All posts with tag: UIG

“Pin-ups” have taken a whole new form! Pinterest and you.

Pinterest. We’ve all heard of it — a platform to visually catalogue and share fun and interesting things from all over the web. As insurance professionals, though, why would we want to use it? Or, better yet, how can an insurance agency build a presence on a website that appreciates DIY crafts and innovative recipes?

Before we answer that question, we have a confession to make: UIG does not have a Pinterest page.

Not because we do not see the value, but, at this time, we have opted to focus on other social media outlets including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We believe if you don’t have the resources to maintain your social media outlet with fresh relevant content, it’s best not to start. It’s better to do a few things well than to do a lot of things halfway.

pinitWith this being said, we feel Pinterest could be a powerful tool for agents. That’s why we’ve tapped our PR consultant and other agents who are using this social media tool to provide food-for-thought.

Now, back to business … If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, here’s a primer.

Pinterest:

an online bulletin board where users choose images to “pin” to their boards, along with a brief description. Just as with Facebook and Twitter, people can follow others’ boards.

Pin or Pinning:

the act of adding a picture to a Pinterest board. The visuals can come from a variety of sources — such as websites or personal photos.

Board or Pinboard:

A posting page or area for pinners to post and re-pin images to allow other Pinterest users to view their images. It is fully editable, and you can create multiple boards.

Pinners:

the collective term for Pinterest users.

Why be interested in Pinterest? How about…

  • As of February, Pinterest has 110 million regular users.
  • 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, not brands.
  • Pinterest shoppers are spending significantly more per checkout averaging between $140-$180 per order compared with consistent $80 and $60 orders for Facebook and Twitter shoppers, respectively.
  • U.S. consumers who use Pinterest follow an average of 9.3 retailers on the site.
  • 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from Pinterest.
  • Pinterest accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic.
  • Average activity of popular pinners is 2,757 pins; 35 boards; following 355.
  • Businesses have more success on Pinterest when they post five times a day.

So it’s clearly worthwhile to have a presence on Pinterest. But how?

Let’s be honest — insurance information and tips aren’t exactly the most viral content on the Internet. But like all sales professionals, insurance agents need to build relationships. When used strategically and with sensitivity to what users of the site find appealing, Pinterest can be one more way for you to connect with potential clients.

In speaking with some of our UIG clients, a couple of very simple tips that worked for them in getting started were to 1) take a look at boards created by other insurance/brokers, taking note of what you like and don’t like as a basis to start your board and 2) create your own personal board or company introductory board. Whether you’re an owner operator or work as part of a larger agency, you still need to create rapport and trust before launching into your business spiel.

Beyond these steps:

Show that you’re more than a business.

Do use a business logo for your board’s user icon, and then assign someone in your office to be responsible for monitoring and posting to your account. By adding a name and a face to your board, you’re making it clear that there’s a real person behind your account.

Know the target audience.

You won’t find older baby boomer males here. More than 70 percent of Pinterest users are in the 25 – 34 age range and female. The same women looking for recipes and decorating tips are business decision makers that use Pinterest to research company service needs as well. So you want to be sure your pins cater to the commercial segments you service, but also the demographic that’s viewing your content.

Create original content.

If you have an artistic streak or access to someone who does, think about what images might appeal to your target audience and create them. You can also develop images that creatively display the title of an article on your company’s blog that would be of interest to potential customers. Find a way to subtly add your company’s name and website to the image, so that you can be sure people can still find you as your image gets shared. Once you put the time and effort in to creating your own image, you can also share it on your blog and Facebook accounts. It’s always good to create content that can work across multiple channels.

Know the rules of the game

A potential problem that anyone pinning images on Pinterest must be made aware of is that legally, you need to obtain permission from the owner of an image before you use it. Of course, many casual, personal users ignore this formality, but businesses are more likely to come under scrutiny and should abide by the law so as to not leave the company vulnerable. Either make sure an image is in the public domain or reach out to obtain permission.

Now lets get to work. Here are a few ideas for creating boards and populating them.

Pin your blogs.

When doing so, make sure your blog posts have at least one graphic in them as we discussed in “create original content.”

Pin your personality.

In addition to product and service information, be sure to include information about interests outside of the business, employee activities, special achievements, community events, etc.

Toot your horn.

Invite clients to handwrite a testimonial and then snap a picture. Pin away.  Or, snap a picture of happy customers (with their permission of course) and type their testimonial in the picture’s description.

Industry related resources and articles.

Create a board of your favorite insurance resources, such as a trade association like PIA, Big I or your state department of insurance. You can also create a resource board of all of your Insurance-related articles from other sources in one place.

Referrals.

