Some folks watch the Grammy Awards while others anxiously await the Oscars. I, however, live on the edge of my office chair until the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year lands in my Inbox. And this year's winner is... surreal. No really - it's surreal.
Merriam-Webster chooses a word each year based on the volume of 'look-ups' a word has. According to M-W editors, they will rule out perennial words that have a consistently high volume year after year. Instead, they look for spikes in word usage, especially over prior year's volumes. Typically these words show spikes of interest that closely follow news events. The Word of the Year gives us a look at 2016 according to what sent us to the dictionary.
Surreal showed three different spikes in usage in 2016. First in March following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, then again last summer during the coup attempt in Turkey and the terror attacks in Nice. Finally, in the fall of this year, the highest spike occurred following the U.S. elections in November. By the way, the definition provided by M-W is: marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream. And that my friends, is as good a synopsis of 2016 as I can come up with.
After eight straight years of premium growth and expansion, 2016 was anticlimactic. We worked harder but gained little traction. Competition came out of the woodwork and from places and markets that we as an E&S wholesaler don't typically compete against. It was nothing to see submissions that were with a standard market offering renewal and we were still asked to quote! It's an irrational reality out there alright.
In 2016 we added more amazing web tools that make doing business with Tuscano easier than ordering a pizza! Early in the year, we rolled out an end-to-end online bill-pay system complete with statement downloads. We've rolled out updated and expanded online quoting for our vacant property programs, including the ability to quote business in 20 states, access higher limits, as well as get quotes on small commercial accounts. And, by the way, you can add financing to that quote! Last but not least, we added over 70 web and phone quoting options that are hosted by one of our carriers; we've made fast and easy synonymous with Tuscano!
We also had our share of sorrows, losing our dear friend and colleague Diana; had some celebrations - Al Tuscano finally hit his magic number for retirement! But all in all, we are in better shape and better prepared to take on the challenges of whatever 2017 brings. You can count on Tuscano - we don't give up easily and we don't like to lose! This, my friends, is Tuscano reality!
I am excited by our prospects for 2017. We have plenty of good things in the pipeline and I know the awesome folks I work with here at Tuscano are excited to make a difference in your brokerage experience. Call us, email us, use the online tools, but remember to come to Tuscano first - we are a dream to work with!
Happy New Year!