Nettie Avery, GIA Group/Continental Insurance Agency; Alex Pedersen, Day Larsen Pedersen; Greg Bacon, The Ahbe Group Inc., Casey Wiederspan, Crossroads Insurance Agency Inc.; Kyle Dufford, PFS Insurance; Geoff Taylor, FUSA-Taylor Insurance Agency (unable to attend)
Dave Gross, President & CEO; Tim Heyroth, SVP and Chief Sales Officer; Marty Arnold, SVP and Chief Underwriting Officer; Larry Wright, VP and Chief Claims Officer; Garth Wicinsky, SVP and Chief Administrative Officer; Brett Purcell, Regional Vice President - Sales
Click the links below to navigate to the comment/response section for each topic.
SECURA Overview | Personal Lines | Commercial Lines | Farm-Ag Lines | Specialty Lines | Risk Management | Claims | Miscellaneous
Comments from Dave Gross
SECURA is up 11.6% – we are having a great year. Our combined is approximately 94%, and we and feel it will improve pending weather. With 900+ associates, we had approximately 150 working remote before the pandemic. The week of July 4th, we started a transition for all home office associates to return to the office at least three days a week, as we feel we are better together and our culture and work ethic is best when we can work together in our new building.
Comments from Brett Purcell
We have seen growth of +18.2% year to date and to a plan of only 5.5%, with Specialty, Commercial and Farm-Ag leading the way. With a strong finish to the year, we are looking to achieve our 3rd consecutive year of profitability with the state loss ratio sitting at 30.7% through July and 92% premium retention. We expect to finish the year around $37 million. Our 5-year AYCR has seen significant improvement, now reporting at 97%. We have driven much of this success with a focus on building a diverse book in the state with 13% Personal Lines; 32% Commercial Lines; 32% Specialty Lines; and 23% Farm-Ag Lines. All market segments are ahead of planned growth. The plans for next year are similar to this year; 10.5% growth; and while we still expect PL to slightly decline – 10/14 taking a 2.9% PL rate increase – we are seeing improved retention and more growth on the Western slope. BizLink has been live a little over a year with now to close to 200 classes of business, and Colorado is one of highest utilization states for smaller/profitable accounts. Michelle Welch is available if training is needed. We have a $50 gift card incentive currently being offered for business written through BizLink. We are actively looking for new appointments – finding the right agencies where we can be a top three carrier. We currently have approximately 55 contracts with some multiple locations/aggregators/SL only.
Comments from Tim Heyroth
We have 11.6% growth company wide, which is exceptional (new/retention/rate – all 3 solid). Retention outperforms plan (premium in 90s). Our rate plan was 3%, and we are at 3.3% and planning for less than 3% next year. We’ve had over $84 million new business this year. All lines of business are doing well in all states – all are exceeding plan except Personal Lines, which has positive growth but not at plan. BizLink continues to evolve and will develop more customer experience enhancements (for example, straight through processing as well as other enhancements). We are looking into agency integration pilot (APIs); modernization initiative on back end. Our newest corporate project is SL300, which focuses on growing Specialty Lines to $300 million. We may hit $100 million this year. We will continue to stabilize Personal Lines – as a company we refunded $2.5 million dollars to policyholders last year.
Comments from Marty Arnold
All four business units are in good shape and profitable; 3 of 4 business units are growing in the double digits. Specialty Lines launched in 2010; Commercial Lines is +12.5% and much of this is due to 3 or 4 struggling companies: United Fire, Continental Western, State Auto (issues with service, rate instability, etc.). We are onboarding more underwriters so we can get to all good opportunities, and we are expanding the Risk Management team. We are hiring three new Risk Managers for next year, and Colorado will be top priority (Q1 2022). We have a centralized team together for our Commercial Service Center. There is no firm date, but we are moving forward with the project.
Comments from Garth Wicinsky
One of our major projects is state expansion. We are entering Pennsylvania with Specialty Lines and Commercial Lines to follow. Some of our strategic initiatives include modernization (back end systems/mainframe – 16 systems were identified), SL300 to grow Specialty Lines to $300 million, Grow MN to grow the state to $200 million, and Grow Farm.
