Security & Alarm Producer Spotlight: Chris Bell
Meet Chris Bell (second from right), a commercial lines agent for 19 years and an Arrowhead producer for our Security & Alarm program for nearly three years.
Bell’s background in engineering and technology put him in good stead to work with companies in the security industry. He spent 13 years working for the largest natural gas distributor in Florida, in the engineering field of pipeline and metering installation. “The company changed owners; I decided to change careers,” he explained.
“Fortunately for me I landed at Merrill Insurance,” he recalled. Founded in 1925, Merrill Insurance relocated to Eustis, Florida two years ago to a much larger facility to accommodate the agency’s rapid growth. Merrill is the exclusive partner for the Alarm Association of Florida for General Liability, Professional Liability / Errors & Omissions, and Umbrella Policies. Merrill offers various other commercial lines, from commercial auto and workers’ compensation, to property and inland marine.
Both Bell and Merrill Insurance participate in various alarm association meetings and functions throughout the state of Florida on a regular basis. Bell co-presents at the Alarm Association of Florida’s annual conference each year. Last year, he and CEO Kent Merrill, along with Arrowhead Security & Alarm underwriter Cheryl Jones, gave a one-hour presentation on general liability, professional liability, and umbrella coverage.
What’s one common misconception about your role that you see?
“I think clients have the misconception sometimes you may not have to know much to write insurance as a security & alarm producer,” Bell answered. “They’re not aware of the laws and rules that govern the insurance industry that can vary state-to-state. Add to that the necessary knowledge of the guidelines of different carriers, and there’s a lot that we agents need to know and stay current on.”
Bell’s insurance education began with the INS7-Property and Liability course from the University of Florida, followed by other courses to obtain his agents license. Like all agents, he completes continuing education credits to maintain his license.
“Some clients believe that I can select the rates and that coverage and policies can be written and placed over a phone call in a matter of minutes,” he added. “They don’t understand it’s an involved process at times, depending on the client’s risk history and a lot of other factors.
What’s a typical objection you hear from a potential client?
Premiums, Bell said. “Most are just price shopping. Our job is to educate them as to the coverages they are paying for and how these coverages protect the assets of their business.
“Our program from Arrowhead exceeds the coverage in most of our competitors’ policies. Our premiums are in line or are better than most,” he added.
What do you like best about your job?
“The most enjoyable part of my job is helping clients with insurance products that meet and often exceed what their requirements are. Building friendships and long-lasting relationships is important too, not only to get to know each client more completely, but to continue their renewals each year, and have them recommend me to their friends.”
Why did you choose Arrowhead as the market for your security/alarm clients?
“We placed a client with Arrowhead in 2015, loved the policy form and the coverage it provides the client,” Bell said. “Arrowhead has one of the broadest policy forms in the industry. You also have great underwriting and servicing teams.”
Learn more about Arrowhead’s Security & Alarm Program.
Your advice to new producers in the field?
Be prepared to work hard, not just 9-to-5, he said. Know your products well and know your competitor’s products.