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A Helping Hand with Middle Markets

By March 24, 2020July 12th, 2021Agency Management Moments

Aaron Benton of the Genesee Valley Agency in New York needed a helping hand when it came to writing a complicated middle market account. Aaron shares his story about who his first call went to with his questions and the connection he now has with Charlie Venus.  The Trusted Advisor Podcast covers what knowledge Charlie was able to bring to the table and much more.  


The process of getting a helping hand with middle market accounts at Iroquois

Edwin K. Morris (4s):
Welcome to the trusted advisor podcast brought to you by Iroquois group. Iroquois is your trusted advisor in all things insurance. I’m Edwin K. Morris. Welcome back to the studio Aaron Benton. He is the chief sales officer of the Genesee Valley agency and is a graduate of SUNY Cobleskill earning a bachelor’s degree with a financial services major. Today’s topic is kind of fun. We talked about it earlier on, about these middle markets. How did you break the ice to get through to middle markets? And what was the helping agent that got you there?

Aaron Benton (37s):
Sure. So, you know, breaking into that, you know, I, I ended up, you know, striking some luck in getting an opportunity to work on some specific accounts, but I can tell you that there were some specific accounts that I didn’t know a lot about. From my understanding, Iroquois group had hired a gentleman by the name of Charlie Venus, who was a Brown and Brown, eh, as far as what his specific level of management he was there, but I didn’t know he was an upper echelon type person at Brown and Brown. They brought him into the mix at Iroquois group to help us producing agents breakthrough into this middle market territory. I had one specific account that I really had, not too much knowledge on.

Aaron Benton (1m 20s):
That being a local bank, but the expertise that was brought by, you know, the Iroquois group with Charlie Venus has really helped me as a producer understand some of the complex coverages that were involved in this type of risk. So I could present myself in a fashion that, Hey, this, these guys know what they’re talking about. They can service our needs and really talk about the exposures that we’re presented to and offer a solution that is viable for us on the backend,

Edwin K. Morris (1m 47s):
The experience level that Charlie Venus brought to you via Iroquois was a key ingredient to you having a solid way to move forward.

Aaron Benton (1m 56s):
Sure, absolutely. So, you know, naturally there’s still business, property coverage, building coverage, liability coverage, but when it comes to like in this particular case, a bank, there’s there’s financial institution bonds, there’s professional liability, there there’s directors and officers liability. There’s certain, certainly a level of coverage and exposure on, that came with that particular account that, yeah, you know, I, I know, I guess the cream on the top, but like what why’s below that, you know, company A, B and C, they might write those various coverages that I just named, but how do they treat it differently? Because you could look at company A, B and C with all the same limits, but how they, how they have a loss settlement that lies within the form is where the complex part of that lies.

Aaron Benton (2m 41s):
And Charlie, having the experience that he did at Brown and Brown and in his past career, was really able to break that down from his experience and say, Hey, you should stay away from company B and company A is better than B because of this. And that helped with the market navigation, I guess, is the best way to describe it, was key into our success in landing an account like that

Edwin K. Morris (3m 4s):
So he kind of facilitated a role of a consultant, but with a guiding hand,

Aaron Benton (3m 9s):
Right. You know, when I got into that account, you know, I called Ted Branch up and I said, Hey, Ted, I got this account. Is there anything you can offer me? And I, I believe Charlie had just gotten on board with Iroquois at that time. He was like, yeah, you need to call this guy. And I get on the phone with Charlie, you know, it was like, wow, I’m talking to like the elite here. And, and he knew, every question I had for him he had an answer for, so, you know, going into that success, he was key in, in that success.

Edwin K. Morris (3m 37s):
So are you going to continue this relationship?

Aaron Benton (3m 39s):
As I’ve gotten to talk with Charlie several different times, you know, in each of those conversations, he offers me a little bit more that I take and put in my personal encyclopedia. So I don’t want to say I’ve ruled them out for reference in the future, but, and you also don’t come across those super complex cases all the time. But you know, there’s been several instances I had mentioned before in part one about a pharmaceutical company that I’m pending out, waiting for a renewal to come through, that I’m going to be certainly engaging with, with Charlie on to, Hey, what’s this coverage and why do we write it this way with company a, B and C? Certainly that’s something that, yeah, I might feel comfortable starting on but when we really talk as to the minutia of these coverages, someone of Charlie’s expertise is going to be valued so much that it’s something that I can’t do just here, where I am in the agency.

