Is this a serious conflict of interest?

Jan 4, 2019

  1. Nomadd917
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    Nomadd917 New Member

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    I am currently an underwriter for a super regional carrier that uses the independent agency mod. I have been underwriting for 8 years with this company doing nothing but P&C insurance. I am contemplating starting to sell insurance for an independent agent part time during my free time to supplement my income and to possibly switch to sales full time if it works out and I develop a book to replace my current salary. The agency would also offer options to buy ownership of the agency down the road. My ultimate goal in insurance is to own and run an independent agency.

    In my current underwriting position I do not have any sales responsibility at all, just typical underwriting duties. Review applications, review policies after claims, review endorsements, and build relationships with my assigned agents. i am assigned and work a territory that is almost a 1,000 miles from where I currently live and work.

    The independent agency I would sell for does not have a contract or represent the company I work for in anyway. The offer for commission splits is extremely competitive and geared towards retention.

    What sort of conflict of interest , if any, would this pose? Would this jeopardize my current job?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. 1manshow
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    1manshow Guru

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    I would love to see if your outlook on underwriting changes after taking a shot at the sales side of the business.

    I really don't see the conflict unless you're selling in the same geographic area that you're currently underwriting for.
     
  3. VolAgent
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    VolAgent Guru

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    Keep it above board. Review any contract, employment agreement or employee handbook with your company. Make sure you aren't in breach of any.

    Second, make sure that you are in no way using the information you gain through underwriting for the benefit of your sales career. Meaning, either avoid the lines of business you underwrite and/or the geographic area where the business comes from.
     
  4. Nomadd917
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    Nomadd917 New Member

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    I originally started on the sales side selling life and investments. I did that for about 2 years. Had decent success but needed something more stable so I switched to the company side.

    My underwriting style is a lot more agency friendly than the average underwriter. Manuals are only guideline not the end all be all on what I do. A computer can be programmed to follow a manual and a given set of rules. I’m here to see the value when making exceptions to the rules.
     
  5. Nomadd917
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    Nomadd917 New Member

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    The geographical area i underwrite is 3 states away and I would be selling the products that I underwrite. By happen chance I could come accross an agent, policy, etc... in the area I would be selling but 99.9% of the time I’m just answering coverage questions or helping with rating a policy. In my job I very little influence on pricing and the influence I do have is mostly to lower premiums (waiving violations or claims, adding discounts, rating in a better tier, etc....).

    The handbook defines a conflict of interest as:

    “An actual or potential conflict of interest occurs when an employee is in a position to influence a decision that may result in a personal gain for the employee or for a relative as a result of the companies business dealings with outside firms. It then goes on talking about vendors etc....

    In another section it states outside employment that constitutes a conflict of interest is prohibited.


    My viewpoint based on the language in the handbook is that there is no real or perceived conflict of interest. The company has no business dealings with this agency I would work under and I my decision making cannot not produce any financial gain for myself.
     
  6. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    Based on how the handbook is defining it- I would only see a conflict occurring if you could push through/manipulate policies as an underwriter that otherwise wouldn't be approved in order to receive commission on that policy.

    Doesn't sound like you'd be doing that.
     
  7. VolAgent
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    VolAgent Guru

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    There is one thing you are forgetting.

    Taking information obtained through your underwriting job and then trying to land or help your agency land that insured as a client.

    To me, other than underwriting your own business, this is the biggest potential issue. And that is why I say be above board and avoid the area and the lines of business that you underwrite.

    There will be hell to pay if there is even a hint you are trying to take that business away from your company and the agents submitting it for underwriting. As strictly written, I don't think this would qualify as a conflict of interest in your company's policies. However, it definitely is an issue and would probably constitute tortuous interference.
     
  8. Nomadd917
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    Nomadd917 New Member

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    That could be a potential concern for the company. However, that kind of situation would be no different than if I were to sell insureds information from one agency to another agent. The risk to the company is not much greater. My integrity is much more important than writing a policy here or there. In my opinion if I were to take information on insureds with my company and try to place that business elsewhere, that borderlines theft. I wouldn’t even think about trying to take company information to make a sale for my personal gain. If I have to do something like that to make sales then selling isn’t for me.
     
  9. Nomadd917
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    Nomadd917 New Member

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    I can easily avoid the area but avoiding the lines I underwrite would be difficult if not impossible since I underwrite what I would mainly sell.
     
  10. myfakename
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    myfakename Super Genius

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    This has nothing to do with your situation, but i think every underwriter/loss control person should have to sell insurance for a time. :D:D
     
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