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                    Last update March 9, 2005
FIELD NOTES About Field Notes

This site is a set of notes, observations, and ideas useful to managers and directors of life insurance companies and others interested in evaluating life operations. With the expanding responsibility of boards, directors will find the sections on regulation and Sarbanes Oxley helpful, and a browse through the other sections should give rise to pertinent questions to ask management.

The material is arranged by subject, as you can see from the links at the top of each page. The opening page and the Contacts page contain links to the entire contents, and thus constitute the Site Map.

You may notice that there is no page specifically dealing with agency management. That may seem odd, since it is the most important variable in an insurance company. While I have not shied from expressing opinions on other matters, agency management has no rules or best practices. I have known two great agency builders intimately, and a few casually, and they are each unique. The only similarities are ego, energy and time, especially lots of time. Genius or no, you don't build an agency force quickly. You will find discussions of agent behavior here when it impacts the matter under discussion, such as on the pages for underwriting, email, web sites, burial insurance and regulation.

When I receive comments that add to the usefulness of the Field Notes, I include these with credits in an adjoining paragraph. When those comments expand into a productive dialogue, you will find the discussion in the Expert Pages, with an introduction identifying the contributor. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome, and would add to the usefulness of the site for others.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

--William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (1599)

These field notes offer ideas, thoughts, descriptions and plans. None are worth anything until something is implemented. It takes management driving the process, or nothing happens. You would think it would be exciting to make things work better. The usual hesitation probably has a lot to do with the fact that new ways of doing things add work in the short run, disturb modes of thought, and then, on top of everything else, the staff gets smaller. So much for a bunch of suggestions about how the someone who has been doing it fine for years can do it better. When you start to implement, expect to get your most enthusiastic buy-in when you suggest ways some other department can improve its support for your manager or supervisor.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.