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Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson

William C. Wilson, Jr., CPCU, ARM, AIM, AAM is the founder of Insurance Commentary.com. He retired in December 2016 from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, where he served as associate vice president of education and research and was the founder and director of the Big “I” Virtual University for more than 17 years.

He is the former director of education and technical affairs for the Insurors of Tennessee and, before that, was employed by Insurance Services Office. He is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology with a B.S. degree in fire protection and safety engineering.

Wilson was a licensed insurance and surplus lines agent, and his professional affiliations have included: past president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of CPCU, member of the board of directors of the national CPCU society, PMLG of the Honorable Order of Blue Goose, International, member of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) National Education Committee, member of the Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) National Advisory Committee, member of the National Underwriter FC&S editorial board, member of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators (SITE) and its SITE Journal editorial committee, member of the National Writers Association, chairman of the Tennessee Insurance Commissioner’s Education Advisory Committee, member of the Middle Tennessee State University Insurance Liaison Committee and member of the Nashville State Technical Institute’s Business Management Advisory Committee. He is currently a member of the American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCo).

Wilson has served as a trainer and speaker for various organizations, including the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and 43 of its state affiliates, the CPCU Society national convention and chapter programs, the National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW), the Southern Agents Conference (SAC), the Risk & Insurance Managers Society (RIMS), the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) and the Society of Risk Management Consultants (SRMC).

He has conducted hundreds of technical seminars, workshops and convention presentations – from Hawaii to Maine and Alaska to Florida – as well as programs on time management, presentation and public speaking skills, seminar development, and many others. He has been the top-rated presenter at several CPCU National Conventions, and his programs are always highly-rated by attendees. He has presented seminars or webinars to as many as 5,000 attendees in a single session.

He was the recipient of the IIABA L.P. McCord National Education Award for having the #1 ranked state insurance education program in America and has won six other national education awards, including the George M. Gottheimer Memorial Award which is presented periodically to a CPCU Society member who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of insurance education, risk management or insurance consulting and, most recently, the Jeff Yates Lifetime Achievement Award which is the IIABA’s highest honor for nonagents.

Wilson has researched, developed, written and published dozens of technical articles, manuals and CDs/audio tapes, and he has authored articles in business and industry trade periodicals such as Presentations magazine, American Agent & Broker magazine, Independent Agent magazine, Tennessee Insuror magazine, Tennessee Business magazine, the CPCU Journal, CPCU Interest Group newsletters, and the SITE Journal.

He has been quoted as an expert in a number of mainstream publications, including Readers Digest, Kiplinger’s and Money magazines and the Wall Street Journal, and he has been cited as an expert resource/interviewee for local television and radio media. He has also served as an expert witness in litigation.

According to Nashville NBC television affiliate WSMV, “Bill Wilson is an expert when it comes to insurance.” Dr. William T. Hold, president of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors in Austin, Texas has said that, “Bill Wilson is recognized by his peers as one of the premier insurance educators in America.” Bob Rusbuldt, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America says, “Bill Wilson is the nation’s foremost leading expert on form, coverage, and technical issues.”

Wilson now blogs on insurance industry issues at www.InsuranceCommentary.com and delivers keynote presentations in conjunction with his consulting practice. He is also working on several book projects in addition to playing lead guitar with the band The Old Dogs.

Recent Articles by Bill Wilson

Would Form of TRIA Work for Pandemics?

Currently, there is a movement by some industry personnel and legislators to expand the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) to include pandemics. There is a discussion draft of a bill, and a summary of that bill here. So, is a federal backstop program that is part of, or similar to, TRIA feasible or advisable? It’s too early to tell, but below are […]

COVID-19 and Legal Gamesmanship

There is a belief that business closure orders by civil authorities trigger civil authority coverage in business income insurance policies if the orders allege property damage of some kind. This is a misconception that is typical of generalizations about insurance contracts that come from the failure to actually read the policy language. For example, most […]

Is Buying Insurance Like Ordering Food?

Recently, I read this article from a venture capitalist: “Can Insurtech Reach Escape Velocity?“ The following passage caught my eye: “In a world where we can summon a car, or our favorite Mexican restaurant’s veggie burrito, at the touch of a button, shouldn’t we be able to get insurance cover for our homes by just […]

Do Consumers Trust Their Agents?

I just read this article, which includes this: “According to an Accenture study, only 27% of consumers consider insurers to be trustworthy. And Deloitte found that only 11% of people have strong trust in insurance agents and brokers.” I’ve seen studies like this over the years. What is usually missing from these statistics is the […]

The Problem With Insurtech Conferences

I received this email last month: I attended another conference yesterday…. Lots of talk about tech and customer experience. No talk about coverage and language and why it matters. My response: Has there ever been an insurtech conference where someone speaks as a devil’s advocate to point out some of the problems or issues with […]

Fast, Easy and Cheap: That’s Not Enough

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”  ― John Ruskin Recently, I read a blurb that featured an “experiment” by SafeButler, an online premium comparison web site. The purpose of the experiment was to see […]

