Meeting Notes- AM Greg Beavin

by Greg Beavin

The following presentation was made at the management meeting held on July 31 in Louisville. Those in attendance were all agency managers from across the state, company management, and the Executive Committee of Kentucky Farm Bureau and other invited guest.

Brad Smith, Executive Vice President & CEO, had invited me to address the group along with Nicki Mcmahon, director of personnel of Farm Bureau. Nicki followed my comments and did a great job.

Brad gave us an open forum and relayed to us the theme of the meeting as “Keeping the promise” and “Where we are going and how are we going to get there.”

At the request of the Agents Association, I have summarized my comments in written form to be placed on our website:

Good afternoon. Let me first make this disclaimer, my comments do not represent those of the company or the agency managers assembled here today. They belong to me, Greg Beavin, based on my experience as an insurance agent for over 38 year, as a business owner, and as a person having dealt with the public over that same time period.

Matthew Kelly, a young evangelist and author, made a comment in a recent book that has stuck with me. “Our lives cannot change until our habits change.” I contend that the same applies for our company.

Today we have heard from Mark Bove of Munich Reinsurance Co., who is an expert on both historical and current weather patterns, and Janet Katz, CEO from America Ag., the company that services the reinsurance market of the Farm Bureaus across the country. As you just heard, Janet discussed past and present trends associated with the storm cycle that we have experienced over the past several years. Her information was filled with alarming and interesting statistics indeed, but even with all of this data, I am confident in one thing, and that is we cannot change the weather patterns. That is a rating thing.

However, we can change certain habits that will affect our bottom line, and that is the area in which I want to direct my comments. I am breaking it down into four major areas; Company Management, Underwriting, Claims, and Agency Operations. I am not here today to point fingers at any of these areas, time does not allow for specifics.

MANAGEMENT: It is the job of Brad Smith to lead management and offer direction to our board that reflects the best interest of our members and our company. Management must be proactive and not reactive, who hasn’t heard that before? Every day we must operate on the principles of best business practices and not necessarily on the balance sheet. Good habits provide good results.

UNDERWRITING: It is a no brainer. We must underwrite consistently and responsibly every day, not just when we are experiencing pressure on our cash flow. We need underwriters, not processors. It’s not about writing too much business, it is about writing responsibly and doing it correctly.

CLAIMS: We don’t lose any money until our checks clear the bank. Our claims department has been under a tremendous work load recently. Where is Greg Youngblood? (Mr. Youngblood is identified in the room) I’m surprised he has any hair in his head at all. It’s still there, but pretty gray! Settlement must be fair for both the member and the company. Improper claims settlements snowball into severity and frequency. We can end up training the customer on how to use our claims system and the results many times are not good.

AGENCY OPERATIONS: Agency managers must manage EVERY DAY! We have to train our staffs not only in service, but in proper underwriting techniques. Then, we have to monitor the underwriting and make the necessary corrections or adjustments to stay on course. We have to use the underwriting tools we have and look for creative ways to sell and conserve business. We have to educate our customers on the future trends. They may not like to hear it, but we need to prepare them for changes such as rating issues and contract changes, instead of them learning it first at the mailbox. We have to be willing to change and adapt to new roles, such as the small claims program, to assist the claims department and speed up service to our members. I don’t want to wake up some day and find out that the predictive model has replaced us. I was appreciative with the comments earlier of our President Mr. Haney when he reassured us that the company is committed to the agent delivery system. OUR STAFF, AGENTS, ANDCOMPANY NEEDS US TO LEAD!

BOTTOM LINE: We can all do better and shame on us if we don’t! We have to do our jobs as if the company depends on each of us in management, underwriting, claims, and agency operations, because it does!!

More importantly, we have to listen to each other, exchange our ideas, and implement programs and policies that lead to consistent results without throwing out the baby with the bath water. We must be consistent in the way we do business in good times and bad times.

We are in the people business. We need enough people on the ground, doing the right things to change our unproductive habits.

Respectfully submitted,

Greg Beavin CLU
Agency Manager- Meade County


  1. Willie Colston LUTCF says

    Great points Mr. Beavin! Thanks for sharing!!

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