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FREE biweekly email newsletter, The VUpointThe VUpoint is our FREE bi-weekly email newsletter. We currently have almost 25,000 subscribers in over 70 countries, with some subscribers distributing the newsletter internally to 60 or more other readers. According to a survey conducted by Specific Software Solutions, The VUpoint was the #1 rated industry newsletter, garnering four times as many votes as the second place finisher. You do NOT have to be an IIABA member or VU subscriber to subscribe to the newsletter, though there are features only available to members/subscribers.

The VUpoint newsletter is emailed every other week to subscribers around the world. Although the majority of our subscribers reside in the U.S. and Canada, we also have readers in over 70 countries.
Each issue of the VUpoint includes articles on: (1) personal lines coverages, (2) commercial lines coverages, (3) agency management, (4) sales and marketing, (5) customer service, and (6) technology and the internet. You do NOT have to be an IIABA member or VU subscriber to subscribe to the newsletter, though there are features only available to members/subscribers (see below).
 Read the current issue now...
 •  Personal lines article
 •  Commercial lines article
 •  Agency management article
 •  Sales and marketing article
 •  Customer service article
 •  Technology and internet article

Note to IIABA Members and PAID VU Subscribers
How to access the expanded version of the newsletter

The articles above are the "free" versions available to all newsletter subscribers, whether they are IIABA members, paid VU subscribers, or free newsletter readers. These articles are not password-protected and can be accessed by anyone until replaced by the articles in the next issue. Sometimes these articles contain links to other articles within the VU that ARE password-protected. In addition, sometimes the member/subscriber-only version of the newsletter includes bonus articles and white papers. If you want to access those articles, or view past newsletter articles that have been archived, you must first login to the VU. To do so, click the "Login" button above the menu on the left side of this page. When you login, you'll be taken to the VU home page where you can click on a link that will take you to the current password-protected version of the newsletter.
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If you're not sure you want to subscribe, check out the testimonials below. And, again, you can unsubscribe at any time from this page or from within the newsletter itself.
VU Members/Subscribers Only
While you do not have to be a VU member/subscriber to subscribe to the newsletter, VU members subscribers do get added features:
  • Bonus Articles.  VU members/subscribers can access bonus articles and white papers featured in the newsletter, but not available as one of the six free articles in each issue.
  • Archive.  VU members/subscribers can access past articles chronologically within each of the six categories of articles.
  • Index.  VU members/subscribers have access to the complete index of past issues beginning with our inaugural March 20, 2000 issue. Here is a partial list of part articles by category:

    Personal Lines Articles
    •  Family Member Autos...a Hidden E&O Exposure
    •  Should I Buy the Rental Car CDW?
    •  Company Cars and the Personal Auto Policy
    •  Kid's Kars...Are They Ready for Their Own Policy? Are YOU Ready?
    •  The Homeowners Policy & College Students
    •  The Personal Auto Policy & College Students
    •  Is a GPS Covered by an Auto Policy?
    •  Does the Personal Auto Policy Cover Pizza Delivery?
    •  Covering CD's While in an Auto
    •  Insuring Personal Trusts
    •  Toxic Mold Claims
    •  PAP vs. BAP...Which is the Best?
    •  Accidental Discharge vs. Sewer Backup
    •  Identity Theft
    •  When is an Auto "Furnished or Available"?
    •  What is a "Vermin"?
    •  What is "Vacant Land"?
    •  Building Your Own Home...Insurance Implications
    •  Is a Mini-Van a "Van"?
    •  Parental Liability & The PAP
    •  Insuring "Significant Others"
    •  Driver Exclusions
    •  Homeowners and Additional Insureds
    •  Covering PDAs, MP3 Players, and Other Gadgets
    •  What Liability Limits Do I Need?