Comments from Larry Wright
Last year Colorado had $1.5 million in weather losses, and year to date we are at $1.1 million. It has been an excellent year. Companywide we are at $33.3 in storm losses compared to $76.9 last year (due to the derecho). Jean Timm retired last year, but Heidi Christensen has replaced her. Tony Brecunier is retiring and John Oehler will replace him. Evan Rawal is our Field Claims Rep in Colorado. He lives in Parker and started in May 2020. Tony Suriano, the prior adjuster who lives in Denver, was promoted to supervisor.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: Are there any conversations on entering Nebraska?
Response: We have no plans at this point to consider Nebraska as our next Personal Lines state.
2. Comment: What are your thoughts on the use of mitigation devices? Insureds have paid for themselves – vs supplied by the company.
Response: We are currently testing water loss mitigation devices, and a strategic planning research team continues work on this topic. Note, within our Protective Device discounts, SECURA has a “smart home” discount providing a 5% homeowner premium discount for Internet based devices such as Ring, Nest, SimpliSafe as long as the device prevents loss of one of the following: Theft, Water, Fire, or Freezing.
3. Comment: Have you thought about offering Mechanical Breakdown coverage (increased technology now in homes)?
Response: We monitor Mechanical Breakdown and Equipment Breakdown coverage via our Product Guardian process. At this point, we have no plans to lift this to an ‘active’ project. This can change if more agents feel not having this costs us new business. We recognize the increased technology in homes via our ‘smart home’ discount mentioned previously.
4. Comment: We don’t feel you should get into the driverless vehicle market. Leave it to the auto industry. Let them make mistakes and then jump in. State-by-state regulations, – indemnity to those in the accident could be held up in courts for a long time, car vs driver negligence, etc. Legal gridlock in comparative negligence state. What are your thoughts?
Response: Agree. There are many issues to determine – who has liability, state differences, impact of weather, etc. We don’t anticipate driverless being in the mainstream personal auto insurance arena for at least another decade. We continue to monitor.
5. Comment: Have you looked into telematics?
Response: Yes, and this also impacts our Commercial Auto – Trucking segment. In Personal Lines we conducted two pilots to learn what it takes for a regional mutual to embark on telematics and make it financially viable. We tested both a plug-in device and app based. We’ll continue to monitor.
6. Comment: What is your VRBO appetite? Proper Ins. Co. has good product if it fits, and we believe you will do one offs.
Response: We do offer coverage currently for homeowners renting out home for a 1 – 2 times/year and not listed on home share sites. For example, a home rented to those attending Ryder Cup as a one-time situation are fine. That said we are very interested in the Home Share market, and we will begin product development sometime in late 2022.
7. Comment: Markets are slim depending on area. Profit focused. Happy to write enough to stay flat.
Response: We are also about stable, profitable growth. We anticipate Colorado returning to top line growth by 2024.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: Will you write feed lots?
Response: At this time we do not write feed lots and they will be outside of our appetite for the foreseeable future.
2. Comment: We would like an Equine endorsement (limited) We are currently putting it with Nationwide.
Response: The Farm area does not offer equine liability (outside of appetite and lack of proper coverage forms). Specialty Lines will write some limited equine coverage. Your Farm underwriter can work with our Specialty Lines team to see if the policyholders’ needs can be met.
3. Comment: We would like quicker turnaround times.
Response: We appreciate your feedback, and we strive to provide the best possible service to our agent partners. Please feel free to reach out to your sales manager, underwriter, or a member of the Farm-Ag management team on specific cases where service does not meet your requirements.
4. Comment: We would like to see you give the agent the ability to apply a certain amount of IRPM without approval (maybe 10%).
Response: Thank you for your feedback! We understand the desire to have credit authority to speed up the quoting process. At this time, it will remain unlikely that we offer credit authority.
5. Comment: We would like to see you change the cosmetic exclusion endorsement on the rating system to apply the exclusion, not remove it.
Response: We continue to monitor the market for changes. Please be aware that you have the option to adjust your default settings in FarmLink to automatically include the cosmetic buy back. Please contact Agency Tech Support at 800-558-3405; option 6 to assist with any defaults you would like to apply on quotes in FarmLink.
6. Comment: We realized that on 8/1 you began offering replacement on irrigation. Will this be included with farm operations protector plus (no age limit on coverage) & include special perils?
