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Tax Reform a Concern for Insurance Industry

Composition of U.S. Business Forms

Study shows hefty marginal tax rate burden on "pass-through" business. In some states that segment of the economy is seeing rates as high as 50 percent.

Insurance Spotlight10


Looking Forward to Great Advice

Wednesday October 9, 2013

I love using axioms or cliches in a story.

An axiom, according to Dictionary.com, is a self-evident truth that requires no proof. The website defines a cliche as a trite, stereotyped expression.

Neither is considered part of a good writing routine, but they work well when you're trying to show that the opposite of what is common practice or understanding is actually true.

When interviewing Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the global insurance practice at J.D. Power, just such an axiom came to mind, which happened to be pretty cliché back in the day, and it referred to "stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime."

And that's just what some insurance agents may be doing by casting out their nets for the big fish instead of mining for customers who may be easier sells right now, and who may be better customers in the future.

Bowler spoke about insuring renters, a segment many agents with their sights set on higher commissions tend to overlook because of measly couple of hundred bucks brining in a typical renter means to them.

Bowler noted that these renters represent much more.

They represent future income. Many of those renters will be come homeowners, boat owners, business owners, multiple vehicle owners, and they'll likely want to insure those assets with a source they can trust.

There is also an abundance of these potential customers. According to Bowler the adoption rate for rental insurance varies from 43 percent to 58 percent across the U.S. That takes nearly half or more of the the "I already have it" retorts an agent is likely to get when asking renters for their business.

So go ahead and step over that dollar to pick up that dime, which will be worth more in the future. It's a concept, to borrow from another grossly overused cliche, that could represent a paradigm shift in the way sales people think.

Figuring It All Out

Wednesday September 18, 2013
There's plenty of technobabble, industry jargon and new stuff we all have to learn.

I have trouble cutting through all the acronyms in the insurance industry, which includes names of programs, designations at the end of people's titles and the names of myriad insurance associations.

But with technology, the importance of keeping up and figuring out what new gadgets, software and apps will be useful, can not be overstated. It impacts the bottom-line and can save, or waste, ever-precious and ever-fleeting time.

And what works for one, let's say insurance agent, who needs to respond to his clients quickly, may not work for a claims adjuster, who may be required to communicate in long and accurate emails to her superior.

Read more about insurance and technology.

I was looking for a portable device with plenty of screen room and considered Sony's VAIO Tap 20, which is among a new class of hybrid desktop systems.

About.com Guide Mark Kyrnin writes that the 20-inch display is below the 1080p high definition video level and less than most desktop screens, but the speed of system is a bit "faster than the other hybrid all-in-ones currently available."

If you're like me, and you're always trying to get a lot done in a short time, speed is a top consideration. I thought about speed when I purchased my Samsung Galaxy III smartphone.


Drought and a Hard Market

Wednesday September 18, 2013
Following are two things you should know about the spate of droughts across the U.S.

No. 1: Droughts have intensified in the summer of 2013 and are likely to maintain their severity, or get worse, according to the September monthly outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

No. 2: More severe losses from natural catastrophes are a large component of the formula that leads to a hard market, in which insurers, not buyers, are the sought after party.

Insurance is Cyclical

Like other industries, the insurance industry is cyclical, with hard market and soft market cycles lasting between two and 10 years.

Following a prolonged soft market in the insurance industry, some experts believe the market began to harden in 2011 or 2012.


Census Brings Good News

Wednesday September 18, 2013
A little good news can go a long way, especially in a slowly recovering economy in which investors, businesses and consumers lately seem to be as ready to pounce on as a kitten with a ball of yarn.

And if you sell homeowners or auto insurance, get ready to purr.

A slew of what appears to be very good data has emerged from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau on July 10 released data from May for sales of merchant wholesalers showing they were up 1.6 percent to $424.6 billion from a revised level a month earlier and were up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

The data, which does not include manufacturers' sales branches and offices and is adjusted for seasonal variations and trading-day differences, bodes well those in the automotive lines.

Sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies rose 3.0 percent from April to May, the monthly report shows.

A day after that good news a Census report came out showing the median price ofhomes purchased rose 2.3 percent to $110,000 from a survey in 2009. The statistics come from the Census' American Housing Survey and are sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A HUD executive outlined the importance of the data.


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