    Commercial Lines Articles
    •  Discontinued Operations
    •  Drive Other Car vs. Individual Named Insured Endorsements
    •  Workers Comp Experience Mod Q&A
    •  How to Explain Coinsurance to Clients
    •  CGL Additional Insureds...A Risky Business
    •  Does 2 + 8 + 9 = 1?
    •  Understanding the Agreed Value Option
    •  Insurance Implications of West Coast Power Outages
    •  Complying with Triple Net Lease Insurance Requirements
    •  Is It an Auto or Is It Mobile Equipment?
    •  The BAP Completed Operations Exclusion...
    •  Tenant Improvements & Betterments...OWNER Beware!
    •  Insuring the Independent Contractor Exposure
    •  Insurance Implications of Terrorist Attacks
    •  When Do "Occurrences" Occur?
    •  Is Dirty Water a "Pollutant"?
    •  Is It a CGL or an E&O Claim?
    •  Business Income & Additional Insureds
    •  The CGL "Your Work" Exclusion
    •  CGL Cross Liability
    •  Additional Insureds and Certificates
    •  Coinsurance 101
    •  Care, Custody & Control in the CGL
    •  Garagekeepers Gap...Contractual Liability
    •  Garage Policy vs. CGL+BAP+GKLL
    •  The "Work You Performed" Exclusion
    •  Is Sewage a "Pollutant"?
    •  What Is(n't) "Your Work" in the CGL
    •  Employees vs. Independent Contractors
    •  What Deductible Do I Need?
    •  Hold Harmless Agreements Aren't Harmless
    •  The "Wear & Tear" Exclusion
    •  CGL Workmanship Exclusions
    •  Do Businesses Need to Buy UM Coverage?
    •  Margin Clauses
    •  Beware the CG 22 94!
    •  Business Income Coverage for Unprofitable Businesses
    •  ISO's New Additional Insured Endorsements
    •  CGL "Primary and Noncontributory" Certificate Requirements
    •  Additional Insureds vs. Additional Named Insureds
    •  Completed Operations and the CG 20 10

    Agency Management Articles
    •  What to Do If a Producer Leaves...With YOUR Accounts!
    •  Employee Internet Usage Policy
    •  Incentive Compensation Programs
    •  Combining Incentive Compensation with Employee Evaluations
    •  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Insurance Agencies
    •  E&O Security in the 24/7 Agency (8-part artice)
    •  Producer Compensation...How Much Can You Afford?
    •  12 Reasons YOU Should NOT Sell Your Agency (4-part article)
    •  Managing Commercial Lines E&O Exposures (3-part article)
    •  What You Can Do About Insurer Insolvencies (2-part article)
    •  How Much Should I Pay My Producers?
    •  The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Provisions
    •  The 7 Maxims of Time Management
    •  The Cost to Quote
    •  Producer Compensation Using a Base and Growth Method
    •  Producer Equity...Good Idea or Bad?
    •  Compensating Agency Managers
    •  CSR Workloads...How Much Can They Handle?
    •  The Importance of Employment Contracts
    •  Brokering Business Through Other Agencies...How Much is it Worth?
    •  Improving Personal Lines Loss Ratios
    •  Overcoming Barriers to Agency Growth
    •  Establishing a Bonus Compensation Plan
    •  Producer 'Non-Compete' Agreements
    •  13 Caveats in Using E&S Markets
    •  Warning: Furnishing MVRs to Insureds Can be Hazardous....
    •  Underwriter Submissions...How to Get to the Top of the Pile
    •  Incentive Compensation for Non-Producers
    •  Cleaning Up Loss Ratio Problems
    •  Agency Underwriting...Establishing a Minimum Limits Policy
    •  Are CSRs "Exempt" Employees?
    •  Following Up on Certificates of Insurance
    •  What HIPAA Means to You and Your Clients
    •  Cut-Through Endorsements
    •  Employee Compensation and Productivity
    •  Correcting CLUE Report Errors
    •  How to Create Enforceable NonCompete Agreements
    •  How to Solve the HO Availability/Affordability Crisis (2-part article)
    •  Should Agents Review Contracts for Insureds?
    •  The Danger of Not Reporting Claims
    •  E&O Exposures Involving Non-English Speaking Prospects

