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Mercury General Corporation Message Board

  • pdf473 pdf473 Jun 9, 2003 1:22 AM Flag

    brokers, agents

    is it true that Mercury can't track loss ratios for it's agents? it doesn't make sense since every application has to be notated with a broker code and then an agent code. i think our boss is just blowing smoke up his employee's asses. some insight from someone in the know would be helpful. thanks!

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    • How predictable. You couldn't make a logical response to the argument, so you went after the messenger.

      If, in fact, you're an underwriter, I hope MCY will find you and send you packing. My guess is they already have and you're posting your remarks in an attempt to libel them.

      As far as your assumptions go -

      My marriage is entering its 30th year. My wife works with me.

      Getting published isn't easy. My young adult fiction novel has been in the hands of several litarary agents for about two months. But I'm not all that frustrated with the system . . . yet. I've had insurance industry articles published in national publications. I publish a newsletter which is in its 12th year. The circulation has continually grown.

      I briefly considered law before deciding I enjoyed marketing too much. As far as I can tell, after 34 years in this business, that decision was a good one.

      If in fact, your underwriting task is all about 'yes' or 'no', enjoy your weekends, embrace your weekends, as you and the other yes/no underwriters will soon be (already have been?) replaced by HAL-9000. The real underwriters will always have a job.

      Life (and that part of it you call underwriting) is what YOU make of it. In the old days, we called your approach 'recipe' underwriting. As a past underwriter and as an agent I despise spineless creatures like you - - - who don't have the nerve to make a correct decision on behalf of their company and its shareholders.

      Before endorsing your next paycheck, look up the definition of fraud in Black's Law Dictionary.

      I define my success by the lack of looking forward to my weekend. Some of us enjoy all aspects of our lives. Whether I'm at the office, in my pool, making a sales presentation, working in my yard, or spending time on line, I enjoy myself.

      Some day you will learn there is a difference between well defined underwriting philosophy and recipe underwriting; then again, maybe you won't.

    • Jeeeez dude......lighten up. Your assumptions and judgements imply a frustrated old man who doesn't have a life outside of these bulletin boards. So here are a few of my own, perhaps you're a frustrated unpublished writer, a law school dropout or your wife left you because you narcissism just bored her to death? Perhaps it's all three. The only thing you're flogging is your ego. Flog away Mr. Nice Guy and have a nice weekend. Mine is getting off to a great start. I look forward to our next exchange. By the way, you just insinuated that all underwriters at Mercury are fools. Mercury underwriting is about as black and white as it comes. And if you have any stock in this company, just keep on thanking us fools for making you money, fool!

    • It appears I'm flogging an ass.

      Lousy underwriters are insensitive. The ability to look beyond black and white is secondary only to the ability to say 'no' without creating an enemy.

      Any fool can make decisions based entirely on issues they deem as black and white. In fact, a machine could do that job much better than any individual.

      The fact of the matter is, many people think at least 50% of all personal lines applications aren't black and white. Those companies that use exception underwriting, having their underwriters review only those applications that don't 'score' well in initial clerical review, pass about 50% of the applications to actual underwriters. The decisions made by those underwriters take the sensitivity you so richly lack.

      How many households today are cookie-cutter affairs. Most have people who think their kids need a trampoline in the backyard, or run a home business such as selling explosives out of their garage, our have an SUV that has been 'slightly' modified to have a GVW that matches the national debt, our has a dog who regularly appears on America's Most Wanted, or a couple who might be a couple who may have a mortgage together who don't have the same last names but might be the same sex, or have experienced credit problems because of extended illness or identity theft, or have kids from a previous marriage who live with them a week out of the year who have driving records that are longer than the latest Harry Potter book, or have a home that has been designed by an architect who has pushed the square foot cost way off the charts, or, or, or.

      Being a small businessman today means you have to constantly reinvent your business. That is a given. Underwriting small commercial today is both an art and a science as those entrepreneurial people are making a mockery of the old George Carlin mockery. when he talked about businesses like First National Bank and Casket Company. Reading a financial statement for most businesses today makes underwriters see red. Those companies that write only the vanilla risks in the vanilla classes are competing against everyone and suffer adverse rate because of the high level of competition. Picking the right risks from those that aren't mainstream requires sensitivity. saying no to your producer in the right way, so that agency continues to provide you a flow of applications to choose from, requires sensitivity.

