Fourth Quarter 2015
Time really does fly. It is hard to believe just over a year ago I stepped into the role of Vice President of Field Operations. When we entered 2015, United Heartland was seeking to improve from 2014, where we saw stagnating numbers for our direct written and net earned premiums and an unprofitable 102.4% combined ratio.
The United Heartland team has made a great turnaround in these last 12 months, much of it made possible through our valued agents’ commitment and belief to our strategies and goals. Here is just some of what we accomplished with your help:
- A forecasted 94.6% calendar year combined ratio (based on net earned premium), nearly an 8-point drop from the previous year.
- An estimated $13.7 million underwriting profit.
- An anticipated 84% retention rate on accounts $400,000 or larger, which was one of our top priorities this year. (With about 25% of our annual written premium having an expiration date in December and January, these next few weeks will be extremely important for us as we work with you in securing these renewals.)
- As of Oct. 31, new business premium in Florida was at $7.2 million, nearly 85% above plan, and we’ve written $10.3 million in new loss-sensitive business throughRisk Management Services, 32% better than plan.
- Entry into Texas in October, where we’ve already written one account and look forward to great growth as we build our team and agent relationships there.
While we are excited about our recent successes in Florida and Texas, each of our core states plays an integral role in our 2016 game plan as UH focuses on becoming your resource for distressed accounts in our core business segments. Boosting our new business, particularly with some of our newer agent partners, will also be a top priority in the new year.
To help you get a better sense of what UH writes on a regular basis, we are launching a regular feature in The Pulse that will list new business we’ve written in the previous quarter. It will be organized by segment and provide premium size, location and experience modification factor information as well as which carrier previously wrote the account. I believe this will illustrate the wide array of accounts we’re able to attract and demonstrate our nimbleness as a workers’ compensation carrier.
2016 is a big year for United Heartland in another significant way — it’s our 25th anniversary! With a theme of “Making a Difference for 25 Years,” we will be celebrating with articles, social media posts and events that help us reflect on where we’ve come from, look ahead at where we hope to go and recognize those agent partners who have helped us along the way. If it’s anything like the last year was for me, I’m sure the next 25 years will be as exciting as ever. I wish all of you a safe and peaceful holiday season and look forward to working with you in 2016!
Vice President, Field Operations
Last year at this time, newly appointed Milwaukee Regional Director Tracy Bain said that profitable growth and retention were going to be the biggest priorities for the region. The turnaround achieved becomes clear when you look at numbers for the region:
- Doubled new business amounts compared to 2014 and expects to exceed their new business goal for 2015 of $8 million.
- Achieved 81% retention YTD.
- Achieved 45% hit to quote ratio and a 24% quote to submit ratio.
- Posted an accident year loss ratio of 41% YTD compared to 64.6% for 2014; similarly the calendar year loss ratio has dropped to 54% from 75% the prior year.
Strength with Segments
Bain says the Milwaukee region continues to find success writing health care, long-term care, social services and manufacturing accounts. She hopes to see that continue in 2016, particularly in the health care and manufacturing segments. Here’s a sample of what was recently written in the region:
- $1.1 million health care account with 1.22 experience mod
- $430,000 private college with 1.17 experience mod
- $645,000 manufacturer with 1.54 experience mod
New Business Highlights
See what types of business United Heartland wrote during the third quarter 2015.
Supporting Our Partners
The Milwaukee region has been focused on helping our agent partners find success as well. We’ve done this through:
- Training: We’ve helped train up-and-coming producers from some of our newer agencies on our business segments, with a focus on manufacturing and health care. This has included going through our virtual dementia training and learning how to correctly perform safe patient handling transfers.
- Retention: Our service impact reviews for $400,000-plus accounts have been key to helping improve retention for us and our agent partners. It’s also helped drive new opportunities as well. In one case, we performed a midterm review for one account that had moved to a new agency prior to renewal and at renewal, they insured three more locations with their new agency.
