P&C sold over the phone

Nov 18, 2008

  1. 360
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    What percentage of P&C carriers allow for phone and online sales?
     
    360, Nov 18, 2008
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  2. johnhoefer
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    johnhoefer Expert

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    I sell home and auto over the phone. Larger commercial accounts are not sold over the phone but if the headquarters is here in CA, and they have a satellite office in Las Vegas, the policy may be written without visiting the site in Vegas, but seeing the business in CA. It more depends on the scope of the policy. If you sell it over the phone and it needed a look see in person, then you haven't done your job. Carriers require the agent to do the proper due dilligence and work, that is what the paycheck is for.
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    Small commercial can be sold over the phone for most office exposures.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  3. lisar1208
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    I too sell a majority over the phone for major carriers. Personal lines not commercial.
     
  4. warnerins
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    warnerins Super Genius

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    lisar1208 a couple of questions... If you are selling over the phone I can understand how the payments are done. EFT, CC payment and so on. But, how are the apps being signed and if they are done by fax or emailed signed and emailed back, does your state not require witnessing signatures (if not great).

    The other thing is how are vehicle inspections done? I know that Progressive will allow an e-signature and they will take all of the liability of a policy written without a vehicle inspection. In NM there is not a state requirement for inspections but there are carrier requirements for these.

    Since (in NM) there is no binding authority without signed app and payment, it seams as though a carriers first question for our agency if there is a claim (just days after a new app) is if we did a physical inspection on the vehicle.

    Heck, I've even had Progressive call us for a signed inspection form on one of their e-sig policies.

    Last thought, If you are not meeting with the clients (face to face, one on one) and they are not coming into your office to establish the client advisor relationship, are the retention ratios as high as if you were.

    I am not blasting you - but am truly curious to your experience with this. Thanks
     
  5. williamsassoins
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    williamsassoins New Member

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    how do you bind over the phone?

    I thought you needed something along the lines of EZ Buy?
     
  6. 1manshow
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    Safeco's "virtual producer" concept fits the mold your describing of "hands off" writing. We fell for their pitch and signed on before any other agents several years ago. Terrible mistake for an agent who is "hands on", got a crapload of policies assigned to us and then realized many of them were hispanic speaking inner city from NYC which is approx. 10 hours away !! NO Habla Espanol
     
  7. bobson
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    I think that Rosetta Stone program has a course on 'Hispanic'. You might want to try that.:biggrin:
     
    bobson, Jan 8, 2009
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  8. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    I don't know of any P&C carrier that uses agents that encourages online / phone sales. There are probably few.

    Some agents I know are willing to push it a bit if the auto is currently insured, or its a new auto, or its from a dealer they have a good relationship with.

    Some agents I know blow off the inspection thing entirely. It makes it tough to answer that phone call from claims when they ask if you inspected the vehicle though...

    Homes are a bit easier, since you tend to know neighborhoods and houses, plus you can uses zillow.com or even google earth to take a peek from your desk. Still not what you are supposed to do, but it works.

    True story....
    I had a client come in and get insurance on her car (actually, daughter of an existing client). She parked her car in front of my office, not 10 feet from me, with a glass door. I even looked at her car, it was a bit older, but nothing more than normal road wear and shopping cart dings (nothing worth noting for the age of the car). This was 1 pm. At 11:00am, before she had come into my office, she was in an accident, tried to file the claim against the insurance I wrote. Ooops, while it was a tough phone call to explain I did inspect the car, it was also humorous to see what people will try to get by with. Of course, the damage was to the other persons car, not hers.

    Of course, adjusters are really good about knowing the difference between pre-existing damage and new damage, most of the time.

    Dan
     
    djs, Jan 9, 2009
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  9. SCLady
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    insurance.com, the largest online insurance agency sells 12k-15k policies each month online and by telephone. They were licensed in 48 states, last time I checked. Plenty of agencies sell by telephone. Travelers collects the application and trailing documents after the sale. No photos required by the agent. Safeco has already been mentioned. Other carriers require the applicant to fax/email/mail the signed app to the agent prior to the bind, and do instant and annual audits. There are many ways to get it done, and many carriers allow it. Maybe not for the local joe smith agency, but definitely for the national agencies.
     
    SCLady, Jan 10, 2009
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  10. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    It happens, even many carriers turn their head when they know its happening, but I still don't know a carrier in California that I can get appointed with that doesn't require an inspection.

    esurance writes policies without an inspection, but I can't get appointed. Unitrin direct does it, but that is only direct, again, I can't get appointed. Progressive does for their direct online policies, but I believe for agents, they still require an inspection (I've only done commercial through them).

    Now, I can get everything signed after the bind with most carriers. Well, everything but the check, that has to be first :)

    If I wrote 12-15K policies a month, I might have a little pull on getting modified contracts. Heck, how does anyone write this many? How do you manage them?

    Dan
     
    djs, Jan 11, 2009
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