Skip to content

Agent Interview with Carolyn Medugno of the Philbin Insurance Group


As agencies navigate Managed Competition, the recession, the new influences of digital marketing, and the growing pains of service to sales, the needs of Personal Lines account managers have changed a bit. One of MAIA’s newest offerings is the Certified Professional in Personal Lines (CPPL) Designation, which has been designed specifically for the Personal Insurance Professionals of Massachusetts.

Carolyn Medugno, the Operations Manager at Philbin Insurance Group, spoke with me recently about her experience so far with the CPPL Designation. She has taken the first two classes and offered to share the following about her experience:

Why did you start the CPPL designation?
I did not realize when I took the PIP class last year that there were 4 more parts for another designation.  But I took the PIP at the Big Event because it sounded very interesting & I always prefer to take a full day class.

 PIP was new last year and is only offered at The Big Event and you were one of the first people to complete the course. What is different about the PIP course as compared with the typical CE class?
The difference with PIP was it gave me an overall foundation of insurance.  With all the day to day work & changes in the MA auto I think most of the basic info that I have known for 30+ years gets pushed to the back of my brain. (i.e. what is a captive insurer – mutual ins co – reinsurance etc.).  I always knew what they were but it was good to get a refresher.

Service to Sales is a hot topic in the Independent Agency these days.  How important is it for Personal Lines Account Managers to recognize the difference between proactive and reactive customer service?
It is HUGE to know the difference between proactive & reactive.  Fortunately, my (female) boss is very proactive.  We have saved many clients by being proactive.  We send surveys to our clients twice a month & many clients reply that that they would like more frequent contact.  We contact our clients by phone & mail/email 90 days prior to expiration.

Do you think that customers have come to expect proactive service from their agent? Is that becoming the norm?
Proactive is definitely becoming the norm for the clients & they do expect it.  When they don’t hear from the agent who wants to make sure they are getting all the available discounts, they are likely to contact Progressive.    

Getting the Total Account was designed to address this change in agency culture. Did you go back to the office with anything to implement right away?
The Total Account was great.  What I liked was that the change in agency culture that Chris discussed showed me what a great job my boss has done by forcing us to be proactive.  It has not always been easy, but we are building on our current client base by rounding out accounts. Our retention rate is much better than it was 6 months ago.  Our agency seems to be way ahead of the game and is already doing most of the things that were discussed.    What I did implement as soon as I went back to the office was a time management (folder) system for the CSRs.  Some resisted when I discussed it a meeting but even the most disorganized CSR has become organized within a 2 week period.  It was a miracle.

To finish the designation, you still have to take Loss Control & Prevention, The Whole Person, and Comprehensive Personal Lines Coverage. Which are you most looking forward to and why?

I think I’m most looking forward to the “Whole Person” since I believe that you often have to be reprogrammed to work better.  I saw how well the Time Management system worked just by making a few changes. Many of our employees are over 40 & sometimes it true that “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.”

Congratulations, Carolyn, on passing the first two parts of the Certified Professional in Personal Lines (CPPL) Designation! I’m sure you’ll fly through the next 3 parts!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: