If you’re an agent or broker trying to land a program carrier, it’s one thing to have an in-force program with lots of history and experience data, but how do you market yourself to a carrier if you’re building a program from scratch?
Attendees at the Target Markets Midyear Meeting in Baltimore, Md., considered that question and gained some valuable insights from Lois Massa, Programs Leader at GE Insurance Solutions. Massa has been building and managing program relationships with managing general agents for 10 years. She told agents what they need to do to get the attention of carriers and how to build their program or niche.
“As a carrier providing capacity to a number of programs we look at the overall quality of the information submitted,” said Massa.
Massa told agents that when submitting a proposal to a carrier, it’s best to start with an executive summary and short overview of the program or niche to gauge the carrier’s interest. Then follow with a complete package of data and information.
According to Massa, the most important information to submit is:
– Currently valued loss runs with an independent actuarial study
– Detailed comments on large losses including efforts to mitigate future losses
– Commentary on frequency-type losses
– Exposure base and corresponding premiums for last five years
– Profile of agency management
– Information on staff retention and development
– Association membership and endorsements
If the submission is for a new program without historical data, the submission should include industry results (from ISO and other sources) and exposure details for the proposed book.
“Carriers also want to review an agent or broker’s underwriting guidelines and how they handle exceptions to the guidelines,” Massa advised. “It’s also important to demonstrate how you conduct portfolio analysis and audits and the findings of those audits.”
Massa said that if the program is new and the program administrator is looking for in-house underwriting authority, the focus should be on the underwriting expertise of the underwriting team and the proposed underwriting guidelines.
“Essentially you need to evidence both your knowledge of the industry as well as your underwriting capabilities,” she said.
In summary, Massa said agents should remain focused on four key areas when pitching their program or niche to an insurance carrier:
– Understand your niche and your industry.
– Have detailed, quality account data.
– Know your competition.
– Provide a strong business plan.