      MCY has the reputation of being one of the top five companies for independent agents. This distinction is despite their geographic restrictions. I seriously doubt that this success is due to 'insensitive' underwriting.

      Companies should court agents that are capable of sustaining long term relationships with their clients. Agents want companies that are capable of sustaining long term relationships with their clients. Retention is the key to financial success on both levels.

      Sensitivity key to long term relationships.

      As you seemingly don't quite understand that issue, I would suggest you find a career in an industry that involves shorter term relationships. Practice saying, "Do you want fries with your hamburger."

      No, Mr. Insensitive. No company, and especially one that has had the success that Mercury has had, has created their success by being insensitive.

    • Underwriters are insensitve these days. Underwriting manuals and issues are very black and white these days, especially in California, hence, the simple yes or no comment I made. If you have a hard time accepting this fact, then simply talk to any Mercury agency or Mercury insurance underwriter and they will tell you the same. This is one of the reaasons for the company's success.

      If you want to take issue with my words and beat a dead horse, that is your choice. I believe I made myself clear to passinthru yesterday for my oversight and I believe he or she can speak for him or her self. Give it a rest, after all, "micro-management is the last refuge of a small person", and in this case, "micro-management" of some else's words is very applicable to your fixation. Get over it!

    • Now, how about apologizing for your entire first paragraph?

      You said

      "A simple yes or no would suffice. I can't believe that a company as sophisticated as Mercury, does not have the ability to track "at very granuar levels" within an agency, each of the agent's specifc numbers for:"

      You chastised passinthru for being verbose and took a direct shot at the use of the term 'granular'. In my opinion the word 'granular' was properly used to describe the detailed analysis. It is a bit of a cliche, but acceptable.

      How about a little mea maxima culpa?

      What good are you as an underwriter if you are insensitive? Underwriters have to be compassionate, helpful, understanding, and kind hearted. At least they were when I was one.

    • passinthru

      Thanks for the info. My reference to "this isn't rocket science" was in no way intended as a slap in the face as reffered to by another. I do appreciate the info you provide. Since "nice" guys finsh last, especially in the insurance underwriting business, I'll take the other poster's comment as a compliment. Thanks again.

    • Micro-management is the last refuge of a small person.

    • Having managed a very large agency force (3-4X that of Mercury), I've periodically had agency groups who've asked for what our friend references. The majority don't, as: (1) they don't want the paper; (2) Turnover within producer ranks makes agency administration of changes a major hassle, and; (3)as you point out, individual producers don't present credible loss data. I've found that individual agent issues tend to be at the policy level, something easily policed and addressed. Larger loss ratio issues tend to point to problems specific to product pricing.

      Regarding the topic of internet etiquette, I learned a long time ago that debates fought at the push of a button tend to be more curt than those handled face to face. People aren't as accountable for what they print.

    • I'm not a producer. I'm an agent with dozens of sub-producers (last year over 750 agents placed business through me). I've yet to find a company who couldn't run production reports and loss ratios for each of my sub-producers. The companies that have done this for me include Met, Hartford, Harleysville, Travelers. Progressive, Mendota, Omni, St. Paul, Phoenix Indemnity and Hanover. To name a few. Each of those companies also produced a roll up loss and production report for my master agency code.

      When you attack someone on this board or any other board (as you did passinthru) expect that you will be chastised.

      While passinthru and I don't agree on everything, we've shared knowledge. I've profited from what he has told me.

      He voluntarily made a good faith effort to answer your question and you slapped him. That was bad form.

      In my opinion, loss ratio is a poor indication of a sub-producer's value to a company. Attitude is easy to see and is much more important.

      If you had ever sat at an underwriters desk or called on agents, as I did for a decade before going over to the agency side, you'd realize it only takes a few encounters to get an agent's 'number'.

    • It actually has no benefit to Mercury to do what you are asking. Mercury's action is against the agency (ie suspension, termination, etc). They have no action against a specific agent at an agency, therefore tracking those loss ratios is useless. Any remedy to a problem with specific agents would be done by the agency itself. The sub producer codes are intended for agencies to be able to track commission for their agents.

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