- Profit Sharing: The Milwaukee region has been focused on improving the quality of our book from a profitability standpoint. By working closely with our agent partners, we’ve had several agencies not only become leaders in writing new business, but they’ve also earned profit sharing – sometimes as much as six figures – for the first time in several years.
Adding to the Team
Several individuals have joined the Milwaukee region within the last year. They are:
- Underwriting Regional Manager Dave Schaschwary
- Underwriting Consultant Jodi Jukkala
- Underwriting Trainee Taylor Wilson
We’re proud to announce that Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. – which includes United Heartland and our three related brands (Accident Fund, CompWest and Third Coast Underwriters) – has been named to Business Insurance magazine’s list of Best Places to Work in Insurance in 2015. The 2015 results ranked Accident Fund Holdings second within the large employer category and third among all insurers.
Accident Fund Holdings and its brands have an excellent reputation for creating a positive workplace culture focused on open communication and a commitment to inclusion and innovation. This atmosphere encourages employees to work hard and best serve our agents and policyholders.
Business Insurance launched the Best Places to Work in Insurance program in 2009 to identify and recognize high-quality employers in the commercial insurance industry and honor them for creating workplaces that encourage employees to thrive. The program, and subsequent recognition by Business Insurance and Best Companies Group, an independent workplace excellence research firm, is very prestigious within the insurance industry.
We were excited to see several of United Heartland’s valued agent partners make the list as well. Congratulations to the following for their Best Places to Work recognition:
- Assurance Agency Ltd., Schaumburg, Ill.
- CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
- HNI Risk Services LLC, New Berlin, Wis.
- Holmes, Murphy & Associates, West Des Moines, Iowa
- Hylant Group Inc., Toledo, Ohio
- J. Smith Lanier & Co., West Point, Ga.
- Kapnick Insurance Group, Adrian, Mich.
- Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC, Memphis, Tenn.
- Lockton Cos. L.L.C., Kansas City, Mo.
- M3 Insurance, Madison, Wis.
- R&R Insurance Services Inc., Waukesha, Wis.
- Wallace Welch & Willingham, St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Wine Sergi & Co. LLC, West Bend, Wis.
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.
Maintaining face-to-face contact with our valued agency partners is important at United Heartland. We achieve this through our Agent Advisory Councils in the spring and our United Heartland National Council (UHNC), which was recently held in October. At the UHNC, we bring together principals from a handful of our top-performing agencies and seek their candid feedback on our strategies, industry trends and any other top-of-mind issues. Our council members were very supportive of the strategies we have planned for 2016.
We discussed several topics, including:
- Our visibility with our agent partners.
- The communication process during agency planning.
- How we continue to foster a sales culture with our underwriting team.
- Competitiveness of loss sensitive products offered through Risk Management Services.
- How to expand our direct service footprint.
- Increasing the ability of our loss control representatives to have more direct contact with customers.
Thanks to those who attended. We appreciate their insight and look forward to sharing more about these strategies soon. Please make sure to contact your United Heartland representatives with questions you may have or ideas on how we can better support you.
Did you know the cost of a slip-and-fall claim related to snow and ice can cost as much as $10,000? To help your customers avoid or reduce weather-related injuries this winter, make sure you check out the United Heartland WalkSafe campaign. Available throughout the winter season, you’ll find valuable information and tips on a wide range of safety topics over the course of the winter, including:
- How to prepare for winter weather
- Winter weather advisories and employee communication systems
- Snow and ice removal programs
- Safe vehicle operation and work off-site
- Salting and surface treatments
- The importance of proper footwear
- The value of strong housekeeping practices
- How to avoid falls from elevations
Targeted versions of these select materials are available for your customers working in thehealth care and education fields as well. We’re excited to be able to provide guidance on this subject since slips, trips and falls are more prevalent during the winter months. VisitUnitedHeartland.com for more information, and if you or your customers haven’t already, please subscribe to our Risk Connection e-blasts, which provide important information related to WalkSafe as well.