Genuine vs. the Algorithm

Marketing should supplement and promote genuine value not disguise the lack of.

Right now it seems that way, but somewhere in my reading and listening, I again heard what I already have known for a while now; You do not need to adapt to AI, and similar data ideas, but the agents/brokers/companies that do will survive and thrive and those that don’t, won’t.

So combine that with the following things stuck in my head from various reading and listening;

  • Sending out a birthday card is awesome and there are services that do this
  • Who is killing it on YouTube?

I think my dog appreciates me

She does. She can’t say it but she shows it, at least I think she does.  Maybe the world needs a better guide to “working with an insurance agent.”  Here are a few bullet points from 2010.

This is closer to the truth than what I say to myself every day; which is that our customers appreciate us.

It doesn’t matter

On one hand, it feels slightly good that stuff I was writing about 3,4,5,6, 7 years ago is still valid. On the other, it hurts because that means things haven’t improved much.  Like this call for an honest explanation to rate increases

But what if you could fix one thing?  What if there really was a mission or directive that came down from all the lobbying groups that double as professional associations.  And that directive was, we want to see a massive increase in our market share versus that of captive companies. Well, first let us take a side turn, captive agents are dwindling and their market share will as well.

Awesome marketing opportunity

But it is in disguise.  See, everything can be classified as marketing or in it’s subcategory branding.  This post, even this post from November 2011 updated in 2015  

I could use words to rewrite the same things today and it would be valid, and also useless.  So, let us use words differently and simply make a different point based on the same thing.

  • Your rate increases allow us to build our brand stronger while weakening yours
  • Your rate increases prove that you have no faith in your actuaries and your distribution methods.  Could even say a lack of faith in your capital investment strategy

The replacement cost dilemma

November 2010, updated May 2015, still is an annoyance that happens once a week.

And it really is a dilemma.  I’ve likely written before that I have 20ish options for insuring a home and all 20 have a different idea of what the same home will cost to rebuild.  Scarier than this, is that several use the same backend system that determines the replacement cost.  But, there is nothing particularly “sexy” about this topic so maybe that is why it doesn’t get much attention.

Time to adopt

Original publish date of October 15 2015

” Why would you give an insurance company more data when they haven’t figured out what to do with what they have?”

I’m giving myself credit, I still believe in one what I was writing three years ago, now I just know more.  But, although our methods are better and new tools exist we just haven’t found the blend yet.

To frame this moment, I just caught up on Lemonade’s transparency chronicle and read a good piece via the Washington Post about home construction that survived Hurrican Michael.

Paragraph rants, what if

Attempted to use some voice to text stuff and it produced some really odd paragraphs.  Reinterpreting them a bit below;

  1. Is your marketing plan simply to produce enough content aka noise, so that one or more algorithms will help people “find” you?  I am not sure that, as a strategy, this is much more than hedging your fear of not knowing where the next deal is coming from.  Hope is not a strategy, nor is relying on things you do not have control of, like algorithms.

Enough is enough from three perspectives

So below you will find a short report that I receive daily.  This shows policies that renewed, the average premium change and the percent increase;

Renewal Details by LOB

LOB Number of Renewals Average Premium Change Average Percent Change
AUTOP 2 $121.38 10.21%
HOME 5 $61.80 7.45%
DFIRE 2 $47.00 7.32%
PUMBR 2 $0.00 0.00%

Now, showing you companies and names is something we shouldn’t and cannot do.  So let us focus on a few things;

Rate increases; the most debilitating piece of the personal insurance puzzle

Incomplete draft from March 15, 2015.  I could write this post, with very little variation, this week as well. That is a massive failure.  Adding any more to it would be a waste of time.

 

The setting; a longtime customer is hit with double-digit rate increases two years in a row.  First year can be absorbed but by the second they have had enough.  The end result; YOU keep the customer.  That is the goal right?  Find a group of people who trust you and keep their business with you as long as possible.  What happens?  His $5500 premium drops to $4200.  Yes, scary.  In that he decides to save some money and drops an umbrella.  We also move a child onto their own.  So where is the fail?

Time for an annual review

Cleaning out some drafts I apparently never published, the paragraphs below(italics) were from February 2015.  Updates and comments in regular type.

Reviewing your insurance could be the most critical piece of personal finance.  Until the process can be automated it is on you and me to do it.  In this case, since it is just my insurance it is all on me.  I first wrote about this over five years ago.  If you searched the word “review”‘ on this site you would get several different takes.  Mostly coming from a variety of things that happened.  Here is a fresher look since my policies just renewed.  Yes, it actually happened just shy of three weeks ago and yes the paperwork has been on my desk since late December.