Pinch Hit with Excess and Surplus Lines and Be a Local Hero

April 1, 2022

An illustration of a baseball bat and baseball.

Michael Miller, State Director, Smart Choice®

As I sat down to write this article, the MLB lockout was still going strong, much to the chagrin of baseball fans across the country. However, that didn’t stop me from relying on a baseball idiom to share with you why you need to write excess and surplus lines at your agency. That idiom? Being a pinch hitter. 

In baseball, pinch hitters are players who are sent in to bat for another player. In life, a pinch hitter is someone who does someone else’s work in an emergency. And here lies the opportunity for each of us as independent insurance agents. If we’re smart, we can pinch hit for our competitors, writing the business they can’t place and becoming a hero not only for them, but for their customers and our communities. It’s a win-win that can generate a lot of additional income for your agency. 

Express Markets™: Your Secret Weapon

Let’s face it: your competition isn’t going to pass you their standard personal lines or commercial lines business (at least not willingly). But by cultivating relationships with the other agents in your area, they could pass you the business their carriers are unable or unwilling to write. The key is to get appointed with top-rated excess and surplus carriers first so you can demonstrate your value to your fellow agents. 

That’s why the Smart Choice® Express Markets™ program is your secret weapon. It gives you access to more than 35 excess and surplus carriers that write dozens of common hard-to-place risks the standard carriers won’t touch. With no fees and no production requirements, getting appointed is easy. Plus, you’ll earn 100 percent commissions on the business you write with Express Markets™ carriers. 

Build Working Relationships with Other Agents

Once you’re appointed with the Express Markets™ carriers of your choosing, it’s time to start building positive, working relationships with the other agents in your town. To some of you, this may seem counterintuitive. However, I’m a firm believer in the fact that there is more than enough work to go around, and by working with the agents in your area, everyone can grow. 

I recommend you start with your local captive agents. This is a potentially lucrative target for you, as captive carriers have limited appetites for business. What you offer captive agents is a solution for their customers. While they may not write hard-to-place risks, they can continue to be a resource for their customers and recommend that they work with you find the coverage they need. 

Whether you work out a commission split with an agent, take them out to dinner once a quarter, or simply send them a thank you note every time you write a policy with one of their customers is entirely up to you. You’ll still look like a hero to them and to their customers. It’s also likely you’ll build a reputation in the community as the go-to agent for tricky risks. Think that may grow your book of business in the long term? Absolutely.

Getting Started with Express Markets™

Getting appointed with Express Markets™ carriers is easy. Just reach out to your State Director to learn more about the carriers available in your area and start the appointment process. You can also browse our site to learn more about the program before picking up the phone. 

Baseball season is upon us, but it’s selling season all year long. Pick up the phone, get appointed, and pinch hit for your competitors to make more money and become a local hero. 

Cover of Smart Choice Magazine 2022 Issue 2 titled "E&S: Clutch coverage in a changing market."E&S: Clutch Coverage in a Changing Market

E&S business has surged in the last one to two years due to the firming market as a result of economic uncertainty, inflation, low interest rates, and more. And now is the time to seize
the opportunity to bring on more clients by offering diverse and custom solutions through these types of markets. Check out the 2022 Issue 2 of Smart Choice Magazine for tips on how.

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