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EMC Insurance Companies® Enters into an Agreement with Safeco Insurance® for Transition of Personal Lines Business

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – EMC Insurance Companies (“EMC”) announced today they have entered into an agreement with Safeco Insurance (“Safeco”), a Liberty Mutual Company, to provide EMC-licensed agents an opportunity to transition their EMC personal lines policies to Safeco beginning in the first quarter of 2019.

This agreement is a result of Des Moines-based EMC making a strategic decision to dedicate more time and resources to its commercial, reinsurance and life businesses across 43 states, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the company’s current premiums. The agreement with Safeco will also allow EMC to provide a smooth transition for personal lines policyholders, and the independent agents in 23 states they currently utilize to sell and service personal lines policies.

“The personal lines marketplace is highly competitive and has evolved significantly since we first entered it back in the 1950s. This is a decision we made with careful, strategic consideration given our long history in the business,” said Bruce G. Kelley, President and CEO of EMC Insurance Companies. “We are focused on maximizing profit and growth potential and believe that can best be accomplished by further strengthening and expanding our commercial lines.”

As one of the country’s leading personal lines insurers, Safeco is no stranger to this type of arrangement. The company has developed similar agreements with other insurers in the past few years given Safeco’s book transfer expertise and high levels of satisfaction for personal lines among independent agents.

“We are pleased to have been selected by EMC for our industry-leading approach to book transfers, which combines excellent products and technology with an agent-first culture,” said Gary Fischer, Senior Vice President of IA Channel Growth and Engagement at Safeco Insurance. “We are committed to the success of the independent agent channel and are excited to work with EMC agents throughout this transfer to provide customers with a smooth transition.”

About EMC Insurance Companies

EMC Insurance Companies is among the top 50 insurance organizations in the country based on net written premium, with more than 2,500 employees. Employers Mutual Casualty Company (EMCC) was organized in 1911 to write workers’ compensation protection in Iowa. Today, operating under the trade name EMC Insurance Companies, the company provides property and casualty insurance products and services throughout the United States and writes reinsurance contracts worldwide. EMCC is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.emcins.com.

About EMC Insurance Group Inc. 

EMC Insurance Group Inc. (EMCI) is a publicly held insurance holding company, which was formed in 1974 and became publicly held in 1982. Its common stock trades on the Global Select Market tier of the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol EMCI. EMCI’s parent company is EMCC. Additional information regarding EMCI may be found at investors.emcins.com.

About Safeco Insurance 

Established in 1923 and based in Seattle, Washington, Safeco Insurance sells personal automobile, homeowners and specialty products throughout the United States through a network of more than 10,000 independent insurance agencies. Safeco is owned by Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance, which is a leading global insurer with operations in 30 countries around the world and is the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2017 direct written premium data, as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The company also ranks 68th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2017 revenue.  As of December 31, 2017, it had $39.4 billion in annual consolidated revenue. For more information about Safeco Insurance, go to www.Safeco.com.

 Source: EMC Insurance Group Inc.


Berkshire Hathaway GUARD now writing personal lines in Ohio

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies logoBerkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies has begun offering homeowners and complementary personal umbrella coverage in Ohio.

According to GUARD CEO Sy Foguel, “We have always relied upon independent agents to deliver our policies to consumers, so our goal is to feature products that fill a need within their offices. We believe our homeowners coverage, which provides the same high level of security and service currently enjoyed by our commercial customers, will do just that.”

Senior Vice President of Personal Lines Dovid Tkatch explains that this new initiative has been designed to reflect a few core principles of the company by “providing a quality, easily understood product on a simple platform as well as a high level of service to both agents and policyholders.”

Targeted markets include one- to four-family dwellings, renters, and condo units (both owner-occupied and those held for rental).

“In addition to standard exposures,” Tkatch adds, “Berkshire Hathaway GUARD aims to provide a bridge between certain business and personal insurance needs by considering Homeowners coverage for residences owned by corporations and LLCs; dwellings held for rent; and residences where incidental business activities occur.”

GUARD’s Senior Vice President of Sales Dave Simmons says, “We believe we can provide a great service to agents that write both commercial and personal accounts. We feature a competitively priced product with a variety of available discounts, including one for insureds who have commercial policies with GUARD. We also believe certain aspects of our underwriting appetite are unique and will appeal to producers anxious to cross sell and achieve a greater client share.”

GUARD’s product is generally aimed at dwellings valued at $75,000 to $2,000,000.

By mixing and matching policy forms, endorsements, and optional coverages aimed at broader protection, each policyholder can obtain property insurance suited to his or her exact circumstances.

A personal umbrella with limits up to $5,000,000 can also be added.

According to Tkatch, “We’ve already introduced these personal lines coverages in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois and have been pleased with the response. In 2018, we hope to expand into a few other states as the year progresses.”

As a national carrier, long-range plans call for offering the product countrywide he said.

In October of 2012, GUARD was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. – an international holding company with diverse interests that include insurance and reinsurance. In 2013, GUARD unveiled a new identity as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies. 

GUARD offers a national footprint with a growing list of insurance products, including: workers’ compensation, property/liability via a businessowner’s policy, commercial auto, commercial umbrella, professional liability, disability, homeowners, and personal umbrella.

Each of the organization’s insurance companies (AmGUARD, EastGUARD, NorGUARD, and WestGUARD) is rated A+ (“Superior”) by A.M. Best – a leading source of independent rating information on the insurance industry.

Agents interested in learning more should visit guard.com/apply.


