By Ken Kukral
First of all, I am a fan of the CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) program and consider it a major stepping stone in working towards becoming the “coverage guy” at my office. I wholeheartedly recommend it for producers who have 3 to 5 years in the business and want to get to the next level in coverage knowledge. I consider it THE “producers” designation since it details what you sell on a day in and day out basis. It provides the basic building blocks that you need in order to expand your coverage knowledge and to comprehend how it “all fits together”. OK, stepping off my soap box…
I thoroughly enjoy going to the Ruble/graduate seminars. These seminars give us the updates that ISO is making to the ever changing forms and lets us know about coverage gaps and how to address them. They also go into additional detail on some of the fringe or optional coverage areas so we know better how to discuss them with clients. Half of the battle in discussing new coverage options for your client (such as D&O or environmental coverage) is having a comfort level with the coverage (and not necessarily be an expert).
The single most interesting topic this past week was environmental coverage. The instructor went through some of the following areas:
– Resources available to find out more about the environmental exposures of our clients. Your client may have little exposure to chemicals or pollutants but who are their neighbors at their facility?
– A detailed environmental assessment form that can be used so that you are viewed and an environmental risk manager for your clients. This document truly created a “system” for addressing these issues with your client.
– Claims examples and amounts paid. These are always “eye opening” and cause you to say, “I didn’t know that could happen or that my insured could be liable for that”.
– Agent E&O issues in dealing with environmental risks or the lack of discussing these issues with your client and the exposure that creates.
– The innovative type products that are available. This area of coverage is evolving and new and different coverage and exposures are created on a regular basis, so I need to stay up to date.
– Deficiencies in Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies.
– Coverage gaps in the auto pollution liability coverage
– The truly limited coverage provided by “limited pollution forms” that are attached to policies.
– Risk management and loss control measures that could be implemented with your clients to help reduce their environmental exposures.
– Some of the insurance carriers writing this coverage and pro’s and con’s of their coverage forms.
After attending this class I had a much better understanding of how to talk to clients about environmental coverage and how to move it from a “truly optional coverage” to a NEEDED coverage. If you are looking to expand your clients coverage portfolio and be a pioneer (yes, many agents still know very little about environmental exposures and coverage) in this area, there are an incredible number of opportunities available. Time spent in learning about this area will pay significant dividends and help to differentiate you from your competition.
Have you discussed environmental exposures with ALL of your clients?