belt, I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I try to learn everything I can about different kinds of risks and different coverage and never get tired of it. I find out on a regular basis just how much I don’t know or still need to learn.
Over the years I have built a fearless attitude on taking new challenges in the insurance arena. Just because I have never quoted or written a particular type of coverage is no reason to avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not profess to be an expert at every type of account or every type of coverage but I will let you know the extent of my knowledge. A recent example is Product contamination coverage (formerly known as product recall coverage). Working on a couple accounts I have become involved with coverage triggers, expanded perils and nuances of particular policy provisions. I am much better able to “talk the talk” on this coverage than I was six months ago and now have a much higher comfort level discussing details. I am more likely to target accounts in this area since there are very few brokers who know much about this area of coverage. It is easier for me to stand out as an expert or at least comfortable with this type of risk.
So how can you approach new coverage or types of accounts? A few helpful tips:
1. Find areas or coverage that would help round out your current book of business. There is nothing worse than having your client be approached by a new agent who says ”has your agent ever discussed this coverage with you?” If your client answers “no”, they might instantly think you are not looking out for their best interests. The new hot coverage area where this comes up is “cyber liability”. Discuss it with your client before another agent does
2. Read. There is so much on the internet that you can find a wealth of material to get yourself up to speed in a particular area. Using the example I previously mentioned (cyber liability) I did a quick search and found the top ten things to discuss with your clients regarding their cyber liability and privacy exposures. Get a comfort level with the subject.
3. Did I say read? Read a specimen policy. By reading through a policy I was able to get a comfort level with each of the cyber liability and privacy coverage parts and can better explain them when called upon by one of our agents. I also read the brochure offered by the carrier for this coverage since it tends to explain things in simpler terms that get rid of the “jargon” that you will run into.
4. Search out online Continuing Education on the area you are interested in learning. Why not get your CE hours in learning about something that will expand your horizons rather than just fill out your requirement. I just recently went to a CIC program where they spent 8 hours going over tech liability and cyber/privacy liability. My comfort level shot up considerably by hearing about how to educate your clients on the coverage and get them to understand the value of it.
5. Talk to your carriers or brokers on the coverage. Find out what type of accounts they want, what their coverage offering entails and how they underwrite and price the business.
The first time you ever got on a bike you did not instantly ride it. You have to learn till you became proficient at it. Now it is “old hat” and you can almost do it in your sleep. There has to be a first time… you don’t have to be an expert from the start… but you have to be prepared. Five years ago I only wrote a few energy accounts. I learned from those few accounts and now my largest account is an energy account. If I never tried to learn about and place these type of accounts I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Try it, you will like it…