Spotlight on Annette Paul, Work Comp Producer and Commercial Agent
Our producer spotlight this month is on Annette Paul, workers’ compensation producer and a commercial agent for Business and Contractors Insurance Services (BCIS) in San Diego, California. Annette has worked with Arrowhead for 13-plus years, selling both work comp and general liability coverage.
With clients ranging from construction engineers to salon owners, Annette specializes in commercial insurance, primarily workers’ compensation, general liability, commercial auto and equipment coverage. Her insurance agency experience spans 14 years, with more than half of them at BCIS.
“I like to say my career path chose me – I didn’t choose it,” Annette quips. Her career began years earlier, working for Children’s Hospital in San Diego, until budget cuts forced the layoff of many non-patient care employees. When a friend heard of her layoff, she invited Annette to come work for her at her insurance agency. A year later, in 2004, Annette earned her property & casualty insurance producer license.
“I worked with Arrowhead as a workers’ compensation producer from the very beginning,” Annette explained. “They were a strong presence in both work comp and GL. Their underwriting was very strict at the time due to a hard market, so they taught me the business well. I had many conversations with the underwriting team regarding acceptability.”
What does she like best about working with Arrowhead? “Their rates and the ease of working with underwriting,” she answered.
Learn more about Arrowhead’s Workers’ Compensation Program.
When asked about misconceptions her clients often have about her role as a commercial producer, she quickly answered, “Sometimes clients see me as a glorified babysitter: they bring me their broken situation and ask me to fix it. Often I can help – but not always.”
Other business owners think she has the ability to set rates wherever she thinks best. “I wish I had that kind of power!” Annette said. Still others expect her to settle their claims, start-to-finish. “I’ve learned to ward off these misconceptions by starting at the very beginning, when I’m binding the policy, to explain how their insurance works.”
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
Learning to defuse an emotion-packed situation, she said. Setting aside emotions, not taking a client’s venting personally when a claim isn’t settled the way they wanted it to be.
Another challenge is when presenting a proposal: the client may have in mind what they think they need and a specific price point, but experience tells Annette additional coverage is needed.
“A good example is general liability: It’s not required in California. Therefore many clients may feel they don’t need it.
“Prior to presenting the proposal, I dig hard into their business – in a personable way – so that I understand exactly what they need. Yes, often what they need IS beyond what they think is necessary.”
Years in this business have armed Annette with the knowledge base she needs to help overcome objections, particularly her knowledge of annual audits and California’s work comp bureau.
She also presents scenarios: here is what could happen, and indeed does happen X percent of the time to companies your size and in your industry. And here’s how you can protect against that. Seven out of 10 times the client agrees and adds the coverage. The other 30 percent choose to gamble that they won’t need this coverage in the future. “If they say no, I simply move on to the next client,” she said.
What do you like best about being a commercial insurance producer?
“Being able to give a client what they need and meet all their requirements, resulting in their satisfaction. When that satisfaction leads to a referral, it makes my day. I’m not sure who said it first, ‘The best compliment you can give me is a referral,’ but it’s very true.”
What helps you stand out as a workers’ compensation producer?
Accessibility and empathy, Annette said. “I’m easy to reach. I can’t tell you how many of my clients came to me in the beginning complaining that they could never reach their agent. ‘He was never available when I called,’ they’d say. All of my clients – even those with small premiums or bonds – hear from me at least once a year.”
She spends time coaching them on audit preparation as well. “It helps them overcome a lot of issues ahead of time that otherwise might rear up at a bad time.”
Lastly, at renewal time, she always looks around for a better deal, no matter the size of their premium. “I go the second mile,” she said.
Thanks, Annette! The personal attention you give every client is an inspiration to all of us. We look forward to working with you to create satisfied clients for years to come.