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    Commercial residential diligent effort form is an outdated relic
    So says FAIA CEO Jeff Grady in his latest blog. Some groups argue that eliminating the diligent effort form for commercial residential policies would expose vulnerable consumers (in this case, sophisticated condo association buyers) to the unregulated surplus lines market. Past experience suggests elimination of diligent effort won’t cause consumer harm or carrier distress. What’s really behind the effort to keep this bureaucratic form in circulation?
    2015 Best Practices Study Released
    Independent agents continue to show steady profitability, but modest declines in organic growth based on this most recent study. Some of the findings include a five percent increase in revenue per employee and an increase in new business per validated producer. This year marks the 23rd edition of the Best Practices Study. To learn more, purchase and read the report.
    State high-risk market looking to appoint producers in Central, North Florida
    The Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association (FAJUA) is interested in expanding its agency plant beyond the Miami-Dade area to other parts of the state, and to the Panhandle in particular. Learn more about options available to agents who need high-risk auto coverage for personal and commercial clients.
    Did you miss the Friday Morning Live! on proposed overtime pay?
    Whether you missed it or wanted to read over the facts again, a PowerPoint of the production has been posted. See Laura Pearce’s blog for the details.
    Florida Workers’ Compensation rates set
    The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has issued a Final Order setting workers’ compensation rates for 2016. Overall, the rate decrease is 4.7 percent. Read the Order in Dave Newell’s CPIC blog.
    When customers drop flood, document, document, document
    In the last 12 months, the NFIP policy count has dropped by 180,000 policies, and chances are that pace is going to pick up when some policyholders discover they have to pay the $250 surcharge for a non-primary dwelling. So what should agents do when a customer decides not to renew? Document it, of course! Read David Thompson’s blog for articles to share with customers and documentation suggestions.
    Gone are the days of simple box checking on Hired Auto Liability policies
    Keith Jones notes in his latest blog that many carriers are asking more detailed questions before issuing Hired Auto Liability policies. (How much is spent annually renting cars? What types of units are you renting?) Some carriers are now auditing Business Auto Coverage, making the answers to those questions increasingly relevant. Those whose estimates are off could see an increase in premiums due.
    Big data driving changes in workers’ compensation underwriting
    Workers’ compensation underwriting is seeing a shift away from use of the experience modification factor to big data analytics. While the ratings bureaus aren’t going away, you’re likely starting to see some underwriting anomalies. What does that mean to you and your clients? Read FAIA Education Contributor Frank Pennachio’s blog to find out. Be sure also to check out his blog on emerging trends that are driving up medical costs for workplace injuries.
    Sales and Leadership Conference agenda takes shape
    Whether you are an agent interested in building your brand, or one who wants a plan for personal growth, you’ll find what you are looking for at the YAC Sales and Leadership Conference, March 21–22, 2016, at the Tampa Marriott Westshore. Check out the agenda—which includes a session with former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford and his brother, former FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford—and remember, scholarships are available.
    It pays to participate in the program that pays you back
    Agents who take advantage of FAIA Member Services products and services are receiving a nice present from FMS this holiday season: a utilization bonus! In 2015, 889 agencies earned an FMS Utilization Bonus. To learn more about how your agency can participate, please visit the FMS website for program details.
    Mergers and acquisitions on the rise as organic growth stalls
    With acquisitions come challenges such as combining staff and maintaining your level of customer service. Financing and cash flow need not be a challenge. Read Dave Burt’s blog for a case study of how one agency took advantage of low interest rates to diversify and expand its business.
    If you’re not reading Agency Nation, you should be
    Imagine having your own personal digital marketing mentor, someone who has an answer to just about every digital-age insurance marketing question you can think of. Nice, huh? This information is literally at your fingertips on Agency Nation. The TrustedChoice.com site for agents has articles, videos, and podcasts about insurance sales and marketing, lead generation, content marketing, search engine optimization, and tons more. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the Agency Nation e-newsletter. Do it now.

    Celedinas Insurance Group, Palm Beach Gardens: Named a “Best Agency to Work For—Bronze” in the Southeast by the Insurance Journal.


    Mary Alice Avirett Croley: we extend our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mary Croley, who passed away November 12. The Florida native grew up in Havana. After working in several different fields, she obtained her Florida insurance license and spent 25 years working with Doug Croley Insurance Services in Tallahassee. She loved playing golf, hunting, fishing, and was a member of the Centenary United Methodist Church of Quincy. Read more about her life in the Tallahassee Democrat.


    Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida: A.M. Best affirmed an FSR of B++ (Good) and upgraded the Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) to “bbb+.”

    Encompass Insurance Companies: announced Mark Green to replace Tom Ealy as president.

    Florida Family Insurance: A.M. Best upgraded the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to A- (Excellent).

    Orchid Underwriters Agency, Inc.: has entered the commercial E&S business.

    TrustedChoice.com: announced CNA Insurance as a new commercial lines insurance partner. Announced Foremost Insurance Group will add 10 states, including Florida, to its presence.

    Westfield Insurance Group: announced the creation of the James R. Clay Scholarship, honoring its outgoing chairman and CEO, through the Westfield Insurance Foundation.

    State Auto Insurance Companies: Chairman Robert P. Restrepo, Jr., received the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement award.


    Baldwin Risk Partners, LLC: Tampa

    Banks Insurance Group: Brandon

    Bates Insurance Group, LLC: Mount Dora

    Brightway Insurance, Inc.: Miami

    First Insurance of Florida: Cooper City

    Florida Program Insurance: Wellington

    Geo V. Bullen & Son, FL, Inc.: Palm Beach

    Homeowners Insurance Agency of Dunedin dba Homeowners Insurance Agency, Inc.: Dunedin

    Impel Insurance, LLC: Clearwater

    Real Solutions Insurance Agency, LLC: West Palm Beach

    Venture Insurance Partners: Tequesta

    Walter Gibson, LLC dba Sawyer, Finn & James: Middleburg


    JIBNA Personal Jewelry Insurance: Louisville, KY



    Many local boards hold monthly or quarterly meetings. Visit our website for a schedule.

    • Pinellas Association of Insurance Agents, Member Appreciation and Food Drive: Nov. 19, 2015; Courtside Grille, St. Petersburg.
    • IIA of Palm Beach County, Member Appreciation: Nov. 20, 2015; Mojito at City Place, West Palm Beach.
    • IIA of Central Florida, Holiday Luncheon and Toys for Tots: Dec. 2, 2015; Country Club of Orlando, Orlando.
    • IIA of Broward County, Holiday Event and Toy Drive: Dec. 3, 2015; Mai-Kai Restaurant, Ft. Lauderdale.
    • IIA of Palm Beach County, Holiday Party and Toys for Tots: Dec. 4, 2015; Revolutions at City Place, West Palm Beach
    • IIA of South Florida, Holiday Cocktail Party and Toys for Tots: Dec. 9, 2015; Shake-a-Leg, Coconut Grove.
    • IIA of Northeast Florida, Holiday Luncheon and Shoe Drive: Dec. 11, 2015; San Jose Country Club, Jacksonville.



    PO BOX 12129 | TALLAHASSEE, FL 32317-2129
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    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise-without the prior written permission of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. FAIA does not give legal advice. Agents are urged to seek the counsel of a licensed Florida attorney familiar with the Florida Insurance Code.