Motorists names Wilcox executive vice president of personal lines

Matthew Wilcox Motorists Insurance GroupCOLUMBUS, OH – Matthew C. Wilcox has been hired as executive vice president of personal lines for Motorists Insurance Group.

“We’re pleased to have Matthew join Motorists and bring his depth of industry experience and knowledge to our team,” said Motorists CEO Dave Kaufman. “His insights will help us ensure our policyholders receive quality products from Motorists.”

Wilcox has more than 30 years of insurance industry experience. He most recently served as a senior vice president with MAPFRE USA. He has also held leadership positions with Travelers of New Jersey and USAA Insurance Company.

“We’re fully committed to being a company our agents and policyholders can count on for quality products in both commercial and personal insurance,” said Motorists President and COO Thomas J. Obrokta, Jr. “Hiring Matthew to lead our personal lines is an important strategic move for continued care and service to our customers.”

Wilcox holds the CPCU designation and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode
Island.

About Motorists Insurance Group and BrickStreet Insurance

Motorists Insurance Group and BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. affiliated through a joint venture in 2017. Ohio-­based Motorists consists of property and casualty insurance, life insurance and insurance brokerage companies, and West Virginia-­based BrickStreet is one of the largest writers of workers' compensation coverage in the region.

The group markets insurance solutions through more than 17,000 independent agents at more than 2,000 agencies in the Midwest, Northeast and South. Learn more about Motorists Insurance Group at motoristsinsurancegroup.com and BrickStreet at brickstreet.com.


RLI Update: PUP Eligibility & Underwriting Changes Coming Soon

RLI logo on wall

OIA is excited to announce that the RLI Personal Umbrella program will be making some major eligibility and underwriting changes for new and renewal business with an effective date of June 1, 2018 and later.

The major changes to the eligibility guidelines are summarized below:

  • Drivers under the age of 20 will be eligible with one (1) incident (violation OR at-fault accident). Previously, drivers age 20-21 were eligible with one incident, while those under the age of 20 were ineligible. As a result, the yes/no question pertaining to a driver under the age of 20 with an incident has been removed.
     

  • Drivers under the age of 22 will be eligible with basic underlying automobile limit B (250/500/50 OR 300/300/50 OR 300 CSL). Previously, drivers under the age of 22 required basic underlying automobile limit of A (500/500/50 OR 500 CSL). Note that basic underlying auto limit A will continue to give a discount.
     

  • Up to $5M limits will be available for certain PUP Special risks. If a risk is in PUP Special due to the number of autos and/or properties (questions 1 and 2), and no other response(s) make the risk PUP Special, up to $5M limits will be available. Previously, any response that made the risk PUP Special was limited to $1M.
     

  • Up to nine (9) residential properties rented to others that are not occupied in whole or in part at any time will be eligible. Previously, ownership of six (6) or more of these properties was ineligible.  As a result, the yes/no question pertaining to six or more rental properties has been removed.
     

  • Simplification of the farm/timberland question. Previously, we asked for how many acres of timberland and/or land that is farmed. We have removed that distinction and instead ask for how many acres of land are owned or leased.
     

  • Simplification of the target political figure question. In most states, appointed or elected political figures lower than the state level in a political subdivision with a population above 100,000 were previously ineligible. That distinction has been removed.
     

  • Increase of the prior liability loss amount for eligibility. Previously, the prior liability loss amount for eligibility was $25,000. Along with re-wording the question to include open liability claims or lawsuits, the prior liability loss amount has been increased to $50,000.
     

All of the changes described above necessitated a paper application refresh.

While doing so, RLI also clarified the wording on several questions and definitions. A copy of the new business app has been published for your review. If you would like a copy of the renewal application, please contact Alexandra DeVictor at (614) 552-3044.

It is important to note that the new business application (10/17 version) should NOT be used unless you are requesting an effective date of June 1, 2018 or later. RLI cannot accept the new 10/17 version of the application for any policy effective prior to June 1, 2018.

Additional communication, including fillable pdf versions, will be sent at that time.

For business effective prior to June 1, 2018, please use the current application (11/13 version).

Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact Alexandra DeVictor at
(614) 552-3044.


OIA partners with state associations to launch regional survey to rate agents’ carrier experiences

GAHANNA, OH - Nine independent agents’ associations, including Ohio Insurance Agents, launched a region-wide survey today to uncover carrier best practices. The goal of the Northeast Carrier Alliance Survey, a series of surveys, is to give valuable feedback to carriers, provide meaningful benchmarks to agencies and facilitate communication among carriers and independent agents.

The first survey will focus on personal lines carriers’ technology usage and standards. Several thousand independent agents and brokers are expected to take the initial survey over the next two weeks.

The multi-state reach allows for a larger survey sample, adding credibility to the results. Participating associations will release the results on a state-by-state and collective basis.

The Northeast Carrier Alliance Survey is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among associations in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The next survey will be released later this year.

About the Collaboration

Nine independent agents’ associations are participating in the Northeast Carrier Alliance Survey, including the Delaware Association of Insurance Agents & Brokers, Maine Insurance Agents Association, Insurance Agents & Brokers of Maryland, New Hampshire Association of Insurance Agents, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New Jersey, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Ohio Insurance Agents, Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island and Insurance Agents & Brokers of Pennsylvania.

About Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agencies protect consumers and employers by offering them access to the best resources, tools and professional development programs available. OIA serves our members in four key areas: advocacy, professional development, business solutions and industry thought leadership.