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The AIMS Society blog is designed to provide practical, timely ideas to help insurance agencies improve results from their marketing and sales efforts. Wishing you much success!!! For even more, consider joining the AIMS Society and you'll have access to a powerful network of agents and carrier personnel focused on excellence in sales!

 

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How to Protect You & Your Clients from Cyber Attacks

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, May 19, 2017

On Friday, May 12, a massive ransomware attack hit computer systems at private companies and public organizations around the word. Some sources say WannaCry — also known as WannaCrypt Wanna Decrypter or WCry — is the largest ransomware delivery operation to date.

The cyberattack hit more than 300,000 computers by midday on May 15, and users in more than 150 countries have been confronted with a screen demanding a $300 payments to restore their files.

Ransomware, a computer virus that is typically spread via spam emails and malicious download links that lock up files and demand a ransom to unlock them, isn't a new concept or threat. But hackers are getting smarter, leveraging new technologies and designing more sophisticated systems. There isn't an "if" something like this will happen again, it's "when".

The amount of personally identifiable information your agency holds is immense — from Social Security numbers to credit card numbers, form birth dates to drivers' license numbers — and hackers want it. Ant it's more important now than ever to ensure your systems are securely protected from cybersecurity attacks and data breaches while also adhering to industry, state and federal regulations.

At the very least, take the time to make sure your anti-malware and antivirus software are up-to-date. Look at business interruption and cyber liability insurance for yourself. And consider teaming up with a third-party data management company to properly encrypt your data in the cloud.

The most essential part? Communication. Let your clients know exactly what measures your agency is taking to protect their sensitive information. When you take cybersecurity seriously, you'll gain your client's trust and they'll see you as a dependable reliable source.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  Cyber Attacks  efficiency  Leadership  productivity  Risk Management  self-improvement  Social Media  teamwork  Technology 

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How to Get the Most Out of Content Marketing

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, May 12, 2017

Content marketing drives traffic, builds trust, retains new and old customers and spreads awareness. There isn't much a successful and valuable content marketing plan can't do.

Whether you already have a blog or are simply toying with the idea, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Start early. Develop a content marketing plan and make sure you get input from all departments. The more perspectives the better, whether you use the ideas or not. Find marketing trends and content themes, and research the competition to see what they're doing right (and wrong).
  • Have a strategy. For content marketing to be successful, you must identify your objectives and tactics. You can easily post and share content, but it's a bit pointless without a goal in mind. Looking at the bigger picture will make the daily tasks much easier — and you'll actually see results.
  • Focus on quality. Don't overload your social media channels with irrelevant memes and unnecessary posts. Focus on what value the content will provide for a consumer or reader. Make sure it resonates well with your target audience to boost engagement and trust levels.
  • Remember your audience. You're talking to individuals and families who are basically looking for protection. Keep things simple and use data to back up your ideas. Consider your customers, clients and friends when writing or using content.

Quality content marketing will elevate brand awareness, boost your reputation and increase engagement. Do it right, and you can see serious improvements in sales and retention.

How is your agency using content marketing?

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Tags:  AIMS Society  efficiency  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  productivity  self-improvement  Social Media 

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Do You Know if You Have Rideshare Drivers on Your Books?

Posted By AIMS Society, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Do You Know if You Have Rideshare Drivers on Your Books?

If you haven't considered the impact of new ridesharing options, such as Uber, Lyft or SideCar, on client auto coverage, it's time to add it to your list of risk assessment issues. You may have clients right now who haven't even considered the impact on their policies if they are using their personal car to earn money as a rideshare driver.

The leading rideshare company, Uber, has only been around since it tested its first app in 2012. It's convenient for users, particularly since the instant pay option was added, and it's certainly a great choice for drivers looking for flexible scheduling. In addition, it's been reported that Uber's internal data reveals that "drivers who use the app to give rides-for-hire in their personal cars are making more money as chauffeurs than professional taxi drivers do — as much as $17 an hour in the District and Los Angeles, $23 in San Francisco and $30 in New York."

And Uber continues to expand, having recently added UberEATS (restaurant meal delivery), Uber for Business (to support business travelers) and UberPool (to provide commuting options).

So, knowing this, what's an insurance agent to do? First, it's important to understand what is covered by each insurance company.Typically (but not always — which is why you need to investigate each situation), personal auto coverage, including liability, applies when the car is being used for personal travel, and then rideshare companies assume coverage when there is a paying passenger in the car.

