The Iowa President’s Advisory Council for SECURA Insurance met via Zoom Oct. 21, 2020

Agent Representatives
Scott DeSousa, Friedman Insurance Inc.; Kyle Edwards, Van Gorp-Edwards Insurance; Brandon Vincent, Insurance Station of Iowa, Inc.; Jason Knockel, Kunkel & Associates Inc.; Joe Meyers, INSPRO, Inc.; Scott Enyart, Relion Insurance Solutions

SECURA Representatives 

Dave Gross, President & CEO; Larry Wright, Vice President and Chief Claims Officer; Marty Arnold, SVP and Chief Underwriting Officer; Tim Heyroth, Vice President and Chief Sales Officer; Garth Wicinsky, SVP and Chief Administrative Officer; Amy DeHart, Vice President and Chief Actuarial Officer; Tamara Bates, Regional Vice President-Sales

We kicked off our meeting with showing the updated brand video:

Watch the video below for an overview and SECURA updates.

Click the links below to navigate to the comment/response section for each topic.

Personal Lines | Commercial Lines | Farm-Ag Lines | Specialty Lines | Risk Management | Claims | Miscellaneous

Personal Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: We like your rating tool.

Response: Thank you for this feedback. We continue to look for ways to enhance the MILE-STONE Link rating technology.

2. Comment: We would like you to incorporate reporting upfront/earlier. Your process is more cumbersome compared to other carriers.

Response: We begin work on automating the MVR data early in 2021. 

3. Comment: MVR – prefill or flood info?

Response: While the design work is not finalized, this will ideally compare the information completed by the user to that in the MVR. An alert and re-rate will trigger in the event of a data mismatch prior to the upload completing.

4. Comment: When the rater pulls in, it doesn’t pull in all discounts, which is cumbersome. It takes time to verify. – You don’t show up in the top without this.

Response: We will need more details regarding which real time rater is involved, and which discounts do not transfer properly. We understand this is frustrating and time consuming.

5. Comment: You are very black and white on your appetite (large accounts). We would like more flexibility on the underwriting process. We had to place this elsewhere due to not meeting automated rules.

Response: Please share examples. We want to maintain the excellent Iowa Personal Lines loss ratio with fair and stable underwriting. If we are truly tougher, please reach out to Kathy Oudenhoven your Personal Lines Underwriting Supervisor. 

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Commercial Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: What are your plans for a Service Center?

Response: We’ve approved the concept of a Commercial Lines Service Center and are in the early planning stages. We plan on rolling out in a crawl, walk, run method starting with about four staff members and a very small group of agencies. 

Our main objective is to have flexible, thorough, knowledgeable staff members who can provide our insureds excellent customer service and maintain open communication with our agents. Our rollout would start with commercial classes, account size $10,000 and under. We’re aiming to provide full service, including endorsements, certificate of insurance, renewals, upselling/cross-selling and all other insured inquiries. We do not have an estimated live date established at this time, but we are working on resource allocation and project mobilization in 2021.

2. Comment: What are your next steps for BizLink?

Response: We are currently working on BizLink Release 3, which includes the addition of retail, office, and service BOP classes to the existing Target Contractor classes.  We are also working on some user experience enhancements based on direct feedback from our agency partners and also straight through processing for some Specialty Lines classes. In addition, the team will continue to address feedback concerns and suggestions and implement changes/updates accordingly.

3. Comment: Relationship piece is huge. Traci keeps an open mind and tries to find a way to write business.

Response: We couldn’t agree more! Relationships are very important to us at SECURA. We encourage our underwriters to listen to the story that our agency partners bring to us. 

4. Comment: Your underwriters are fabulous; the ease of doing business is great. 

Response: Thank you!  We have a strong team in place, and we believe we are set up well for future success after experiencing some underwriter turnover in the last couple of years.

5. Comment: Producers need time to get familiar with BizLink.

Response: We understand that learning new technology won’t happen overnight. That being said, we are excited about what we have built for you and we expect it will open up many opportunities for small business success!

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Farm-Ag Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: We would like to see you open up your Ag appetite a little more. (small dealerships, mechanic shops – not co-op/grain elevators) 

Response: Ag Repair Shops including mobile mechanics have been written actively for 10 years, and we will continue to do so for our agency force. We have been writing some Agricultural Equipment Dealers since 2018 generally the smaller, independent operators with up to $1 million in inventory. We will continue to modify and adjust our approach on this class as we learn more.

2. Comment: We would like to see your Ag appetite open up. We want elevators – but start small.

Response: We are currently not a market for Grain Elevators and most Ag Cooperatives. These will remain outside our target appetite for the time being. Though these can be very high DWP opportunities, they do not fit well with our product. We will continue to leverage our strengths and create opportunities in other areas. 

3. Comment: We have feed mills that have 8-10 hog buildings and manure pumping. Are you writing pieces versus all? (hope the conversation is taking place). 

Response: We are very good at writing risks that cross over between Farm and Commercial Agribusiness. We have underwriting guidelines for hogs, but we would always encourage a discussion on these complex type accounts since we do have a wide product capability.     

