Position your agency for a better future...

Burand & Associates provides specialized services to help insurance professionals find opportunities in today's challenges.  

We take time to learn our clients' specific issues and design solutions to fit each individual situation. Let us help you pave your future with gold with the following services...

Accuracy is critical!

Agency values are much more than good conversation. An agency valuation is the first step for many critical activities, such as:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Estate planning
  • Buy/sell agreements
  • Ownership transfers
  • Divorce settlements

As the foundation for these important transactions, an accurate valuation is crucial.

At Burand & Associates, we combine our financial expertise with our proprietary evaluation software to provide an accurate, comprehensive and detailed appraisal. We also identify opportunities and offer suggestions for increasing your agency’s value.

Additionally, Chris Burand is a Certified Business Appraiser (CBA), a designation earned from the Institute of Business Appraisers. The CBA designation is only earned by those who prove they know how to: value businesses using all major valuation methods, convert values from C-corp’s to S-corp’s and vice versa using at least four different methods, calculate the value and cost of replacing staff, calculate discounts and premiums for minority and majority positions, calculate the differences between asset values and stock values, and calculate the lack of marketability discounts.

A CBA is also required to demonstrate extensive knowledge of valuation case law and the ability to write high quality valuation reports that meet stringent requirements. Most valuation designations do not require proof the appraiser can put their knowledge to constructive use in valuation reports, which is obviously important and a tremendous benefit to the client.

If you are an agency owner or potential owner, an agency valuation will, at some point, be required. Start with the strongest foundation possible.

Contact Burand & Associates for a detailed, comprehensive and accurate agency valuation.

E&O: Prevention really is the best medicine.

E&O loss exposure is a major concern for most agencies, and rightfully so. Many steps can be taken to greatly reduce an agency's risk of an E&O suit.

As an approved E&O auditor for Westport and Utica, Chris Burand conducts a comprehensive review of an agency's procedures from an E&O perspective and provides recommendations for minimizing E&O exposures while better serving the needs of the agency's customers.

A few of the areas covered in the review include:

  • Overall Procedures
  • Account Review Procedures
  • Renewal Procedures
  • Cancellation Procedures
  • Use and management of E&S Markets
  • Agency Infrastructure

Non E&O Exposures are also covered, though not comprehensively. These areas include:

  • Fraud
  • Record Retention
  • Privacy

While no recommendation, procedure, or process can totally eliminate the possibility of an E&O claim, agencies can take steps to minimize their exposure to E&O incidents.

A Burand & Associates' E&O Procedures Review provides the framework every agency needs to start taking preventative measures to minimize their E&O exposures!

NOTE: The E&O Procedures Review contains a framework and recommendations which should allow your firm to minimize its exposure to E&O claims and incidences. No recommendation, procedure or process can totally eliminate the possibility of an E&O claim or incident. Therefore, Chris Burand and Burand & Associates, LLC neither guarantee nor suggest that the recommendations in an E&O Procedures Review will eliminate the possibility of an E&O claim or incident and should not be relied upon as such.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Seek legal counsel regarding the applicable laws.

Top 10 reasons you need a Burand MD®: Carrier Stability Analysis...

10) To create a competitive advantage by enabling agents to sell the stronger, more stable carrier, even if the more stable carrier is more expensive.

9) To minimize the cost of rolling books when companies pull out or go insolvent. An analysis provides the knowledge agents need to prepare in advance and pro-actively move business, before it is too late.

8) To increase profits because while the competition scrambles to move business, you’ll be writing new business!

7) To minimize the chance of being blind-sided by enabling the agency to better prepare itself and its clients for the possibility of future changes in carrier stability.

6) To reduce stress by taking the mystery out of your carriers’ stabilities.

5) To help you pro-actively manage your carriers and carrier relationships.

4) To provide advance notice of commission/expense cuts. We all know it's better to do business with companies that are properly staffed with good people. A stability analysis can help identify if expenses cuts are in a carrier's future.

3) To provide better knowledge for more successfully negotiating compensation with carriers.

2) To help you understand the important difference between stability and a claims paying rating.

The insurance company ratings with which agencies are most familiar are primarily solvency ratings. They are NOT stability ratings and they do not necessarily indicate future problems.

This difference is extremely critical. A company can be very solvent (meaning they have the resources to pay claims) and simultaneously very unstable (meaning unpredictable, prone to taking sudden actions detrimental to agency operations, and difficult for agencies to grow with).

And, the number-one reason you need a Burand MD®: Carrier Stability Analysis...

1) Recent reports suggest the industry, from an agency's perspective, has its share of carriers that do not have the financial flexibility to maximize agencies' sales in a soft market! And the best way to learn the stability of your carriers is with a Carrier Stability Analysis.

