ance to maximize the effectiveness of their
loss-prevention and safety programs.”
On the technology front, PS&F shows its
innovative streak with a proprietary suite
of software it developed internally, building on an agency-management software
system. They did so because what is on the
open market “is not good enough for us,”
Collins points out.
Having a highly efficient IT system is of
extra importance for an agency located in
Bellevue—a region with numerous bleeding-edge technology companies that expect their
third party to be as sophisticated as they are.
With PS&F’s “DigitaLINK” product, clients can request certificates of insurance,
report a loss, collaborate on documents with
their account-service reps, send secure e-mails
to anyone on the account team, review their
polices and track the progress of joint projects.
Policies are provisionally posted on
DigitaLINK as soon as received so clients
have immediate access to the (unchecked)
policy; clients are then notified when the
full review process by PS&F has been completed (see sidebar).
PS&F is also proud of its MarketLINK
system that handles all communication
with underwriters electronically and has
the advantage of letting the sender know
when the file has been opened or not.
That allows for more effective follow-up,
says Collins. It also creates a database of
information that clients can update easily
the following year during policy renewal.
Bridging The Gaps
CLIENT & COMMUNITY OUTREACH
As part of its services, PS&F conducts education seminars in the basics of insurance
for its clients. The instruction is offered
quarterly to clients in Bellevue and annually to those in its Anchorage, Alaska office.
Insurance 101 is an introductory course,
while 102 builds on the earlier knowledge and
introduces more sophisticated concepts. The
firm is planning a session which will focus
on managing cyber liability and recently held
one on earthquake risks in the Northwest.
In fact, the company places such an
emphasis on training for both clients and
staff that it employs a full-time trainer
with more than 30 years of insurance-industry experience.
Then there is PS&F’s community involvement. Collins says the firm has a “strong
commitment to the Puget Sound area.” The
firm encourages employees to get involved
on executive boards and to contribute to
and be a part of the community through
E continued on page 29
Speeding, Improving Policy Delivery
PARKER SMITH & Feek’s (PS&F) per- formance standards specify that the time between the receipt of a client’s
policy from a carrier to the delivery to the
insured should be no more than 45 days.
When a policy is received by PS&F, it is
thoroughly checked to make sure the terms
and conditions accurately reflect what was
agreed at placement.
These audits often unearth critical
errors—but the process was inefficient and,
as a result, policies were not being deliv-
ered within the 45-day framework.
Clients understood the importance of
the vetting—but said that if delivery times
could be improved, it would be a dramatic
point of difference with the firm’s competi-
PARKER, SMITH & Feek (PS&F) opened a dialogue with a large West Coast manufacturer whose principal plant is
located just outside a high-hazard flood zone.
The manufacturer faced several paramount
First, the Army Corps of Engineers
recommended decertification of the levies near the plant. This would leave it in a
high-hazard zone. Second, the Army Corps
of Engineers found breeches in the dam
above the plant, further increasing the anxiety of many underwriters.
Despite spending several hundred thousand dollars to control the risk, coverage was
still fragmented and expensive. The company
had two towers of coverage, two different
effective dates, placed with five different insurance companies over eight different policies.
The fragmented structure led to gaps and
overlaps of coverage as well as administrative
nightmares. To make matters worse, a careful
review of their property exposures revealed
that they were woefully underinsured.
PS&F engaged its risk-control engineer,
Mike Woltersdorf, on the project. After meeting
with the client, Woltersdorf developed loss-control reports that explained the exposures
and the controls the client had implemented
to help mitigate a flood loss. These included
flood-emergency response plans, construction
of berms, and back-flow valves for water and
sewer supplies. Woltersdorf also mapped the
flood zones and utilized reports from outside
consultants to better define the exposure as
well as the flood levels that would be required
before the client’s location would be affected.
PS&F used the reports as well as meet-
ings with underwriters and the client to create
greater understanding of the exposures.
In the end, PS&F was able to consolidate
the insured’s program to one tower of insurance with a common expiration and a single
effective date. It increased values by more
than 60 percent, spread larger flood and
earthquake limits to all of their buildings,
vastly increased their coverage for ordinary
payroll—and were still able to lower the
insured’s property premiums. NU