Meet the powerhouse behind new Core Commercial producers at Corkill
Meet Chrissy Suhr, commercial lines senior marketing account manager at Corkill Insurance Agency in the Chicagoland area. Corkill has four office locations in Illinois and Wisconsin. Chrissy travels between their Chicago and Rockford locations, mentoring new producers and aiding them in the growth of their books of business.
“First thing you notice when you meet Chrissy is her passion and enthusiasm for the industry,” says Vivian Carballo-Brown, Arrowhead’s business development leader for the central region. “She enjoys working with her producers and is eager to help them write new business. She truly goes the extra mile for her teammates, which is why she’s so successful in her role. Chrissy is a great asset to the agency, and they all appreciate her hard work and dedication.”
Chrissy works closely with carrier representatives, building relationships while marketing new business accounts to the agency around $30,000 premium level or higher. Her sweet spot is mentoring: “I enjoy helping my producers find quality coverage for their new prospective clients,” she said. While conversing with Chrissy, she provided a number of thoughtful tips for producers just beginning their career selling Core Commercial.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
“Google is your friend! You can find so much information online, if you know where to look. When I first started out, I’d go to the Big I or IRMI’s website to help clarify coverages, such as the definition of Business Personal Property, etc.
“At the same time, feel free to pick up the phone and call your resources. By picking up the phone, you’ll get a quick answer. Also, don’t rely on email as your only form of communication between you and your underwriter. Most underwriters will not have a problem saying no in an email to decline an account, but when you verbally communicate with them, you can explain the situation and walk them through why you feel it’s a good risk.
“When I first entered this industry, I realized immediately that I needed to shadow someone who’d been in the field awhile. I’ve had several mentors throughout my career. Unfortunately, a couple of them have retired. I continue to team up with peers to learn as much as I can through our evolving industry. My biggest suggestion would be find someone knowledgeable, with whom you feel comfortable and who’s willing to spend time showing you the ropes.”
How do you use your early experiences to help you coach new producers?
“I was encouraged to ask for help when you are unsure of a coverage answer. Building a strong relationship with your underwriter is key, especially in situations where you may need them to help you with coverage inquires. I will often come in as a troubleshooter, helping a producer explain a file to the underwriter. Together we call and find out, where are the hang-ups? What information can we provide that will help you to revisit this account? I coach producers on how to explain the stalled account: Here are the key points that will be important to the underwriter when reviewing the file. We go over the tougher operations, safety issues and management. I’ve also jumped on phone calls to help them sell.”
What are the typical objections you hear from prospects, and how do you overcome them?
“Two that I can think of: One, the process of moving agencies is a big roadblock to some new prospects. It seems like a lot of work, and they often push back. We explain that cancelling their old policy is not hard; we make it as easy as possible. In fact, our team can handle a lot of it for them. We have a team that handles certificates, auto changes, bonds, etc. And we highlight our key services, showing them that we take on much of the transition work.
“Two, I coach our producers to get the declarations pages from previous policies, so that when we meet with them, we’re apples-to-apples in comparing policies, coverages, etc. We also add a suggestions page: Our goal is to make sure you’re covered for your big risks, so here’s where we suggest you look at increasing your coverages, because it looks a little light in this area. Then the prospect is armed with the knowledge they need to make a decision.”
What other advice do you have for new Core Commercial producers?
“Take as many CE classes as are available to you. Learn all the products your agency offers and their details – and selling is easier after that. In short: Learn your markets. Build a good relationship with your underwriters: get to know them – their appetite, what they like.
“Back to mentoring – find someone who’s been in the business awhile and can help navigate through tough situations. Observe how they sell, work with clients and the underwriters. It’s all about learning how to work with people.
“At the end of the day, we are in a relationship business, so having good relationships with underwriters, your staff and coworkers is key to your success. Before talking with an underwriter, be sure you understand what your client does, so you can explain it. When the underwriter fully understands the operation, you’ll be more successful writing the account.
“That’s what’s been so great about our Core Commercial underwriter, Peter Fassbender. He finds ways to write accounts that others might’ve declined – he’s a breath of fresh air. He’s gone above and beyond so many times!” Chrissy said.
“Chrissy’s really an advocate not just for her clients but her producers as well. She ensures their complete satisfaction with her kindness, follow through, persistence, dependability and knowledge of the industry,” said Fassbender. “As a mentor and trainer, she works closely and diligently with her teammates. They are successful because she is always looking for opportunities to help. I appreciate her straightforward and open communication. It helps us all get the job done effectively and the result is a win-win for everyone.”