Pin information about trusted partners, including clients that you work with. Your referral could result in business referrals generated for you.

Hopefully we’ve given you some food for thought and unraveled some of the mystery of Pinterest.

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Garage Liability or Garagekeepers? Part I

Garage liability? Garagekeepers? Do you know the difference between these terms? If not, you’re not alone. They tend to be confusing, at best. Not only for your clients, but for most agents and CSRs as well.

In a nutshell, the difference between garage liability coverage and garagekeepers coverage is the difference between liability insurance and physical damage insurance. The first covers the insured’s liability for operations and autos, and the other covers damage to customers’ vehicles. All garage risks need both coverages to properly insure their loss exposures. The basics apply to dealerships as well as service risks.

Think of it this way:

A customer who purchased a vehicle from your client brings it back to the lot with a mechanical issue. A mechanic takes the vehicle for a test drive to see what’s going on, and in the process, hits another vehicle. He totaled the other vehicle and injured its driver. He also totaled the customer’s car he was test-driving.

The other vehicle and its driver are covered by the garage liability policy. The customer’s vehicle is covered by the garagekeeepers.

Now, while this seems pretty cut and dried, the intricacies in the different forms, wording and interpretations is where confusion can set in.

For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to take a little deeper dive into garage liability. We’ll do the same for garagekeepers in Part II of this series.

Garage Liability

Garage liability insurance is an absolute necessity for your auto clients.

By the very definition of garage liability, the coverage is, in a sense, the equivalent of combining a business auto form with a commercial general liability form, including products and completed operations. Although the “Garage Coverage Form, CA 00 05,” has been revised several times, the basic architecture hasn’t changed.

Section II of the form is broken into two parts: garage operations other than covered autos, and garage operations covered autos.

The intent of the policy is to cover bodily injury or property damage caused by an accident arising out of garage operations. The policy defines garage operations as the ownership, maintenance or use of locations for garage business. It also includes the ownership, maintenance or use of the autos. The types of autos covered are defined in Section I, but for an auto dealer, you typically cover all owned autos, as well as non-owned autos used in the garage business (normally vehicles being worked on or stored).

The definition broadens the scope of coverage by adding a “catch-all” phrase. It states: “Garage operations also include all operations necessary or incidental to a garage business.” This wording is often open to interpretation by insuring carriers.

Auto

Also consider the definition of auto. This definition is simpler but still broad. The policy states, “Auto means a land motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer.” Unlike the CGL and business auto forms, there’s no reference to the auto being licensed for use on public roads, the number of wheels, mobile equipment or anything else.

Insureds

Insureds for covered autos include the named insured, permissive users, and anyone liable for the acts of an insured. Insureds do not include the owner of a borrowed or hired auto, employees while using employee owned vehicles, someone working in an auto business, dealer’s customers (unless they have no available insurance) or a partner while using a vehicle owned by the partner. Insureds for the garage operations other than autos include the named insured, and the named insured’s partners, employees, directors or shareholders while acting within the scope of their duties.

Exclusions

Now, for the exclusions. Excluded from coverage would be: expected or intended injury, contractual liability (except “insured contracts”), workers compensation, employee indemnification and employer’s liability, fellow employee, leased autos (except autos rented to customers when servicing their vehicles), as well as care, custody or control. Also excluded from coverage is: pollution, racing, watercraft or aircraft, defective products, work you performed, loss of use, products recall, war, and liquor liability. Note “personal injury” or “advertising injury” coverages would have to be added by endorsement.

Pay close attention to Exclusion No. 7 – the care, custody or control exclusion. It excludes property damage involving: (d) Property in the insured’s care, custody or control. Reading that exclusion, it becomes obvious that there is a problem with the customers’ vehicles. Any vehicle left with the garage business for repair, storage or even involved on a simple test drive is not covered based on this exclusion. Keep in mind that third-party claims caused by the customer’s vehicle are covered, while the vehicle itself is not.

Stay tuned for Part II: Garagekeepers. In the meantime, if you have questions or would like to submit a submission, send a message to info@uigusa.com or call 800.385.9978.

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The Five Senses of Selling

Hearing

What motivates you to sell? Beyond the pay check and being a core element of the job? Some sell because they want to purchase that lake house or new sports car, while some are energized by the competition. And then there are those who thrive on using their expertise to help others with coverage and rate.

Have you ever thought about using your five senses to give you an edge in selling? Neither had we until we ran across a blog written by James Dougherty, CIC, with the Allwood Forlenza Agency in Clifton, N.J. We’re sharing highlights from James’ blog as a little food-for-thought to increase your sales productivity:

1. Sight

See every opportunity for what it really is. Don’t get discouraged when sale opportunities that appear to be a sure thing, aren’t. When you have an accommodating prospect, know that it’s likely that prospect has shopped before. Make sure you look closely at every opportunity, pre-qualifying so you don’t waste your valuable sales time.