Aaron Benton (4m 29s):
So having that outside expertise is necessary.

Edwin K. Morris (4m 32s):
Sure. That’s a huge asset. What’s the future of this middle market and where you want to go?

Aaron Benton (4m 37s):
Where I want to go, man, I wish I had, I had one of these type of risks coming through our door every day. I know that would be one of those problems that, you know, you wish everyone had. It just doesn’t happen. So, you know, as we gear up our expertise in this arena, Charlie’s expertise on the backend is going to be paramount to us succeeding in every one of those cases, you know, succeeding in every one of those cases is, is outlandish and, you know, off the map, but that’s the goal. You know, you don’t go into, you know, trying to work on these accounts saying that you’re going to fail. You try to hit a home run in every one of those cases, because that’s what it takes. I mean, you know, just getting to first base is not going to close that account. You have to hit it out of the park and having that extra expertise on the backend.

Aaron Benton (5m 21s):
It has helped me in, in a few cases already.

Edwin K. Morris (5m 25s):
Well, this has been a glowing endorsement of this resource. Was there any bumps in the road?

Aaron Benton (5m 32s):
Sure. So I, you know, I guess I’m referring back to the one case that I really appreciated Charlie’s input the most, and then this bank case, and I was able to write a great portion of it with travelers, but travelers had an issue with a portion of it for various reasons. And I guess is what I’m saying here is you can’t, even though I was successful in writing a good portion of this account, is what ended up happening was a lot of their ma- or actually all of their management lines and professional lines were locked in with a carrier on a three-year, three-year term claims made form, and to get into a competitive, a new competitive market for that particular exposure wasn’t going to happen until the end of the three-year term, which was, it was frustrating on my end, but there was nothing I could do, but it’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to these kinds of items.

Edwin K. Morris (6m 21s):
What’s the workaround?

Aaron Benton (6m 23s):
Wait. Patience, you know, continue your relationship with, with these specific clients, proving to them, they’re in the right hands, they’re being taken care of. In this particular case that I’m talking about, I still have another like 15 months until the expiration comes around, but, you know, I like, I guess to revert back, I could have written those lines when I wanted to, but not, not with the appropriate carrier on the appropriate policy in, in the way it needed to be done. And I guess going back to doing the right thing by the client and on the back end, things will, things will just work out pan out to your benefit. In this particular case, I had to be patient on a portion of this account in hopes that it will continue to be a successful account that we keep at the office.

Edwin K. Morris (7m 7s):
I mean, it’s a long game here and you’ve, you’ve used the ethical foundation of doing the right thing.

Aaron Benton (7m 12s):
When you run into roadblocks, whether it’s premium, whether it’s company A, where you wanted to go, doesn’t want to write it for whatever, whatever reason, you know, the decision that you have to make as a producer agent is what’s in the best interest of the client. You know, you, you keep your ethics on top of the decisions in which you make, things will work out. You know, I, might’ve not been able to collect 30 or $40,000 worth of premium six months ago when I wanted to, but in 18, 15 to 18 months, when the opportunity comes back up, I’m hoping that I’ll have, I’ll have success in doing so.

Edwin K. Morris (7m 45s):
I wish you the same success that you’re, you’re predicted to get. And I think you’ve got the path laid in the right way. So thank you for being here and sharing that.

Aaron Benton (7m 57s):
Absolutely.

Edwin K. Morris (7m 54s):
Thanks for listening to this edition of the trusted advisor podcast brought to you by Iroquois group. Iroquois, your trusted advisor for all things insurance, and remember get out of the office and sell. This program was recorded live at the Cohen multimedia studio on the grounds of Chautauqua institution. I am Edwin K. Morris, and I invite you to join me for the next edition of the trusted advisor podcast.

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