4. Comment: We would like EPLI built into the Farm policy. 

Response: We have investigated adding EPLI to our Farm policy, and it remains on our wish list. It is unlikely to see any imminent changes here, but discussions are ongoing.  We are happy to provide monoline EPLI coverage to those farms that meet underwriting guidelines.

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Specialty Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: We really like working with Becky. We appreciate the relationship.

Response: Thank you for the kind words, Becky prides herself on being there for the agents and helping in any way she can.

2. Comment: Your underwriters are fabulous and the ease of doing business is great.

Response: Thank you for the compliment, we are really emphasizing to all of our staff that working with our agents is paramount to both of our success. We are looking forward to continuing this trend into the future.

3. Comment: Will the Service Center include Specialty Lines?

Response: The addition of Specialty Lines in that model is under consideration.

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Risk Management

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: With regard to Risk Management working with the agency Risk Management, the risk manager should notify the agent and touch base prior to communications in coordination with internal risk manager. We probably still have separate meetings as agenda of the agency risk manager are different than the SECURA risk manager.

Response: After a Risk Manager schedules any type of visit with an insured, their next step is to call or email the agent and let them know a visit has been scheduled with one of their insureds, and to provide them the date and time. This is one of Risk Management’s hard rules and it is followed consistently. We rely on the agent to let us know if they have an internal agency RM/LP individual working with the same insured so they can invite them to the visit and we can further coordinate with that individual if the account is placed on service.

2. Comment; Mark and Blake are fabulous. 

Response: Thank you! We think they are pretty special too.

3. Comment: You are a resource for knowledge on specialty areas (large nonprofit example). 

Response: We appreciate that you find our risk management consultants a knowledge source! We may not know everything you seek immediately, but we will ALWAYS get you an answer, and that goes for all lines of business. 

4. Comment: New business is more key than renewal (coordinate together- build relationship). 

Response: Our Risk Managers understand the need to develop relationships and the same effort is put in across the board to assist you in writing and retaining the best accounts.

5. Comment: Using third party is more of a challenge with communication. (smaller – waste of money?  Use agent?)  We really want coordination with these.

Response: We understand that periodically there can be some communications issues with our vendor, but they are well vetted and follow the same agent contact rules as SECURA risk management consultants. If there are ever any issues, please feel free to contact Dom Mongarella, Risk Management Director, at 920-224-7449, and he will be happy to discuss any of your concerns.

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(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: No news is good news.

Response: We agree. We are glad to hear you are not currently experiencing any claims issues.

2. Comment: There are communication gap/challenges with independents. 

Response: We understand the concern and agree with your perspective. Addam Stamper was hired as our second field claims rep in Iowa June 25, 2019 to support the volume and allow us to minimize use of Independent Adjusters when possible. Brian Hance continues to do an outstanding job in Iowa, but he was consistently one of our busiest reps, due to volume and windshield time to get to the losses across the whole state.

3. Comment: We feel agency visits would be a positive and help build the relationship.

Response: We agree. If you would like to set up a time for one of our Iowa field claim reps (Brian Hance or Addam Stamper) to visit your agency, please let your sales manager know and we will work with them to get it set up.

4. Comment: We would like more access to information. Most internal claims/agency time is spent on gathering info.

Response: Thank you for the suggestion. We will follow up with the requestor to better understand the request and then discuss with our IT staff and see if it is possible to provide more detailed information in an effort to save you time.

5. Comment: Work Comp Medcor reports are useful for agency/insured meetings. It would be nice to have accessibility on a regular level (maybe at a certain size of account). 

Response: According to our VP-Workers’ Compensation Claims, Tony Brecunier, this is a licensing issue with Medcor; however, we can provide reports on request. Feel free to reach out to Tony Brecunier,, or Jessica Schmidt,, if you would like us to provide you a report on a specific account.

6. Comment: Tell us more about Telemedicine.

Response: We began offering a telemedicine option when calling in a claim through Nurse Hotline on July, 1, 2020. We have currently had about 68 successful transfers from Nurse Hotline to a telemedicine visit. Jessica Schmidt is available to discuss the program with agents or insureds.

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(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: SECURA’s communication was good. We liked the state of the company address – effective.

2. Comment: State expansion?

Response: We are currently having discussions internally, but we are a few years out.

3. Comment: We enjoy in-person (face-to-face) training. We get more out of it. For the short-term/now – virtual probably works better. It is the next best option.

Response: We miss providing face-to-face training for our agents, and we will resume training when we can based on state specific guidelines and COVID-19 rates. We will continue to add webinars until we can start traveling again.

4. Comment: What “programs” do you offer?

Response: We have a wide variety of training programs to offer our agents; we offer training in your territory, live webinars, and a self-study option. We also host multiple day long programs at the home office in Neenah, WI. For additional details on any of our training options, please reach out to your sales manager, or you can email me directly at

5. Comment: What is your work from home philosophy? 

Response: Currently, the majority of our associates are working from home. As we look to open the office in the future, we will see most associates return to our new building. However, SECURA remains to be flexible with our associate’s needs. We expect the same level of performance from our associates whether they work from the SECURA office or from their home office.

6. Comment: Sales managers – virtual versus in-person. Some carriers have strict restrictions and most have no in-person visits.

7. Comment: Relationships definitely set you apart from other carriers.

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