Response: At this time, we do offer replacement cost on irrigation equipment in the Farm Operations Protector Plus endorsement – see below for the coverage. We do not offer special perils for irrigation equipment. We are aware of companies in Colorado that will provide special perils coverage on irrigation equipment as a stand-alone coverage, which may be a better option for the agent and insured.
7. Comment: I’ve had situations where I’m not aware that I am locked out of a quote until I have entered all the information and submitted it. If the system could identify that up front, it would save a lot of time.
Response: Thank you for the feedback. If you are experiencing issues with any of our quoting tools, please contact Agency Tech Support at 800-558-3405; option 6 as they will be able to assist you in resolving those issues.
8. Comment: There are a lot of “weird” ones – people/farmers trying to do everything.
Response: We agree, and our underwriters are always looking at ways to properly cover these odd exposures with the farm policy, and many times in conjunction with our other underwriting division partners.
9. Comment: Would like to see expansion into Nebraska.
Response: We regularly review state expansion opportunities. At this time, Nebraska is not in our near-term expansion plans.
10. Comment: We would like to see Ag in BizLink.
Response: Due to lack of BizLink usage for Ag, and generally getting an abundance of unwanted submissions (primarily trucking), Ag was removed from BizLink. We can always review our position on Ag in BizLink and reconsider our stance if we feel that it would lead to seeing greater usage and the appropriate opportunities.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: Would you consider offering the following:
a) Homeowners Association (with not a lot of property coverage) GL Crime D&O – with discrimination (others are writing)
Response: We are doing a thorough review of this class, and we are looking to potentially start writing it in 2022.
b) Real cyber offering (similar to HSB/partner)
Response: Currently we have a partnership with HSB. We offer their Cyber Suite product to eligible insureds whose Property or General Liability is also written with SECURA. We can offer limits up to $1,000,000 on a portfolio basis and $5,000,000 on a facultative basis. We will be making enhancements to our current Cyber product later this year, which will include additional coverages and the removal of some sublimits. Some of these additional coverages include:
- Reputational Harm, which covers loss of Business Income arising from damage to the insured’s reputation caused by a personal data compromise.
- Rewards Payments, which covers money paid by the insured to individuals for information leading to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators of data compromise, cyber attack, cyber extortion threat, wrongful transfer event, or computer fraud event.
- Future Loss Avoidance, which covers improvements to a computer system after a covered computer attack, including hardware and software upgrades.
- Telecommunications Fraud, which covers direct financial loss caused by fraudulent charges made with your telephone service provider.
Watch for more communication on these changes coming soon! At this time we are not contemplating offering a monoline Cyber Liability product.
c) Pollution liability (sublimit)
Response: This is an excellent question. We will add this request to our list of opportunities. Safe it to say, we would probably not offer on a monoline product in this space.
d) Non-traditional schools (beauty/trade)
Response: We are looking into this class more. We do not believe our current professional liability form is adequate for your needs.
e) Builders risk
Response: We will consider some builders risk opportunities for risks that have a Specialty Lines exposure.
f) Moving & storage
Response: We do not consider this class in the Specialty Lines area. We do write mini-storage in Commercial Lines.
g) On special events some with participants coverage (limited – complete with Philly or K&K product). Did you have this in the past?
Response: Depending on the type of event, we can consider participant liability on most risks. Going forward, we will try and advertise how we can help you on these events.
h) Nonprofit – accident policy to go with it
Response: We are reviewing this coverage currently, and we are hoping to have an offering in this space in the near future.
2. Comment: Great turnaround from Mike – no changes to speak of.
Response: Thank you for the compliment. Mike truly does a great job, and he is looking at ways to service you better every day.
3. Comment: Too many supplemental apps (Indio) – upstream digitized apps to them. Have you/are you looking into something like this?
Response: Yes, we are looking at ways to make our apps easier to work with. In lieu of asking a lot of questions, we focus on asking the “right” questions. Thank you for this feedback, we will definitely consider this.
4. Comment: We have no complaints; easy to work with.
Response: Thank you for the compliment, we pride ourselves on our ease of doing business.
5. Comment: What is your plan for Western state expansion? What does this look like (not just for Specialty Lines)?
Response: We currently have a strategic initiative as a company to consider state expansion. More to come in the future on that topic.
