During a recent underwriting meeting, I asked our underwriting team the following: “What is the most frequently asked question you get from your brokers?”

The two most common replies were:


Will A.I.M. Mutual consider writing XYZ Company or ABC industry?

Replace the “XYZ” and “ABC” with whatever company or industry you can think of: restaurants, food manufacturers, machine shops, general contractors, artisan contractors, social service agencies, dynamite storage warehouses . . . you name it, we’ve heard it.

And the other:


Can you send me a list of class codes you will write or a list of prohibited class codes?

And while we certainly have our list of preferred industry groups—in fact, you can find it on the broker page of our website at www.aimmutual.com/brokers/#preferred_industries — we prefer to respond to those questions with a request.

Tell us your client’s story.

To properly underwrite a risk, we rely on our agency partners to tell us their client’s story so we can make a responsible underwriting decision based on more than just an ACORD application, some loss experience, and a mod worksheet.

This underwriting approach is at the core of our company tagline, “First, we listen.” But, you might ask, what does “First, we listen” really mean in practice? Well, I’m glad you asked, because here are two recent examples of the A.I.M. Mutual Underwriting team applying this guiding philosophy. In doing so, they assisted our agency partners in addressing the needs of their clients.

The Soupman

When Underwriting Assistant Diane Belanger received a unique new business submission from Karen Forrest at Morse Insurance Agency, she decided to take a few extra minutes to investigate the story behind the account before rendering her underwriting decision. The submission was for Support the Soupman Corporation.

Based in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, The Soupman (a real person named Peter Kelleher) is a mobile support center for the homeless whose creed is to “care, clean, clothe, connect, and feed the needs of our homeless.” What started out as Peter serving hot soup out of a pick-up truck is now a mobile convoy providing essential services, offering the homeless a message of hope and a sense of dignity.

Diane and Associate Underwriter Rich Canon decided to reach out to Karen to gather more information and ask about her client’s story.

Support the Soupman Corporation is an account our agency has written for several years,” Karen explained. “In late 2019, the insured hired a couple of employees to help with the shower trailers and clothing distribution in the Brockton area. The workers’ compensation coverage was placed in the assigned risk pool.

In August, the insured advised me that they had a new employee in New Hampshire who is their IT, website, and marketing guy,” Karen said. “I knew I would need another policy for this exposure and then the lightbulb went off. Why not ask Associated Employers Insurance Company (one of the A.I.M. Mutual Companies) if they would entertain this risk and write one policy for both states? It didn’t take long for Diane and Rich to review the account and realize that this was something they could entertain. They made it very easy to get this policy written, and out of the assigned risk pool, for our agency.

This is the heart of what “First, we listen,” means: taking the time to dig deeper, beyond the paper submission. Diane and Rich were able to partner with Karen, ask the right questions, and ultimately obtain voluntary workers’ comp coverage for The Soupman.

Health care in the Time of Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has created enormous challenges for the insurance industry. We understand it has created unique hurdles for our agency partners to overcome when finding workers’ compensation coverage—especially for their health care clients.

So while many carriers have instituted strict moratoriums on new business over the past several months, A.I.M. Mutual takes a different approach. You guessed it, “First, we listen.

By implementing additional underwriting tools via a new Covid-19 questionnaire and instituting a senior leadership referral process, A.I.M. Mutual carefully considers all new health care risks to properly assess their desirability, even in the current Covid-19 world.

This was precisely the experience of Chris Gautreau, a producer with NFP Property & Casualty Insurance Services. He worked recently with Senior Underwriter Mark Brough on a new business opportunity for a health care client in Burlington, Vermont.

A.I.M. Mutual underwrites each specific risk based on the presented exposures and doesn’t automatically decline, as other carriers tend to do,” Chris said. “This was evident recently with a new business opportunity I presented in July. Many carriers immediately declined due to the coronavirus pandemic, but A.I.M. Mutual took a different approach. They reviewed the account carefully by obtaining a Covid-19 supplemental application and by interviewing the insured, and determined they were a solid risk. After presenting a comprehensive quote, they wrote the account, and I had a very happy customer.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Chris.

First, we listen. 



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Kevin M. Snyder is Senior Manager-Underwriting for A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Companies, responsible for underwriting operations throughout New England. He joined A.I.M. Mutual in 2010 as a Regional Underwriting Manager and assumed his current position as Senior Manager-Underwriting in 2016.