To get the information you need to make educated decisions about your carriers, contact Burand & Associates today for an Insurance Carrier Stability Analysis of the carriers of your choice.

What do Insureds care about? Not coverages.

EXPOSURES!

Insureds often do not know and often do not care about the world of insurance coverages. Insureds care about whether their EXPOSURES are covered. Like a gardener buying manure: they are buying manure not because they want manure but because they want good crops and pretty flowers.

This is why Exposure Checklists play such a valuable role. They are even better than coverage checklists. An Exposure Checklist is not a tangible list. It is a conversation regarding the client’s exposures, which contrasts with a coverage checklist which is a conversation regarding coverages.

To deliver then what clients really want, I have developed the first of its kind Exposure Checklist Coaching Program. This program is available in person or long distance. The program focuses on teaching producers AND CSRs how to develop, learn, identify, explain, and discuss exposures. Here’s a good personal lines example:

The standard agency procedure is to match liability limits with UM/UIM limits. The average middle class American carries something near $100,000/$300,000 limits up to $500,000 limits. A key catch (though not the only catch) is this reasonable scenario: A parent is carpooling and has four kids in their car when an uninsured driver blows through a stop sign at a high rate of speed.  Is $250,000 or even $500,000 UM coverage enough to restore five lives? It’s questionable and yet the agency would have followed procedures.

Following standard procedures misses the point if we don’t focus on exposures.

Covering exposures, after all, is what agents are paid to do.

If you want to become a pro and take your agency to a higher level, contact us today!

FREE Money!

Our Contingency Contract Analysis® Service is the resource every agency needs to increase their contingency compensation by 10% to 500%, or more, every year!

Contingency contracts vary tremendously in quality, payout, and especially today, they vary in their rewards for loss ratios and growth. These differences provide agents with a great opportunity to increase their profits by using each contract strategically and negotiating for more compensation.

Additionally, with the largest database of contingency contracts in North America built especially for agents, we can advise our clients if they have their companies’ best contracts. Even if you already have a company’s best contract, a great opportunity often exists to make even more money!

Every Contingency Contract Analysis® report is packed with valuable, straightforward information that can be used to increase your pure profits. Each analysis includes:

  • Apples-to-apples comparisons of your companies' bonuses.
  • Color graphs comparing each company’s payout under dozens of scenarios. Click here to view sample graphs.
  • Specific recommendations about how to use each contract to increase profits.
  • Critical bonus thresholds for each company and what each bonus is worth to your agency.
  • Descriptions of errors and discrepancies uncovered through the analysis.
  • Verification (if adequate data is provided) of the most recent year's contingency checks.
  • Specific recommendations about how and what to negotiate with each company.
  • Comparisons of each company’s excluded business.
  • Pro’s & con’s of each contract’s structure, including contract provisions that are especially fair or onerous.
  • Information regarding IBNR's and how to manage them.
  • Comparisons of each contract’s key structural and legal provisions.
  • Suggestions for successfully obtaining more money from your companies.

If you are interested in increasing profits without making any more sales, our Contingency Contract Analysis® Service is the way to do it!

Get started today! Click here for a list of materials needed to get started and for fees.

New/Changed Contingency Contract Analysis

This analysis helps agencies know how the new or revised contract compares and how a revised contract will effect their bonus. This is great to have before signing the contract.
Price: $800 USD per contract.

Contingency Estimates

Does your agency spend countless hours estimating your contingencies near the end of the year? Once we have analyzed your contracts, we can provide estimates for you—efficiently and economically.

Total Compensation Comparison

Curious about how your companies’ total compensation packages compare? We can provide an analysis based on your average book, which is the most accurate method for evaluating commission.

Annual Bonus Payment Verification

Companies frequently make mistakes when calculating bonus payments. We have seen mistakes as large as $50,000! An annual verification is a great way to ensure your bonuses are as large as they should be!

Assistance with Company Negotiations

Negotiations often revolve around the technical aspects of contracts. As specialists in this area, we offer assistance during company negotiations.

Custom Contingency Contracts

We work with agencies to develop custom contingency contracts. These contracts benefit both the agency and the companies. Custom contingency contracts are a great option for all parties.

Proceed with caution!

The benefits of being large are compelling and many agencies are choosing the fast track to growth by acquiring, merging, or joining clusters.

Mergers, acquisitions, and cluster arrangements offer many benefits. HOWEVER, success requires considering a wide variety of issues, including:

  • tax implications
  • cash flows
  • new lines of authority
  • different business practices and agency cultures
  • automation systems
  • training and re-training
  • new companies
  • and, the list goes on and on.

