Looking for advice RE: Jumping into the commercial P&C ring...

Jan 7, 2019

  1. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    I've been a lurker here for a while and finally decided to sign up and post something.

    (Quick background- I've been in the industry forever and just started my own independent last year. It's been an interesting transition from managing established agencies to being a solo shop where I'm primarily selling.)

    I haven't done commercial (other than small contractor type of policies) in years. But I've wanted to jump back into since day one in my own agency.

    I'd love any advice anyone has for me.

    My goal is to get the commercial accounts that $10,000 - $15,000 in premium instead of the $1,000-$1,500 ones. But honestly, I'm not even sure what industries I'd be looking at that premium amount? (Is that veterinarians? Churches? Sports shops?)

    My plan for now is to cold call for xdates- but if there's a better plan I'd love to hear it!

    I think my main problem is that I have more book knowledge than confidence. And I know that's coming from a lack of first hand recent experience.

    If I could ask a mentor any three questions right now they would be:
    *How do I choose a niche?
    *What gaps of coverage / loss exposures are common (niche specific I'm sure) that I can use in my pitch?
    *What system has worked best for you in getting infront of the decision makers?

    --Anyway-- I've seen alot of great advice already on the forums. I know some people I've followed are more geared to the health side of commercial, so I thought I'd just post this and see if I can glean any additional nuggets of gold from all of your wonderful experience!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. PhilL
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    PhilL Guru

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    In addition to conducting some internet searches, using creative phrases, you might start by checking-out the The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers - ciab . com. Click-on their 'Market Intel' link for articles related to commercial insurance classes, premiums, etc. Also, subscribe to their newsletter on the home page.
    Additionally, suggest you might look-up related articles on 'Rough Notes Magazine' and 'Best's Review' websites.
    There are other sources but these should get you started. Best to you in Pennsylvania!
     
    PhilL, Jan 7, 2019
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  3. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    Thank you PhilL! I will definitely check those out!
     
  4. marc82much
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    marc82much Super Genius

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    Assuming you have commercial appointments you could start by asking your underwriters or marketing rep the first two questions. You only have so many markets, so me telling you my experience selling gasoline haulers and deep sea diving companies will be of limited value. You can only sell what your companies have an appetite for, and who would know better than them. Roller rinks, funeral homes, topless bars, whatever....
     
  5. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    Thanks and yes, I have definitely cross referenced all the market appetites and all that. I belong to an alliance so I have plenty of companies to write with.

    I guess the 'How" do I choose a niche isn't so much which niches do I pick- but more "What factors did you consider when choosing a niche?" if that makes sense.

    I looked at all the data at least 100 times and I've thought about ease of reaching decision maker, total potential premium, how likely it is they are being approached by other agents., if I have access to more than 1 company so I'm not suddenly left without a market... but I'm wondering what a successful veteran would consider when making a decision to hone in on something.

    And even then I suppose my thought of 'how likely is it they are being approached by other agents'- is that even really knowable? is there a good way to estimate that?
     
  6. marc82much
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    marc82much Super Genius

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    The fact that you have a 100 companies is not very important. Who is competitive and kicking ass RIGHTNOW where you live? Not all of the 100 companies, that is for sure. This stuff waxes and wanes. You can also start by eliminating some risks...like new car dealers, law firms (unless you think you can compete with the big boys on their malpractice), hospitals, public entities, jewelers, churches, and I could probably come up with another dozen.

    Also, some companies are easier to deal with. When I was in that gig, I loved working with Frankenmuth. My marketing rep was ACES, and she would actually quote and print a proposal for me right in my office. I almost always got max credits. No matter how many markets you have, you need to find 2-3 that can do a really good job for you in your market area and are not a pain to work with.
     
  7. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    This is good input! I planned on that being a trial and error experience, but now that you say that I can ask the alliance for input on that.
     
  8. XdateNotSexDate
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    XdateNotSexDate Expert

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    Some awesome advice here! AgendaAgent, there are size stereotypes you can make about certain industries, but don't let that limit your focus starting out. An electrical company with 5 EE's is probably paying $10-20k for all lines, but a veterinarian with 5 owned office properties, 75 EE's, and 24hour ops might be paying $80k. All depends on exposure.

    Your niche will be based on your carriers' appetite and underwriter relationships. I was a Producer in PA. Erie seemed to be unbeatable on auto shops and they were, on the small ones. But any shop with multiple locations was a different story, especially if they had claims or were in the city. I wrote a lot of them with harleysville. When they cooled off it was Berkley. We had $3MM of contracting w/ Westfield and the u/w wanted 4-wall so grocery stores and machine shops became a focus. Being a niche agent is a matter of knowing the nuances of the risk and understanding all their coverage elements. Last bit of advice, if you're in PA don't call for xdates. Just go to the pcrb
     
  9. AgendaAgent
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    AgendaAgent New Member

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    pcrb?

    Thanks for all the advice! I appreciate it!
     
  10. marc82much
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    marc82much Super Genius

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