RealTimeExpress Blog

August 26, 2010

Top 5 Ways to Write Small Commercial Business and Make More Money

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 8:29 pm

Do you have clients asking for help with small commercial quotes, but you turn them down or pass them to other agents because you believe “small commercial takes too much time?”

If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you are part of a sizable majority of agents. Most never write any small commercial business (less than $30,000 in premium), even when it’s practically handed to them by a current client!

For most producers, that can be a big mistake. If you are in that group, chances are no one has shown you how simple it can be to expand your business and your income by adding small commercial lines to your offerings.

Small Commercial Insurance the Easy Way

This article describes five ways to help yourself and your clients, without having to stop doing the things that make you successful in other lines. Let’s start with the most important one first because this one idea will substantially improve your results in the other areas.

1. Use Technology – Web-based comparative raters have changed the small commercial insurance industry dramatically by automating the formerly time-consuming process of obtaining quotes. With this powerful tool agents now can enter client data once and get back quotes from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes.

Comparative raters put the power and credibility of the biggest carriers on your side immediately, even if you’ve never written a small commercial case. In addition to quotes, you get top-quality sales presentation materials to print out, including coverage and premium comparisons.

Agents without commercial carrier direct appointments can use wholesale comparative raters and receive commissions through the wholesaler, while agents with direct appointments can use retailer raters and be paid directly by the carriers. Either way, the process is fast and easy.

2. Ask for the Business – There is no reason not to ask existing clients and prospects for small commercial business, once you have the power and expertise at hand. Think not only of your personal lines clients who own businesses, but the people they know, too.

Ask your clients where they work to see if it is the kind of business you might like to have as a client. If your client works for a small business, ask her for the name of the business owner, or better still, ask for an introduction. Remember, the road runs in both directions: just as existing clients can lead you to profitable small commercial business, new small commercial clients have personal needs you can serve, too.

3. Associations and Vertical Markets – Many agents find real gold in getting to know the needs of vertical markets, developing solutions and promoting them to all businesses in that niche. For example, if you were to decide to become the industry expert in bowling establishments, you would develop packages that include liquor coverage, as well as traditional small commercial coverage.

You become the “go to” insurance professional for bowling establishments. Then, join bowling associations and attend every meeting. Develop trust by getting to know people in the associations and have a blast doing it!

When you begin to master a vertical market you will find which carriers are most likely to have the best coverage. Know your markets! Carriers that are strong in one type of coverage for years often are replaced overnight by other carriers. The comparative rater will help you make certain you keep getting the most competitive quotes.

4. Business-to-Business – As an insurance agent you are an expert at serving the needs of individuals. That qualifies you for the small commercial insurance market because, regardless of the market, people make the buying decisions, not companies. Focus on serving the decision makers in an organization.

You may find it much more profitable to use any unscheduled time calling on small businesses instead of cold calls to ex-date auto and homeowner policies. Take a stack of business cards, get out of the office and stir things up.

Chances are very good you will find several business owners who are not satisfied with their current coverage or agent. You will establish yourself as a complete professional when you tell them you will search the top commercial carriers for the best coverage and rates and get back to them later that day or the next.

5. Social media – Make your website the hub of your marketing activities. If you do not have a website specifically for your business, it’s a good idea to get one. Regardless, you should use social media sites to promote your business.

A weblog should be the cornerstone of your social media strategy. It allows you to express yourself in a personal, yet professional way, and you can get valuable feedback from comments readers make to your blog posts. Do posts that include success stories and case studies. A Facebook fan page for your business can be a valuable adjunct, as can a Twitter account.

Think of social media as an online social mixer, where you meet people and get to understand their needs. Use social media (and your website) to inform, not sell. Provide great information about things of interest to your clients, including links to articles or blog posts by top professionals. This works especially well on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn discussion groups. 

Give Yourself a Pay Raise

The average Small Business Owner Policy premium is between $2,500 and $5,000. Sell two policies per week at a 10-to-15% commission rate and watch your bank account grow exponentially each month.    

