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We understand the unique insurance needs of MH Setup Contractors - we specialize in insuring this class of business! We have producers in most areas of the continental United States and we represent insurance companies that have specialty products for ones business needs. If the Set Up Contractor is also involved in Sales we can accept an application for that exposure. Our Comprehensive Insurance Product provides coverage for: Building and Business Property – covers office and storage building on premises plus business personal property such as office furniture and equipment. General Liability including Products – coverage protects you if you become legally liable as a result of your negligence or your product's negligence. Defense of such a claim against you is also covered. Commercial Automobile Liability and Physical Damage – liability protects against financial loss because of legal liability for automobile-related injuries to others or damage to their property. Physical Damage covers the actual vehicle damage caused by such perils as collision, fire, theft or windstorm. Cargo coverage pays for transit charges, damaged manufactured homes, clean-up and disposal. ICC filings will also be made for insureds. In addition, a number of optional coverage's are available to meet special needs: Business Computer Money and Securities Employee Dishonesty Outdoor Signs Small Tools Floater Contractors Equipment Building Materials and Supplies Valuable Papers Accounts Receivable Builders Risk
Eight Steps To Hiring A Producer
EIGHT STEPS TO HIRING A PRODUCER by John Jaques Use this proven system to recruit, screen, and monitor star producers. Adding a new producer often results in failure for both the agency and the employee because there was no formal program for attracting, hiring, training, managing, and retaining producers. If you’re planning to hire a new producer, it’s essential to determine why you need to fill the position, define personality traits you’re seeking, decide how much you can afford to pay, and design the selection process to find the ideal candidate. This involves eight steps: STEP 1: DETERMINE IF YOU NEED A PRODUCER OR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Start by making sure that you need a new producer in the first place. Hiring an account executive instead might meet your needs just as well, with less expense and risk. Here’s the difference between the two positions: Producer: Originates and sells new accounts while working on their own renewals. Account Executive: Instead of producing new business, renews and services house accounts and accounts passed to them from other producers (and owners). A producer’s primary function is to originate and retain new business. On small Commercial and Personal Lines accounts the CSR should handle all issues and renewals. Medium-size Commercial accounts (more than $10,000 annual premium) and large, complex accounts should be serviced, renewed and remarketed by a producer or account executive. Your agency probably won’t require a new producer if: Your total book of business is less than $400,000 to $500,000 in annual gross Commercial Lines commission. An agency of this size usually lacks the resources to compensate and support a new producer adequately and still generate a profit for the owner(s). The average individual producer (or owner) has a book of business less than the $400,000 to $500,000 gross annual commission threshold. Producers need to meet or exceed this threshold to allow the agency to make a profit and validate their compensation and associated sales expenses. Once your producers exceed these thresholds, you should consider adding another producer. If the agency owners have individually developed large books of business and the time devoted to servicing becomes burdensome (especially combined with the time they devote to management ), adding an account executive to service the owners’ books of business might be better than adding service. Turning over account producer-service responsibilities to an account executive allows the principals to focus on producing new business. STEP 2: DETERMINE THE CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED IN A PRODUCER Minimum characteristics should include a high ego drive, the desire to be financially successful, a high degree of empathy, good communication skills, and comfort when dealing with new people. Also consider whether you want an experienced producer who can bring in an existing book of business, or raw talent possessing strong sales skills and/or technical insurance knowledge. Base this decision partly on the resources available to compensate the producer (see Step 3) and the amount of time and effort the agency is willing (or able) to invest in helping them succeed. STEP 3: DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY A PRODUCER Based on a 15% to 20% pretax profit margin, the average agency should determine producer compensation using this method Calculate agency income, target profit, and expenses. If the results differ significantly from the industry standard, review the expenses that differ, find out why, and develop action plans for correction. If the balance of commission dollars available to pay the new producer is substantially less than 26.5%, address and correct the income/expense and profitability issues before hiring a new producer. There can be as many variations of new producer