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Thursday, August 25, 2016

4 Keys to Survival for the Insurance Producer of Tomorrow

By Todd McCredie, President of McCredie Insurance in Flint, Michigan, on behalf of Vertafore

Past, Present and Future

Our industry is going through significant changes. We know this. To understand where we’re headed and just how much progress we’ve made, it helps to step back in time and look at the evolution of insurance and the agency.

Close your eyes and think back to the moment your office first installed a computer. It performed simple, basic functions. (Remember that boxy green screen?)

Fast forward to 2016. Now, my agency is almost exclusively paperless. My producers are in the field, tablet in hand.

Step into the world of the future insurance professional. The adoption of flexible technology has helped you overcome the increasing number of challenges you face including emerging competition. You have a website. You have a management system. Doesn't the future look promising?

Read more about the past, present and future of the insurance agency.

4 Steps to Stop Reacting and Start Anticipating

  1. Focus on becoming experts at specific tools rather than being mediocre at everything.
  2. Lead your team. Practice, train, and find what works, then share what you’ve learned with the rest of the team and how it’s helped you find success.
  3. Become a student of emerging influencers and companies (how are they different, what are some of the interesting tools and offerings they have?). You don’t need to follow what everyone else is doing, but staying aware of how the industry is changing is important.
  4. Embrace change early. The earlier your team begins dealing with some of the pain points of new methods and tools, the sooner they’ll start to get comfortable and build new habits.
Learn more about the four keys to survival for the insurance producer of tomorrow.

For best practices and detailed research about how you can better manage your employees, download Vertafore's free e-book: Better Manage Your Agency's Most Valuable Asset.

Vertafore delivers cloud-based insurance software and services that transform the business of insurance. With the largest customer-base in the industry, more than 20,000 agencies and carriers leverage Vertafore’s insurance solutions that are built on today’s most advanced cloud, mobile, and information technology platforms. Learn more and contact Vertafore.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ABA: Proposed Arbitration Rule Not in Public Interest

ABA and other trade groups yesterday urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau not to move forward with its proposed rule on arbitration, arguing that the rule is not in the public interest, does not protect consumers, and is inconsistent with the bureau’s own study of arbitration of consumer financial products and services.

By prohibiting customers from waiving their ability to participate in class action suits, the proposed rule would permanently increase the number of class action lawsuits by the thousands and raise legal costs by up to $5.2 billion over five years, according to the bureau’s own estimates. Many banks include mandatory arbitration clauses in their credit card and deposit account agreements in order to manage the unpredictable costs of class action lawsuits.

“It is consumers who will truly suffer if the proposed rule becomes final,” ABA and the other groups said. “As taxpayers, they will pay for the increased costs to the court systems required to handle the...additional class actions. As litigants, they will suffer increased court backlogs that long delay resolution of their cases. As customers of the providers, they will be saddled with higher prices and/or reduced services, because the billions of dollars in additional class action litigation costs will be passed through to them in whole or in part.”

With arbitration likely to disappear under the rule, ABA said, the CFPB would also impose burdens on customers whose claims cannot be resolved through class actions, instead requiring them to go to court for minor, non-systemic disputes. As ABA has noted on multiple occasions, the bureau’s own study found that arbitration is fair, as well as “faster, more economical and more beneficial to consumers than class action litigation.”

In a separate letter, the American Bankers Insurance Association emphasized that the CFPB lacks authority to impose rules on “policy loans,” which are part of the business of insurance and regulated at the state level.

Read the joint comment letter.

Read ABIA's comment letter.

For more information, contact Sarah Ferman.

Friday, August 19, 2016

ABIA Hosts Compliance Webinar on Fighting Financial Crimes: How to Comply with AML, BSA, CIP OFAC Requirements

Yesterday, the American Bankers Insurance Association (ABIA) hosted a compliance webinar on Fighting Financial Crimes: How to Comply with AML, BSA, CIP OFAC Requirements. Chrys Lemon, McIntyre & Lemon and Jim Sivon, Barnett Sivon and Natter discussed how to reduce and eliminate money laundering, federal law requires financial institutions, including insurance companies to establish anti-money laundering (AML) programs. While insurance agents and brokers are not directly required to have AML programs, insurance companies are required to integrate agents and brokers into their AML programs. The webinar identified what types of products must be covered by an AML program and also provided an overview of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/AML requirements, including Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) requirements, Customer Identification Programs (CIP), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations. The webinar also review the new FinCEN rules on customer due diligence requirements.

View the presentation.

Download the recording.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

FDIC Announces Relief for Louisiana Banks After Severe Storms

The FDIC yesterday announced steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of Louisiana affected by recent severe weather. The FDIC is encouraging banks to work constructively with borrowers experiencing difficulties beyond their control because of damage caused by the severe weather and flooding. It will also consider regulatory relief from certain filing and publishing requirements.

Read more.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trades Ask Congress to Rein in CFPB’s Overreach

The American Bankers Insurance Association and several other trade associations yesterday wrote to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), encouraging him to include language in his Financial Choice Act that would clarify an exemption provided in the Dodd-Frank Act for state-regulated insurance products. The exemption was intended to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from directly overseeing “any person regulated by a state insurance regulator that is engaged in the business of insurance,” the groups said.

The associations pointed out that there are already robust state laws in place to govern insurance products and ensure consumer protection and that insurance commissioners are effectively overseeing insurers within each state. They expressed concerns that the CFPB has overstepped its regulatory bounds through various enforcement actions targeting state-regulated insurance products, such as extended auto warranties and GAP insurance. The groups urged Congress to strengthen the language around the exemption to protect the state role in oversight of the insurance industry.

Read the letter.

For more information, contact ABA’s Sarah Ferman.