Price too often becomes the sole focus—which can be devastating. Studies show that as many as 90% of all agency acquisitions have a negative return on investment.

Our experience suggests many of these acquisitions that lost money could have been profitable if they were structured better. Remember, a successful deal does not mean the deal is closed. Almost anyone can do that. Making money on the deal is much more difficult.

At Burand & Associates, we help guide our clients through all the issues to ensure a successful result. Our comprehensive services begin with a valuation accurate for the specific situation and end with a deal structured to benefit our clients. We analyze multiple scenarios so our clients have a better understanding of their risks and profit potential. As a result, our clients realize many advantages:

  • Cash flows are more secure and larger.
  • Deals are safer and much more profitable.
  • Deals are more easily agreed upon.
  • All parties win!

If a fast track growth strategy is in your future, give us a call. Take advantage of our resources and experience.

Buy-Sells, Non-Competes, Producer Contracts...

Insurance is all about contracts. And yet, agencies often take a cavalier approach to their own contracts. Many agents simply use borrowed or boilerplate contracts as their own.

Using a borrowed or boilerplate contract, whether it be for a buy-sell agreement, producer contract, non-compete, or any of the other many contracts agencies use, is neither safe nor effective.

Even when an agency involves an attorney in drawing the contract, if the attorney is not experienced with insurance agencies, the contract will likely be incorrect and/or inadequate, which often causes more harm than good.

Insurance agencies are simply too unique. Agencies' contracts require specific terms and clauses to protect the parties involved--and this is precisely where Burand & Associates can help. We bring years of insurance agency specific experience and knowledge to the drawing board.

Whether reviewing existing contracts or developing new contracts, we can identify the terms required to meet the needs of the agency and all the parties involved.

We are not lawyers, so we always recommend a lawyer review the final contract. However, we help ensure the contract fits the unique and specific needs of the agency.

Please NOTE: The material contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Seek legal counsel regarding any applicable laws. Also, neither Chris Burand nor Burand & Associates, LLC practices law or accounting, therefore the agency should seek proper legal and/or tax advisement before taking action upon any statements herein.

Are you prepared?

The simple fact is: all agencies will change ownership. All agencies need a perpetuation plan and a perpetuation plan can take up to five years to implement.

Planning for perpetuation can be one of the most difficult and emotional decisions agency owners must make. By avoiding the inevitable though, they risk losing their agency and their financial security for their family and their retirement.

Don’t let your agency--or your family--get caught unprepared!

We help guide agencies through the intricate details of preparing for perpetuation. The process begins by learning, and sometimes defining, the owners' goals. We then complete a thorough analysis of the agency's current situation and devise a plan to help the agency reach its perpetuation goals. An ideal plan is flexible and can be adjusted as the needs of the owner and agency change over time. As a final step, we provide assistance as the agency progresses through its plan.

A perpetuation plan is also a great way to increase the value of your agency!

Perpetuation NexGen:

As an additional benefit, insurance agency consultants, Burand & Associates, and family business advisors, SageQuest Consulting, have combined their expertise to provide the first of its kind, holistic perpetuation planning program - Perpetuation NexGen!

Perpetuation NexGen makes it possible for agencies to truly continue their family legacy.

Perpetuation NexGen is unique because it weaves together all aspects of business succession planning. The backbone is the structural and business components. The second layer of Perpetuation NexGen is all about creating an environment for critical conversations that aid businesses through the maze of conflicts that arise during perpetuation planning.

Prepare today for your agency’s and your family’s secure future.

Contact Burand & Associates to begin preparing for your secure future.

What should you pay your producers?

The answer? Less than the revenues they generate--including their share of the agency’s fixed and variable expenses.

Paying them a greater amount costs the agency more than it makes on every sale and according to the Academy of Producers Studies, most producers are overpaid.

Every agency has different cost structures, goals, and ways of doing business. Therefore, each agency requires a unique compensation program.

A custom compensation system will decrease expenses, increase compensation, and magnify profits.

To help agencies achieve these goals, we specialize in developing custom producer compensation plans that improve profits and productivity, while enabling good producers to increase their take-home pay. We also help producers:

  • Target the correct account size
  • Find more time to sell
  • Reduce the time required to make a sale
  • Achieve minimum hit ratios
  • Make more money (while the agency makes more too!)

Help your agency down the road to greater productivity and profits.

Let Burand & Associates help you develop a custom producer compensation plan.

It's time for a Fresh Approach.

It's time to TAP into More Profits.

