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To Our Clients, 2023 Review

By January 30, 2024February 1st, 2024Blog

To Our Clients,

You have given our agency the job of insuring what is important to you, and we are honored by your trust. We want to keep you involved in how we did as an agency, as the stronger we are, the more apt we are to live up to your expectations. In addition, we feel that communication is extremely important, so we want you to understand some of the areas that affect the insurance industry that you may not be aware of as the world has been dealing with war, violence, and political discord.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my father who founded the original Mackoul agency in 1987, passed away. Not only did he set the culture for the agency, which has allowed us to continue growing and excelling, but he was the best father in the world. He will be sorely missed.

Agency News

The agency’s premium volume grew from $84,624,857 at the end of 2022 to $106,738,308 at the end of 2023. Growth of 25.1%. All organic. Well higher than the industry standard, which was in the 10% range in 2023. Other agencies continue to grow, but unlike us, the only way they can do so is to buy other agencies. The best way to grow is to grow organically. Growing by purchasing other insurance agencies is rarely good for the client and leads to service issues!

We wrote over $11M in new business. That’s the most in agency history. Thank you to all of our new clients for their confidence in us!

Our retention for the year was almost 94%, which is outstanding in a year where insureds are simply unhappy (and I can’t blame them) with constant premium increases and the insurance companies changing limits, deductibles, etc. Thank you to all of our current clients for standing by us and your confidence in us!

We were appointed with two new markets that write community association. That can only be a good thing for our clients, as we can provide them with more options!

Our bread and butter is habitational insurance. Always has been and always will be. What is that? Insurance covering the properties where people live. Community associations like co-ops, condominiums, homeowners associations, and apartment buildings. We wrote 213 new community associations (co-ops, condominiums, and Homeowners Associations) and apartment buildings in 2023. We now insure over 1,750 community associations and 200 rental properties totaling almost 2,000 habitational properties in New York and New Jersey. Try and find another retail agent who insures that many!

The agency continues to be extremely profitable. We are in trust and always will be. That means we make more money than we spend. Sounds like common sense, right? You would be surprised to know that there are insurance agencies out there who are out of trust. They basically pay Peter with Paul’s money. Over the course of time, this catches up with them.

The Big I named us a Best Practices Agency for the fifth year in a row. The Big I (a.k.a. Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers) is a National Trade Association that strives to provide independent insurance agents and brokers with support to maintain excellence in business and customer service. They hire an independent consultant to review all insurance brokers across the country to see if they qualify. Each nominated agency must submit extensive financial and operational data for review. Any firm that qualifies represents the highest performers based on their growth and operational excellence. This year, only 284 agencies across 46 states qualified as Best Practices Agencies, and we were one of them!

We were named the Best Insurance Agency to Work for in the entire country!  In order to be eligible for this award, you must be nominated by several staff members. For that reason, we are most proud to receive it!

Our very own Nicole Eggert and Ebony Guzman were named two of Insurance Journal’s CSR and Account Manager MVPs. Not one MVP, but two!  I don’t think there’s any agency in the country that can say they had two MVPs!

We continued to get lots of press because of our knowledge in the community association field. MyselfCheryl Fitzpatrick, Sarah Schnepf, and Gina Corso were featured in various publications.

We received 38 new reviews across Google, Facebook, and Yelp. We now have 167 reviews with 4.9 stars on Google, 90 reviews with 4.9 stars on Facebook, and 59 reviews with 5 stars on Yelp. All 38 of the reviews this year were 5 stars. Not bad, not bad at all!

We hired a number of new employees in 2023 – Nicole Nestro, Jacqueline Cavanagh, and my oldest son Steven joined the agency, and they all made an impact. As we grow, we continue to hire as we want to make sure you continue to receive amazing customer service. I am sure you will get a chance to meet or speak with them in the near future!

Staff members Elizabeth Cornell, Samantha Tucci, Amanda Petrylka, and Justin Kraus had beautiful babies.  For some, this was their first and some have done it before. Future Mackoul staff members possibly!

Lauren Bender got married! Don Schatzle got engaged! Congratulations to them both and we wish them and their partners, long and healthy lives filled with many happy memories!