6. Comment: You can be accessed through brokers – but no AORs, which somewhat hurts franchise value.
Response: Our relationship with a limited number of “brokers” is not meant to be a direct competitor to you. It is simply a mechanism for Specialty Lines to get at more profitable small accounts that some agents do not want to go after. To that end, we are finding that most of the submissions we are getting from this distribution source are risks we have NEVER seen before.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: How does your current tiered approach to the Communicable Disease exclusion for GL/Auto/Umbrella compare with other carriers? Most are throwing it on all, but we don’t mind your approach.
Response: Thank you for the feedback; as this is still evolving, we will continue to monitor and adjust our products as needed.
2. Comment: What is your definition of “non-high risk” manufacturing? You are competing with too many for this type of account – focus on different market segment – this is crowded space.
Response: We realize there are a lot of markets willing to write manufacturers, but we have a great product and coverages available at a competitive price for your insureds. We’ve also recently made enhancements to our Product Recall coverage to help us be more competitive. We’ve seen a lot of success with classes like beverage manufacturing, metal fabrication, food products, wood products, and plastics. We would not be a market for any critical products or component parts for products such as aircraft, ammunition or explosives, motorized vehicles or mobile equipment, or invasive medical products. If you have any questions on a specific risk, please discuss with your underwriter or sales manager.
3. Comment: What about a product for small farmers? For example, Whole Foods is allowing local farmers to sell at their markets.
Response: We have some options for small farmers in our Farm-Ag division. There could be some coverage options available, but absent specific circumstances surrounding the various exposures, it’s difficult to be more specific. Each risk is considered on its own merits and priced and underwritten accordingly.
4. Comment: You should focus on small contractors.
Response: We want your small contractors! We have had a lot of success on our Target Contractor book in Colorado and our other states, and we continue to see this book grow. When we first introduced BizLink it was focused on those smaller contractors before we had the other BOP classes available. Please work with your underwriter or sales manager on any specific risk or if you are interested in BizLink training.
5. Comment: Lighten up on contractors doing residential work (i.e, small, plumbers, new construction)
Response: We have added more classes of business, such as plumbers, to our contracting appetite allowing for work on custom homes. We will continue to monitor our competitive position, and we do have a team that meets regularly to discuss any changes in appetite or coverage forms that we may need to consider. We appreciate any feedback that you are able to share with your underwriter or sales manager to help us stay current in the market.
6. Comment: Many carriers are afraid of property/doubling rate – good risk/western slope, etc.
Response: We feel we offer a competitive and stable product and pricing for your best risks. We do have a wide range of tools available for our underwriters to use on property to help make sure we have an adequate spread of risk, pricing, and coverages available. If you have any questions on a specific risk, please discuss with your underwriter or sales manager.
7. Comment: Carriers are all over the board on wind/hail deductibles.
Response: We understand the challenges you face when insuring property in Colorado. We have made improvements on developing consistent underwriting guidelines for property, including guidelines for using wind/hail deductibles depending on location and building values. We also have guidelines in place for using coverage limitations such as ACV or cosmetic damage exclusions for certain roof types and ages. These tools help us remain as a market for your property risks while protecting the overall profitability of your book of business and ours. Please discuss any specific risks with your underwriter.
8. Comment: Residential Exclusion? Will you give underwriters discretion to not attach 20 in 1 subdivision?
Response: Thank you for the feedback. We have a team in place that regularly reviews the construction market, and we’ve identified changes that we would like to make to our existing residential exclusions, including reviewing the number of homes within our tract home definition. Please continue to provide feedback to your underwriter and sales manager to help us stay competitive in the market.
9. Comment: Composite rating? Would like for it to be 25-50.
Response: We are aware of the need to be able to composite rate larger auto accounts both from a competitive standpoint and ease of doing business standpoint. We will continue to monitor the need for option and prioritize against other potential enhancements.
10. Comment: Do you have a professional liability for small contractors?
Response: Yes we do! This coverage is available for a wide range of classes, including those that are available to rate in BizLink, at various limits. Please reach out to your underwriter if you have any specific questions.