Sell Protection: Agents do not sell insurance. They protect their clients’ assets. Insurance is simply the most common means for providing that protection. Imagine you were selling fertilizer. A person buying fertilizer does not want fertilizer. They want a green lawn and healthier crops. The fertilizer is simply the means to the end just like insurance is the means to the end for protecting your clients’ assets. The catch is to make “protecting assets” as tangible as a green lawn and healthy crops.

Assign Costs: Cost is obviously important to customers. Cost is also tangible. So turn cost around and make it work in your favor. Help your clients realize insurance is only one part of the big picture and the big picture is critical to their financial security. Show them the whole picture is much more than the policy premium.

Learn how to show your clients how you will provide Total Asset Protection while saving them money. The result? Better protection for your clients and more profits for you.

Contact Burand & Associates today to learn how to TAP into More Profits!

Is your agency spending more that it makes on every sale?

Most agencies are without even knowing it!

According to the APRS, the average agency spends as much as $1.11 for every commission dollar earned. These unprofitable sales are often hidden by profitable house accounts, contingencies, and other revenue sources.

Wouldn’t it be better to make a profit on the sale in the first place? Imagine how the agency’s profits and value would skyrocket!

The cost of a sale is different for every agency and every line of business. The first step toward making your sales profitable is to learn exactly how much each sale costs and the sources of those costs. To help agencies take this first step, Burand & Associates offers the industry’s only Cost of Sales Analysis that identifies why and where costs are excessive and pinpoints how to decrease costs.

We dig into the fine details of the agency’s expenses, revenues, overhead allocations, business methods, and productivity to uncover the agency’s costs and cost sources. We outline our findings in a comprehensive, easy-to-follow report which covers critical points every agency needs to know, such as:

  • The true cost per sale
  • A productivity profile
  • How producers spend their time
  • Minimum hit ratios
  • The minimum commission per account required to make a profit
  • Cost and productivity comparisons to a standard peer group
  • Specific recommendations for improvement

Start making PROFITABLE sales!

Learn how much your sales cost, identify the sources of those costs, and learn how to magnify your profits.

Contact Burand & Associates about a Cost of Sales Analysis today!

Are you:

  • Uncertain about where your agency is headed?

  • Concerned about stagnant growth?

  • Overwhelmed with the day-to-day details?

  • Or, searching to improve profits and profitability?

Then, you've found your solution: Burand & Associates’ Agency Operations Review.

Through our review process, we help owners:

  • Find focus
  • Define a strategy for the future
  • Identify opportunities to strengthen profits
  • Improve productivity
  • Implement change
  • Take action!

Our review provides a comprehensive, "bird’s eye" view of the agency and its potential. We use our in-depth agency knowledge and broad industry experience to uncover great opportunities to fine-tune your operation. We offer suggestions and provide solutions so the office atmosphere becomes more productive and enjoyable for everyone.

Our review process is straight-forward and effective.

  1. The process gets rolling with a conference call to discuss the agency’s key issues.
  2. Next, we ask your agency to complete a comprehensive questionnaire.
  3. We then visit your agency. We work with the entire staff to identify problems, opportunities, and solutions. We involve the agency’s personnel to help them develop a sense of ownership. Utilizing their input is the most effective way to gain their cooperation and commitment.
  4. After compiling the results of our visit, we provide a detailed, concise report that includes our findings, suggestions and solutions, a detailed Action Plan, and support material.
  5. As a final step, we help your agency work through the Action Plan and are available to assist you as your agency prospers and grows.

Take action to propel your agency ahead.

Invest in your future. Invest in Burand & Associates’ Agency Operations Review!

Reach your agency's Peak Efficiency and Productivity!

The PEP System® Analysis (Peak Efficiency and Productivity System) is THE gateway for identifying the best opportunities for improving productivity (CSRs, carriers, producer and/or IT Systems) within an agency.

In a typical agency, the PEP System® Analysis commonly identifies:

  • As much as 20% wastage
  • Uneven workloads at deep levels
  • Opportunities to eliminate overtime
  • Mismatches between work and compensation
  • E&O exposures
  • The true top performers
  • Training needs
  • Potential morale problems
  • Producers that corrupt profitability
  • The root causes of productivity problems

This is the ONLY system that is specific to each individual agency. The benefits of such extreme customization are:

1) The BEST benchmarks are employed. The benefit is:

a) Waste, frustration, employment practices issues, and E&O exposures are minimized.  Generic benchmarks create these problems.
b) The BEST benchmarks create a perfect environment for constant improvement in the most efficient manner possible.
c) It is much easier to implement policies and procedures that are specific to an agency rather than basing such changes on generic and totally unproven external benchmarks.

2) The VERY BEST benchmarks are self-correcting. Self-correcting benchmarks are extremely rare. This system IS self-correcting.

