The Definitive Guide To My Bank Insurance Consulting Services

 

Introduction

In my work with over three hundred eighty community banks, I have found that bankers often are unsure where to start in their investigation of me and my services. “What should I ask you?” is a frequent question. This page is intended to be a starting point.

 

About Me

I started in the insurance business in 1979 while I was in college. In 1981, I graduated from Babson College outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The next day I got on a bus for an insurance job in Pennsylvania. Four years later I moved to Maine, where I worked with three different agencies. In 2000, I started my independent consulting firm based on the idea that there was a need in the marketplace for an insurance expert who did not sell insurance. Since then I have moved into a specialty practice of working with financial institutions.

That brings us to today and my work with banks.

Some key points of distinction:

I never sell insurance.

I never accept fees, commissions, or gifts from insurance agents or insurance companies. I don’t let them buy me lunch, pay for football tickets, or pay my expenses when I visit them. I don’t even let them buy me coffee. I’m absolutely unbiased.

I have served more that three hundred eighty banks all around the United States. I’m aware of no other independent consultant with more bank experience.

I work with hundreds of insurance agents in my efforts for my clients. While I help these agents perform better for their clients, they never pay me. My loyalty, duty, and efforts are all in the furtherance of my client’s best interests.

My consulting practice is based on the idea that bankers sometimes need an unbiased advisor to help them make insurance decisions. Perhaps your local agent does not have bank insurance expertise. Sometimes the bank’s agent isn’t responsive to questions. Sometimes there is a potential conflict of interest that requires another set of eyes. Sometimes a banker just is not comfortable with the answers he is getting from his insurance agent.

That is why I am here. I would be pleased to be of service to you and your bank.

 

Typical Client Results

My work for your bank will result in:

Better Insurance Coverage – I uncover problem areas and mistakes in the design of your insurance. This allows you to make more informed decisions and avoid surprises.

Lower Premiums – I know where to look for premium dollar leaks. I understand the insurance marketplace, so you are assured of seeing the broadest insurance options. Wiser use of your premium dollars means lower costs.

Easier Administration – My knowledge of insurance makes it easier for you to manage your insurance program. You get more time for both your customers and the growth of your business.

Claims Assistance – You gain an understanding of how your insurance responds to an incident at your bank. My aggressive, pragmatic, focused pursuit of your claims means faster results, protecting your interests.

Unbiased Insurance Assurance – I never accepts fees, gifts, or commissions from the insurers or agents I work with. I do not sell insurance. I am one hundred percent on your side. No mixed loyalty. No conflicts of interest.

Inside Information – I’ll help you navigate the maze of the insurance world. You get insight and straight answers so you avoid potential blind alleys and save time and effort.

Non-Insurance Options – Insurance is not the best solution to every risk. You get assistance with your risk management plans to reduce risk and control costs.

 

Typical Consulting Projects

Insurance Review / Due Diligence Coverage Review & Analysis

This is where my relationship starts with most of my banks: a comprehensive review of your bank’s exposures and your current insurance program. I read your insurance policies and identify the coverage gaps and overlaps. Are you working with the right insurance company? Is your agent doing the job? Are your limits of insurance correct? Are there definitions and exclusions that can be tailored to broaden your protection?

Your Results: You get a greater understanding of what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover. An independent, unbiased evaluation of your insurance will eliminate costly policy gaps and overlaps. Put an end to the question of the adequacy of your insurance. Peace of mind for you and your bank’s leadership.

Bid Management / Renewal Assistance

What is the process that results in the best insurance coverage at the best price when your current insurance is due to expire? Should you get proposals from other agents? Should you use your current agent to access multiple insurers? Which coverages should be included in the process? How do you evaluate the resulting proposals? My work can include all aspects of the renewal/proposal/bid process.

Your Results: You obtain the best coverage and price the marketplace has to offer. Unbiased assistance in the review and selection of the right insurance program makes your work easier and more effective.

