WEST REGION. Roundtable: Change in Uncertain Economy. Workers Comp and Aging Workforce. P-U-T-T-E-R s Name of Game in E&S World

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1 JANUARY 23, 2012 VOL. 90, NO. 2 WEST REGION Roundtable: Change in Uncertain Economy Workers Comp and Aging Workforce P-U-T-T-E-R s Name of Game in E&S World Towers Watson Steers UBI Globally

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4 WEST Inside This Issue January 23, 2012 Vol. 90, No. 2 West Region N28 On The Cover 2012 Excess, Surplus & Specialty Markets Directory, Vol. I N1 NATIONAL COVERAGE WEST COVERAGE IDEA EXCHANGE N2 Spotlight: Employment Practices Liability N11 Insurance Distribution Chain Transforms to Justify Value, Purpose N14 Report: Liberty Mutual Failed in Bid to Buy Harleysville N18 5 Strategies for P/C Insurers for 2012 N Excess, Surplus & Specialty Markets Directory, Vol. I 8 Wyoming Governor Backs Workplace Safety Recommendations 8 Family Taking $350K in Vegas Missing Organs Claim 14 West Insurance Agents Roundtable: In Uncertain Economy, Change is Certain 20 Insurance Marketing New Basics: Go Mobile 26 How Workers Comp Is Handling Aging Workforce 28 Beyond Golf: P-U-T-T-E-R s the Name of the Game in E&S World N1 Growing Your Property Casualty Agency: Shulman N8 International Insider: Ellis N20 Top 25 Performing P/C Insurers: Powell N76 Closing Quote: McElhiney DEPARTMENTS 6 Opening Note 9 Declarations 9 Figures 10 People 12 Business Moves N24 MyNewMarkets N26 Web Exchange 4 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

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6 WEST COVERAGE Opening Note In/Out of the Woods We re not out of the woods yet but things are starting to look familiar. The unemployment rate in December fell to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly three years, according to a Labor Department report issued earlier this month. The report also showed employers added a net 200,000 jobs last month. Thanks to those gains, it can be said the economy has had six consecutive months in which 100,000 or more jobs were generated each month, and economists forecast next year will be even better for job gains, which are expected to top 2 million in Indeed, there are a growing number of positive signs for the economy, but there s too much darkness out there to say we re even nearing the edge of the woods. Commerce Department retail sales data for December and the full year shows that while sales grew for the year, they grew at the weakest pace in seven months for December at.01 percent, much less than expected. Retail sales showed important strength last year, increasing 7.7 percent from 2010 to 2011, Commerce Secretary John Bryson said in a statement as his office released the Jan. 12 report. But today s monthly number is another reminder that our work is far from over. We need to build on the positive economic momentum in the New Year. That means extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, which will help create jobs, promote economic growth and sustain the recovery. And while 2011 gave the nation a breather from foreclosures, it appears as if at the end of the year lenders were finally dealing with some of those delayed foreclosures. There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosure s in select local markets, said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of Irvine, Calif.-based real estate tracking firm RealtyTrac. We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of That means more foreclosures will be off the books, but more foreclosures may also mean a continued lag in median home prices and more people out of house and home. The problem is particularly bad in the west, with Nevada, Arizona and California leading the nation in foreclosure rates. One-in-16 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing in In Arizona, the rate was one-in-24 and in California one-in-31 housing units had a foreclosure filing during the year. Let s just keep looking forward to more signs of better times, and hope we clear the woods soon. 6 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012 today s monthly number is another reminder that our work is far from over. Don Jergler West Editor Publisher Mark Wells Chief Executive Officer Mitch Dunford EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Andrea Ortega-Wells V.P. Content Andrew Simpson East Editor Young Ha Southeast Editor Michael Adams South Central Editor/Midwest Editor Stephanie K. Jones West Editor Don Jergler International Editor Charles E. Boyle ClaimsJournal.com Editor Denise Johnson MyNewMarkets.com Associate Editor Amy O Connor Columnists Kathleen Ellis, Curtis Pearsall, Alan Shulman Contributing Writers Steve McElhiney, Douglas Powell SALES V.P. Sales & Marketing Julie Tinney (800) x148 West Dena Kaplan (800) x115 South Central Mindy Trammell (800) x149 Midwest Lauren Knapp (800) x161 Southeast Howard Simkin (800) x162 East Dave Molchan (800) x145 New Markets Sales Manager Kristine Honey Classified Advertising (800) x125 MARKETING/NEW MEDIA Marketing Administrator Gayle Wells Advertising Coordinator Erin Burns (619) x120 New Media Producer Bobbie Dodge Videographer/Editor Matt Tolk DESIGN/WEB Vice President/Design Guy Boccia Vice President/Technology Joshua Carlson Design and Marketing Executive Derence Walk Art Director Jamie Bethell Web Developer Jeff Cardrant Web Developer Chris Thompson IJ ACADEMY OF INSURANCE Director of Education Christopher J. Boggs Online Training Coordinator Barbara Dooley ADMINISTRATION Accounting Manager Megan Sinclair FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING SUBSCRIPTIONS: Call: or You may subscribe or change your address online at insurancejournal.com/subscribe Insurance Journal, The National Property/Casualty Magazine (ISSN: ) is published semimonthly by Wells Publishing, Inc., 3570 Camino del Rio North, Suite 200, San Diego, CA Periodicals Postage Paid at San Diego, CA and at additional mailing offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $7.95 per copy, $12.95 per special issue copy, $195 per year in the U.S., $295 per year all other countries. DISCLAIMER: While the information in this publication is derived from sources believed reliable and is subject to reasonable care in preparation and editing, it is not intended to be legal, accounting, tax, technical or other professional advice. Readers are advised to consult competent professionals for application to their particular situation. Copyright 2012 Wells Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Content may not be photocopied, reproduced or redistributed without written permission. Insurance Journal is a publication of Wells Publishing, Inc. POSTMASTER: Send change of address form to Insurance Journal, Circulation Department, PO Box 9049, Maple Shade, NJ ARTICLE REPRINTS: For reprints of articles in this issue, contact Rhonda Brown at ext. 194 or Visit insurancejournal. com/reprints for more information.

