Agent News

Fourth Quarter 2017

Welcome from Justin Bealhen: An Impressive Finish to Close Another Successful Year

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At this time last year, United Heartland was ending one of the best years in United Heartland history. For 2016, we had $70 million in new business, a calendar year combined ratio of 91.5% and premium retention of 88.5%. While our goal was to work with you, our agent partners, and build on this momentum for 2017, we knew it’d be a tall order to match or even surpass what we achieved. But when we look at tentative year-end numbers, it’s looking likely that our collaborative efforts have paid off in big ways:

  • November new business was $6.4 million, our best November in history. December is expected to finish between $7.5 million and $10 million, which would shatter the previous record of $7.2 million set in 2003. New business is forecast to finish for the year at $70 million.
  • Risk Management Services wrote two large accounts totaling $5 million in November, which follows two accounts written in September that totaled more than $6 million.
  • Retention for the year is expected to be an impressive 92%, increasing last year’s rate by more than three points!
  • Our combined ratio is forecast to come in around 89.3%, more than two points lower than last year.

These numbers should tell you three things:

  1. United Heartland isn’t going anywhere. We know there’s been some disruption and uncertainty in the marketplace recently.  Our performance and our continued expansion into more states, such as South Dakota and Connecticut, should assure you that we’re committed to grow and expand with you and your business needs in the future.
  2. Your support matters. Your ongoing support of our high-touch customer service value proposition, particularly as it serves the needs of distressed, high-risk businesses, continues to resonate in the marketplace. In fact, 70% of our new business had a mod over 1.00.  Thank you for placing your trust in our expertise in all areas – underwriting, claims handling, loss control and client consultation.
  3. When we do well, you do well. When you write profitable business with us, we honor that commitment through profit sharing. Many of you should expect to see significant checks for your 2017 performance. Remember any business written by Dec. 31, 2017, qualifies toward your profit-sharing calculation so make sure to send it in before New Year’s. And for 2018, we’re excited about our new three-year profit-sharing program which offers increased flexibility, less volatility and a chance for larger rewards when you write more business with us. Learn more about the program here as well as access a flier with calculation grids and more details.

Thanks for your commitment to United Heartland during this past year. I wish all of you a safe and peaceful holiday season and look forward to growing our business with you in 2018 and beyond.

Sincerely,
Justin Bealhen
Vice President, Field Operations
United Heartland

Regional Focus – Great Relationships Lead to Greater Successes in Milwaukee Region

Making the Most of Momentum: In 2017, Milwaukee Regional Director Tracy Bain says her regional team built on the great momentum they had in 2016 by simply doing what they do best – building great relationships with their agents and their policyholders. Here are a few of the region’s notable numbers from the last 12 months:

  • Achieved more than 92% retention YTD, which beats the 90% retention rate achieved at the same time last year.
  • Hit their regional new business goals and expect to grow their overall book by 9%.
  • Successfully wrote 39% of everything that was quoted.
  • Continued to maintain profitability with a 37% accident year loss ratio YTD, which is two points better than it was last year and nearly half of what it was almost four years ago.

Not only has the region continued to grow in premium, but the Milwaukee region expanded into South Dakota and Connecticut (more on the latter here) and wrote their first policy in Connecticut on Dec. 1.

Serving All of Our Agencies’ Business Needs: Bain says the message of United Heartland being a one-stop solution for workers’ compensation business continues to resonate with agents. “United Heartland provides solutions for mid-market accounts, distressed accounts and larger loss-sensitive accounts and then is able to refer small business accounts to our brand counterparts at Accident Fund,” Bain says. “Our focus is reducing our customer’s overall cost of risk, finding opportunities for effective loss control strategies to address loss leaders and proactively managing claims. We deliver a high-quality work comp product at every account level.” One example of UH’s effective claims management continues to be the fact that average claims costs are nearly 25% lower than the industry average.

Supporting Our Agents: Bain and her team are committed to helping their agent partners find success in the marketplace as well as on a professional level. They’ve done this through:

  • Agency Claim Advisory Council: Now in its second year, this council has allowed claim advocates in the region to come together and provide us constructive feedback on how we can continue to improve the claims experience for customers. The first session was so successful that two additional regions started their own councils this fall.
  • Training: This includes business segment-specific training, job shadowing with our claims and loss control teams and new producer training.
  • Retention: Mid-term reviews for larger accounts have been key to boosting retention rates for the Milwaukee region and their agent partners.
New UH Profit-Sharing Plan Expands Reward Options for Agencies

Taking effect with the 2018 policy year, United Heartland has announced a new profit-sharing program that will offer you, our valued agent partners, increased flexibility and improve the potential reward when you write more profitable business with us. Our new three-year plan better rewards our high-performing agencies, increases potential payouts to 18% and reduces much of the volatility from our previous structure.

