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From the Front Lines: Equine

Independent agent Marnye Langer launched her equine-focused agency in 2010. "Right at the time we entered the market, some significant changes were happening in terms of underwriting practices and pricing," she says.
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Marnye LangerMarnye Langer

Managing Director
LEGIS Insurance Solutions
Burbank, California

How did you get started at your agency?

Our parent corporation is Langer Equestrian Group, a horse show management company which at one point was one of the largest in the country. My husband was the show jumping manager at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. One of my responsibilities was sponsorship and marketing.

A large carrier, which was a sponsor, started bugging me, saying, “You should sell horse insurance.” Well, because we don’t do anything in a small way, my husband and I put our heads together, and in 2010 we launched LEGIS as a full-fledged agency.

Why equine?

We’re lifelong horsemen, and I have a master’s in business administration. We hustled ourselves through the National Alliance CIC program, and as we became more sophisticated and more educated, we really got to appreciate the value of swimming in the lane.

Biggest equine changes?

Right at the time we entered the market, some significant changes were happening in terms of underwriting practices and pricing. When horse mortality was originally structured back in the ’70s, it was primarily a mortality product with no add-on. What carriers started to learn was that horses were dying because clients couldn’t afford life-saving, innovative surgery. So the carriers started creating an emergency surgical endorsement add-on. Over time, it grew and morphed, and now it looks a lot more like health insurance for horses.

Future of equine?

I think it’s going to stay a strong market. We’re a very small premium market compared to other independent agents, so we have to do a lot more volume. We’re aware of the fact that horses are a recreation pursuit. Economic changes and shifts in cycles that are inevitable in our national and international economy do affect our market.

Equine advice for a fellow agent?

It’s not a get rich quick scheme. It’s really important to take your horse knowledge and then get as much insurance education as possible. Take it seriously, learn everything you can. Get the professional designations. Join the professional organizations. Understand the field you’re in so that you can represent your clients as professionally as possible.

Favorite equine success story?

We had a client, a big public barn with multiple professional horsemen operating. We felt horrible for them, but it was nice when their business manager called and we were able to say, “Here’s what your coverage is—we’re starting the claim right away.”

They heard from the claims person within a few days and they were back up and operating quickly, with the financial resources to get back on their feet. Money can’t solve a devastation like that, but when you can make someone a little bit more whole and take a little bit of worry off them, that makes you feel good.

Will Jones is IA assistant editor.