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Chris Burand

Chris Burand

Chris Burand is president and owner of Burand & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in the property-casualty insurance industry. He is recognized as a leading consultant for agency valuations and is one of very few consultants with a certification in business appraisal.

 

His other services include producer compensation plans, E&O carrier-approved procedure reviews and agency strategic planning. He also provides the Contingency Contract Analysis service and has the largest database and knowledge of contingency contracts in the insurance industry. 

Burand is a featured speaker across the continent; his articles have been published more than 300 times; and he is a department head for the IIABA’s Virtual University.

Recent Articles by Chris Burand

Agents Must Better Explain Their Value

If agencies can’t do a better job of explaining their value, better marketers will convince consumers they are more ethical than you. A recent press release from an insurtech caught my attention and ire. What first caught my eye was how the startup measured success in coverage placed, i.e., total policy limits rather than premiums […]

COVID: Agents’ Chance to Rethink Insurance

When dealt a hand of cards, the goal is to play them as best you can. In other words, be constructive. The COVID-19 virus has given agents a wonderful opportunity to rethink insurance in general and their operations specifically. I’m going to start with a brief synopsis of what insurance is designed to protect. Many […]

Can We Tolerate Snake Oil Salesmen?

There is a great scene in the old movie, “The Outlaw Josie Wales,” where a snake oil salesman is selling medicinal cures. The salesman encourages a character to try a sip, and the character responds, “You drink it!” The salesman stutters. The prospective customer asks, “What’s in it?” The salesman says, “Why, I don’t know. […]

The True Rate of Healthcare Inflation

The chart below compares the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculations for Medical Care versus the Kaiser Family Foundation’s research into how much insurance premiums have been increasing. The differences between the two calculations are huge. From 1998 – 2018, the government estimates that health costs have increased by only 107%, but for some […]

Healthcare Inflation Numbers Are Wrong

The chart below compares the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculations for Medical Care versus the Kaiser Family Foundation’s research into how much insurance premiums have been increasing. The differences between the two calculations are huge. From 1998 – 2018, the government estimates that health costs have increased by 107%, but for some reason […]

P&C Insurance Is Losing Importance

P&C insurance is becoming less important financially because the insured world is becoming safer. The safer the world, the less insurance people need to buy to protect them against losses. The less important any good or service is, the less valuable it becomes, and people will not pay as much for it. It is just […]

Becoming a True Professional Agent

I have had the opportunity to ask many former Division I college athletes and a few professional athletes how much time they spent practicing. Plenty of articles exist that detail the many hours professional athletes endure practicing, studying film, lifting weights and doing stretches. Professional actors are similar in how they go through hours and […]

Business Income: The Dreaded Coverage

Why do I say business income is “the dreaded coverage?” Based on my years teaching and decades of E&O audits, business income is the commercial coverage I have most often seen producers shirk. Many do not even try to sell it, or at least they do not try beyond whatever the throw-in coverage is. Yet […]

Selling Insurance in a Commoditized World

Insurance is a complicated product. Period. No debate used to exist relative to whether insurance was a complicated product. Complication was (is) obvious given the length of the policies, legal terminology, excessive use of prepositions and the aspects that get insurance nerds excited: inclusions within exclusions and exclusions within inclusions. Moreover, no one wants to […]

What a Safer World Means for Brokers

On Nov. 20, 2018, Insurance Journal reported an article suggesting auto insurance premiums will decrease by $25 billion by 2025. To put that in perspective, that is approximately 5% of all U.S. P&C premiums. Think you’ve seen a soft market before? Just wait. The article continued to state that new coverage lines will more than make […]

Common Mistakes at Small Agencies

First, my heart is with small agencies and their owners. They have a tough time wearing so many hats. Delegation only works when other people are around to wear the hats. Agencies everywhere are pressured by carriers to write more business, but small agencies have limited resources when the owner is the key producer, the […]

How to Understand Valuation Reports

Most owners of small businesses, many executives/owners of medium businesses and even quite a few executives/shareholders of large businesses think the most important aspect of a business appraisal is the final number. The business is worth X dollars. Obviously, the dollar amount is important. Getting the right dollar amount is even more important (I make […]

Important Perspective for Insurance Agents

By pure chance, at a completely non-insurance event, I found myself seated next to a deputy commissioner of insurance for a prominent state. This deputy commissioner, when he learned through the pleasantries of exchanging minor personal information around the table that I consulted for insurance agencies, let me know in no uncertain terms that he […]

Choose Your Companies Carefully

Insolvencies and impairments are at such a low rate in P&C that most agents do not pay much attention to the possibility one of their companies may fail. (This is not necessarily true in health benefits and long-term care (LTC), an issue of societal importance that has been ignored because so many of the companies […]

Have Insurers Lost Track of Purpose?

Insurance is risk transfer. A consumer has a risk. The consumer wants to eliminate or minimize the financial impact if that risk is, unfortunately, realized. Therefore, the consumer purchases an insurance policy. The insurance company takes the vast majority of the financial risk in return for a relatively small payment. The consumer eliminates the larger […]

Unfair Perception of Insurance

The definition of a commodity, per Investopedia is: “The basic idea is that there is little differentiation between a commodity coming from one producer and the same commodity from another producer. A barrel of oil is basically the same product, regardless of the producer. By contrast, for electronics merchandise, the quality and features of a […]

Agents’ Standard of Care for E&O Purposes

To begin on a dreary note, I feel like I am beating a dead horse discussing agencies’ standard of care. This would not even be a valid topic, except: 1. Too many attorneys are involved who cannot see the forest for the trees. They look at every situation with the idea that, if the agency […]

A Really Important Role for Agents

Agents have a crucial role protecting their clients, but not just by providing the right coverages. Do not get me wrong, selling the right coverages is of paramount importance for professional agents (and I don’t know what amateur agents are even supposed to do). Another key service professional agents can provide clients is protecting them […]

Insurance: The Land of Obscure Terms

What is a fast way to sow distrust? Use words the general public does not understand. How good is the insurance industry at doing this? Excellent! We might set the bar if it wasn’t for attorneys (but wait–insurance contracts are written by attorneys!). Think about how normal people view insurance terms. “Would you like blanket […]

Insurance Is Not a Magazine Subscription

Magazines and insurance seem to have three commonalities: Each depends heavily on renewals for profit. Each originally, in part, used the term “subscription,” though only magazines commonly use this term today. Each wants to charge more, often far more, at renewal. This is where the commonalities end and the last commonality should not exist. Magazines […]

Insurtech and the Law of Large Numbers

I read a comment from a consumer who purchased a renter’s policy from a well-known, low-price, direct carrier for $25 a month and got a quote for $5 a month from a well-known, though brand new startup. The consumer asked online of the startup, “Are you real?” One of its executives replied, “Yes, and we […]

A Bizarre but Common Strategy: Hiring Incompetent Producers

Hiring incompetent producers is apparently the strategy of a group of agency owners who told me that my advice that no producer is better than a bad producer was: Just wrong Too harsh Short-sighted I have seen some consultants make the same case, so I thought I should have an open mind and reconsider my position. The […]

Does Knowledge Really Matter for Agents?

What does an agency sell? The answer to this question will make or break many an agency.One might say an agency sells price. Fair enough. But what is it selling for price? An insurance policy? Any policy? Is whether the policy provides the coverages the insured needs secondary, to be discovered in court together? Is […]

5 Rules for Hiring Quality Producers

A simple and obvious solution to many, likely most, agencies’ growth issues is to hire a quality producer. As proven by the 70%-80% failure rate for such hires, the solution is much easier said than done. However, hiring quality producers is not as hard as it often seems, if agencies follow some rules. (By the way, these […]

Why Low Loss Ratios Can Be the Wrong Goal

Many agency owners take great pride in generating low loss ratios year after year. These agencies are often very, very profitable — they are the perfect cash cows, in business school parlance. But, in my experience, their growth is painfully slow. Often, their agencies are not managed closely, beyond the focus on loss ratios. And […]

What Happens When an Agency Owner Dies?

I have unfortunately worked with the families, estates and partners of several agency owners who have passed away.  Most of the deaths occurred unexpectedly.  In all cases, the person who passed left the family, estate and partners with far more problems than necessary.  So, my question to you is this: If you passed away tomorrow, […]

What Is The Difference Between Intrinsic Value And Market Value Of Insurance Agencies?

I have been valuing insurance agencies for a long time. I have been valuing them using both the Intrinsic Value and Market Value methods most of the time. For anyone interested in reading a brilliant description of these two methods, I suggest reading the article, “Musings on Markets” (September 7, 2011), by Professor Aswath Damodaran […]

Outside Looking In

I found myself arguing an extremely silly point with an agency owner at a conference.  Everyone but the agent saw the silliness of his argument.  I explained the point every way imaginable, to no avail.  I could see from the looks on others’ faces, they were tiring of him not getting the point either.  If […]

The Adversity of a Desperate Market

In almost 25 years in this industry, I have never seen such desperation. One of the unfortunate results is that many good agencies that have worked hard, done things well, and are not grasping at straws, are still at a competitive disadvantage. It is much like the situation faced by the most responsible citizens bailing […]

What's In A Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare Cheech and Chong had a funny comedy routine built around the concept, “If it looks like s%!#, if it smells like s%!#, it’s got to be s%!#.” A similar sentiment is conveyed by the modern […]

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