Kick back and watch each succeeding year as your renewal retention rewards you every month.  Eventually this could become your core business. Remember, with a comparative rater doing the calculations and presentations, you can invest your time getting in front of more clients and prospects.

Start today. Get online and start finding out about small commercial business and comparative raters. Call or make an online request for a demonstration.

Mark Van Horn is president of Quantum Integrated Systems, Inc. and a small commercial comparative rater for independent insurance agents nationwide. He has more than 20 years of commercial insurance experience and can be reached at 214-295-1586 or by email at


May 7, 2010

How To Make Money Writing Small Commercial for MGA’s

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 6:51 pm
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Question:  Can you make money writing small commercial? 

Answer:  Yes, but only if you are taking advantage of current technology.

Yes, it is possible to make money writing small commercial business.  Most MGA’s, GA’s, & Wholesalers shy away writing small commercial business because it cost them too much time to process and the margin for profit is so small it doesn’t make sense.  Most are asking for & selling Middle Market type business. 

Here’s the Good News!  MGA’s can how offer small commercial business and make a profit.  How?  By not quoting the business.  You only touch the business once!  You heard me right.  NO MORE QUOTING!  Instead, lead the independent agent to your website for quoting.  You can take advantage of current technology that allows you to push the quote entry out to the independent agent.  In return, the agents gets real-time quotes with a single entry for multiple carriers.  It’s a WIN WIN!

For more information, please contact me at or call me at 214-295-1586.

Here’s to processing Binders!

Mark Van Horn

December 29, 2009

What is BOP Insurance?

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 3:49 pm
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Businesses big & small face many risks.  Business owners need insurance to protect their business and assets.

What is a BOP?  Many business owners simply do not know.  A BOP is a Business Owners Policy.  It’s a package of insurance.  Coverages include Property Insurance, Business Interruption Insurance, & Liability Insurance.  Most carriers also offer package enhancement endorsements.

A BOP does not cover Workers Compensation, Professional Liability, Auto Insurance, or Health and Disability Insurance.  These risks must be covered by separate policies.

Consult your insurance professional today about BOP Insurance!

RealTimeExpress allows agents to access BOP Insurance quotes for multiple carriers with a single entry.  For more information, contact Mark Van Horn at or call 214-295-1586.

October 30, 2009

Walking, Working, Driving In A Winter Wonderland

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 8:12 pm
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Winter Driver

Winter and potentially hazardous weather conditions are just around the corner. 

When employers ask their employees to take to the road, precautions should be taken. 

When employees return home, a different set of precautionary actions should be taken for their families.

Some of those precautions are listed below.

Traveling in possible icy or other hazardous road conditions:

  • Bring along blankets and a bright piece of cloth to tie on your antenna if you become stranded.
  • Flashlight with spare batteries.
  • Extra change of clothing to keep dry.
  • Non-perishable foods such as candy bars, canned goods, or high calorie food like Power Bars.
  • A can and waterproof matches (used to melt snow for drinking water).
  • A compass, shovel and sand, tow rope, and jumper cables.
  • Check the latest forecast from NOAA or other dependable weather forecasting service.
  • Check the latest road conditions before you head out into winter weather.
  • Let a relative or close acquaintance know where you are going and when you think you will reach your destination.

At home

  • Have your furnace checked before you need to use it.
  • Seal any windows that you suspect allow cold air into the house with caulking or plastic.
  • Include a home safety kit that includes extra non-perishable food, medicine, and a battery operated radio.
  • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Keep candles and matches handy for extended periods of electrical loss.

September 25, 2009

Why Business Insurance?

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 8:38 pm
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Business Insurance can be used to cover fire or liability for your business.  If you have losses in a fire, how would you continue to live?  There is Business Income Coverage, or Extra Expense Coverage in case you need to set up somewhere else.  This way customers don’t forget you while you get back on your feet.  Make sure you business has proper coverage.