7 IONS FOR... SPECIALTY RISKS There aren t many carriers out there that have been strictly devoted to providing insurance for classes that, at times, were virtually unavailable in the marketplace but we have been doing it for 25 years! Add to that our A (Excellent) rating which we have maintained since 1996 and our experienced staff dedicated to great service, and the result is the ideal balance of solutions and stability. ASI remains committed to specialty risks. That s an accomplishment we will celebrate for years to come. Ambuj Jain, Senior Vice President, U.S. Insurance Operations Joseph D. Scollo, Jr., President, U.S. Insurance Operations Solutions for specialty risks. COMMERCIAL PROPERTY / PRODUCTS LIABILITY / ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY / PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY HEALTHCARE / CONSTRUCTION RISKS / SPECIALTY PROGRAMS / SURETY BONDS / ALTERNATIVE RISK SOLUTIONS American Safety Insurance Services, Inc The American Safety Group of Companies is rated A Excellent by A.M. Best.

8 WEST COVERAGE News & Markets 2011 Was Busy Year for Firefighters in New Mexico New Mexico may have more snow on the ground as it starts the new year, but much of the state remains in drought and fire officials are preparing for what could be another rough year. State Forestry officials have outlined the damage from last year s fire season in an annual report. They say more than 1,000 fires burned more than 967,000 acres in New Mexico. More than 80 percent of those on state and private land were human caused. State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware says the number of acres burned, the length of the fire season and the tens of millions of dollars spent on fighting the fires made the year remarkable. With forecasts calling for more dry weather heading into the spring, fire officials say they are already pushing the prevention message. AP Wyoming Governor Backs Workplace Safety Recommendations The state s occupational epidemiologist who spent a year studying the high rate of workplace deaths in Wyoming said his research points to lack of a culture of safety in Wyoming. Dr. Timothy Ryan said in a report to Gov. Matt Mead that more than 85 percent of reports on deadly workplace accidents in Wyoming show safety procedures not being followed. Wyoming consistently has one of the nation s highest rates of workplace fatalities, more than 12 per 100,000 workers in That s more than three-and-a-half times the national average. Many deaths occur in the oil and gas industry. Ryan s report includes recommendations for better monitoring and analysis of occupational data and supporting industry efforts to develop, monitor and enforce safety standards and practices. Gov. Mead said he will implement the recommendations and continue to focus on better methods to improve safety for workers across the state. I believe that we must find ways to get workers in Family Taking $350K in Vegas Missing Organs Claim The family of a British commodities trader who died while partying in Las Vegas will accept $350,000 to end a federal lawsuit stemming from the disappearance of the man s internal organs after an autopsy and before his body was returned to London, their lawyer said earlier this month. Relatives of Richard Boorman will take $50,000 that Clark County commissioners agreed to offer and a pending $300,000 insurance settlement from the funeral home that handled Boorman s remains. However, family members don t think they got satisfactory answers about what became of Boorman s heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain in 2005, attorney Jonathan Charles Capp said. It s a done deal, Capp told The Associated Press. But we re really none the wiser. It looks like we ll never know what happened to the organs of Richard Boorman. Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Wyoming home safely at the end of the day, Mead said. These recommendations are a first step on the path to making every workplace safer. They do not provide a solution but show that some systemic changes need to be made. They also indicate we still have work to do to further evaluate and make progress in workplace safety. The state occupational epidemiologist position was created over a year ago to produce recommendations. After completing the report, Ryan has moved on to a position in the private sector. Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Opponents of Arizona Law Seek Class-Action Status judge set an April 9 A hearing for considering a request by opponents of Arizona s 2010 immigration enforcement law to grant classaction status in their lawsuit that seeks to declare the law unconstitutional. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other opponents are asking U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to grant class-action status for people whose immigration status was questioned because of their race, day laborers deterred from seeking work in public and people discouraged from traveling with immigrations in Arizona because of the law. Gov. Jan Brewer s lawyers opposed the request for classaction status and argue the proposed class lacks legal standing to pursue the case. Bolton blocked enforcement of the law s most controversial portions, but allowed other provisions to take effect. Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. 8 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

9 Declarations Social Justice Each circumstance is a little different, and this adds to the mix of circumstances in which the courts consistently say that children in the custody of the state of Colorado have a right to be kept safe from harm. It is a case that has an opportunity to do real justice. Jordan Factor, a lawyer for siblings who filed lawsuit alleging social workers failed to protect them from abuse. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Adams County social workers aren t protected by the state s governmental immunity law because they acted recklessly. No Game I think it s helped across the board, but particularly with repeat offenders who try to game the system and play games with field sobriety maneuvers. Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen, referring to a DUI test requirement passed by Wyoming state legislators requiring motorists suspected of alcohol or drug use to take a breath, blood or urine test. Extortion This is extortion with a clean face. Through their professions, they know the mechanisms of the legal credit market and they often know the financial position of their victims perfectly. A report on extortionate lending by criminal groups in Italy, which is evidently flourishing in the country s dour economy. Facebook for Cars Now that cars have screens that are intelligent, you would expect that more and more car manufacturers will want to make those screens capable of allowing people to connect with their friends and take advantage of the social context that comes along with that. Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose on Mercedes-Benz USA bringing Facebook to its cars. Figures $ 3 Million That s how much San Bernardino County, Calif., has agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit that blamed dangerous road conditions for a motorcycle crash that left a passenger with head and neck injuries. $ 54 Million Is the figure the California Department of Insurance says it recovered in 2011 for consumers through its consumer complaint investigations and market conduct examinations of insurance companies. 6 Is the number of businesses in Silverdale, Wash., destroyed by a fire that apparently started with an exploding light in a tanning bed. Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue says the fire spread through the building, which had no sprinklers. $532 Million That s how much whistleblowers earned in 2011 through lawsuits alleging fraud against the U.S. government, according to a law firm study published this month. January 23, 2012 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION 9