Claims Assistance

I’m often brought in to help with the claim side of a bank’s insurance program. Is the insurance company handling your claim properly? Is the offered settlement fair based on the coverage you purchased? Is a claim denial appropriate? What coverage should have been in place?

Your Results: You’re assured an equitable loss settlement from your insurance company. Our unbiased interpretation of how your coverage applies to the events that occurred gives you ammunition in your efforts to become whole. You get assistance navigating the process and a faster resolution of your claim.

Insurance Management Services

This service offer is a comprehensive package of assistance in all areas of your insurance program. Take all the services above and combine them into an annual mentor program. I’m available for unlimited consultation on any insurance issue. How do you manage the entirety of your insurance program? What issues should be considered at renewal? Is this the right time for your agent to provide alternative quotes? What loss control services should your insurer provide? What claims management issues need to be addressed?

Your Results: A better, more comprehensive, easier to administer insurance program. Unlimited access to the latest in bank insurance knowledge and understanding.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How are your fees determined?

We talk about the outcomes you want. From there, we build a project to bring us to that result. My fees are set to offer great value to you and fair compensation to me. I always work on a fixed fee basis. I never work by the hour. You know exactly what your investment is in my services.

My local insurance agent is important to our bank. Will she be upset with us for hiring you?

Maybe. It won’t last though – unless she is not doing her job. I have worked with hundreds of agents. Almost all are (eventually) glad I’m involved. I don’t sell insurance. I’m not a threat to them. I’m there to suggest better ways to protect their clients. I have more experience in bank insurance than almost all local insurance agents. I work with bank insurance every day, all day. Most local agents who insure a community bank only insure one. I bring bank insurance expertise to the mix. In almost all cases, local agents end up saying to me, “I’m glad you are here.”

Do you ever take a commissions or fees from insurance companies or insurance agents?

NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! I regularly turn down offers to consult to insurers and agents who sell insurance to banks. The reason most financial institutions start talking with me is my unbiased position in the marketplace. I will never jeopardize that trust.

Is our work with you confidential?

Absolutely confidential. Information you give me is only used in my work for you. I maintain strict security protocols to protect your data and information. Your privacy and the confidentiality of your information is as important to me as it is to you.

I only need you for a small issue. Can we hire you by the hour?

Sorry, no. My interest is in building long-term relationships with my clients. I do offer situational consulting at a fee of $1,500 for a phone call and email follow-up. Contact me to see if this is an appropriate option for your needs.

Can you help us find a new insurance agent or insurance company?

Certainly. I have built relationships with agents and insurers around the country entirely around their ability to do great work for my clients (I never accept fees or commissions from insurance agents or insurance companies). I also have built systems and strategies for identifying solid local agents.

Are any banks too small for you to work with?  What’s the largest bank you have worked with?

I have clients as small as $50 million. My largest bank is $9 billion. The overwhelming majority of my clients are under $900 million. The real issue is what your challenges are, and if I can help you manage your bank’s insurance better.

Do you have a staff? Will I be dealing with an associate of yours?

Nope. You hire me, you get me. I have designed my consulting practice so that I give my clients personalized attention. I structure my work so that I can be available to help you when you need me. I select my clients carefully so that I can provide the most value to them.

What types of insurance issues do you find? What problems can you help solve?

I work with your bank’s property, liability, auto, workers’ compensation, directors’ and officers,’ lender liability, cyber liability, financial institution bond, safe depository coverage, mortgage impairment, REO property, forced placed, employment practices liability, and related policies. On average, my review of a bank insurance program results in more than thirty recommendations. Here are some of the questions I answer for my clients:

Do we have the right coverage?

Do we have enough coverage?

Is our policy right for our bank?

Are our employees protected?

Are our directors protected?

Is this claim covered?

Do we need this insurance?

Should we buy this insurance?

Should we buy more of this insurance?

Do we have the right insurance agent?

