Commoditization of insurance is a good thing if;

As an agent you: 1. Have a lean business with good profitability.  This puts you in a better position to handle market or government based price changes. 2. Understand customers pay you not companies.  Your customers write the check then the company writes a check to you.  Without their money the companies do not get money and you do not get money.  Who is the most important in this equation? 3.  Have a strong “win win” relationship with your customers.  This will give you the benefit of the doubt in certain situations and will create a longer relationship.  Longer relationship will typically be more profitable.  If your customer is loyal and believes they are more of a partner in your business who cares if it is a commodity you aren’t!

The math of lower rates:

The reality is that most families have a choice of at least 10 if not 20 insurance companies that are willing to provide the insurance for their vehicles and home.  So let’s assume you come up with 15.  At least 80% of people will qualify for a rate with all companies, this may not  be a rate you like so let’s say 8 of them are higher than where you are now.  That leaves 7 companies with a rate comparable to yours, maybe a little higher maybe the same maybe lower.  Now what?

Time to expect more

In an age of commoditization, discounts, deals, etc. where does it all end?  How many pieces of mail do you or I have to get in a week wrapped around “discounts up to 40%…”  “give us 15 minutes to save 15%..”  and whatever other deal or program or money saving discount they can come up with.  How about this, insurance is a critical part to any financial plan.  There are so many quality companies available that someone needs to remind the consumer that THEY ARE IN CHARGE.  What is the best way to show this?  VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS!  Make your agent work a little.

In case of emergency…

Where are your documents?  Scanned and stored in the cloud?  Hard copies?  Both?

Do you know the number to call if you have a claim?  Take a minute and add your insurance company(s) phone number to your contacts.  Add in your policy numbers as well.  This would save a lot of time in the event of a claim.

Is there an ID card in your glove box?  MOST ID cards have a phone number for your company and/or agent on them as well.

Have you inventoried some or all of your stuff?  You should

What professionals do you see each year?

So the obvious one for most people is the doctor, most insurance companies pay for an annual physical so hopefully you use it.  How about the accountant who does your taxes?  If you use a financial planner I hope you are checking in at least once if not twice or even four times a year.  You probably even see the dentist once a year as well.

Why not your insurance consultant?

Pride and standards

Overwhelmed to see the amount of pride a nation can show.  Refreshing to see a positive event gain  this much exposure.  At the same time it is tremendous to see standards being upheld and principles as well as tradition being maintained despite any outside pressures.

If an entire nation can do this for a wedding I would hope individuals could keep their standards high and not compromise their principles.  Let’s set a standard of how we want to be treated and keep it.  Let’s not pander to promises of lower prices and tons  of discounts.  Set your own standard for what you want and what is important to you and stick to it, imagine the amount of mail you will get to ignore.

Do YOU trust your agent?

Do you trust your agent enough to get a second opinion?

How about asking your agent what coverage they have and taking a look at their declarations pages?

Sounds like fun to me, let’s see if your agent has full no-fault coverage.  Let’s see if they have matching liability and supplemental coverage.  Let me know how it turns out.

UPDATE 5/14/2015

It has been over four years since this first post.  Sadly, the majority of times I review a policy I end up saying;

I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying I wouldn’t sign my name to it.”

How to take control of your claim

Step 1.Remember why you have insurance, it is not for the little annoying thing that you can comfortably afford to fix.  It is for the event that you need help paying to fix.  Filing a claim because  “I pay for insurance why shouldn’t I use it…” can get you in to trouble. **What is trouble?  Trouble is having rates on the higher side of the market for at least three years**

Are they really saving you money?

How can a carton character advertise “we’ll review your policy and make sure you are only paying for coverage you need….” Apparently this cartoon should also buy a lottery ticket because it can predict the future.

How is it that you will know the coverage you need or do not need.  Maybe you do not need coverage for a rental car if you already own three cars.  Maybe you have AAA and do not want to pay for towing coverage.  Ok, I understand.  But what about No-Fault coverage, do you really want to take only $50,000 in coverage because you may not “need” $175,000?  No thanks I’ll take $175,000.

Why don’t you have renters insurance?

It’s to expensive?  Not really, it could be as low as $8 per month for a basic policy.

I don’t need it?  As long as you know your landlord has no responsibility for your belongings and will not pay for you to live somewhere else if you cannot live in your apartment.

Bad things don’t happen to me?  I hope you are right but if you aren’t why make things worse by not having renters insurance.