compensation plans as there are agencies. A successful compensation plan must achieve three goals: Earn a profit for the agency Generate revenue growth Attract and retain quality producers The most important goal is to earn a profit. In many cases, producer relationships fail simply because the owner ignored this goal. This often happens when an owner tries to match a competitor’s offer of a 50% commission split to the new producer. If the principal overpays, the producer has incentive to underachieve (by amassing a comfortable income too quickly), and the relationship dies within several years because the principal is unhappy with the arrangement. An owner maintains a business to generate a profit while, building the sales value of the asset (business). To achieve these goals, a producer compensation plan must have a built-in profit. Overpaying a producer by rationalizing that the agency value will increase because of added commission volume is incorrect, because agency value is based on profit, not commission. If producers are overpaid and profits are low, agency value will be reduced as well. The average agency can afford to pay approximately 26.5% of commission dollar to the producer. However, if producers pay their own automobile, travel, and client- promotion expense, they can receive an additional 3% to 5% This means the agency should be paying its producers 30% of commission on renewals in order to generate a fair profit. Based on this analysis, I’d recommend this new producer compensation structure: Annual Base Salary: Set a minimum annual salary for the first two to three years the producer is employed. This would be income committed to the producer and viewed as an investment; the producer will be paid the higher of the minimum salary or the commission split, as shown below. As a standard commission split, the annual salary each Jan. 1 should be set at 30% of the prior year’s total gross P/C commission on accounts originally produced by the producer. These will be “type A” accounts. (If the 30% base salary application is less than the producer’s current salary, continue to freeze the producer’s salary for one year at its present level and validate it in the coming year.) Add to this 20% of the prior year’s gross commission on house accounts assigned to the new producer by the agency. These will be “type B” accounts. These accounts can be accounts that owners and high-volume producers can pass to the new producer. New Business Bonus: During each calendar quarter pay the producer a 40% bonus on all new account P/C commissions paid to the agency on new accounts that they write. Growth Target Bonus: Give the new producer an annual new commission growth target, such as $25,000 gross commission in the first year, $35,000 in the second, and $45,000 in the third year. If the producer reaches the target, pay them an additional 10% bonus on all new commissions. Automobile and Client Promotion: Producers will be responsible for paying their own automobile and client-related expenses out of their commission split. This allows them to write off the expenses on their personal taxes and eliminates the agency’s costs of accounting for these expenses. Education Expenses: The agency will pay all education costs and travel costs related to education, with prior approval. STEP 4: START THE SEARCH PROCESS By now, you’ve established your need for a producer, the type of person desired, and the size of the agency’s investment. Other than having an employment search firm do the recruiting for you, where can you find candidates? Sources include: Marketing representatives, underwriters, and claim representatives from carriers Producers at other agencies Producers/account executives at public brokers Proven salespeople in other fields or industries Graduating college seniors with a marketing degree From these resources, construct a hit list of five to 15 potential candidates to interview. STEP 5: I INTERVIEW AND TEST THE CANDIDATES Interview and test every candidate on your hit list. Use the first meeting to ask background, qualifications, skills, and experience questions. Determine if the candidate possesses the personality traits desirable in a producer. At the end of the interview, have the candidate complete a personality profile test. These tests usually are administered by outside psychological-testing firms and can be valuable in identifying personality traits, levels of energy, and work conduct. They also can contribute to your judgment factors relative to the chances for success or failure of the producer candidate. Although you shouldn’t use these tests as the sole criteria for any hiring decision, they can help you identify the aptitudes needed for producer sales success. To get a better overall judgment on the candidates have more than one agency owner/manager interview the candidates To obtain a better understanding of the candidates’ business experience and qualifications, ask them these questions: What have been your three best or biggest business successes? Describe your three worst or most disappointing business experiences. How would you change the circumstances should your worst experiences occur again? Who was your best boss or supervisor? What were the characteristics and business practices that earned your regard? Who was your worst boss or supervisor? What earned that individual this dubious honor? These questions can help you gauge the candidate’s expectations, whether the agency’s management