Contact us today

(602) 870–3230

Articles

Risk Management, Claims & Copywriting

Four tips to giving a great insurance speech

As insurance professionals, we must often deliver speeches in meetings or to large gatherings. It is never easy to find the time to prepare adequately for the talk. Even once prepared, many of us dread public speaking. These four tips will help you painlessly prepare your presentation. What is the theme of my talk? Always begin and end with a clear theme. If you are discussing premium increases at a Rotary Club, for example, your theme may be this: Premiums are increasing worldwide. The only way to control your premiums is through a more structured, loss-sensitive insurance program or through tighter risk management controls. Punch that theme repeatedly in your talk. Know your audience. If you are addressing your colleagues, your tone will be much different than when addressing CEOs of competing businesses, for example. Just because you feel comfortable with your audience, do not let your guard down too.

Read more →

Tops tips to bulletproof your workers’ compensation program

Last week I presented on ways employers can improve their workers’ compensation program at the Arizona Small Business Association’s annual meeting. Here are the key takeaways for Arizona businesses who have workers’ compensation insurance. Don’t treat employees as subcontractors. Many businesses, especially in the trades like plumbing or roofing, make this costly error. This is a priority fix both for your employment tax obligations and for covering your employees under workers’ compensation. In Arizona, all you need is one full- or part-time employee (as defined by the IRS or an administrative law judge) to need workers’ compensation insurance. Tighten injury reporting protocols. Rapid report to your carrier makes a huge difference in workers’ compensation costs. Back injuries are 35% more expensive if not reported within the first week, for example. Do you have the best agent for your business needs? Does the brokerage or agency offer tools like Modmaster to.

Read more →

Improve your insurance technical writing by removing passive voice

What is passive voice and why should you avoid it in your insurance writing? No matter what you’re writing for the insurance industry, a blog, a technical report or a white paper designed for marketing your business, passive voice weakens your writing. Once you understand a little about passive voice, it becomes much easier to find and eliminate it in your own writing. What is passive voice? Passive voice sentence construction occurs when the subject of a sentence becomes the object of an action. I know, it’s a grammar thing, something we disliked in school. Here’s an example of passive voice. Our underwriting team was defeated by the western region. Passive sentence construction weakens your writer because, in a nutshell, no one takes responsibility for the action. Written actively, this sentence would read like this: The western underwriting region defeated our sales team. Ouch! That wording smarts a bit more,.

Read more →

Top Presentation Tips for New Trainers

Read my recent article offering training tips for new trainers at original source. First day on the job? Here’s some advice for success, from trainers who have been there. New trainers face daunting challenges. Whether your boss promotes you into a training position or you are hired from another organization, you want to get off to a strong start. In part, that means avoiding mistakes commonly made by new trainers. Although we often learn our best lessons when we stumble, some mistakes can seriously hurt your training program, damage your reputation, or even derail your career. Here are 10 tips to help you get your training career off on the right foot. Complete a thorough needs assessment Whether you use a formal interview process, a job-analysis approach, or you simply host informal talks with supervisors, needs assessment is critical to training success. “The biggest mistake I made as a new.

Read more →

Tips to avoid a dryer fire

How safe is your dryer? According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), about 2,900 dryer fires occur each year in the United States. These fires caused five deaths, about 100 injuries and over $35 million in property losses annually. While the leading cause of dryer fires is accumulated dust, fiber and lint, the type of exhaust hose you install can greatly reduce your risk of fire. Using a plastic or vinyl dryer hose can cause fires, according to the USFA. The photo shows in the top half the type of dryer exhaust hose you should use. If you are currently using the bottom type, a plastic hose, replace it immediately. These types of hoses can melt or ignite. It’s always a good idea to take a few other preventative measures. 1) Clean your lint filter after each cycle. 2) Install a smoke alarm in your laundry room or adjacent to.

Read more →

How Do I Write a Professional Bio?

Every insurance professional should develop several professional biographies. Why a bio? Because despite our increasing reliance on electronic communications, people still want to know a little about you before they contact you. Your bio is a marketing tool that helps to build your brand. Your brand is your name and the name of your company. When people consider insurance, you want your name to be the one that comes into their minds. This can only come through repeated branding of your name, or the name of your agency, with insurance. Here are the top reasons to write your professional bio. There are thousands of insurance agents and other insurance professionals for people to choose from, plus growing competition from direct writers. Therefore, it is imperative that you set yourself apart from the crowd. A professional bio quickly showcases your experience and sets you apart from the crowd. A bio is.

Read more →

Are We Too Focused on the Goal?

