How Producers Build Up Construction Insurance Business

By | January 5, 2006

Insurance producers land new accounts every day. But successfully building a solid block of business from one new account does not happen every day, particularly in the field of construction insurance.

Dave Sinclair of Sinclair Group in Wallingford, Conn., remembers his first construction account well since it was only about six years ago. It was a plumber contract with a premium of about $70,000. Today, Sinclair’s agency writes about $25 million in construction related premiums; that’s about 35 percent of his total business.

Sinclair is one of six construction insurance producers from across the country who share their stories of how they built their business and offer advice for producers looking to get into the construction insurance arena in the Jan. 2, 2006, issue of Insurance Journal magazine.

Her father and grandfather were general contractors, so going to work for an insurance agency that specialized in construction risk was a natural move, recalls Melody S. Peevy, now a partner with the Dallas, Texas-based Waldman Bros. She still works with accounts that originated in 1980. The insurance agency has grown by growing with its customers and becoming involved in the construction community.

“It’s definitely a referral business. Once you get to know a few contractors, they are all too happy to introduce you. It’s a tight knit community much like the insurance industry,” Peevy says.

Also sharing their stories and advice are Rubin Alspector, senior vice president at Kornreich/NIA in New York; Lisa Heppler of Wick Pilcher Insurance Inc. in Phoenix; Charles Comiskey senior vice president of Brady, Chapman, Holland & Associates Inc. in Houston; and Tony Martely of Elliott, McKiever & Stowe Inc., Florida.

Merging with a larger agency, belonging to the RiskProNet organization of construction insurance agents, adding surety bond operations – agents took these and other steps to build their construction business.

But they stress that nothing is more important than knowing the insurance contracts and markets that are unique in the construction industry.

“Absolutely learn all you can about the particular ins and outs. There are pitfalls in the coverages and in the marketplace and you must know all you can before talking to prospects or you’re going to be embarrassed,” advises Kornreich/NIA’s Alspector.

The Jan. 2 issue of Insurance Journal also reports on current markets for construction risks, takes a closer look at risk management for restaurants and compares the new federal terrorism risk insurance program with the old.

Insurance Journal magazine is published in five regional editions with each regional edition carrying state and local news in addition to the national stories.

The regional Jan. 2 issues include reports on workers’ compensation in Florida, California, Montana, Connecticut and Maine; a meeting of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia recent; the insurance effect of sinkholes in Tennessee; the wind versus rain debate on the Gulf Coast; movement on the labor law and price controls in New York; the latest on auto rates and reforms in Massachusetts; medical malpractice subsidies and horse stable owners’ liability in Pennsylvania; Midwest earthquake faults and the Midway Airport plane crash; finding the right person for the job, then “selling”
the agency; and agents request assistance from carriers while the insurance department launches a mediation program in Louisiana. Plus, the industry goes to school as more universities offer insurance degrees and programs.

The Jan. 2 print edition of Insurance Journal is in the mail this week to more than 40,000 insurance agencies around the country. For more information or subscribe, visit

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