But who is responsible when the driver is actively using their car for ridesharing, but doesn't have a passenger at the time of an incident? Who is liable when the driver is simply driving to a pickup, waiting, or has just dropped off a passenger? This is the gray area that requires your careful analysis as an agent. Most personal auto insurance companies won't cover this transition time, arguing that these on-the-clock times are part and parcel of the job. Many companies view these times in similar light to those exclusions related to other commercial activities that a person may do with their personal vehicle, for example pizza delivery. There may also be gaps in liability or umbrella coverage during these time periods.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut, always reliable solution. Some insurance companies have begun offering a ride sharing endorsement that can be added to a personal auto policy. This "blended" solution bridges personal and commercial use, but again, it isn't available from every company or in every geography.

But now you know — rideshare has to be on your radar. Are you asking your clients directly if they're involved?

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Tags:  AIMS Society  Auto Coverages  Insurance Education  Personal and Commercial Coverage  Rideharing  Risk Management 

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Top 10 Ways to Retain Your Talent

Posted By AIMS Society, Thursday, March 30, 2017

Top 10 Ways to Retain Your Talent

A 2016 Gallup report revealed that 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year — more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same. Why are they so likely to move around? Low engagement in the workplace.

If you're looking to retain your top talent, you have to actively promote your business as a desirable place to work. But there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Here are a few ways you can retain talent and keep your workforce strong, loyal and dedicated to your organization:

  1. Share expectations. Avoid stress, confusion and incompetent feelings by sharing expectations and changes in job responsibilities or processes. Keep the line of communication open.
  2. Be fair and equal. This is self-explanatory, but keep it in mind when it comes to raises, perks and new project opportunities. Create a comfortable and inclusive environment.
  3. Offer additional training opportunities. Sponsoring professional development and continuing education courses shows employees that you're invested in their professional growth and want to see them succeed.
  4. Implement a mentorship program. Foster relationships within the workplace across departments and within the ladder. It will make employees more emotionally connected within the organization.
  5. Provide philanthropy opportunities. Demonstrate your commitment to giving back. It's an attractive quality to employees and will benefit your organization's image at the same time.
  6. Invest in technology. Employees often complain of outdated tech and hardware that create inefficiency and redundancy in day-to-day work. Implement modern tech tools to keep employees interested, yourself current and procedures productive.
  7. Encourage flexibility. Get rid of the 9-to-5 schedule and give employees the mobility they deserve. It will make them happier and more productive, and they'll look at your organization more favorably.
  8. Ask for feedback. Show employees you care about their thoughts, ideas and opinions. Take the time to listen, and empower them to take initiative.
  9. Show appreciation and support. Recognize accomplishments, say 'thank you' and, if possible, reward hard work with bonuses or gifts.
  10. Have fun. Coordinate social activities like an office-wide potluck or after-hours bowling game. Work and play can —  and should — coexist.

Some of the above ideas may seem obvious, but creating an employee retention strategy doesn't have to be difficult. What are some ways you're retaining your top talent and reducing employee turnover?

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Tags:  business value  efficiency  Leadership  Networking  producer compensation  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  teamwork  Technology  time management 

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How to Create a Collaborative Work Space

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, March 10, 2017


How to Create a Collaborative Work Space

Take a look around. Do you feel empowered, motivated and encouraged to work? Chances are high that your workplace could use an upgrade.

Considering the fact that employees spend at least 40 hours every week in the office at their desk, it's clear that the work environment affects overall satisfaction in work and an attitude towards life. The space around you influences your productivity, creativity and mood — all of which are essential to employee engagement and efficiency.

It's simple: "How you design your office matters." And creating a culture and environment that embrace flexibility and collaboration will boost your bottom line. So, what can you do to create a collaborative and engaging work space?

  1. Natural light. Studies show that an employee's exposure to daylight can boost sleep and quality of life. Windowless cubicles can be a detriment to how you perform.
  2. Color. Find a balance between mundane and bright when you're looking at wall and furniture color. Choose décor wisely and design based on a space's function.
  3. Open vs. closed spaces. The office needs  to enable employees to make their own decisions when it comes to how and where they want to work. This can mean designating more "social spaces" or placing larger all-purpose tables in exposed areas.
  4. Rest and recharge area. Everyone needs a break between tasks, so why not have a closet full of board games, comfortable chairs or an outdoor patio? These will allow employees to recharge and de-stress when they need it most.

You can talk about your office culture to prospective employees and on paper, but at the end of the day, you need a space that people want to come to — a space that employees genuinely want to work in. The good news is that changes don't have to be big. You can make significant improvements on a budget — just think outside of the box.

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Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  efficiency  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Relax  self-improvement  teamwork  time management 

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