Posted on 16 Jun 09
In this issue we’re featuring Mainstay Insurance Group, which became a ProgramBusiness.com Storefront earlier this year. Founded in 2008, Bellevue, Washington-based Mainstay is a program administrator and specialty wholesaler servicing the insurance and risk management needs of select industries and providing niche and association-based products. Its programs are available nationally and are distributed 100% through retailers. We spoke with Dusty Rowland, president of Mainstay about the company, its philosophy, and an exciting new program slated to launch next month.
Dusty has a long history in the insurance industry, having co-founded specialty wholesale broker NSU, a specialist in the hotel and resort casino sector. Together with business partner Eric Arthur, who also worked at NSU and Lexington Insurance, Mainstay was formed.
“Our working philosophy is predicated on making sure that we are generating long-term underwriting profit, and that we’re working to provide value for both the carriers and retailers,” says Dusty. “We understand our position as a program administrator in the distribution chain and the need to create value all around.”
Mainstay’s level of commitment to its retailers is underscored and backed by its Service Guarantee. If a broker or agent is not 100% completely satisfied with the level of client servicing, Mainstay will visit his/her office to better understand what is needed in order to fulfill those needs as well as pay a 20% bonus commission on the next application written.
All of Mainstay’s carriers are A-rated and its specialty brokerage division provides Umbrella/Excess cover in a number of classes, including: Real Estate, Auto Fleets and Dealerships, Equipment Rental, Restaurants and Manufacturing.
Dusty explains that Mainstay along with its carriers has developed business efficiencies to identify markets that are underserved, where the general insurance marketplace is not meeting the needs of certain risks. “From here we create programs to meet those needs and to add value for brokers and agents. We provide them with innovative solutions that will help them differentiate themselves.”
One of the ways in which Mainstay brings solutions to its distribution network is through creative new programs. One such program is AGPOM, the Association of Green Properties and Managers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the Green Movement.
Set to launch in the larger states in mid-July and available by year-end everywhere, AGPOM promotes the Green Movement by helping property owners and managers realize the value of “greening” their properties. “Greening” properties includes: using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition; finding ways for increased energy and water efficiency; using environmentally preferable materials and renewable energy; reducing waste and toxin release; improving indoor air quality; and creating smart growth and sustainable development.
Members of AGPOM will receive insurance premium credits based on their level of participation in the Green Movement as well as membership discounts to various services.
The insurance program for AGPOM members includes: General Liability, Umbrella Excess, Property, Crime, Auto and Boiler & Machinery coverage. Additionally, members will benefit from Mainstay’s group purchasing strategies.
“We are very excited about this program,” says Dusty. “It is a way to help address corporate and individual environmental responsibility and provide a program to property owners and managers to begin the process of becoming a part of this movement without becoming overwhelmed.”
“It also helps retail brokers by giving them an opportunity, a new door to open, to engage in dialogue in an area that is relevant today while at the same time providing an avenue to discuss insurance. You can discuss with your clients the shift to green alternatives and the benefits of implementing a cost-effective plan, such as increasing property worth and asset appreciation, getting higher occupancy rates and rent, enhancing your brand, having access to membership discounts, and obtaining insurance premium credits based on the building’s greening process.”
In addition, Dusty explains, a portion of the insurance costs generated through this program will be used to purchase renewable energy credits/certificates (RECs). RECs basically fund the renewable energy movement, such as wind farms, solar farms, and water sources, etc., to reduce environmental impact. RECs help reduce the carbon output of those property owners who accumulate credits/certificates, and additional credits may be purchased at a discounted rate through membership in AGPOM. What’s more, RECs can be used to gain additional LEED points required for LEED certification. (LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.)
“This is an all-encompassing insurance sustainability program that is one-of-kind,” says Dusty, “and it will serve as a model to encourage business owners to get involved.” Furthermore, it’s an issue of great importance to many people, such as tenants, especially younger businesspeople, who are looking for “green” solutions and alternatives.
Education Is Key with Mainstay
Part of Mainstay’s AGPOM program will also include the company’s commitment to an ongoing marketing strategy that provides its brokers with education. “We implement what we call ‘TOMA’ – Top of Mind Awareness, which means helping our brokers to be in front of their customers on a regular basis. Basically, we favor education over straight promotion,” says Dusty.
Dusty explains that his staff spends a lot of time culling through information on the Green Movement – what is new (technologically or, legislatively, for example) – and provides this information to their brokers so that they can speak with their customers and become a resource for them. The AGPOM program will include e-mails, mailings, and an on-line newsletter and videos. Additionally, the website for AGPOM members will feature “Green News,” a “Green Blog,” and links to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In.
“We see AGPOM as a way of not only bringing a new program to the market, but also as a way to help businesses become part of a change that benefits them and all of us.”
To learn more about Mainstay and its various programs, including AGPOM, please visit the company Storefront or website at: www.mainstayins.com; or contact Dusty at 425.454.7987 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.