Here are just some of the program’s excellent benefits:

  • Three-year structure will help agencies maintain profit-sharing eligibility on a consistent basis rather than miss out due to an off year with weak results.
  • Payouts will range from 0.5% to as much as 18%.
  • One- and two-year agencies are eligible for profit sharing if, for at least one year, they have three in-force policies and $750,000 in written premium.
  • 20% growth bonus for those agencies with current year written premium growth greater than 10% and a maximum of one-year adjusted loss ratio of 45%.

Here are the requirements to be eligible for our program:

  • Three in-force policies during current policy year.
  • Written premium of $750,000 during current policy year.
  • $500,000 loss limit per claim.
  • Accounts written on large deductible or retrospective rating plans are not eligible for this program.

We encourage you to review our new profit-sharing flier which includes the above information as well as calculation grids for three-, two- and one-year agencies so you can see what your potential reward may be for 2018. Please note: Agency principals should have received updated addendums to the agency contract that reflect the changes to the profit sharing calculations. If not, please contact Agency Relations Coordinator Kristin Doyle.

Contact your business development consultant with any additional questions and to see how you can identify strategies to take advantage of our new profit sharing program for years to come!

United Heartland Adds Connecticut As Its 19th Core State!

United Heartland recently announced that Connecticut became United Heartland’s 19th core state for pursuing workers’ compensation business. This development reflects our willingness to pursue profitable business where we see strong opportunities and our first significant foray into the New England area. It also reaffirms our belief that there is an appetite everywhere for the high-touch, customer service-focused approach to workers’ compensation that United Heartland excels at providing. This follows United Heartland’s entries into Florida in 2013, Texas in 2015 and, Oklahoma and South Dakota earlier this year.

The United Heartland team will pursue opportunities for appointing agents and identifying qualified customers in Connecticut under the guidance of Tracy Bain, regional director for the Milwaukee region. We look forward to partnering with Connecticut agents who share United Heartland’s focus on our six key business segments – education, health care, long-term care, manufacturing, nonprofits/social services and wholesale/retail – and our commitment to excellent customer service. We also are confident our value proposition and commitment to controlling our customer’s total cost of risk will be attractive to prospective customers there. To get a high-level overview of how United Heartland stands out from our competitors, see this flier.

Helping customers lower their experience modification factors is one way United Heartland helps them see savings. This flier illustrates how United Heartland has helped lower experience mods for clients across all of our core segments and the estimated savings they achieved as a result. If you have accounts in Connecticut or with Connecticut exposure that would benefit from United Heartland’s high-touch approach toward workers’ compensation, please contact Tracy Bain directly at 262-787-7464, on her cell at 262-409-6843 or via email at Tracy.Bain@UnitedHeartland.com.

User-Friendly Updates Made to Recently Launched Claim Management Tools!

United Heartland implemented new online claim management tools in October, which provide users easy access anytime to claim documents from their computer or mobile device along with real-time claim filing. Recent updates to the tools since the launch include:

  • First Notice of Loss Confirmation Print: The ability to print a copy of a First Notice of Loss (FNOL) submitted via the Claims portal. What’s more, you can find the First Report Confirmation both when initially filing the claim and at any point from within Claims portal documents. The first report confirmation print will be available in portal documents for all claims filed — whether done via the portal or entered directly into ClaimCenter.
  • Medical Information Screen: Updated with simpler navigation, as well as improvements to the search functionality, and the ability to add clinic/hospital and doctor information with ease.
  • Employer Location: A reconfigured screen, allowing for entry of employment and accident locations. This functionality also allows agents and policyholders to use the department code option/drop-down, where applicable.

These are in addition to the other existing claim management improvements for agents and policyholders, which include:

  • 24-hour real-time claim filing and immediate receipt of a claim number upon submitting their FNOL.
  • Mobile-friendly access with a consistent look and feel between platforms.
  • The ability to attach documents to a claim number at any point.

Agents are able to access the new functionality upon entering Claim Inquiry via the agent portal. Policyholders who have not previously logged into the United Heartland website and injured workers are required to complete a one-time registration at our website. Policyholders who have already registered at our website are able to access the new claim management functionality after logging in.

To register:

After this initial registration, users will only need to provide the username and password created during the registration process to log in.

United Heartland is excited to be able to provide our customers easier access to the claim information they seek. For questions related to the claim management tools, please contact the IT HelpDesk at 866-206-5851.

AF Group President Lisa Corless Named ‘2017 Women to Watch’ Honoree

lisa_corless2We are very pleased to congratulate Lisa Corless, president of AF Group, for being named a “2017 Women to Watch” honoree by Business Insurance magazine in late September. This special award “celebrates leading women from every facet of the commercial insurance industry…and is aimed at the advancement of women in commercial insurance, risk management and related fields.”