10 WEST COVERAGE People John Finston Jason Richardson Deborah Luthi Matt Davis John F. Finston has accepted an appointment to be deputy commissioner for Corporate & Regulatory Affairs at the California Department of Insurance. Finston was the head of SNR Denton s insurance regulation practice, with more than 30 years of experience in insurance regulatory, insolvency and transactional issues for insurance companies and their customers. Finston will serve as a top advisor to the Insurance Commissioner on issues related to state, federal and international oversight of insurance and reinsurance. He will also manage and lead the department s Corporate Affairs Bureau and will collaborate closely with the financial surveillance branch. Willis North America has named Jason Richardson as regional partner of Northern California. The appointment is effective immediately. Richardson will be based in San Francisco, Calif. Richardson will oversee Willis offices in Northern California and be responsible for business development across the region. He will focus on strategic planning, client service and retention, recruiting and staff development. Richardson joined Willis in 2009 and has more than 12 years of experience in the insurance industry. Richardson previously served as managing partner of Willis Colorado operations. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president at Beecher Carlson, and held leadership positions at Hilb Rogal & Hobbs. Willis provides employee benefits and risk management solutions. Willis of Northern California includes operations in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose and Concord. RIMS (the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc.) announced that Deborah M. Luthi will lead the society as president for the 2012 term. Luthi is the enterprise risk manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She has been a member of RIMS for nearly 32 years and on the board for 11 years. Previously Luthi served as vice president and board liaison to the society s finance committee and Spencer Educational Foundation committee. She is a member of RIMS Golden Gate Chapter; as well as RIMS Sacramento Valley Chapter, which she helped to cofound in Bend, Ore.-based RiskPoint Insurance Advisors, a commercial insurance agency, has named Matt Davis as director of employee benefits. Based in Portland, Ore., Davis works with clients nationwide. Davis has more than 20 years of insurance experience in capacities including customer service, medical management, sales and marketing. He has worked on the insurance carrier side and managed his own agency. Montana s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen has appointed Adam J. Schafer as her deputy commissioner and chief of staff. Schafer is a Billings native who most recently served as executive director for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators in Washington, D.C. He also served as secretary and then chief of staff for Democratic leaders in the state Senate during the 1999 and 2001 legislatures. Lindeen said that Schafer s legislative experience will help her office pass laws that improve consumer protection while ensuring that insurance and securities firms across the state can grow and create jobs. He replaces B.J. Hoven, who served as interim deputy commissioner since June. Hoven will remain as Lindeen s executive assistant. Safeco Insurance named Diane Mitchell as the company s new regional general manager for California. During her time at Safeco, Mitchell has held a variety of roles. Most recently, she led Seattle, Wash.-based Safeco s Seattle underwriting zone team, where she was responsible for all underwriting operations in support of the Northwest, Mountain and California regions Safeco sells insurance to drivers and homeowners through a network of independent agents and brokers in eight regions throughout the United States. Safeco is part of Liberty Mutual Agency Corp. Arizona-based national insurer Nautilus Insurance Group announced two promotions. Raymond J. Hall has been promoted to vice president of marketing. Hall joined Nautilus in 2009, most recently serving as assistant vice president for underwriting Central region. His background includes underwriting and managerial positions, specializing in commercial underwriting. Hall has 15 years of industry experience. Craig N. Williams has been promoted to vice president of underwriting Mountain region. Williams began his career at Nautilus in 2001, most recently serving as assistant vice president of underwriting Mountain region. His previous work experience includes various underwriting and managerial positions. Nautilus Insurance Group is comprised of Nautilus Insurance Co. and Great Divide Insurance Co., member companies of W. R. Berkley Corp. The excess and surplus and specialty lines carrier is located in Scottsdale, Ariz. 10 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

11 Lessor s Risk The Lessor s Risk insurance your clients need to cover any slip up. When it comes to Lessor s Risk coverage, Burns & Wilcox is the top banana. We offer coverage for virtually any tenant occupied building. Plus, our unlimited access to admitted and non-admitted markets means we offer the broadest protection possible. So remember, when it comes to Lessor s Risk, there s one company who never slips up Burns & Wilcox, the largest independent wholesale broker and underwriting manager burnsandwilcox.com