Should we bid our insurance?

Do we need an attorney for this claim?

Are we paying too much?

Is our deductible too low?

Is our deductible too high?

Do we have coverage for data breaches?

Do we have coverage for computer hackers?

Are our ATMs properly insured?

Do we really need earthquake insurance?

What’s ERISA coverage?

Can’t we self-insure for this?

Why should I care about the coverage our peers have?

How can we reduce our losses?

What holes are there in our current bond?

What should worry us about our D&O insurance?

And any other insurance question you can come up with…

 

Testimonials

“Your work for us is as important as any insurance policy we buy.”

Bill Swales, Bangor Savings Bank,
Bangor, ME

 


“BPC Corporation is a multi-bank holding company with the Bank of Putnam County being family owned for 109 years. Scott’s professional expertise has been a valuable addition to our organization. His knowledge and ability to explain the coverage in a “common sense” approach has enhanced our understanding of the insurance we currently have and identified additional areas of coverage available. Scott has always been very responsive, objective, and unbiased in his answer of various questions. We look forward to a long term working relationship.”

Gary Medley, CFO, BPC Corporation, Cookeville, TN

 


“Scott’s approach to our insurance review was very professional and timely. We discovered several areas in our policies that had significant gaps in coverage or no coverage at all. Scott’s knowledge of financial institution insurance coverage needs is the best I have ever encountered. His opinions and thoughts are unbiased, because he is not representing an insurance company or receiving any commissions. I believe his fee was more than recovered by our premium savings, though our goal was not the cost of our policies but the coverage within the policies. It was all about peace of mind.”

Wade Gort, Premier Bank, Rock Valley, IA

 


“As we approached renewal time for our insurance policies, our Board wanted to be sure we invested wisely in insurance and obtained adequate coverage.  In the past, we’ve always relied on our existing agents for insurance recommendations.  Having someone like Scott that knows the insurance needs of banks and doesn’t sell insurance directly was something we felt we needed.  His unbiased approach and expertise was something we lacked in the past. We’ve been working with Scott for several months now on reviewing our existing policies, assisting with coverage limits, and negotiating with carriers.  His services have been extremely helpful and made the process much smoother than prior years.  I’m sure we’ll be working with Scott for years to come.”

Tom Bevivino, EVP, CFO, Severn Savings Bank, Annapolis, MD


 

“Scott Simmonds has made a material improvement in our insurance program and can help every community bank that does not have an insurance expert on staff. Most insurance agents are sincere and helpful, but Scott brings a different perspective and expertise to the bank that is a must.”

Mark A. Ricca, President and CEO, First American International Bank, New York, NY

 

References

Here are clients who have given permission to be shown as references. They are ready for your call.

 

Northfield Savings Bank
Ed Sulva, Controller / Operations Manager
Northfield, VT
802-485-5388
eds@nsbvt.com
Ongoing Insurance Management Since 2012

 

Bank of Putnam County
Gary Medley, Chief Financial Officer
Cookeville, TN
931-525-2418
gmedley@bpc-financial.com
Ongoing Insurance Management Since 2010

 

Bangor Savings Bank
Bill Swales, Senior Vice President
Bangor, ME
207-942-5211
Bill.Swales@bangor.com
Ongoing Insurance Management Since 2002

 

How To Reach Me

Speed, responsiveness, and dependability are an important part of my work for my clients. It is my promise that my clients have unlimited access to me by phone and email within the scope of our work together. I return all phone calls during business hours in ninety minutes. I reply to all emails within one business day.

My normal workday is from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central. I’m often available outside of those hours. Call me. I promise to either answer your call or get back to you quickly. I check email regularly during the day. You will hear back from me to get the information you need.

Email: Scott@ScottSimmonds.com
Phone: 207-284-0085
Mail: 18155 Canal Junction Drive, Gulfport, MS  39503
Emergencies and After Hours: 207-284-0085

 

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