A few years ago, the Oakland Police Department spent hours trying to oust a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his house. After firing tear gas canisters into the house, the officers finally noticed the home owner standing beside them in the police lineup, chanting, “Please come out and give yourself up!” It’s a great thing to set goals and feel proud of our successes. However, to truly succeed in life as well in business, we should remember there are others beside us, also helping us to succeed. Survey after survey shows employees feel increasingly disenfranchised from their work, which hurts productivity and creates customer service issues galore. Employers complain woefully about a lack of talent, yet fail to do everything in their power to keep the very employees they currently employ. Take a moment today to listen to and sincerely respond to those who help you to succeed, including.

Read more →

Squirrel! ADHD Officially Hits Training

Ohio has become the first state to officially allow continuing education for accountants in ten-minute increments. I don’t know whether to yell “Squirrel” or applaud them for understanding the way most people seem to learn today. What do you think? Would you want your accountant doing his or her continuing education in ten-minute increments?

Read more →

Risk Avoidance and What the Heck is Wrong With People?

I rarely go into Circle Ks or convenience stores or places of that ilk because I’d prefer not to get shot (risk avoidance). However, on the way to a volunteer gig the other day and against my better judgment, I stopped in a Circle K near Interstate 17 in Phoenix to buy a pop (or soda, as some call it). As I walked in, I noticed there was a mop bucket full of black water near the register and that my shoes stuck to the floor as I went to get my pop. As I filled my cup, I noticed a sign that said, “Out of straws.” At the register I said hello to the cashier and asked the young man if he was holding out and if perhaps he did have a straw. He nearly started crying. He said they ran out of straws earlier in the day and.

Read more →

How to Manage Today’s Insurance Professionals

I recently spoke with risk management consultant and former insurance agent Dan Weedin, author of Insuring Success. Weedin and I share something in common: A passion for the insurance industry and a concern that today’s top insurance talent is disappearing. We talked about some of the challenges facing agencies and insurers as they try to align staffing needs with retiring talent. As millions of Baby Boomers retire within this decade, the industry’s talent crisis is real. An added area of concern for insurance organizations is that many of those “Boomers” are deciding whether they should take that last chance and change careers. “Burnout, disgust, and unhappiness in one’s job will lead to change, especially at an age when timing is of the essence,” Weedin says. As these long-tenured and valuable employees leave, so do all their “smarts” that organizations accumulated over the span of their working career. That is how.

Read more →

Should We Use Stamps or Metered Mail in Marketing Mail?

One Christmas I was in a long line in the post office in Garden Grove, California. An elderly woman was in line in front of me and when she finally got to the counter, she ordered a book of stamps. After her request, she qualified her statement by saying with a great deal of irritation, “And none of those darn Elvis stamps, either!” Everyone within earshot tried not to laugh out loud. While bulk mail may save a few pennies, I always use a real stamp. In fact, I often get creative and use stamps with themes or beautiful pictures just to draw the letter opener’s eye to piece. If we can help you write copy that will produce sales, contact us at 602.870.3230. We help agents, carriers and insurance thought leaders throughout the US with their blogging, marketing and ghostwriting efforts. Why not call for a free consultation? With.

Read more →

More WordPress training to help you optimize your insurance marketing results!

Did you know that about 20 percent of today’s websites and blogs are developed on WordPress? I’m taking more WordPress training today so I can continue to help you deliver stellar social media results. Small changes to the way you handle your social media tasks can really help improve search engine results for your business. We will cover some tips for WordPress users in the near future.

Read more →

Is Enterprise Risk Management Still Important to Today’s Organizations?

Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) framework can provide strong benefits to organizations, helping to integrate and manage regulated operations. In this survey sponsored by Corporate Governance Consultancy Services, 33% of respondents shown in this infographic state that enterprise risk management is the most important. 27% of the respondents say that enterprise risk management continues to be important. For more details please visit  http://www.care-web.co.uk/blog/grc-software-guide-to-organizations/     Courtesy of: CAREWeb

Read more →

Journalists Covering Insurance can Benefit from Free Handbook

The Insurance Information Institute offers a free, 200-plus page handbook for journalists who cover insurance. It’s available as a free download at this link. While it can be hard to understand the intricacies of insurance jargon and how the industry operates, this guidebook answers many questions and provides a handy reference to various organizations who can assist journalists with more information.

Read more →

Take the New and Improved Associate in Claims 37 Class

In conjunction with Prepademy, I’ll be teaching the revised curriculum for The Institutes Associate in Claims Class, AIC 37, Managing Bodily Injury Claims, beginning August 28, 2013. For more information about this exciting web-based training opportunity, click this link. We’re just winding up the Workers Compensation portion of the AIC. Prepademy is a convenient and easy way to study for your Associate in Claims designation.  