12 WEST COVERAGE Business Moves Bolton & Company, Pacific General Pasadena, Calif.-based Bolton & Company has acquired Pacific General Insurance Services, an independent insurance agency providing insurance services in the San Gabriel Valley area. As part of the transaction, Pacific General Insurance Services President Mike Martin will join Bolton & Company as senior vice president. Martin and his team will relocate to Bolton s Pasadena office. Bolton & Company is an employeeowned insurance broker agency providing clients with insurance and risk management services, employee benefits and financial products. As a partner of Assurex Global, Bolton employs over 120 insurance professionals and places over $200 million in annual premiums. UPA Insurance Brokers, Risk Strategies Millbrae, Calif.-based UPA Insurance Brokers has been acquired by Risk Strategies Co., a national insurance brokerage and risk management firm headquartered in Boston. Terms of the deal, which closed on Dec. 31, 2011, were not disclosed. UPA is an independent insurance agency specializing in commercial real estate, home owners associations, financial services, non-profits, and hospitality industries in Northern California. The transaction is RSC s third in the past year and its second recent acquisition in the real estate and homeowners association sector. The UPA staff will soon be co-located in RSC s San Mateo office, bolstering RSC s Bay Area operations. As part of the transaction, UPA principals John Uhl and Chris Palmer will join RSC and to help grow RSC s real estate, homeowners, non-profit and financial services practices. They will join the management team in RSC s Bay Area office. The rest of the UPA staff will become RSC employees. Builders & Tradesmen s, AmTrust Rocklin, Calif.-based Builders & Tradesmen s Insurance Services Inc. (BTIS) has been purchased by AmTrust Financial Services Inc. BTIS is an insurance wholesaler and general agent specializing in the procurement and brokering of insurance policies and bonds for small contractors. The company writes business in 12 western states. New York, N.Y.-based AmTrust is an insurance holding company, which, through its insurance carriers, offers specialty property and casualty insurance products, including workers compensation, commercial automobile and general liability. AIA, Hub The assets of Pullman, Wash.-based Associated Independent Agencies Inc. (AIA) have been acquired by Chicago, Ill.-based Hub International Ltd (Hub). Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The AIA operation will become part of Hub International Mountain States Limited (Hub Mountain), and Tom Lees, chairman, Mike Rydbom, president, and Les Ruhs, secretary, will join Hub Mountain. Lees will serve as a member of Hub Mountain s executive committee reporting to Tim Barnes, president of Hub Mountain. AIA is an independent brokerage in eastern Washington and western Idaho with 14 additional locations throughout the region that offers personal, commercial and employee benefits products. Hub provides property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services through offices in the United States, Canada and Brazil. Abram Interstate Abram Interstate Insurance Services has added a new carrier with the intent of providing competitive pricing and flexibility for hard-to-place accounts in California. Some of the products the new market will cover include roofing, grocery stores, remodeling contractors, alarm installation and carpet cleaning. The non-admitted carrier is rated A- by A.M. Best and will offer minimum premiums of $750. GL limits will be available up to $2 million per occurrence. Zero deducible and blanket additional insured coverage are both available. Waiver of subrogation and new ventures are also eligible. The Rocklin, Calif.-based Abram Interstate also sells products in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming. Abacus, Golden Bear Golden Bear Insurance Co. will be the carrier for an online residential earthquake deductible buyback program from Abacus Insurance Brokers Inc. The admitted program, distributed through the Los Angeles-based program manager, allows homeowners to reduce the deductibles on their existing earthquake policies to as low as 5 percent. The product is available in California to owners of single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes or fourplexes. 12 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

13 One-stop Shopping for Complex Insurance Coverage Many ways, one path. The traditional approach to creating and distributing insurance products and services might work for industries needing only commodity products, but there are numerous industries where insurance products demand a high-level of expertise, creativity and flexibility. Specialty insurance is one of those areas. At RSG, our focus is on specialty insurance for complex and unusual risks. We design and distribute products and services that create measurable value. That s why the RSG distribution platform consists of a select group of underwriting facilities, a Lloyd s specialty insurer and other services specifically for agents, brokers and insurers. Each RSG operation focuses on providing risk solutions in a distinct, challenging market niche that is under-served in today s market. While complexity surrounds us and finding the right insurance coverage for complex, unusual risks can be increasingly challenging we ve made it easy for you to access our expertise. We offer one-stop shopping and a direct path to specialty risk-transfer options globally. Whether it s renewable energy, large construction projects, public entities, allied healthcare, specialty consumer products, global property risks, media and technology or transactional M&A risks, you ll find the answer to your specialty insurance needs at RSG. For more information, contact RSG or any of the RSG companies at (855) or visit RSG Underwriting Managers, LLC, is a Delaware Series Limited liability company and a subsidiary of Ryan Specialty Group, LLC, specializing in providing underwriting management and other services to insurance companies, whose insurance products are distributed through agents and brokers. In California: RSG Insurance Services, LLC, Lic. #0E Jubilee Managing Agency Limited (Registered No ) is a managing agent for Syndicates 5820 and 779 at Lloyd s and is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority under reference number Ryan Specialty Group, LLC