11. Comment: Many carriers will not write trucking and/or delivery.
Response: Thank you for the feedback; we continue to monitor the trucking markets as this is a tough class of business. The market has seen significant pricing increases year after year, more carriers are exiting this class, and significant damages awarded when there is a loss. Colorado is a tough state for trucking risks due to the population density along the Front Range urban corridor, terrain, and the legal environment. While we won’t be a market for all of your trucking needs, please discuss any specific risks with your underwriter or sales manager as we can consider those risks that are best in class.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: We are glad that we are getting a designated Risk Management Consultant, but one for the entire state and all market segments seems spread too thin.
Response: We appreciate your concern. We plan on continuing to use our vendor to focus on the lower premium accounts so the SECURA Risk Management Consultant can be more involved with the other accounts, provide service, and to conduct periodic agency visits so we stay tuned to your concerns and thoughts with your accounts.
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: No issues.
Response: Great to hear that you are not currently having any claims issues.
2. Comment: Are you seeing venture capital, opening law firms, reopening old cases?
Response: Venture capital: We are not seeing venture capital investing in opening law firms. If it’s happening, we are not aware of it. However, we do see litigation financing companies in Colorado. The good news in Colorado is that the courts had been letting that information into evidence in cases we have had involving them. We recently saw an article in one of the trade journals about litigation funding that says most courts are ruling this is protected work product. Per Sarah Bishop, Senior Litigation Specialist, Colorado has now enacted a statute, effective 9/1/21, that makes it protected work product, so going forward we question if we will be able to continue to get it into evidence in Colorado. We have not yet verified this statute, but wanted to raise it up as new information and that we are looking into it further.
Public adjusters (with established referral relationships with law firms) are inspecting commercial properties for wind/hail damage that may have gone unnoticed by owners (or not really existed). They then run a CoreLogic report, which tells you all storms with high winds or hail within a certain radius of any address in the United States. They find the largest storm that likely caused damage and then file a claim with the carrier on the building at the time. At times, we can rely on the suit limitation language in the policy, i.e. statute of limitations, to deny the claim as untimely. However, the enforcement of that suit limitation period can be challenged on various grounds.
In Wisconsin, there are currently ethical rules, which only allow an attorney or group of attorneys to own a law firm, which prevents outside investors. However, other states do allow for non-attorney investors to gain ownership interest, such as Illinois (example: a hedge fund company invested in a firm). Arizona also made headlines in 2020 for completely eliminating Rule 5.4.
Reopening old cases: We do not generally see old lawsuits reopened because they are settled with a release or a judgment. Occasionally we see claims reopen if we deny them, or when a claimant seems to have lost interest, especially with law firms that specialize in certain types of cases (hail storm damage, hog farm litigation, opioid litigation, bad faith cases, etc.).
(Agent comments with SECURA responses)
1. Comment: What are your state expansion plans? What states you are looking at? Would you be interested in Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wyoming, or Utah?
Response: It is our desire to enter more states in the near future. We are excited to be going into Pennsylvania before year-end, and we are currently analyzing opportunities to enter other states. While we cannot divulge all of the details, many of the states suggested are on our radar.
2. Comment: What are your next steps for BizLink? (we mentioned straight through processing)
Response: We continue to enhance the overall functionality of BizLink and will be adding straight through processing for several classes in 2022.
3. Comment: SECURA should look into things like Tarmika.
Response: There are many tech and SEMCI vendors in the insurance marketplace. We regularly evaluate these vendors to determine if our business needs align. SECURA is working on APIs to connect with Tarmika, and we will provide updates in the future. If there are tech solutions, like Tarmika, that your agency uses, please share with your Sales Manager.
4. Comment: I use WRAP and sell sheets. I just need to remember that they get updated since I typically save them to my desktop.
Response: You can always find the latest versions of our sell sheets, brochures, postcards, and other materials in our Sales Resource Center via AgentLink.
5. Comment: What are your thoughts on offering an Ag Certification?
Response: SECURA Academy loves receiving training suggestions from our agents. We will do some research on the topic of creating an Ag Certification and see if it is a possibility. If you have any other topic suggestions, we welcome them. As a reminder, SECURA Academy has in-person classes, live webinars and on demand courses available for you. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Angela Kain, Manager – Agency Training, directly at email@example.com.