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July 2010
Agents of America

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    Ebook Image Chapter 11
    Letter from the Editor
    This month, Chapter 11 of the AoA's eBook is available for download.  It is entitled:  "The Contemporary Supervisor's 911 Guide to Managing Employees:  Commonsense solutions for everyday dilemmas," by Kathleen M. Bonczyk, M.B.A., Esq.
    AoA has completed the outline for the E&O initiative.  Details will follow soon. 
    In addition, this past monthAoA announced its comprehensive "Teach & Reach" program.  The program has been developed to give insurance agents and brokers numerous tools to help grow their businesses.  This program includes:
             Access to Social Media Expertise
             Webinars and Education
             Articles, Tools and Tips 
    Look for this new, comprehensive program to begin in the fall. For more information, please contact cynthia@agentsofamerica.org for more information. 
    Finally, remember to tell your friends and associates that AgentsofAmerica.ORG is now offering FREE MEMBERSHIP , due to the support of our sponsors, advertisers and contributors.  This increases the networking possibilities for everyone involved with AoA. 
    Table of Contents
    by Charles T. Wilson, CMC, CRM, RPLU 
    RisksRisks of Growing Too Fast
    By Charles T. Wilson, CMC, CRM, RPLU
    Many business people envy the companies that are on the "100 Fastest Growing" lists.  The risk manager says, "Be careful what you wish for."  Sometimes what looks good from the outside can be a painful problem on the inside.
    What happens when you grow too fast?

    Mike Van Horn, President of The Business Group (businessownerstoolbox.com), warns "The greatest threat is the inability of management to change quickly enough to respond to new situations."  In addition to the well-documented risks related to cash flow that can toss you quickly into shark-infested waters, here are some other pitfalls: 
    • Losing focus on the details that are critical to your quality, customer service and employee morale;
    • Out-running your vendors and service providers, your materials and equipment, your staff and their time, skills and experience;
    • Damaging quality relationships with existing clients while all your focus is on getting new business.
    step"Step Up and Make A Decision"
    By Mark Hunter
    The last few months I've had several discussions with HR departments regarding the future of company benefits in light of the new federal health care regulations starting to take effect.  The universal comment I've heard from everyone is simply that everyone is assessing their benefit packages and questioning each part. People are not sure what direction to go, and many are simply waiting to see what their industry peers do before making a move.
     Ernest Agent
    E-DiscoveryE-Discovery Alert
    By Thomas W. Tobin, J.D
    The opinion in Pension Committee v. Banc of America is destined to change the e-discovery landscape.
    Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the duty to preserve and produce electronically stored information (ESI) in U.S. litigation is well-aware of the pivotal series of Zubulake v. UBS decisions written by U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York in 2003 and 2004.  Shortly after those opinions were issued, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to include specific ESI provisions.
    thezenThe Zen of Leadership
    By Michael Beck
    There are many aspects to leadership that parallel the philosophies, concepts, and perspectives of Zen Buddhism.  I don't profess to have a great depth of knowledge regarding Zen Buddhism, but from the insights I do have, I can see the application with respect to effective leadership.
    The parallel exists within the concept of leading without leading.  It exists in the ebb and flow of leadership style.  And it's reflected in the very duality of the role of a leader within an organization.  Let me share my perspectives on each of those concepts as an insight into effective leadership.

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    poorcustomerCustomer Service - Is Someone Having a Bad Day or a Symptom of Bad Management? 
    By Edwin Martinez, PHR
    Have you ever walked into an establishment and wished you had done an about-face right before entering? You might have been feeling full of confidence and enthusiasm walking in only to feel deflated and indignant on the way out because of the way you were treated.  Maybe the person who projected this behavior was having a bad day or simply disliked their job and let you have it! Perhaps you responded with the same attitude or you likely just decided to let it go but never return there again. Whatever the case may be, poor customer service does impact a company's bottom line but not in a positive way.
    five5 "Must Get To" Points In An Interview
    By Ed Rosa
    5. I am flexible:
    There is a saying that I use when I'm on the phone with prospective clients. "The only constant in business is change." True statement, isn't it? Being flexible enough to react to those changes is key to the success of any organization. Let the interviewer know that you can adapt to new changes in the industry and do whatever it takes to succeed.  
    By Patti Tom
    As John Lennon and Paul McCartney could tell you, sometimes you just need a little help from your friends. And in the insurance agency business - where building relationships are key to success - that friend often is more than just a trusted colleague, the person is also a more experienced advisor or mentor.
    There are several recent developments in the marketplace that make selling environmental insurance easier and more lucrative for insurance agents.  These developments are listed below:
    1.      Chinese drywall
    2.      Government infrastructure projects
    3.      Lead paint abatement regulations
    theresThere's Magic in Measurement
    By Ed Lamont
    Top insurance sales professionals know their numbers. Whether tracking personal marketing plan success or production results, certain key indicators must be identified and measured. No benchmarks, no ability to manage results effectively.
    Cold Calls to Appointments Rate: How many cold calls lead to appointments? If you make fifty cold calls and land five appointments you have measurable information. Would a more compelling positioning statement better enable you to get in door? Perhaps you're calling at the wrong time. Here's the point: Your cold call to appointment rate indicates effectiveness. Adjust your message, improve your value statement impact, and call at strategically defined times to increase appointments set per cold call made.
    This risk management newsletter is produced in conjunction with Agents of America, www.agentsofamerica.com.  The contents of this newsletter do not constitute legal advice, and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of AoA.
    This newsletter is produced in conjunction with Agents of America, www.agentsofamerica.org. The contents of which may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Agents of America.