Tell your agent about small commercial comparative rater for Business Owners, Workers Compensation, & Commercial Auto.

September 3, 2009

Back Injury Prevention

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 7:43 pm
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Heard the expression, “I’ve got your back”? So what about your back?  You’re really the one who has it–physically, that is.

Back injuries are one of the most commonly occurring injuries both occupationally and also in the off-the-job activities.  What can we do about controlling this type of injury?

Back Injury Prevention

First of all prevention is the key, as it is the caser with all injuries.  Let’s look at some of the key element sin back injury prevention:

  • Don’t try to be Superman.  If someone is assigned a task beyond his mention capabilities, he will usually tell his supervisor, “I do not know how to do that,” or make some similar statement.  Don’t perform beyond your capabilities.  Get help!
  • Size up the load before lifting (or otherwise moving) it.  Some packages are much heavier than they appear.  So attempt to push the load slightly with your foot before “snatching and grabbing” the load.
  • Be sure the path is safe.  Before carrying the load, look at the floor along the planned path of travel.  There should be no obstacles or spilled fluids in the way.  Many back injuries or other muscular strains occur because the person carrying the load slips or stumbles, causing a sudden sift in the load.
  • Limber up before lifting.  All athletes know the importance of some basic calisthenics prior to beginning a physically-demanding contest.  The same applies to you.  Stretching exercises are critical prior to any manual lifting, especially in the early morning before the body is warm and flexible.

Workers compensation insurance coverage is critical for covering employee back injuries.  Talk to your agent about using for multiple carrier quoting.

Contact Mark Van Horn @

August 17, 2009

5 Reasons To Use A Comparative Rater For Commercial Insurance

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 7:15 pm
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Premium Summary

Premium Summary

Here are 5 really good reasons to use a comparative rater for standard commercial insurance (BOP, Commercial Auto, & Workers’ Compensation):

  1. Going to each carriers website to enter data causes quote fatigue.  It’s impossible to shop each carrier appointment.  Using a comparative rater for commercial insurance allows you to enter data one time and get back multiple quotes in real-time.
  2. No longer do you have to know the appetite for each carrier.  The comparative rater does it for you.
  3. Side-by-side comparison.  With comparative raters, you can view a side-by-side comparison of each carrier coverage and quoted premium.
  4. Data is pre-filled at the carriers website.  When you get a quote with a comparative rater, the data is pre-filled at the carriers website.  No more duplicate entry.
  5. More time for selling.  Using a comparative rater allows the user to spend less time quoting and more time selling.  This helps your bottom line.

For more information regarding comparative raters, contact me (Mark Van Horn) at 469-892-9849.

July 13, 2009

Step One To Growing Your Commercial Insurance Business

Filed under: Commercial Insurance — realtimeexpress @ 9:36 pm
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Step one to growing your commercial insurance business is simple.  It least it sounds simple and it is. 

Stop and Listen.

There is a story of a crusty old logger who meets a chainsaw salesman who asks him how many trees he can cut down in a day.  The logger says, “Oh, about 20”.  The salesman tells the logger that he can cut down 100 trees a day using the chainsaw.  The logger sees this would be a good thing and buys one.  One week later he returns the saw and says, “the best I can do is 25 trees a day”.  The chainsaw salesman, looks the saw over, and says, “Well, it looks good”.  He then pulls the starter and the saw kicks over with a roar.  The logger looks startled and says, “Hey, what’s that noise?”

 Just like the logger above, too many times you hear about technology & efficiency but just don’t know how to stop and listen.  Many times, you are so busy that you don’t have time to even think about efficiency. 

You can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.  Start asking yourself the most common questions:

  • Why do I enter the same data over and over again?
  • Why do I have to go to each carriers website to get a quote?
  • Why can’t I have a great looking proposal including a coverage comparison for each carrier?

So the first step to growing your insurance business is to stop and listen.  Research.  Don’t be “so busy” that you can’t stop and strategize.

Learn more about commercial RealTime quoting.   It can grow your business.


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