When the system breaks

I lose some sleep and wake up thinking about yesterday’s “loss.”  Not really a loss more like a time where everything seems to match up but it just doesn’t.  Everything is there;

  • was referred by a trusted person(is there any better way)
  • has been with me a few years(yup, 98+% stay)
  • had actually met in person(shocking but happens)
  • helped with a non-insurance thing(helped get one a job)

So you go into the renewal time ready to follow the plan and this time it doesn’t work.  Factually the overall plan always works.  But, within that plan, sometimes the sub-plan doesn’t get the expected result.  Take the other set of circumstances;

Claim Economics

Had a call about a claim this weekend.  No big deal, part of the business.  An awful, annoying and very, very broken piece of the business but part of it.  So the usual;
Is everybody ok?  Yes
What happen?  other person hit me, admitted fault and police were called **REAL good news but must be handled properly**
Then what?  Call the other company, not yours….
Etc. etc. More posts here and here and here

Here is what I thought about though.  Both companies have the money ” in the bank” to pay this claim.  So what do they lose?  Well they plan on this anyhow and the reality is, if done correctly, it is really just a marketing activity.  This is your chance to jump over price and cement a relationship but instead both the paying and the non-paying company will likely negatively impact both the person who is at fault and who isn’t.

WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Baffled by the economics of this since we have already committed a lot of money to an underwriting philosophy that made this customer one that we want.
Baffled at why an industry would allow the occurrence of one claim where a person was deemed completely not at fault to override several dozen other factors.
But, then again, this is likely just another example of how having clear goals, appreciating humans and allowing morals, ethics and philosophy to blend with technology is really just the next frontier.

Things for Insurance agents to consider this year….or any year

1. If you work as part of a larger agency; Are you builiding your business or someone elses?
2. What is really a “fair” split on commissions?
3. Why am I more focused on buying leads instead of cultivating referrals?
4. What is the household and PIF growth I am looking for this year?
5. Would you settle for only one option anywhere else in your life?  Than why are you only working with one company?
6. What is the last marketing book I read?
7. Am I regularly reading about marketing concepts or insurance marketing concepts?
8. Are you a part of someone else’s perpetuation plan or do you have your own?
9. How are you dealing with the changing consumer?
10.  The agent/broker has lots of control they are not using.  What about you?
11. Do you still believe in rate increases?  Are they really “a necessary evil”  or part of the business….
12.Are you taking advice and listening to people who have done things before or just people who write/talk about it?
13. If you are paying for some sort of label/qualfication is it really valid?  Was it earned?
14. Why are you not averaging at least half if not one referral from every household you work with?
15. Issuing an insurance policy(ies) is not enough.  What else are you doing for your customer?
Will you be surfing the wave of change that has started or being washed away by it?

Are you for sale?

So it is apparent to most everyone that Mergers and Acquisitions are on the rise in the insurance world.  Soon enough they will have a MASSIVE impact on my piece of it; the independent broker channel.  I’m sure in some pockets it has already started.  Fact is the industry and the American public will be better off with less independent agencies.  Many existing brokers have not ” kept up with the times..” so to speak which reduces the overall customer experience, gives the insurance companies to much power(which most are not using wisely) , reduces the ease to entry into the business and creates where we are today; Non insurance people entering to take over.

Maybe the insurance industry is just a reflection of society

Reality is this; insurance companies are run by other members of our human species.  They are also influenced by their surroundings both human and inanimate.  They are influenced by many of the same ideals, both positive and negative as the rest of us.  There is a lot of talk about “disruption,” #insurtech, #fintech, and #bigdata.  The industry is “ripe” for change, blah, blah, blah.

Yes I have many of my own thoughts, heck it’s my blog so of course they are my thoughts.  This dawned on me the other day;

Maybe the insurance industry is just a reflection of society.  But how?  In what way(s)?

Insurance Agency Math

Let’s say it costs less than $20 to acquire a customer(it should)  and most times can just be measured as a fraction of fixed operating costs since there is no official advertising expense?  Is this really possible?  Yes,yes and yes!!!

Even if we broke down all your fixed costs, which are hopefully almost ” to the bone” and put some slight variables in you are hopefully at a very, very manageable daily cost.

Is being hired by one new household per day unreasonable?  NO NO NO.  If it is, time to change business.

Time for your bank to wake up and smell the insurance

So I was in a conversation with an insurance broker who is working on some really cool stuff (actually not talking to myself this time).  We were back and forth on several things one being complaints he has heard from banks about how expensive it is to acquire customers.  If you can politely giggle, I did and informed him that acquiring customers should/could cost $20 or less.

What if they made a baby

So I was in a moment of frustration and tweeted this out;

if & should produce an offspring So I can have company of my dreams

And I meant it.  Let me elaborate.  I read Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness and really, really, enjoyed it.  I also realized that many of the things they were doing, I already was successfully using as well.  People really liked being treated good.  They liked the lack of pressure.  They liked the random but thoughtful gifts.  Honestly, I have never even ordered from them and my wife has only used them a couple of times.  But the fact is we really like them and if they had the products we needed we would buy from them.

Timing is important

Sat in on a webinar a week or so ago.  The title of it intrigued me since I could not figure out why it was setting such a low expectation for a certain metric.  Then I gave them an hour of my life and they basically explained why.

Some people don’t think big enough  

Kind of reinforced me to not pay much attention to consultants who are paid for time not necessarily results.  Anyhow, Lots of goofy ideas where talked about but two stood out;

  1. The times you should be cross selling a current customer/client