Fireman’s Fund Insurance Aims to Expand Beyond Niche Markets

By | June 22, 2009

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., based in Novato, Calif., is planning on expanding its product lines to reach a broader customer base, according to company executives.

In an exclusive interview with Insurance Journal, Mike LaRocco, CEO of Fireman’s Fund, and Eleanor Barnard, chief distribution, sales and marketing officer, said new product launches will help independent agents bring more value to their customers. Products will target the middle market, general market American needs, they said.

For instance, in the personal insurance area, Fireman’s Fund historically has been known for its affluent, high-net worth protection. “The protection that those individuals needs is very niched,” Barnard said. But the company has been developing a general market strategy to create personal insurance products for home coverage, auto coverage, incidental coverages, umbrella coverages, that average Americans need. That way, those middle market consumers could have access to a competitive insurance product without having to pay additional premiums for the special protections that affluent customers purchase, she explained.

“We are going to bring the Fireman’s Fund product out into the market very differently so that customers, policyholders, don’t pay for coverages they don’t need,” she said.

The same general market strategy is being applied to commercial products as well, Barnard added. While the company specializes in certain niches like entertainment, it hopes to apply its expertise so agents can write more stand-alone products.

For example, “if someone were to ask us what our workers’ compensation insurance strategy is in the state of Illinois, [in the past] we’d say, ‘what industry is it in?'” Barnard said. “Now, we’ll be able to look at a product and know in what state, what stand-alone products we could also write,” she said, noting that to sell workers’ comp coverage, for instance, the product would not need to be tied to a vertical niche like entertainment.

“But just because we will be able to do workers’ compensation as a stand-alone or property coverage as a stand-alone, does not mean we’re giving up on the niche that we have the expertise in,” Barnard added.

The company executives said they would be communicating the new product information to agents/brokers as they are rolled out.

For more on Insurance Journal’s interview with LaRocco and Barnard, see the June 1, 2009, issue.

Topics Workers' Compensation

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