14 WEST COVERAGE News & Markets Western Insurance Agents Roundtable: In Uncertain Economy, Change Is Certain By Don Jergler The economy, the promised-land of a hard insurance market and the need to master technologies dominated discussion at the first annual Insurance Industry Roundtable in Irvine, Calif. The daylong event was attended by 23 insurance industry professionals. It included three presentations and general roundtable style discussions on the state of the industry and where it s heading. Rancho Cordova, Calif.-based WIAA Education & Research Foundation plans to hold a similar roundtable each year. Alan Smith, president and CEO of WIAA, kicked off the meeting with some foreboding words and posed the question of the day. More WIAA Coverage More WIAA coverage on page 24: Insurance Exchanges: The World of Small to Rule the Big More WIAA coverage on page N11: Insurance Distribution Chain Transforms to Justify Value, Purpose There s tremendous uncertainty in the economy today, Smith said, adding that the most common refrain heard in the insurance industry is, Where s my hard market? Changing Market, Technology Among the presenters who endeavored to answer that question was Richard Kerr, founder and CEO of Dallas, Texasbased insurance exchange MarketScout. MarketScout, which has been tracking commercial insurance prices for several years, estimates that the industry has been in a soft market for more than six and one-half years. February 2005 is when we believe it turned, Kerr said. That was the beginning of the soft market, and things started ticking down. February 2005 is when we believe it turned. That was the beginning of the soft market, and things started ticking down. According to MarketScout s data, 2007 was the deepest portion of the soft market, and 2008 continued pretty much the same way, with things starting to moderate towards the end of And 2010, it just bumps around between 3, 4, and 5 percent, Kerr said, referring to movement of commercial insurance prices. So things are starting to settle back down. Into 2011, 5, 4, 3, 2, 0. We re flat for September and October. So that s where we find ourselves today is in a flattening market. Specifically, by industry class, for the most recent month, there were only two lines of business that were down. One was umbrellas, on a 90-day basis, were down 1 percent, and public entities were down 1 percent as well. Everything else was basically up, but when you measure it out, they were up or flat, comes out to be a 0 percent, he said. Different insurance companies have different thoughts on where the market is going and what we re turning to, but that s where we see it, and if I were to forecast it, I think rates are not going to go down any further, that we re basically where we need to be. Kerr said that market improvement may not be felt in every niche at the same time. One thing, without a doubt, then and especially today, there are micro economies. What s taking place with property in Florida is certainly different than property in Kansas City, or workers compensation in California is much different than it would be in continued on page INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

15 Sure, there are required moves. It s what you do beyond those that define you. We know because it s the beyond-the-policy things that have defined us. It s a unique perspective. A more personalized approach. Strength and continuity you can count on. Policy after policy. Claim after claim. Year after year. GreatAmericanInsuranceGroup.com Agriculture Construction Environmental Equine Excess & Umbrella Executive Liability Fidelity & Crime Financial Institutions Non Profits Ocean Marine Transportation Workers Compensation Great American Insurance Group Tower I 301 E. Fourth Street I Cincinnati, OH 45202