    Sales & Marketing Articles
    •  How to Make 50 (or more) Sales Calls in a Day
    •  How to Increase Your Commissions by 50%!
    •  11 Mistakes Most Sales People Make
    •  25 Tips to Improve Your Telephone Cold Calls
    •  Building Value Rather Than Cutting Price
    •  Why Some Agencies Can Sell and Others Can't
    •  You're Selling the Wrong Thing!
    •  Negotiating the Sale
    •  17 Ways to Build Your Personal Lines Book
    •  Selling on the Internet...How One Agent Does It
    •  The Myth that Price Drives the Sale
    •  The "Born Salesman" Myth
    •  The Value-Added Sales Call
    •  Customer-Focused Selling
    •  Wrap Around Selling
    •  How Can I Sell When I'm Not the Lowest Price?
    •  Beyond Consultative Selling
    •  The Relationship Selling Myth
    •  Making a Sales Plan
    •  The Impenetrable Account
    •  Marketing Personal Lines
    •  $200K Commission per Producer...Dream or Reality?
    •  Dealing with the Producer Who Has Leveled Off
    •  14 Tips for Selling in a Hard Market
    •  Are You Listening to Me? Six Steps to Closing More Sales
    •  How to "Brand" Your Agency
    •  The ABC's of Marketing
    •  Hard Market Marketing
    •  How to Ask For and Get Referrals
    •  Is Insurance a Commodity? Should It Be Sold That Way?
    •  Hard Market Shenanigans
    •  Selling Commodities
    •  15-Step Commercial Lines Marketing Program
    •  Creating Powerful Sales Letters
    •  The Five Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make
    •  Relationships with Inactive Clients
    •  How to Maximize the Power of a Sales Call
    •  Do Advertising and Marketing Work?
    •  Six Steps to Handling Objections

    Customer Service Articles
    •  Company Service Centers
    •  Easy to Do Business With Test
    •  14 Tips for Calming Upset Customers
    •  Increase Profits by Getting Rid of Customers
    •  Top 10 Mistakes Employees Make With Customers
    •  When Your Customers Come Calling (5-part article)
    •  Increase Service by Reducing Customers
    •  How to Change a Dissatisfied Customer Into an Angry One
    •  Customer Satisfaction Guidelines
    •  How to Improve Customer Service
    •  Three Golden Rules of Customer Service
    •  Using Technology to Improve Customer Service (6-part article)
    •  Four Ways to Motivate CSRs
    •  Establishing Customer Standards
    •  When an Agency's Service Standards Fail
    •  Relationship Marketing in the 21st Century
    •  Should CSRs Sell?
    •  Puttin' on the Ritz...Building a Customer Service Culture
    •  The 10 Commandments of Customer Service
    •  Customer Service Tests
    •  Customer Profiling for Account Development
    •  The Retention Myth
    •  Six Ways to WOW Your Customers
    •  Customer Service Report Cards
    •  Why Customers Leave
    •  CSR Job Titles
    •  Getting Rid of Abusive Customers
    •  Top 10 Mistakes Employees Make With Customers
    •  Calming Upset Customers...The Southwest Way
    •  How Can You Improve Customer Service?
    •  Speed: The Difference between Great Service and Even Greater Service
    •  Top 10 Telephone Basics
    •  The Value of a Customer
    •  The Unnatural Transition from Service to Sales
    •  The Basics of Customer Service
    •  Fixing $12 Haircuts

