The North Dakota President’s Advisory Council for SECURA Insurance met via Zoom, Oct. 20, 2020

Agent Representatives
Tom Dawson, Dawson Insurance Marsh/McLennan Agency; Todd Kovash,  American Insurance, Inc.; Dan Toy, First International Insurance; Jessica Cottingham-Hardy; Cottingham Insurance; Todd Bickett, Bickett Insurance; Bruce Vaaler, Vaaler Insurance Inc.

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 & Chief Administrative Officer; Amy DeHart Vice President and Chief Actuarial Officer; Tamara Bates, Regional Vice President-Sales

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 feel you underwrite tougher than other carriers.

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

2. Comment: Technology – some carriers now require minimal (4-5) data points and agent receives great quote.

Response: We continue to invest in ways to keep MILE-STONE Link an easy-to-use system. We would appreciate specific examples to aid in our research.

3. Comment:  What is the pass through rate for SECURA?

Response: Approximately 85% of new business does not require underwriter review.

4. Comment: You are one of the only carriers that still does surveys/questionnaires for renewal. What is your interval for these? It is confusing to customers due to pricing changes. 

Response: There is no set interval for these questionnaires. We target specific subsets of the book that are experiencing sub-par loss ratios. For example, we recently completed surveys to policyholders with the generous 8% association discount in order to validate membership in their respective association. The questionnaires also confirm the presence of specific exposures enabling us to properly price the account. Examples include trampolines, animals, and age of roof.

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Commercial Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: What are your planned Service Center details? 

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. The addition of Specialty Lines is also under consideration.

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 early 2021.

2. Comment: BizLink released. What is included, and what are your next steps?

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: Are you considering expanding your appetite? Would you take more risk for less commission?

Response: We have incrementally taken larger properties and continue working on expanding our product liability appetite. We are continuing to add additional coverage enhancements, including our product recall expense form and Resort Wrap. The key is to give your underwriter a call and discuss the details of any risk. While we will always have classes of business that we will not entertain, we are always looking to expand our appetite or write one off exceptions when it makes sense. Currently, our total commercial DWP is only about $10M, so as we build a larger book of business we will be more likely to take on more risk with an increased appetite.  

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Farm-Ag Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: No coverage shortfalls.  I recommend to all new/promote because of broad coverages.

Response: Thank you for that feedback! We strive to provide a leading product for our Farm agents and policyholders.

2. Comment: Claims are good (situations where other carriers would have denied).

Response: We are glad to hear that about our Claims team!  They do an awesome job, and we work closely to ensure we are making the right calls at the time of a claim.

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Specialty Lines

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: This area is remarkable.

Response: Thank you for the kind words. With all of your help we will continue to write more great business in North Dakota!

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Risk Management

(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: A lot can be accomplished via Zoom (can reduce windshield time) Some policyholders prefer in-person. 

Response: Our current visit strategy puts the personal safety of our Risk Managers, you, and your insureds first. If anyone feels uncomfortable with an in-person visit, we accomplish a phone survey and in some instances ask the insured to forward photos/documentation to us. We also review the online resources available to the insured with them. If an in-person visit does occur, the Risk Manager will be wearing PPE, maintaining social distancing, and keep a contact tracing log in the event an illness occurs after the visit. Currently, there is no timeframe as to when we will be able to stop operating in this manner. 

2. Comment: Not as effective when contracted out. 

Response: Since 2020 has been such an unusual year, we have used the vendor more often. We understand you prefer working with SECURA risk managers, but the vendor is well vetted and operates as closely to SECURA guidelines as we do. If you have specific concerns, please contact Dom Mongarella, Risk Management Director, at 920-224-7449. 

3. Comment: What percent of visits does Andrea do compared to what is contracted?

Response: As far as total visit numbers, in 2019 Andrea did 33, the vendor did 19 for a total of 52. In 2020, to date and because of circumstances, she has done 8 to the vendor’s 28. Andrea has 10 open in her queue, the vendor has 8. 

All vendor reports receive a quality assurance review from within before they are sent to us and then Andrea conducts another review before the report is forwarded to underwriting or any recommendations are sent out to the insured.

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(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: No complaints; no news is good news.

Response: We agree. We are glad to hear you are not having any complaints to deal with at the present time.

2. Comment: When you use independents, there is a communication gap and it creates confusion.

Response: We apologize for the communication gaps and the confusion it is creating for you. We understand your perspective and agree. If you have specific claims where this is happening, please reach out to me (Jennifer Nelson) or the supervisor, and we will do our best to get it corrected. 

We continue to try to avoid using independent adjusters, wherever possible. Sometimes due to loss location, claims storm volume, staff departures, and territory claims volume (Bismarck area) we are in a situation where we do have to use independents. When we have to use independents, we want you to know that there is still a managing representative from SECURA on the file that is the point of contact for all questions, decisions, and issues that may arise in the life of the claim. Unlike some of your other carrier partners, we rarely give any decision making authority to our independent adjusters.

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(Agent comments with SECURA responses)

1. Comment: Joey only field person in office since March. He’s done a great job.

2. Comment:  Lot of zoom requests – too many – (ties up UW’s)

Response: We understand your time is valuable. We ask our sales managers to have an agenda for meetings.  

3. Comment: Accessibility – no issue/better than other carriers.

4. Comment:  Training well received; nice job

Response: Thank you. We always strive to make training educational and engaging with topics that are relevant to our agents. If you ever have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out to

5. Comment: Have you thought about offering training for personal development versus service/insurance training? (WFH, distance learning, working with kids, etc.)

Response: Thank you for the suggestion. Agency Training has primarily focused on insurance product training that qualifies for CE, as we know how important it is for our agents to be able to meet their CE requirements. We do try to weave in personal development in our training where we can. If you have a specific personal development need, please speak with your sales manager to see if we have a course that can meet your needs; and if not, possibly offer additional resources.

6. Comment:  Do you offer new producer training?

Response: We do have a new producer training program. Pre-COVID, we hosted this two-day program at our home office in Neenah, WI. Due to COVID, we have converted it to a 12-week online program. We are discussing hosting another 12-week online session starting in March of 2021. If you have a new producer that is interested in attending, please ask your sales manager for an invitation to the program.

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