Easiest Way to Resolve Claim Disputes

“It is my view that this court could, and should, when such an ambiguous policy is before it, hold without equivocation that the provisions which are confusing and ambiguous as to the liability covered will be resolved in favor of the insured. If a few such forthright decisions were rendered by this court in this […]

We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us

Recently, I did a Kiplinger interview about shopping for homeowners insurance focused, of course, on how to save money…as are virtually all consumer articles about insurance. I tried to make a point of how important it is to understand that you can’t compare prices in isolation. It is impossible to make a rational purchasing decision […]

The Scooter Craze and Insurance

Recently, Insurance Thought Leadership.com ran an article by editor Paul Carroll called “The Future of Mobility Takes a Surprise Turn.” It’s about the emergence in urban, particularly downtown, areas of “micromobility,” aka “scooter sharing.” Some vendors are making electric scooters available, one being a startup called Bird, which reportedly has raised capital at a valuation of $2 […]

Building a Customer-Service Culture

First, let me say that I don’t make a habit out of staying at Ritz-Carlton hotels. But I have had occasion perhaps a dozen or more times to stay at a Ritz while attending a conference. I’ll have to say that, not only did I never experience a problem, but, without exception, each stay was […]

Making Lemons From Lemonade

“[A]n insured should not have to consult a long line of case law or law review articles and treatises to determine the coverage he or she is purchasing under an insurance policy.” – Kovach v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 587 F.3d 323 (6th Cir. 2009) Ah, if only that was possible. Or is it… The […]

How to Get Insurance Viewed as Profession

As it is every year, March is Ethics Awareness Month for the insurance industry. Click here for my March 2017 article on this, though the poll I cite does not appear to have been updated for recent public opinion about the insurance industry. The CPCU Society usually leads the way on this, and you can get more information here. […]

Draining the Swamp of Insurance Fraud

An agent received the following email from a customer: “A few people are telling me to save money on car insurance by NOT telling the insurance company who is driving my cars. I have a 23- and 16-year-old – the older one had two accidents, but her premium is reasonable at $2,300 per year for […]

Is Big Data a Sort of Voodoo Economics?

Is charging consumers more for their insurance because they use a Hotmail email account or have a “non-English-sounding” name a valid application of predictive modeling, or does it constitute presumptive modeling and unfair discrimination? Does it matter if “big data” is riddled with bad data and bogus information as long as it improves insurer expense […]

Need Proof Policies Aren’t Commodities?

I’m going to borrow the approach taken by Chuck Schramm, a Chicago-area insurance agent with more than 50 years of industry experience and one of the premier insurance educators in the country. He has done a series of seminars that examine a single policy (commercial property, business auto, CGL, etc.) by providing several case study-based […]

Is Insurance Really Ripe for Disruption?

This morning, I was reading a new article essentially about how insurtech disrupters were going to destroy the insurance industry. As is often the case, these startups were compared to Amazon, something I’ve blogged about on several occasions, including in the article “Insurance and Paper Towels.” Among the predictions of this article were: “And you’re going to […]

Why Are Direct-Sales Carriers Winning?

Agency consultant Chris Burand wrote an interesting article published in Insurance Journal. The article discusses the declining role of the agent as an underwriter and the increasing use of data analytics and predictive modeling. It also cites a recent J.D. Powers survey that identifies a correlation between advertising by direct sales carriers and growth and profitability. For example: […]

The Comparative Rating Illusion

Speaking of comparative rating…. I was just reading an Insurance Journal article about Compare.com where the CEO referred to the semi-startup as a “disrupter.” Disrupting what? Independent agents have been doing comparative rating for decades. There is nothing new or disruptive about doing it online. And, in either format, it’s a dangerous thing. Compare.com’s CEO says that what consumers want […]

New Message From Lemonade

In August, I wrote about “Lemonade’s Bizarre New Self-Service Approach.” This “self-service” approach is pitched by Lemonade as a benefit to customers who can apparently delete coverage for spouses, mortgage companies and others unilaterally — something that could create serious problems for consumers who are not counseled on the possible repercussions of such actions. In […]

Catastrophes and ‘Do Little’ Syndrome

Cliff Treese of Association Data brought some statistics to my attention involving earthquake (EQ) insurance in California. Going back as far as 2001, the percentage of properties without EQ insurance were: Homeowners       84-88% Dwelling               95-97% Commercial         89-93% So, only about 15% of homeowners, 10% of business owners and 5% of dwelling […]

Lemonade’s Bizarre New Approach

In its latest effort at self-promotion, industry “disrupter” Lemonade has posted an article on multiple web sites. Here is the article from one source: “Lemonade: World’s First Live Policy” Below are some excerpts from the article and some observations and questions of my own. “Then, customers would need to pay for some changes, and probably […]

Time to Mandate Flood Insurance?

According to this article, only 15% of homeowners in the Houston area have flood insurance: “As of August 2016, just 15% of the 1.6 million homes in Harris County, where Houston is located, had flood insurance, according to emailed data from the Insurance Information Institute, and only 28% of the homes in ‘high-risk’ areas for flooding.” […]

Is Insurance Like Buying Paper Towels?

