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?

Dont be perfect, just get better

Dear Big National Insurance company who I want to bring more business to;

We have had a nice relationship so far and I think we both like each other.  I’m confused though, some days it seems like you just don’t want my business.  Now I understand you won’t want everyone but I am still left disappointed.  See we know each other pretty well, I have a nice understanding of who you want insured but somewhere in there somethings not working.

It’s not you, it’s me?

Let’s be friends

So most of us have friends.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  You are closer with some more than others.  Some you hang out with more often.  Some are “on-line” friends or “work” friends but they all get the label friends.  They all on some level have a place in your world.

At the same turn, each of them needs or wants something from you.  Some need/want more than others.  At various times one or more of them may need a lot from you.  Over time some friends sort of increase in value(feelings) while others get less.  But they are  all still your friends.

Why I took your customer?

Several times a month a new person hires me and I am shocked.  See I know I am “good” and I know how to do a lot of things.  But there is a recurring theme, there is really no reason why this opportunity should exist.  There is no reason why this person should have called.  But then again there are quite a few.

The one that set me over is something like this, husband and wife with the same agent for 20+ years.  Husband and wife fit perfectly into dozens of companies; married, great credit, college degrees, home owners, clean records.  He is also a business owner and the paths fairly regularly cross with the agent who should appreciate his business.  Sounds familiar?

So I cracked my Windshield, now what?

Well Glass coverage, as it is commonly called, comes with your comprehensive coverage.  Pretty common here in New York and to be honest, I have no idea why you would want to have comprehensive coverage and not glass coverage.  Really, it comes down to a math equation.  Average new windshield cost is $200+ mine just cost my insurance company $341.22.  My comprehensive coverage is about $100 a year.  Not a bad gig for me nor is it a bad idea for most people.  Honestly could be the best value in all of insurance, also the most used.  Goes right there with your Towing and Labor coverage.

Available Real Estate? Somehow sacred? The next big thing?

Advertising on license plate holders!  About to ramble, hang on almost over.

It is already being done but think about it, who cares where you bought your car? Do you save money or get anything for allowing them a spot on your car? Why not sell this space? Are you willing to identify with someone/something strong enough to allow them on your car?

Could it be to much?  Not sure, people routinely put magnetic stickers on their side panels.  How much time do you spend parked behind another vehicle at a light?  Is it dangerous to put your Twitter handle on there?  Not sure, at the very least a web address and something catchy?

Dear Big Insurance company,

I am sad to say this but you are likely severely under-performing.  Every day the people of the United States and I are reminded how much you covet their business but never how much you appreciate the business you have already.  Every day we see you continuing to waste the money we give you by advertising to us like we are a bunch of uneducated, dollar crazed idiots not interested in value.  Behind the scenes you continue to “add” useless endorsements that are rarely paid out on.  You continue to ignore the premise that value trumps price.  When the rest of the world is being successful advertising and working for a particular niche or even a large group but not “everybody” yet you still market to the masses
You don’t need to get any bigger but you do need to get better.
First step is cleaning up what you have.  By that I mean, you inspect or at least should inspect every property you write as new business but might have just started doing this.  Obviously things change but fact is I have been asked to insure several homes and autos and have actually politely turned them down.  Remember the goal is not to be bigger it is to be profitable.  Do you even know what you insure at this point?  Why not?  If your broker partners are paying attention to what they insure why aren’t you?  Reality is you are hurting all of us but you are the one taking the biggest hit.
As far as your advertising, unfortunately you are paying a bunch of people to produce content that does not have a measurable result.  If it does, the metric was likely introduced by someone who helps support advertising and marketing firms so why pay attention.  A few ideas; Did your gross premium dollar volume increase because you raised rates or because the households you insure went up?  If it is not because the households you insure went up you need to rethink your strategy.  Are you advertising at the very expense of the people you already have?  Seriously, have you not caught on that the single best form of advertising is word of mouth?  Why not focus on what you have, turn them  into raving fans and see what happens?
Some random ideas I bet you will not implement;
STOP advertising.  Instead apply that money to programs to help your existing customers.
 As the value of the car goes down so should the rate.  You know how many times agents have to answer this question.
If you really want to do a rate increase you should put last years rate right next to this years rate.  Now this one will take some intestinal fortitude, got some?
Seriously, just include glass.  Who takes comprehensive without glass.  Now I know this varies in different states but this is an actual practical thing to  do.
Set a standard of coverage and don’t waiver.  Now I know this is tough because you feel like you are risking more but the reality is you aren’t.  Be the first one to do better and see how well it works out.
This is getting long and can keep going.  Call me some time I would be glad to chat.
Billy Van Jura
845-401-5566

Fear is a sales tactic for amateurs

Not to far removed from election season and now with other elections and votes pending soon I cannot help but think about how amateurish campaigns can be.  Reality is it is pretty sad.   Everyone operates from a reactive position and goes right for the “jugular” with something like public safety.  Rarely with any facts in hand.  Even rarer with actually actionable steps to fix the base of the problem from the past.  Instead they take the easy road, strike up some fear, attack an opponent and just like that you have some politics.

Math and value and flood insurance

Woke up early and was immediately thinking about one of my last conversations yesterday.  Let’s start with some math;

If you spend $1000 and in return I lower the cost of something by about $3000 what could you consider your return on investment(roi)?  $2000 not bad.  Not bad at all.

So in the first year of this new product you saved $2000 by spending $1000.  Now in the second year(assuming current numbers stay the same) you actually save $3000 since you do not spend the $1000 again.  So you have now made $5000 by investing $1000.  500% return.