16 WEST COVERAGE News & Markets Roundtable, continued from page 14 Tennessee, he said. Kerr emphasized the need for insurance professionals to keep a close eye on technology, and what is cutting edge, what s that next, new, killer app [application] that s going to enable companies and agents to get ahead. Knowing, and even mastering, technology is even more important in a soft market, he said. Whenever you don t have any investment income, and that s cutting the margin 3, 4, 5 percent, everyone is looking for the next better deal, Kerr said. He said that some past technologies may even be worth watching. I think you re going to see some of those ideas that were a little bit fearful for retail agents and wholesale intermediaries, that may come back around again, because they were just too early and they ll come back and cycle back through, he said. Kerr said he thinks that other technology advances will help smaller retail agents compete and that exchanges like his, which he said has 35,000 users, will expand to play an even bigger role in distribution going forward. Consumer Challenge Michael Jans, president of Bend, Ore.- based Agency Revolution, addressed the latest wave in how technology is shaping consumer behavior and how this new wave could have advantages for local agencies that understand it. Jans said consumers have spoken about how they want to do business but too many in the insurance industry are out of touch with what their customers want or think changes in behavior are temporary or fleeting change. But they are real, according to Jans. I m here to talk about a shift change, a phase change, after which everything is different and nothing is the same, Jans said. So it s not cyclical behavior. I m talking about a change in consumer behavior that just doesn t go backwards anymore. The More Michael Jans Read more about Jans on marketing and technology on page 20. consumer leads everything. While the agents drive the insurance business, Jans said, consumers are now dictating how they wish to be communicated with, and this is creating a communication gap that independent insurance agents must narrow. The consumer has spoken about how they want to be communicated with and where they want to be communicated with, he said. Jans gave a historical look at insurance advertising and marketing, beginning with the Yellow Pages in 1886, when an agency s marketing obligations amounted to taking out an ad in that book once a year and social networking the old-fashioned way at Rotary Clubs and other gatherings. While the Internet changed the way of marketing for pretty much all industries in the early 1990s, over the last 10 years consumers changed the way that they communicate, and that has in turn changed how they relate to insurance industry and other industries, Jans said. But I m here to tell you that, for the most part, that is now old news. We re in the second wave of digital marketing, Jans said. He said the tipping point for this new wave of digital marketing has come this year, in He noted that the first new wave of change was reflected in the 2011 JD Power s insurance report that this year, for the first time in the survey s five-year history, found that a majority of new buyers of auto insurance initiated their policy purchase by applying for a rate quote online. According to that report, 54 percent of new policies were initiated online. Last year, there were roughly 39 million online insurance quote requests, or just over 106,000 online auto quote requests every day. I m not talking about cyclical behavior, where, Oh, that s OK, if we ride it out for another three or four years, everybody s going to go back to the Yellow Pages. No, they won t, said Jans. Over the last five years, the percentage of consumers buying auto policies online has been going up while the agency portion has been going down. Last year, there were 39 million online quotes issued, or more than 100,000 every single day, according to Jans. Where are these customers going? Geico, Progressive and Esurance.com get 71 percent of all online auto quote requests, he said. So, this is a very, very different industry, Jans added. The way that the consumer wants to communicate, the way the consumer wants to relate, it s different. Think about movies: Blockbuster versus Netflix. Think about books: Amazon versus Barnes & Noble. Think I m here to talk about a shift change, a phase change, after which everything is different and nothing is the same. about travel agents: an entire industry versus Travelocity. He said that when consumers were asked where they do their research on auto insurance, only 6 percent said that they go to the Yellow Pages now to find out about insurance, while 72 percent go online. While there are a significant number of auto policies purchased online, that s not the case in commercial lines. But that does not mean the Internet is unimportant for business insurance, according to Jans. He said a business owner is actually more likely to conduct more online research than a personal lines consumer. So what that means is the Internet really is the ultimate lead generator for commercial lines, Jans said. That s where the consumer comes from. Face-to-face customer relationships are still key in commercial lines, but technology has rapidly changed that sector, too, and is continued on page INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

17

18 WEST COVERAGE News & Markets Roundtable, continued from page 16 continuing to change it, according to Jans. In addition to our Irvine headquarters, we are also servicing our retail agency base from San Diego, Napa and Inland Empire offices. Founded in 1987, we have expanded our products to provide Property, Casualty, Professional Liability, Commercial Auto/Garage, Marine and Inland Marine. Our goal is to continue to impress you with our professionalism, our service and our quality admitted and non-admitted markets for: Apartments/HOAs Builders Risk Business Office Packages Commercial Auto Commercial Marine Contractors General Liability Marine Coverage Packages Personal Lines Personal Umbrella Comprehensive Personal Liability Professional Liability D&O E&O EPL Property Restaurants & Taverns And More With more quality markets and a crew of seasoned professionals, R.E. Chaix has more to offer. Call us today. New Wave 2.0 Jans said the first wave of consumer behavior involved using the personal computer and Internet for research and shopping. But now, in the second wave, consumers are using mobile devices and more sophisticated search tools. The first wave was the PC: Oh, I can have this little box on my desk, and I can do research and I can explore things and I can get quote requests and so on and so forth. Now, people are using their smartphones, Timothy Chaix, President he said. While the second wave is characterized by the mobility and speed that devices afford consumers, it is also marked by changes by consumer search engines like Google that potentially could turn the tide in favor of local businesses including independent agents over large firms, Jans said. Jans said there has been a significant change in Google s attitude toward consumer search, in which the Mountain View, So what that means is the Internet really is the ultimate lead generator for commercial lines. That s where the consumer comes from. Calif.-based technology giant recently changed its search algorithm to deliver fewer ad-driven results and more results that the individual consumer wants. Google s updated algorithm, called Panda, was launched at the end of February. It and other recent updates have been aimed at delivering quality, consumerfriendly search results that give increasing importance to locality, according to search engine watchers. So it used to be that the results that they delivered really rewarded large, Jans said. So, in other words, if you typed in insurance, pretty much all you were going to get in the old days was Geico, Progressive, so on and so forth. But now those results favor local results. So, you know that if you type in dry cleaner, you re going to get local dry cleaners, and if you type in restaurant, you re going to get local restaurants, Jans said. If continued on page 22 R.E. Chaix & Associates I N S U R A N C E B R O K E R S Irvine, California: (949) (800) FAX: (949) Napa, California: (707) (888) FAX: (707) Rancho Cucamonga, California: (909) FAX: (909) San Diego, California: (858) Fax: (858) CA Lic # On the Web Read more WIAA coverage online: Insurance Buyers Choice: Bigger Premium or Bigger Risk at /news/national/2012/01/06/ htm. Watch videos from WIAA conference at 18 INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