style will be a fit, and provide insight into the individual’s perspective on their success and failure experiences. STEP 6: DO A REALITY CHECK Once you’ve pared down the list to two or three candidates, meet with each of them two or three more times, under these circumstances: First, the meeting should occur away from the agency premises in a social setting atmosphere, such as attending a ball game, playing golf, going to dinner, etc. Have another meeting in a business setting — calling on a prospect, a renewal visit, or a service call. After the meeting, debrief the candidate; ask how they felt the meeting went, what could have been done differently, and what they would do as a follow-up or try to accomplish during the next client meeting. Use these meetings to obtain a better picture of the candidate’s personality, experience, reactions, and behavior in social and business situations. These are important factors, since the producer will be representing the agency in both positive and negative social and business settings. While your investment in time and effort might seem considerable, bear in mind that it’s essential to select the right person. The cost of replacing an underachieving producer is high (both in dollars and time). STEP 7: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CANDIDATE By this stage, you should have a good feel for which candidate best suits the agency’s needs and has the aptitude and profile for success. When making the final selection, keep in mind the budget constraints in setting the new producer’s compensation. If the ideal candidate is beyond the agency’s current financial reach, don’t feel compelled to bring in the producer under the assumption that they’ll bring in the additional revenue needed to justify higher salary demands. In most cases, paying a producer more than you can afford will lead to failure because the person can’t make enough sales to validate their salary and still make a profit for the agency. No program can guarantee that the agency will hire the correct individual every time. The only way to know that the right person is in the right job is to observe them in the work environment. Devoting quality time in the selection process will greatly enhance the chances of success for both agency and producer. STEP 8: SET A GAME PLAN TO VALIDATE THE PRODUCEER At the end of three years with an agency, a producer should be handling a book of business and developing a gross commission level that when multiplied by the agency’s standard commission split equals his or her base salary. For example, if a new producer is hired at a $60,000 annual base salary, at the end of the third year he or she should be handling at least $200,000 in gross annual commission ($200,000 x 30% [the agency’s standard commission split] = $60,000). It’s important to put new producers on a structured program to validate their base compensation level by the end of three years. Otherwise, the agency’s investment in the producer becomes too costly. All producers should know their target level of gross production. Most producers will achieve this goal by combining new accounts with house accounts passed to them for servicing. CONCLUSION At some point, every agency faces the challenge of attracting, hiring, training, and retaining high-quality new producers. Because your investment in people, especially producers, is so costly, make every effort made to: (1) solidify the requirements for a producer; (2) determine the agency’s ability to compensate the candidate properly and profitably; (3) choose the right candidate; (4) establish a sales and validation game plan; and (5) manage the producer’s sales activities to ensure success or detect early potential for failure.
A Back Porch Mba!
A BACK PORCH MBA! by Mike Manes The process of management and the implementation of work must be monitored constantly and adjusted to the changing environment. In the managingement of their work, all employees must agree on their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. In this document, Mike Manes discusses why an organization must be sure to train, motivate, and reward that employees are trained, motivated, and rewarded properly. I was visiting with a friend. We were discussing Leadership and Management issues and the future of his organization. I was discussing leadership and management issues recently with a friend who’s the President and CEO of a company he started only ten 10 years ago. He’s built a good company that in the short term has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Next week he’ll announce an achievement that will impress even his most severe critics. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the customers he serves, the industry in which he competes, and the suppliers that have been critical to his success are in crisis themselves:. His is a market that is a harder market than anyone in his industry has ever faced before. In addition to these challenges, the rules have changed. What his company has done in the past (although significant) cannot carry it into the future. He must reinvent a ten year old company. My friend is a devotee of the ideas professed presented in the books Built to Last and Good to Great, by (James G. Collins and/ Jerry L. Porras) and now its sequel Good to Great. I’m a believer in Peter Drucker and Max DePree. Collectively we’ve probably read all of the top selling business books. In theory concept, we know every answer. The problem is that his challenge is not a conceptual one. His decisions must be made with concrete terms and actions. He’s in combat and the bullets are getting close. While we theorize about conditions that are five years out, he has major decisions to make, opportunities to capture, and crises to address - tomorrow. To convert his challenge to the vernacular - 'when you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s tough to remember your original challenge is to drain the swamp.' We were sitting on his back porch. My friend had to meet with a contractor to discuss a major addition to his home. I had time to do what I do best - not think but observe. His is a modest house sitting on a beautiful, tree filled lot. My only companion during his absence was his dog, Mollie Deux. She’s a yellow Lab or maybe a Lab Lite — Lab genes in a Heinz 57 mix of blood. She certainly is well fit for his big yard. A Chihuahua would probably be snake food. Birds were singing and mosquito hawks were performing aerial acrobatics not 20 feet in front of me. It was a peaceful and a simple life. This is why we live here and enjoy, no love, the life we have. After a morning together, we captured our best ideas over lunch and then further refined them for the next two days via e-mail. Great stuff — but would it work?. Could these best ideas from Wall Street, Wharton School of Business, and the ivory towers of academia be converted to a practical, and actionable plan to meet the challenges faced by my friend and his small little company here in the backwaters of Louisiana? If these ideas could be utilized (and I’m sure they could) would this be the best way to lead and manage into the future? The truth of his and every other organization is that a culture has been established. To lead and manage inside the culture is certainly the ideal. To change the culture is very, very challenging and often in some cases impossible. As we drove back to town, I saw a bumper sticker rarely seen but always appreciated in this neck of the woods. It stated in clear and unequivocal terms: "WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT HOW YOU DID IT UP NORTH!" That bumper sticker provided the impetus to make us realize that although Good to Great and/or Built to Last were powerful tools that could be used to meet my friend’s challenge. On a practical level, however, they were overkill. The addition to his my friend’s home is beautiful. He had found local craftsmen and artisans to build a den and master bedroom suite that would rival any such additions by the biggest, and best international contractor. My wheels were starting to turn. He could have found and could have afforded such a mega-contractor, but he didn’t. He will end up with a better addition, more control over the process and results, and more personal satisfaction by completing this project with local talent — people who understand and appreciate a screen porch, coffee, a rocking chair, and a Lab. My mind was racing. The answer to his business dilemma was not in the pages of any or all the books we discussed, nor in the classrooms of Harvard, or the mahogany Board Rooms of Wall Street. The answers were in the basic simple ideas we discussed over coffee on the back porch. The same leadership and management that had resulted in his acquiring, building, and remodeling a house and finally converting it to a home could be used to renovate and if needed or create an addition to his company. HERE GOES — MY BEST ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE THE LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES I OBSERVED ON THE BACK PORCH. Thanks, Mollie Deux-olly! Leadership is about a capturing a dream. It’s about Vision, Values, a Mission, and Standards. To get to my friend’s house you cross a railroad track. There are probably 50 to 60 houses on the single road that is this subdivision. The land was once a sugar cane field so there are no trees except for those that formed the fence row. The one exception is my friend’s lot. It has literally dozens of trees. The original builder had the vision to plant these trees and my friend and his spouse had the vision and discipline to maintain them when they really were out of place in the subdivision. His yard is different in a subdivision built on sameness. As you drive down this road you see houses that vary in price from $100,000 to to -$500,000. Before the addition my friend’s home would probably would’ve been appraised in at the bottom third of those in the area. When the addition is complete, his will be the benchmark. What he bought originally was an average house with great potential (a dream). What he now has is a dream realized - priceless! It’s a two-part dream — one part is the house, the other part is the home. The house is about things — a structure, an asset, a residence, a thing that he and his spouse will leave to their children. The home is about people, a lifestyle, a love — how to live and how to die. It’s about what they shows and teaches theirs children — yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In terms of the house, my friend and his spouse focused on the dream that they had for more than a decade ago, and that dream has been focused clearly into a Vision that is now outlined and detailed on the architect’s drawing spread out on the work bench plans. Soon they’ll realize the Vision of the house. Building the home is an ongoing process. In terms of the home, the dream that my