    Technology & Internet Articles
    •  How to Build an Agency Web Site that Works!
    •  More Great Insurance Web Sites
    •  Top 10 Web Sites: Insurance & Risk Management (4-part article)
    •  Myths, Scams & Spam (2-part article)
    •  E-Filing: Higher Sales, Lower Costs, and Better Service
    •  Selling Insurance on the Internet
    •  Online Insurance Information: Caveat Emptor!
    •  How to Sell Insurance on the Internet...the Old Fashioned Way
    •  Selling on the Internet...Fact or Fiction?
    •  How to Protect Yourself from Email Viruses
    •  Insurance Sales and The Internet
    •  Using the Internet and Automation as Sales Tools
    •  How to Find Stuff on the Internet (3-part article)
    •  Why Agency Web Sites Don't Work
    •  Why Agency Web Sites DO Work
    •  Accepting Online Payments...Beware!
    •  Marketing Your Web Site
    •  Beware of What You Say in Email!
    •  Top 10 Mistakes in Agency Web Site Design
    •  How to "Clean" Your Computer
    •  How to Find Anything Fast on Your PC
    •  The Danger of Buying Insurance on the Internet
    •  How to Build a Web Site...Yourself
    •  21st Century Agency Management Systems
    •  Transactional Filing
    •  The Concept of an Intranet
    •  Electronic Records Admissibility
    •  Email Filters & Spam
    •  Improving Agency Workflows with Technology
    •  Web Site Privacy Statements
    •  The Paperless Agency - Boom or Bust
    •  Spam: Can the Cure be Worse Than the Disease?
    •  Automated Certificate Systems...How Accurate Are They?
    •  How Credible is Your Web Site?
    •  Email Marketing
    •  A.C.T. – It Serves Your Technology Needs First!
    •  Securing Your Data
    •  Technology Investments That Build Agency Value
    •  FREE Stuff...MS Products, Virus Software, PDF Creator
    •  Enhancing Your Agency Web Site
    •  Organizing the Desktop
    •  Special Automation Survey
    •  Agency Workflow Issues: Credit Scoring and Commission Downloads
    •  Evaluating ASPs
    •  Backlog Should Not be Acceptable in Your Office
    •  CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
    •  Shredding Electronic Data
    •  The Real-Time Revolution: Redefining How We Work
    •  Insurance Coverage for Fax Broadcasts
    •  Take Charge of Your Agency's Digital Security
    •  Automation Training
    •  Focusing on Improving Agency-Carrier Technology Agreements
    •  Roadmap to Effective Agency Information Management
    •  Building Improved Agent-Carrier Interfaces Brick by Brick
    •  Improving Agency Workflows When Carriers "Turn Off the Paper"
 
If you still aren't convinced you want to subscribe, then listen to what others have to say....
Testimonials
Below are some unsolicited testimonials from our newsletter subscribers:
"Absolutely the best insurance related resource on the web. The newsletter is the only one I make a point of reading each and every time. I'll continue to highly recommend it! Happy holidays and keep up the great work!"
Jonathan L.Schloop, CPCU, CPIA, AU, API, AIS
Director of Education
New York Central Mutual Ins.Co.
Edmeston, NY
"I always look forward to opening my email and seeing my Virtual University newsletter there! I think you have some great articles that are very beneficial to all employees of an agency, from the receptionist to management!"
Diane Mooney
York Insurance Agency
York, Nebraska
"Thanks for a wonderful newsletter! I get some new knowledge out of each issue. Your Montrose articles were especially helpful in enabling us to explain the new exclusions to our customers. The customer service articles are enlightening and very helpful in dealing with "tricky" situations. Your article on GPS coverage was an eye-opener - I especially appreciated the coverage analysis and recommendation of the appropriate form to use to cover the GPS."
Kathy Harradine, ARM
"I think that the newsletter is great. Where else can those of us that have multiple lines receive these articles without going to two different places? This is an industry newsletter, not a specific market newsletter. Thanks,"
Bob Yergey
Yergey Insurance Agency, Inc.
Fairfax, Virginia
"I am one of your newer subscribers and, while I work on the 'company side,' I appreciate your newsletter very much. Not only am I teaching a CPCU class here locally, but have also recently been recruited to teach some continuing ed for agency licensing. Many of the coverage topics I have seen so far are very timely. Great job! Keep up the good work!"
Dan Crew
EMC Insurance
"I love the articles. This is my new insurance bible. Thank you for the work you do."
Joyce Hartman, Education Chair
IIA of Rhode Island
"I sent the VUpoint newsletter to at least 50 fellow employees in an email suggesting that they subscribe to the newsletter. Keep up the good work!"
Lee Lewis, CPCU, AAI, ACSR
Business Analyst
AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah
"I get many glowing reports from members about how outstanding the VUpoint newsletter is, particularly the format."
Jeff Albright, Executive Director
IIA of Louisiana
"Thanks for a great educational source. Many I print as required reading for all or for a department. GOOD STUFF!"
Bonnie Knoedler
"Un abrazo!"
Jaime Rodrigo
[VU Director's response: "y un abrazo a usted también! (alguien que habla MUY poco español) - Guillermo Wilson"]

 

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