To better serve the independent insurance agents, brokers, and professionals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Agency Checklists has started a new section of our website entitled “Sites We Like for Agents.” Our goal is to reach out to various insurance groups and associations in the Commonwealth who provide valuable services to agencies like you. Little by little, we will be adding sites we like to this section so that you can come and take a look for yourself at what these associations have to offer to you.
Our inaugural site is The Insurance Library Association of Boston. In the words of the Library’s director, Jean Lucy, The Insurance Library Association of Boston has been serving the reference, research, and education interests of the insurance community in Massachusetts and beyond since 1887, and the librarians look forward to continuing their service for many years more!
The Library’s website is http://www.insurancelibrary.org or click on the Library’s logo on our page to explore the library and its wonderful resources and services. This is truly a place where you can find everything you need to know about insurance.
The Library’s collections and services are available free of charge to consumers, including students. For those working in the insurance community, however, the Library receives no public funds and so depends upon the support of the insurance community and related fields through memberships. As such, if you, as an agent are interested in using the Insurance Library for business purposes, you can become a member here. In addition, a great membership benefit is the use of the Library’s beautiful meeting space which can be reserved for any important meetings you may have in Boston, by reserving in advance.
To give you a taste of the breadth of knowledge the Insurance Library has, below is a sample Q&A from the Library’s website showing how infinitely capable the Library and its librarians are of handling any type of insurance question an agent or anyone else might have:
Q: Was any form or type of insurance written in the United States before it was written anywhere else?
A: We learned that title insurance has the “unique distinction” of being the only form of insurance invented in the United States. It has been said that the first title insurance company, the “Law and Property Assurance Society”, existed in Pennsylvania as early as 1853. Not only did it insure against defective titles, but it also guaranteed the repayment of loans and mortgages.
Q: I’m trying to get in touch with the Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Company, and I can’t find any listing. Can you help?
A: Tracing insurance companies is something we are eminently prepared to do, whether the request comes from a law firm, a consumer, or (as happens quite frequently) from a funeral home. Massachusetts Casualty changed its name to Centre Life Insurance Company in 1999. Sometimes we are asked to find the successors to insurance agents and brokers: that can be a bit more difficult, but quite often we can help with those inquiries as well.
Q: Two insurance agents are trying to get my business. One is saying the other is offering me a rebate, and that doing so is illegal. What is a rebate, and is it illegal?
A: Rebating is indeed illegal in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Questions can arise, though, as to the exact meaning of “rebate”. This consumer did not tell us what the accused agent was offering, so we had to respond in generalities. Among other things we learned through examining the treatise Responsibilities of Insurance Agents and Brokers by Bertram Harnett is that offering at no charge a service that would ordinarily generate a charge may be considered a rebate.
The Insurance Library also runs the Saval Insurance Education Center which offers a bevy of insurance courses. For example, for someone looking to become and agent or a broker, the Insurance Library has a Property Casualty Licensing Course, which is a five class course meeting on various evenings from 5:00-7:00p.m. They also offer a Life, Accident & Health Lines course, which is a three course program meeting during the afternoons from 4pm-7pm. If you prefer to go on your own, the Library will help you out as well, by permitting you to come into the Library to pick your own materials or to purchase the cost of their course materials apart from the course. Can’t make it into Boston? The Library will ship you the materials for an additional $7.00 fee.
In addition to the popular Producer Licensing Courses, the Saval Education Center also offers other interesting courses including a Program in General Insurance which the Library recommends for all persons in insurance-related jobs who require an understanding of insurance contracts and functions and the principles underlying those practices.
The Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Program (CPCU) courses enjoy the co-sponsorship and endorsement of the Boston Chapter, Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters and is for “experienced insurance personnel who have a good knowledge of insurance practices and who have studied the insurance principles that underlie these practices; people who have completed the Program in General Insurance (INS) or any of the IIA associate designation programs; and risk managers, accountants, safety professionals, attorneys, professors of insurance, recent graduates of schools of business, and other professionals whose jobs require an understanding of property-liability insurance contracts and operations.”
The Library is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00 pm and is located in a beautiful building right down the street from the Old State House, so be sure to check it out.