This is an open letter to everyone writing about “disrupters” and the insurance “customer experience,” citing “industry experts” and “top insurance executives”: For the love of God, please, please, PLEASE stop comparing buying insurance to buying a consumer product on Amazon! Case in point — from an “industry expert”: “What’s holding most insurers back from meeting […]

How Does GEICO Save Customers 15%?

Easy question, simple answer: They don’t. The implication is that an agent “skims” 15% commission off the top, as if (1) agents STILL get 15% commission on auto insurance, (2) agents don’t do anything to earn their meager commissions (like exposure analysis, product selection, claim advocacy, etc.), and (3) GEICO has no acquisition costs like advertising, sales and service staff salaries […]

Autonomous Vehicles: Truly Imminent?

Just from casual observation, if “disruption” is the hot topic in industry media, self-driving or autonomous vehicles might not be far behind. I’ve read predictions that a proliferation of autonomous vehicles will be among us (or vice versa) in five to 10 years. Is that likely? I have my doubts, though I’m increasingly persuaded that […]

What Industry Gets Wrong on Big Data

Recently, I wrote about a startup called Aviva. (My comments were based on an article I read.) Aviva’s CEO said, “What’s our long-term goal? To go from ask-it-once to ask-it-never — so customers don’t have to answer any questions at all.” How can coverage be booked without asking ANY questions? Why, using big data, of course. Wouldn’t […]

Another Startup That Isn’t Revolutionary

Here is another startup that is going to revolutionize the industry: I first talked about a recent interview with their CEO on my LinkedIn Discussion Board. (If you’re not aware, I communicate about industry issues on LinkedIn and via Twitter — you can access them and subscribe from my Contact page.) This startup I want to talk about claims that it […]

‘Sort by Price’ Is a Lazy Approach

In an April 14 LinkedIn Pulse post, I quoted an excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog that was related to the issue of online insurance buying. I got so much response to that LinkedIn posting excerpt that I asked, and received, Seth’s permission to reprint it here in its entirety. You’ll find it below. More recently, he blogged […]

A Veteran’s Thoughts on Insurtech

The avalanche of news from “industry-transforming” insurtech startups continues. Here are some of the latest: Headline: Aviva to Slash Prices with “Game-Changing” Concept Concept: To sell insurance without asking applicants any questions. Quote: “What’s our long-term goal? To go from Ask it Once to Ask it Never – so customers don’t have to answer any questions at all.” […]

Why Insurance Isn’t Like Facebook

Apparently anybody with internet access is now an insurance expert. Recently, I read this article about the miracle and savior that is insurtech: 3 Major Areas of Opportunity It’s a quick read, so I’ll wait until you return… To paraphrase Einstein, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” That’s why this […]

6 Worst Things to Happen to Insurance

On Dec. 31, I will close out nearly three decades with the Big “I” at both the state and national levels, which followed a 19-year career with ISO and its predecessors. To paraphrase the Farmers commercial, I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two over nearly 50 years. I’m so […]

Rental Car Waiver: To Buy or Not to Buy?

When I Googled “should I buy the rental car damage waiver, I got 40.6 million hits. Needless to say, much has been written about this issue. But much of what has been written is BAD (aka horrible and dangerous) advice. If you have auto insurance, is that good enough? What about credit card coverage? This […]

The Sad State of Continuing Education

About 25 years ago, I attended an education committee meeting at the Southern Agents Conference in Atlanta. Continuing education (CE) had really just gotten started in some states. At this meeting, legendary insurance educator Bob Ross, of the Florida Big I, literally stood on his chair at the conference table and declared that mandatory CE […]

Huge Change in Home Insurance

ISO has filed countrywide perhaps the biggest homeowners insurance change in at least 40 years. If you sell, underwrite, adjust, risk manage or regulate home insurance, you must read this article about this change. In fact, even if you work in commercial lines but you or someone you know owns a home, please read this […]

Where Price-Focused Sales Are Heading

I recently read an article about “digital insurance stores.” The article made some good points, though this was not one of them: “Agents need to go beyond their traditional roles as sellers of auto insurance because auto is fast becoming more commoditized.” [emphasis added] Once again, we’re told that auto insurance is a commodity. In articles […]

Google Compare: the Latest Pipe Dream

In “A Day in the Life,” by the Beatles, John Lennon sang: I read the news today, oh boy, About a lucky man who made the grade. And though the news was rather sad, Well, I just had to laugh…. I have read the news about Google Compare but found nothing to laugh about. Another day, […]

A New Ride-Sharing Service Raises Even More Questions

The U.S. has seen an explosion in what is often referred to as the emerging “sharing economy” or “collaborative consumption.” In an increasingly connected society where most people have access to mobile communication devices, peer-to-peer services are springing up, based on mobile apps that consumers can use to access transportation services that historically have either […]

Has Auto Insurance Become a Commodity?

A boomerang kid lost his job and moved back home with his parents. While driving his mother’s car, he negligently struck another vehicle, causing several thousand dollars in property damage. The mother’s insurer denied the claim on the basis that the driver’s residency was not reported to the carrier within 30 days of his return […]

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