Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents


Spotlight On: Christine Rojcewicz!

chrissy

We have some very exciting news in our office!  One of our very own employees has been nominated as a Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents 2014 CSR Star!  Christine Rojcewicz, or Chrissy as she is known around the office and to customers, started at MassDrive in July of 2013, and came to us with no experience whatsoever.  Since then, she has quickly learned the ropes and become an invaluable part of our team!  She handles every phone call with professionalism and grace, and always remains calm no matter what situations arises.  We wanted to take a few minutes to chat with Chrissy and find out a little more about her and her job as a CSR rep.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is the customers. I love to help others, and being a customer service rep is all about helping others! I really enjoy working together with our customers to find the best solution to any problem, no matter how complicated. I love a challenge!

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

The hardest part of my job, particularly my role as a retention specialist, is explaining tough rate increases to customers. I place great importance in being certain that the insured truly understands their coverages and any reasons for premium changes. Often, the cause of the rate increase is ambiguous, but I always try my best to clarify the specific reasons for the increase, or decrease, not just quote a price without an explanation. Insurance rates are not black and white, and it is important to me that the insured is comfortable with the insurance they are receiving and the reasons for the cost.

 What do you think it takes to be a good customer service rep?

To be a good customer service rep, one needs to have patience and  perseverance. This job is not easy, but it has the potential for fulfillment and forming great relationships. It takes a lot of patience and humility to remain calm and cooperate with a difficult customer, but when the experience is positive for the insured, it is positive for me as well! The feeling I get after finishing a particularly successful call is very rewarding.

 What’s the key to dealing with an angry customer?

Dealing with angry or upset customers can be very difficult, but the key is to empathize. I try my best to put myself in the customer’s shoes and see the situation from his or her point of view. Often, when I do so, the reason for the customer’s frustration and anger becomes apparent, and I can better assist them.

What do you wish all of your customers knew?

I wish all my customers knew how difficult being an insurance customer service representative can be, and I wish they knew just how far a simple “thank you” really does go. My coworkers and I love nothing more than to share with each other when insureds are grateful and provide positive feedback. Often, a little appreciation can turn my whole day around!

In addition to answering phone calls, keeping up with paperwork, and so much more, Chrissy also implements our Renewal Readiness Program™, which monitors our customer’s policies that are about to renew, and will re-quote them if there is a significant increase in price.  She always goes above and beyond to make sure our customers have the most pleasant experience possible, so we’re wishing her the best of luck in this contest, no one deserves it more than she does!

Recourse for Toyota Drivers & At Fault Accidents

Toyota drivers involved in recent recalls have worried about how this will affect their auto insurance coverage and premiums. Although a standard auto insurance policy does not exclude vehicles damaged while under recall, drivers may face additional surcharges and/ or costs if they were involved in an at fault accident. Thankfully Massachusetts residents have the option to appeal a court decision over an at fault accident, a privilege that was almost taken away by the former Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance Nonnie Burnes.

Burnes felt, according to an article by William Lapointe, that with the newly deregulated market drivers would be able to shop around and find lower rates thus making no need for an appeals board as the driver may simply switch carriers. Massachusetts residents were weary of this measure to eliminate the Board of Appeals, however the final push to keep the Board came when the spot light focused on the fact that if a driver was assessed fault of an accident, although they have the ability to chose a different carrier their SDIP, or license point assessment, would remain the same. Pressure from the public, legislators and lobbyists was enough to force the government to maintain the Board of Appeals.

The Massachusetts Board of Appeals hears approximately 50,000 cases in a year from drivers who believe they were wrongly assessed the blame for an at fault accident. On average about half of the appeals are overturned and the at-fault-accident is removed from the driver’s record as well as surcharges by a driver’s insurance company.

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued a Consumer Alert announcing hearings for drivers who appealed a decision prior to the recall would be reopened. The Massachusetts Board of Appeals was not previously aware of the manufacturer’s defect and is looking to overturn any court decisions a Toyota driver may feel was wrongly determined with the new knowledge of the nation wide recall. After an at fault accident a driver should automatically receive a notice for their right to appeal the decision.

Appeal hearings are open to the public and for the most part informal. A written appeal is read by the hearing officer and after this is read the driver will proceed to make his or her case for the appeal. It is also good to be aware that a representative for the insurance carrier will also be present. A person’s driving record is one of the most important determinants of auto insurance premiums. Do not take it lightly if you have been wrongly assessed fault of an accident.

New Insurance Carriers = High Risk Exemption

This past Tuesday the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Massachusetts Division of Insurance’s decision to temporarily excluded new auto insurance companies from covering high risk drivers. The Abrella Mutual Insurance company filed a lawsuit claiming Nonnie Burnes had exceeded her authority as the insurance commissioner while favoring national companies new to the Bay State. Burnes had adjusted the insurance regulations to exempt the new insurers from covering high risk drivers for two years.

Abrealla with the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents brought the law suit in 2008 arguing the exemption place Massachusetts insurers at a disadvantage. This legislation would require the Massachusetts insurers to share the cost of high-risk losses based on their state market share allowing the new insurers to escape this burden.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld Burnes decision deciding although the new companies would not share the cost of high risk drivers they do help fund the administrative costs of the Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan that in turn provides the high risk insurance. Burnes had worked during her career as the insurance commissioner towards deregulation in an effort to bring new insurance agencies to Massachusetts giving drivers better competitive prices and more options.

Frank Mancini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, stated his association was disappointed in the outcome however will not be giving up. The group has already brought two additional bills attempting to keep the ownership of expiring policies with agents.

Before deregulation state regulators set auto insurance rates charging drivers by their location and driving record. The new system allows carriers to grant discounts for everything from being a student with good grades to holding a AAA membership. It has also brought more competition the the state as carriers set their own rates as opposed to following state regulated rates as before. Deregulation has brought eleven new insurance carriers and looks to be a good step forward for the State.

Massachusetts Managed Competition System Program Assessed

In April 2008, the state government put a managed competition system in place through the Division of Insurance. After some time, the system still continues to receive mixed reviews.

Before the system, state government set the rates for auto insurance effectively regulating insurance providers’ ability to raise rates to gain more revenue. When the plan was first introduced, advocates believed the new system would bring in new carriers and those that opposed said the system would discriminate against select drivers.

The system is now in its second year but there have only been minor changes in the nature of the auto insurance market.

Three major auto insurance providers Allstate, Geico, and Progressive, have entered the market. 6 more small local providers have also joined since the market change. The difference between the larger and smaller providers is that the smaller ones have employed the services of local insurance agents.

It is a concern that with large providers not seeking help from local agents, agents will suffer. Frank Mancini, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, says that even with some consumers switching to the bigger providers, agents have yet to suffer substantial losses. Independent agents handle up to 78 percent of auto insurance policies in the state. The national figures are much lower, 30 to 35 percent.

The statistics from the first year of operation under the new system show that the average auto insurance cost dropped. With the new system being a hot topic for debate, critics and advocates will surely being watching the market closely.

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