19 Let s talk market opportunities. If you re an independent agent looking for markets, us your program ideas so we can work with our carriers to develop them. We re one of the largest GA s in the country offering personal and commercial programs with top rated insurance companies. Learn more at ArrowheadGrp.com. GROW with us CA License #

20 WEST COVERAGE News & Markets Insurance Marketing New Basics: Go Mobile By Don Jergler Be careful if you ask Michael Jans, president of Bend, Ore.-based Agency Revolution, about marketing. He may throw the Yellow Pages at you. Jans isn t a temperamental thug, he s just passionate about talking about how much marketing in the insurance industry has changed from when agents took out an annual advertisement in the local phone directory to a fast-moving, social-media-savvy world where things change about as often as some people can Tweet, add a LinkedIn contact and update their Facebook walls. He calls this age we are in the second wave of digital marketing. Jans described the insurance industry formerly as a place where you could make a good living and still play golf on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, and as a place where the main theme of marketing was to advertise in the insurance section of the Yellow Pages, and you could hang around the Rotary and the service clubs and you could get away with that. He added, As long as you were a decent networker, that was a good way to generate leads. Now, we ve got mega competitors that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars, over a billion dollars between GEICO, Progressive Direct on the personalized side, trying to take our customers away from us. The Internet has transformed industries like video sellers and book sellers and the travel agent industry. Now it s affecting us, Jans said. We re now in the second wave of digital marketing, and what I mean by that is best summed up by what the CEO of Google said when he said in 2012, 50 percent of all searches will be mobile. Today s Customer Yesterday Today s customer understands the value of doing research on the Internet before buying, something they started doing 10 years ago, and unfortunately, this industry if far, far behind, Jans added. He described this Internet effect as the first wave of transformation in marketing planning and technology. During the first wave, web search engine giant Google yielded searches for large companies, and advertisers, at the top of results, giving small, local companies a low search rankings that were often several pages down. But the most recent Google algorithm updates the latest wave of changes to Google s algorithm are called Panda now tend to reward local, Jans noted. Well, that gives the insurance agent an advantage, but they do need to have the tools and need to have the training in order to take advantage of that, he said. And what tools would those be? They need the skills to be able to take advantage of getting ratings. They need the skills to take advantage of getting their five-star reviews. But they also need the technology. So they need a digital marketing system that does a lot of that work for them, Jans said, acknowledging a lot of those tools are first wave stuff. For a hint of Jans second wave, think mobile. We re now in the second wave of digital marketing, and what I mean by that is best summed up by what the CEO of Google said when he said in 2012, 50 percent of all searches will be mobile. Ninety percent of the adult population own smart phones, 85 percent of children own smart phones. Thirty-five percent of the population read their smart phone before they get out of bed. Jans noted the difference between the intent of an Internet search on a desktop or laptop versus a mobile device. When people search on their mobile phone for anything, including insurance, they re not there to surf, he said. They re not there to spend a lot of time on research. They re not there to spend a lot of time reading. All of those things are rewarded by the marketer when they use the Internet on a PC. But, on a smartphone, what the consumer wants is clarity. They want simplicity. They want ease of use and they want to fulfill a purpose. Research shows that people across all generations are increasingly using mobile phones to surf the Internet, and do research business owners, and personal lines customers included, according to Jans, who cited recent JD Power research showing the majority of new personal lines applications were initiated online, and that online customer acquisition is rising. continued on page INSURANCE JOURNAL-WEST REGION January 23, 2012

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