“Joining National Programs meant that my name was no longer next to every item that needed to be completed. We’ve had help from nearly every National Programs Shared Services team to quickly get us up and running,” said Angela Dodd, vice president, Mile High Markets.
Since 1985, Mile High Markets has provided insurance coverage for the car and truck rental industry. When their 37-year relationship with their carrier ended due to the carrier exiting the market, Dodd was tasked with quickly finding a new carrier before the next round of renewals came due. We sat down recently with Dodd, Arrowhead Commercial COO Lisa Stahl and Tandy Fitts, vice president of programs including Arrowhead Automotive Aftermarket, to discuss their lightning-fast transition.
“National Programs became a very viable option,” Dodd explained, “because of their carrier experience and relationships, plus their Shared Services teams. Their innovation teams have been working with programs for years – even decades – so they knew exactly what we needed.”
Two transitions at once: from carrier to carrier and joining National Programs
Dodd worked with Fitts to secure Mile High Markets’ new carrier, Falls Lake National Insurance Company. Fitts was able to leverage his working relationship with Falls Lake to finalize contracts and begin the transition.
“Probably the biggest part of my role was working with the Falls Lake team, since I knew a lot of those individuals,” Fitts elaborated. “I wanted to make sure they were comfortable with everything that was happening within Mile High, to effect a successful launch and ongoing relationship.”
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Converting from the previous carrier to Falls Lake was a complex transition, Dodd said, primarily because the team had previously only worked with one carrier. Fitts and Stahl, along with the Project Management Office, helped guide the transition. Marketing Operations helped with licensing and onboarding new producers; Marketing Communications provided email announcements to current producers, refreshed the logo and added email signatures. Accounting implemented Velocity for billing and accounting; Commercial Business Systems Analyst team customized the reporting system for the carrier; and Data Science dug through all the surface actuarial data provided by the former carrier to uncover the data needed to provide the new carrier.
“Everything came at us at the same time because the former carrier was nonrenewing all policies, so we had to stand up this new program very quickly,” Dodd recalls. “The amount of support we’ve received has been amazing. Overwhelming.
“The Mile High team and Angela especially are the subject matter experts when it comes to this segment of insurance, so being able to marry up National Programs’ resources with this program really was a brilliant idea,” added Stahl.
“We’ve got a great partner in Falls Lake,” Dodd added. “I went to them and said, ‘Specifically for 10/1, I’ve got two very large renewals that we don’t want to lose. We need them in the portfolio, not only for premium volume and the fact that they’re good profitable accounts, but from the aspect that the industry knows these are high profile accounts that we’ve written – people who will have always had a positive view of us and who will share their experiences with other agencies as friends of the program.’ Falls Lake was very creative and went the extra mile to make sure that we’re able to keep those accounts.”
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Challenges and roadblocks
“I’d say that the average person would be extremely challenged going through what Angela and her Mile High Markets team went through,” Stahl said. “Everything about their jobs had to change, down to the computers that they work on. The only thing that remained the same is they still have desks in the same office.
“The carrier that they’re working with, the systems they’re using, the workflows, the data needs, the underwriting guidelines – everything changed all at the same time. That requires a lot of flexibility to roll with it, all the while still writing premiums.
“Angela and team have a great relationship with their producers,” Stahl added. “Their retention rate is outstanding, moving these policies from the old carrier to the new carrier. Normally with a carrier change, you expect to lose 30-40% of your book through disruption, but Mile High’s renewal rate is very high.”
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“I was hesitant at first to make the move,” Dodd admitted, but she recalled an office poster that said, “The cost of getting where you want to go is leaving where you are.” To that a teammate added, “Sometimes you have to give up good to get great.”
“We’ve done a lot of deals based on our years of doing business and the relationships we’ve created, she added. “Our producers know who we are and how we do business. They know that what we say is what will be – no empty promises. They said, ‘You’ve always been there, you’ve always taken care of us. No reason to assume you’re not going to in the future.’ That’s how great a group of producers that we have the privilege to serve.”