The Value of a PEP System® Analysis is simple:

  • Easier agency management
  • Less stress
  • Reduced expenses of at least $60,000 annually per CSR redeployed or eliminated (based on industry norms and Burand & Associates' internal analysis). This equals the equivalent of $160,000 extra revenue based on industry norms!
  • When fully deployed, Six Sigma quality is inherently developed whereas NO OTHER INSURANCE AGENCY PROCESSING BENCHMARKING system achieves Two Sigma.

We offer two levels of service:

  • Basic Service—We provide the results for agency management to use to develop their own strategies for continuous improvement.
  • Gold Service—We provide our Consultative Interpretation of the results and provide suggested strategies for continuous improvement.

Set your agency on a path towards Peak Efficiency and Productivity. Get started on your PEP System® Analysis today.

How do you evaluate Producers?

  • The P&C insurance industry has an abysmal record of successfully developing Producers and then managing them adequately.
  • Estimates of 75% failure rates are common.
  • Until now, insurance agency/broker owners and executives did not have a multi-level means by which to easily evaluate their Producers.

The Solution: The Producer Report Card® Service

  • The Producer Report Card® service is a unique, proprietary scoring methodology that grades Producers’ sales success on a multi-level basis.
  • This methodology takes into consideration all measurable and pertinent factors -- rather than simply sales.
  • The result is an unbiased, easy-to-use Producer evaluation system.
  • The Producer Report Card® evaluation includes a report with an individual analysis of the agency’s Producers and the quality of the agency’s overall Producer force.

Contact Burand & Associates today for more information about receiving your own Producer Report Card® evaluation.

Consultation/Professional Services

Hourly Rates:

At our office:  $325 USD per hour, plus expenses (see below), minimum 1/2 hour.
On-site:
 
$475 USD per hour, plus expenses (see below), minimum 8 hours.

Fees for Specific Services:
Agency Operations Review:  Billed at appropriate hourly rate, minimum $2,600 USD.

Agency Valuation:  Billed at appropriate hourly rate, minimum $3,000 USD.

Expert Witness: $3,000 retainer to begin; billed at appropriate hourly rate.

Contingency Contract Analysis® Service:  $1,500 USD per contract; additional charges will apply for E&S contracts. Click here for a list of materials you will need to send us.

Producer Compensation Plans:  Billed at appropriate hourly rate, minimum $800.

Carrier Stability Analysis: $495 USD per carrier.

All Other Consulting Services: Billed at appropriate hourly rate.

Priority Pricing (For "I need it now!" situations):
While we make every effort to complete projects as timely as possible, occasionally our clients require an extraordinary effort from us to meet a deadline. In these situations, you may request priority pricing and if we accept your request, we will make an exceptional effort to assist you.

However, under no circumstance do we guarantee that we will be able to meet your deadline. Additionally, our workload is heavy and we will not jeopardize an existing client’s deadline. Therefore, we reserve the right to decline a request for priority pricing.

Priority Pricing Rates:

  • At our office: $395 USD per hour, plus expenses (see below).
  • On-site: $500 USD per hour, plus expenses (see below).
  • Minimum for all Priority Pricing Projects: $3,200.

Expenses & Travel

Air Travel:  Actual cost.

Automobile Mileage: $0.54 per mile, round trip.

Extended-Stay Fee:  If consultant cannot return home the same day the on-site work is concluded, an additional fee of $1,000 will apply.

Lodging, Ground Transportation, and Car Rental:  Actual cost.

Research Materials:  Actual cost.

Billing Information

Consulting time is computed as the time spent solely on the client's project.

Retainers and/or deposits are required in most instances with the remainder due payable upon the end of the consulting session.

Unless otherwise mutually agreed in writing, all retainers, fees, and expense deposits are payable prior to the time service begins. All Fees and Expenses are considered earned in full at the earlier of (1) the time Service begins or expenses are incurred, or (2) travel to site begins.

Cancellation by Client of any Service at any time during the two (2) days prior to the travel date or date service is scheduled to begin will subject Client to a minimum fee of not less than what would apply for an on-site consultation, plus expenses incurred.

Charges for all Fees and Expenses assume and reflect timely payment by a valid check. All balances are due immediately upon receipt of a statement, unless otherwise indicated on the statement. Amounts not received in our office within 15 calendar days after the statement date are considered delinquent and thereafter, client agrees to pay 1.5% monthly interest on delinquent balances, plus collection costs, including all legal and attorney fees, should that be necessary.

The fee for providing the valuation of an agency is not contingent on the value determined by the assignment.

Fees are subject to change after May 30, 2017.