“While I am truly honored to be recognized by Business Insurance, this award is a reflection upon our entire business. It demonstrates the amazing support from our valued agent partners who have sustained our collective success, along with the continued contributions of our outstanding team at AF Group.”

Now in its 12th year, Business Insurance’s Women to Watch Awards & Leadership Conference is the only recognition program that celebrates leading women from every facet of the commercial insurance industry. The program was created in 2006 to recognize leading women in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields such as consulting and law.

AF Group Named No. 1 Large Employer on 'Best Places to Work in Insurance' List!

We are excited to share that Business Insurance magazine has released this year’s ranking for Best Places to Work in Insurance — and AF Group is No. 1!

Companies included in this prestigious listing demonstrate a “commitment to attracting, developing and retaining great talent through a combination of benefits and other programs that their employees value.”

This year, AF Group which includes United Heartland and our related brands (Accident Fund, CompWest Insurance, Third Coast Underwriters and AF Specialty) — earned first place in the large employer category! 

These results are a reflection of the exceptional team working to provide our partner agents with the service and results that distinguish us from our peers. As we celebrate this honor, we remain grateful for your continued partnership!

United Heartland was pleased to see several of our valued agent partners make this year’s list as well. Congratulations to the following agencies for their Best Places to Work recognition:

  • Assurance Agency Ltd.
  • Bearance Management Group
  • CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services
  • HNI Risk Services
  • Holmes Murphy & Associates
  • Hylant Group
  • Lockton Companies LLC
  • Kapnick Insurance Group
  • Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC
  • MHBT, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC
  • NFP Property & Casualty Services Inc.
  • The Plexus Groupe LLC
  • TexCap Insurance
  • TRICOR Insurance

We are extremely proud to once again be considered among the Best Places to Work in Insurance and pleased to share this recognition with our agency partners.

Legislative Update

Legislative Update is a brief synopsis of relevant legislative activity currently taking place in states where United Heartland does business. For more details or further documentation on any of these legislative activities, contact your business development consultant or underwriter.

Indiana

State Sen. Randy Head is moving full steam ahead with trying to implement a workers’ compensation drug formulary in Indiana. His goal is to have the legislation drafted and implemented by the end of the 2018 legislative session (ends in March).  Currently, Head’s staff is drafting the formulary utilizing the Texas formulary as the model.

Politically, this initiative has serious potential to get enacted. Working with the state insurance trade, the Insurance Institute of Indiana, AF Group has been identified as a carrier expert resource for Head.  This will enable us the opportunity to truly impact the final proposal.  Issues being focused on at this point include: Duration and dosage of opioids, a clearly defined process for dealing with non-approved medications, and a process and resources required to educate the provider community. As this initiative progresses into 2018, we’ll keep you informed.

Illinois

In November, the legislature concluded its fall veto session.  Of significance and positive news for our industry, no effort was made to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of HB 2525, the workers’ compensation insurer price control legislation, so its total veto stands.  A veto override was attempted on HB 2622, the workers’ compensation state fund legislation, but that motion failed to obtain 71 votes, so that veto also stands.  We expect to see similar negative legislation reintroduced in 2018. An additional legislative issue of significance in 2018 will be addressing the opioid crisis. Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti has been leading hearings on the topic across the state and it is expected Rauner will be pushing for legislative and administrative solutions to the crisis in 2018. We’ll keep you apprised of developments moving forward.

Missouri

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, a shareholder of an S corporation with at least 40% or more interest in the S corporation can individually elect to reject coverage under the workers’ compensation laws by providing a written notice of the rejection to the S corporation and its insurer. Failure to provide notice to the S corporation shall not be grounds for any shareholder to claim that the rejection is not legally effective. The shareholder may rescind the rejection in writing to the S corporation and its insurer. The rescission shall entitle the shareholder only to the benefits which accrue on or after the date of the notice of rescission is received by the insurance company. If you have any questions, please contact your business development consultant.

Wisconsin

The following link is a summary of workers’ compensation reform provisions produced by the Wisconsin  Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). This summary was provided by our state trade partner — the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance (WIA).  The recommendations include modest increases in certain indemnity benefits, a Medicare and group health insurance-based medical fee schedule, electronic billing provisions and restrictions on the dispensation of opioids to injured workers. We anticipate these recommendations will be formed into legislative language and pursued through the legislative process. With 2018 being an election year, it makes the enactment of the proposal a challenge.  AF Group will monitor the situation moving forward. http://www.wial.com/documents/2017/08/wcac-agrd-bill-pkg-8_23_17.pdf