Read more →

The AIC 44 Workers Compensation Claims Practices Class Begins May 23

I’m teaching the new and improved Associate in Claims class, AIC 44 Workers Compensation Claims Practices, on-line at Prepademy. This class begins Thursday, May 23 at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Register with Prepademy for a great preparation for the AIC 44 class. Visit this link for more information. As a former workers compensation claims manager, I love teaching this class, especially in its new, streamlined format. And if you miss the live presentation, Sandy Masters, the owner of Prepademy, makes the classes readily available on line so you can view them at your convenience. We hope you can join us!

Read more →

What is the Best Day to Blog or Update Facebook?

When social media is queen, it pays to understand when you should post. We know that posting twice a week will keep your blog rising to the top in SEO optimization. This short, graphical link outlines the best days to post to your blog. Click here.  Whether you consider your business part of finance or consulting, it looks like leaning toward weekend publishing may get you more bang for your blog buck. We provide blog content for some of the nation’s most respected regional and national insurance carriers, agencies and consultancies. We can help you succeed in your SEO or other marketing efforts. Contact us for a no-obligation chat.

Read more →

Teaching the AIC 33 Class Virtually

Beginning May 17 at 5 p.m. Pacific time, I’ll be teaching the AIC 33 Claims Handling Principles class for Prepademy. Here is the link to the class. If you’re a newer claims adjuster or wringing your hands over providing in-house claims training, I think you’ll be delighted with this solution. Prepademy offers a unique, 24-hour access to attendees so if you miss a class you can log in at your convenience and access the full class and discussion. We hope to see you there!

Read more →

White Papers Position You as an Expert!

Tired of competing against the crowd? A well-crafted White Paper positions you as an expert. A cross between a full-length article and a marketing brochure, the White Paper offers free information and helps solve your clients’ problems. When you provide knowledge, you gain unique access to your target market. With years of experience writing White Papers and advertising collateral for the insurance industry, we know how to position you in your unique industry niche. Contact us for more information about how a White Paper can help you stand out in a crowd.

Read more →

Make the Most of Your Training

I participated in a teleconference today sponsored by the Society of Insurance Trainers and Editors and hosted by the Insurance Institute. Much of what was discussed was the issue of training younger generations, who, as one participant put it, leave school in a state of “permanent partial attention.” This is the first true television and Internet generation and they live, he remarked, in a state of perpetual multi-tasking. (He then joked that some of us on the teleconference were probably multi-tasking. Yes, I was guilty of it, I was checking my e-mail at the time.) In addition, he believes some members of this generation learn only what they need to learn then discard the knowledge, bringing their test-cram college mentality into the workforce. What can trainers do to help Gen Xers and Ys retain knowledge? One good tip was to set some training ground rules. Insist students to turn off.

Read more →

Writing Coaches

An interesting editorial in Business’ Insurance’s April Industry Focus touched on an issue I’d blogged about a few weeks ago. Big changes are heading our way as Generation Ys enter the workforce. Editor Ronn Zolkos (he’s obviously a Gen Xer; notice the spelling of his first name!) commented on a problem discussed at the Finance and Insurance Workforce Summit recently in Chicago. That problem is the poor writing ability of Gen Ys. Apparently, constant instant messaging and e-mailing has enabled a generation to skip grammar almost entirely. Although highly competent technically, members of this generation may lack even rudimentary writing skills. Zolkos recommends hiring writing coaches for the Yers who struggle with writing’ write. He called hiring a writing coach a “perk.” Others managers may, as they struggle with this critical issue, call it a “necessity.”

Read more →

Get Ahead of the Market Madness

This has been a busy new year for me. While I don’t think the recession is over yet as the financial pundits trumpet, since the first of 2010, I have received more agent and carrier phone calls and emails asking about advertising collateral and training. As the recession lifts, put your organization in the public eye now and get ahead of the competition. I would love to help. Here are just a few of the projects I’ve either completed or have in process right now. Website rewrite for a large Midwest independent agency. Website rewrite for a California insurance agent who sells to a highly technical market. Helped an agent craft his biography, which he loved. We found an awesome “hook” that makes his prospective clients say, “I need to meet this guy!” Boring biographies are, well, boring. Most professionals need at least one and perhaps two bios. I would.

Read more →

Diversity a Great Topic for the Insurance Industry

I spoke last month at the Arizona Insurance Claims Association, the premier (albeit only!) organization in Arizona dedicated to the property/casualty claims adjuster. When I last spoke there, I talked about the brain drain carriers and agents are experiencing and how Gen Xs and Ys could leverage this exodus to their advantage, but I wasn’t sure diversity would go over too well. One of my blog readers asked how it went. Frankly, I was surprised by how interested the audience was in this topic. To remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing and global market, the insurance industry, like any other industry, must have top intellectual talent. And that talent lies in diversity, not just of race and gender, but in diversity of thought. Studies have repeatedly shown that diverse groups perform better and that a certain amount of healthy conflict must occur before groups arrive at superior decisions. And because.

Read more →