Brice Reynolds and Kara Ryan obtained their Property & Casualty licenses. Kara also completed her ACSR designation, as did Ebony Guzman, Don Schatzle, Kerry Tobin, and Lisa Page. We continue to push our staff to become educated and obtain designations in our field. Knowledge is power!

Cheryl Fitzpatrick celebrated her 34-year work anniversary with us. She is one of the original pillars of the agency and continues to be one. Sally Dolce (27 years), Jen Sherman (19 years), Gabrielle Fisher (17 years), Courtney Ferretti (16 years), Gina Corso (15 years), Nicole Eggert (12 years), Valerie Roberts, Samantha Tucci, Amanda Petrylka, Danielle Klemm and Sarah Schnepf (11 years) and Justin Kraus and Eric Eggert (10 years) have all been with us for at least a decade. Not sure too many other agencies have that kind of employee longevity. I would have to think they love it here and we love having them!

We collected donations for those in need during back-to-school time and Thanksgiving, and several staff members participated in races for charity.  We continue to give back to the community!

Commercial Lines:

The insurance industry has been in a hard market for four years now (or is it five?), and sadly, the end may not be in sight. In 2024, Property rates are expected to continue to increase because Building Limits are expected to continue to increase due to the cost of materials such as brick, concrete, and steel increasing.  Almost every insurance company has indicated they are going to increase Building Limits to make sure buildings are adequately insured, so budget accordingly!

Personal Lines

Unlike the commercial marketplace, the personal arena had been stable for many years, but that side started to see a hardening of the market in 2022.  In 2023, they hit a full-blown hard market. Homeowner’s carriers have pulled back on quotes. Both Home and Auto carriers are increasing premiums. They are becoming much stricter with their underwriting guidelines and loss recommendations on inspections. There aren’t as many options as there were a few years back. I don’t see that changing in 2024, so budget accordingly!

Contractor Review Department

In February of 2023, we formed a Contractor Review Department headed by Cheryl Fitzpatrick and then joined by Ebony Guzman, to help our clients by reviewing the insurance policy for any contractor the board is considering hiring, as well as the insurance section of the contract that will be signed by the two parties. With the Labor Laws so unfriendly towards property owners, knowing whether a contractor has proper insurance and that you can transfer the risk could mean the difference between $100,000s of insurance premiums!

Homeowners Insurance Monitoring

In May of 2023, we formed a division headed by Kara Ryan to help associations monitor homeowners insurance for all of the owners (and renters in some instances).  12 properties signed up, 20 more are pending and we have received interest from properties country-wide. We continue to look for areas that our clients need help in and try and provide assistance!

Marketing & Technology

We continued dabbling in the Metaverse!  We unveiled it at trade shows and it was well received.  If you have your own VR helmet and want to meet any of the staff in there, let us know. Or just drop by our booth at any trade show and we will walk you right in!

We hosted quarterly webinars. Each one averaged almost 100 signups. We love teaching and our clients and prospects love learning!

We started putting our Mackoul School classes online and available on demand.  One of our 2024 goals is to have them all online so you can learn when it’s convenient for you!

Employee Benefits

Not to be left behind, our Employee Benefits department continued its year-over-year growth with Rebecca Scandaliato leading the charge and helped by Danielle Klemm and Valerie Russo. Specifically in NY, small group (under 100 employees) health insurance is community-rated. That means health insurance companies are required to charge the same price for coverage in select regions regardless of age, gender, occupation, or health status. So, there is no differentiation in pricing from broker to broker. The differentiation boils down to service, and we are the best of the best. Our value-added services have set us apart from our competitors. We offer our clients:

  • Onboarding and open enrollment portal branded specifically to their company. Employees can make benefit elections through this portal and have direct access to view benefits & costs, ask questions directly to our employee benefits department and ultimately enroll in coverage electronically.
  • We also provided an HR Solution, including access to Live HR Support, Compliance Documents, Handbook Builder, and Workplace Harassment Training to many of our insureds. Our clients lean on us when it comes to labor law audits and compliance issues. These time-saving and compliance-based tools have contributed to the continued growth in this department.
  • We provided State Mandated Workplace Harassment Training for many community associations, property management firms, and businesses in New York.

We look forward to another year of earning your trust and helping you insure what matters most to you.

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