Dynamic underwriting exists…and somehow it is bad for customers

I’ve had my own run of claims as well as some others going on lately.  Fortunately, an occurrence that could have been claimed, sort of,  and a basic “How to handle a claim post”

Both are still accurate and both are somewhere between far from the truth and not enough.  I’ve long thought insurance functions as much like a credit card or bank loan than what people expect from insurance.  But, maybe I’m also abusing or misusing the word dynamic a bit.

Adding value to car claims

Well, I have some relevant experience lately and this post from 2010, updated in 2015, is the same advice I followed and still give out.  But, along the way there where several missed opportunities to add value to an insurance brand.

  • So your car is on its way to the shop or in the shop and you need a rental. Now, my experience with Hertz and Enterprise was as expected; average.  Nothing bad nothing worth noting.  What would I like to see different?
    • There are ALOT of people who cannot or it would hinder them to have to give the $50-$100  hold on their credit card for the rental.  This can be an easy fix

Paying for loyal rates?

Yup. A couple of times a month we run into something similar.  Long time, likely profitable, customer not exactly being appreciated http://theinsurancebill.com/?p=199

Truth is, I’ll likely be in a similar spot about 10 months from now.  But how can that happen?  You had two NOT AT FAULT accidents.  Exactly  But, because of a lot of things, including a call center order taker and some weak regulations, one driver did not have enough coverage.  That means I need to use my coverage *sigh*.

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.

Rethinking claims and the causes

***Working thought, from an idea via a longtime friend***

So the scenario is quite common, friend calls and says they want to have some tree work done on their property.  Pretty common.  You can also insert, new roof, new furnace, upgrade to electric panel, drainage dug, fire alarm installed, etc.  Think of it as any proactive, likely preventive measure that can reduce the likelihood and at worse the severity of a claim.

“Bill, is there an extra discount for cutting down the trees?  Will they(the insurance company) pay for it?  ”    No and No.

The real cost of a claim is

much more than the money you are given.

10:00 Thursday, August 22nd my car was hit.  I was deemed 100%, not at fault and only suffered a small cut and a few hours of soreness.  This is being written 23 days later and my car is still in the shop.

Yes, I have a rental and have had it available since the day of the accident.

Yes, I have no out of pocket expense for this accident since I am not at fault.

No, I am not terribly pleased with this whole claims process.

Dear Enterprise Rental Car,

8/29/13

I had an unfortunate moment last Thursday when my car was struck by another one.  Now that I have had some time to relax and think I thought I would right you a letter.  I believe that if you are going to hand out feedback you need to be willing to share good and bad.  DISCLAIMER, I have been haphazardly recommending you for about ten years since a previous employer had arrangements with you.  Shame on me.

Can you send that to me in writing?

I say this a couple of times a week.  When it comes to insurance there are two specific times that this is a popular phrase; claims and loyalty.

With claims, I am asked “but will my rate go up?”  Odds are pretty good but it is not certain that your rate goes up if you file a claim.  I have seen plenty of awful driving records but since they have not had their records reviewed by the current company the rate is solid.  That doesn’t mean rates do not go up with claims, it just means that you have somehow avoided having your record looked at.  Also find it amusing to watch Nationwide and Allstate advertise “diminishing deductibles.”  Seriously, most people do not have claims.  The most common claim is an auto insurance glass claim and that already has no deductible.  In my opinion you are better off holding on to to your money.

Tried and True or

Tried and now false, yes I was reading this blog and the concept immediately related to how I view insurance.  Sometimes I like to say “bringing a little unexpected to the expected”  Here are some of may favorites;

  • I have been with the same company for over three years and think that gets me some sort of “loyalty credit.”  Just be sure to get this in writing and make sure you are not paying extra for this “benefit”
  • I am with the same company for twenty years, I’m sure they are doing good for me. Sure, a big corporation is making sure they are charging you a fair price.  If you are not reviewing annually you are missing out.