During your prospect and client visits, make appropriate eye contact. Good eye contact can help you establish trust and rapport, but inappropriate eye contact can turn off prospects, resulting in fewer sales. Let your approach be calm, relaxed, and natural. If your eyes are too intense, the prospect will become uncomfortable. 

2. Hearing

Sales are made by those who are effective listeners. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your listening skills:

  • Wait to offer solutions until you hear all of the client’s needs. As the prospects get more comfortable talking to you, the most pressing need may be the last one they mention.
  • Focus on the prospect and what is said more than on what you’re going to say next. Clients want to feel as though they are driving the sales process, not you. Respond to what they say with another question.
  • Be a note-taker. It helps you concentrate on what is being said and demonstrates to clients and prospects that you care about their concerns. 

3. Smell

Know the pitfalls of accounts that have an unfavorable scent, such as poor loss results, physical deterioration and a mentality that price is all that matters.

You may choose to walk away from the account’s smell or tackle the odor head-on through various risk management techniques. Some of the best opportunities and most appreciative clients are the ones whose distracting aroma is turned into a fine fragrance through your dedication and effort. 

4. Touch

Reach out and effectively touch the prospect. Each insurance buyer is not the same, nor are their needs. Some prospects want guidance, others want professional service, some want the lowest price and still others need help with insurance issues such as audits and engineering.

How many personal contacts are you making on new accounts before your presentation meeting? How many times are you in contact with accounts during the policy year? Experts debate the type and quantity of touches that are needed, but all agree that staying in touch is essential to sales success and proper account retention.

Create a plan for each account that includes a specific number of touches. For existing clients, the number should be more than the renewal update meeting and the proposal visit. For prospects, it should be more than the first introductory fact-finding meeting and the proposal appointment. Some tips include:

  • Avoid multitasking when visiting. Turn your phone to vibrate. You may think having phone interruptions makes you look busy and impressive, but in reality it affects the importance you put on that specific client.
  • Avoid saying “I’ll be in your area, and I’d like to stop by.” Make the prospect or client feel special that you traveled to their area just to see them.

5. Taste

Put some, if not all, of these ideas into practice. Work hard making excellence your signature for each account. Doing so will permit you to taste the sweet victory of sales success. Bon appetit!

 

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There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Although we look forward to the summer weather, when it comes to liability, the warmer months are not always fun in the sun. The season can bring with it some particular challenges that your clients will want to be mindful of.

Workers’ compensation

We’re all aware that Worker’s comp provides coverage for a business if an employee is injured while and because that employee is working. However, the same rules do not apply for a summer event. An injury that occurs while an employee is voluntarily participating in an employer-sponsored athletic event or team generally is not compensable. Should litigation arise from an injury incurred during a social event, the outcome in that context will depend upon factors such as the extent to which the employer sponsors, controls or participates in the activity or whether the employer requires participation.

We’re not recommending that a business not hold special summer activities as they can contribute to improvement in employee health and morale. We are saying, it’s important to help your clients understand the extent to which their Worker’s compensation coverage protects them and the instances that it does not.

Harassment

Summer parties, particularly where alcohol is served, can be the cause of claims of sexual and other forms of harassment. Employers should think through how summer parties will be conducted and might consider a harassment refresher before the event. Not to mention reviewing their liquor liability coverage and possibly securing employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). This coverage can help protect a business and the business owner from litigation resulting from improper workplace behavior, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination.

Unpaid interns

Interns can bring significant value to a company. The balance, though, is that companies must exercise caution and be careful to ensure that there is a clear difference between an intern and a regular, compensated employee. Otherwise, business owners could be looking at several unexpected expenses.

The circumstances under which a business can utilize “unpaid interns” or “volunteers” are very limited. As with independent contractors, simply classifying individuals as “unpaid” or “volunteer” doesn’t mean that’s what they actually are.

Even if a college student agrees to the terms of an unpaid internship, it does not mean that they can’t later come back and seek unpaid wages after the internship is complete. And, if the environment in which they were working doesn’t meet certain criteria, they could win their argument because of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations.

Generally, an internship position may be unpaid if six criteria are satisfied:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and, on occasion, the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

These criteria, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, are good guideposts for employers to follow, although individual states may have their own unique requirements.

Although our minds may tend to go on summer vacation, proper insurance coverage never should. Doing a little seasonal “legwork” to help ensure insurance policies are keeping pace with client activities can make all the difference.

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