friend and his spouse shared as starry eyed newlyweds over more than 25 years ago has been realized in a Vision that is their marriage, their children, and the love they shared yesterday and enjoy today and will share tomorrow. It is realized, but not yet complete. It grows as they grow. And the best things about Dreams and Visions are that when we die, they don’t. Visions and Dreams are bigger than one person; they can be left to those we choose or those who adopt them. The conversion of their house and home dream to the current reality that exists today and the partially realized Vision that remains did not just happen. My friend and his spouse established a Mission either on paper or in their minds and souls to describe who they’d be (their family - themselves, and their children). To make this Vision concrete and attainable, they established Values and standards that they would live by and standards of behavior and performance that would hold themselves accountable to. This combination of a Mission — the organization needed to achieve the dream, with the Values — the absolutes that would drive the people (their Commandments and Constitution), and the Standards — clearly articulated expectations for performance — are the issues of leadership. This is all part of the Vision thing and the plan to achieve it. It’s the most important thing and the dream will never be realized without it. But of equal importance is the implementation and application of the plan — management. Management deals with implementation of a plan, monitoring the results, and adjusting performance to assure success in a future of constant change. In a family everyone will manage and will be managed at some point in time. To keep this article short and simple, I’ll only report on my observation of these management techniques used by my friend, his spouse, and children in relationship with just one family member — Mollie Deux. As stated earlier, Mollie Deux is perfectly suited for this family, house, and yard. The first absolute established in the relationship between Mollie Deux and the family is the 'turf'. This is Mollie Deux’s area of operation. It’s framed by the perimeter of the yard and is limited to the outside of the house - Mollie Deux is a yard dog. To assure Mollie Deux respects this limit and to protect Mollie Deux from herself (if she leaves her turf she maybe hit by a car and killed) there is an electronic fence. There is a consequence if she exceeds her authority (turf) - a shock! This is not cruel - it’s necessary. To leave Mollie Deux without boundaries would be cruel and dangerous. In addition to the turf restrictions the family uses two other basic techniques to manage Mollie Deux. These are the carrots and sticks of her life. Mollie Deux, like the good people in your organization, must meet certain expectations to remain a member of the family. To be successful Mollie Deux must understand these expectations and be willing and able to meet or exceed them. To create willingness in Mollie Deux (or an employee) we must motivate them. To establish ability we must train. To assure consistency we must constantly monitor the performance of Mollie Deux and provide the appropriate consequences for behavior. When Mollie Deux was in training the process was significantly more intense than it is now or needs to be today. Now that her training is complete, her motivators are varied. A 'carrot' might be as simple as a kind word or a pat on the head. Special recognition might include a dog biscuit, playing fetch (providing attention), or a bone. For great performance, Mollie Deux may get a piece of steak or have someone scratch her so that her leg twitches. The ''sticks'' of her world are equally simple. The range includes everything from a stern 'NO' to a rolled- up newspaper across her butt. Management of the work of an employee’s work can be framed similarly. If they are right for the job, what’s their 'turf' — what are the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each employee? Once these are clearly defined and the employee is trained and motivated, let them run free. Don’t keep them on a leash or confine them in a dog pen (don’t micro-manage). What training is needed? What are the motivators? Are the managers monitoring performance within the 'turf' originally established and providing the appropriate 'carrots' and 'sticks'? Don’t micro-manage! Remember, we lead people and manage things (work). Leadership is about effectiveness — doing the right things. Management is about efficiency — doing things right. Everyone in the organization needs to fully understand the difference. Your employees need to know and embrace the Vision, Values, Mission, and Standards of the organization. If these are not acceptable to an employee, then they must leave. These protect you as leader, the organization, and the employee. In the management of their work, all employees must agree on their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. The organization must be sure theat employee is are properly trained, motivated, and rewarded properly. The process of management and the implementation of work must be constantly monitored constantly and adjusted to the changing environment. This is simple. Sit, Mollie Deux! Good dog! Michael G. Manes can be reached at Square One Consulting, 543 Pebblebrook Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815, (225) 273-2243, (225) 939-5944 (Cell), e-mail [email protected], or visit