Discovered in while in the midst of an extensive self audit. Written as a list of lines that I likely expanded on at some point but could not locate. Here goes;
Talking piints via something I labeled “Big Picture Marketing” but didn’t date.
- Is your coverage as good as your agents? I suppose it doesn’t have to be. I also think we all have a shot at winning the lottery as long as we buy a ticket. But, your agent better be able to sign their name to it like it was their own. They should be doing all they can to get as much value out of the dollars you’ll spend as they possibly can. The sentiment among many new entrants, and sadly they are very public about this is “ but we give them choice…” Cool, so do I; work with me or not work with me. My other response is; great, can we please see what coverage you choose yourself? In other words, and this will vary by state, if that car hit your and your family was impacted, would you be happy with the choice you let them make?
- Lets use your insurance dollars efficiently. Simple sentiment, but often overlooked. I have a AAA motor club membership. Why, even if “it’s only $8 a year” should I have towing and labor coverage on my auto insurance. Bonus reason; did you know that your towing claims can actually have a negative impact on your rates. Yup, they can. Maybe you cannot pay in full, that’s fine. But, am I giving you options? Maybe an auto debit from a credit card or checking account works? That “savings’ may just help you apply those funds to another household expense or improvements to your personal insurance. Think about deductibles as well. The math sometimes stands on its own sometimes it doesn’t look like it does unless you think about it. So ask and think.
- Bringing the unexpected to the expected. Can be a long list can be a short list but PLEASE have some things you do or say that will “delight and surprise.” I offered an option to save money on a policy and the insured sensed that my enthusiasm wasn’t there even though the math was. I was honest and they were appreciative. Have you ever told someone to NOT buy from you and instead sent them back to their underperforming and maybe ill prepared agent armed and ready to improve? I have, and it feels wonderful. Not quite like having them hire you but it is a great way to make friends, make a positive contribution to the world, set up a future sale and referral stream and improve an industry that needs it.
- Creating a predictable and consistent expense. If you as an agent routinely use company sponsored lines such as “ well everything gets more expensive,” or, “well those storms in ____state have an impact here…” or “ well cars are more expensive to fix” etc. PLEASE STOP NOW. If the cars are unchanged, there are no tickets or accidents, no home claims, material costs are sort of level, you can make some effort towards keeping premiums level. Feelings and people also change, they may be ready for different deductibles and coverage as their life adjusts. The key is knowing their lifetime value to your company, or any insurance company, will far superceed any “loss’ in short term commission. Residual income, consistent, predictable revenue and profits are the envy of many in any business.
- I am “insurance for insurance.” That is exactly right and I hope you, your co-workers, your call center people, etc. can say the same. The policy should be written at a solid, above average level. And, as I’ve had to adapt to saying to people “you really don’t want or need me for many basic day to day scenarios.” It’s the truth, and giving 100% during any of these is important but self defeating. There are lots of reasons you want a broker as part of your world. A HUGE one is because they have seen lots of scenarios that you likely haven’t. That way, when yours does happen, because you trusted the system I have built, instead of contacting me when you need to change a billing method or your lazy car dealer is messing things up, you save my time for when you need my brain. I am the insurance policy that comes with your policy.
- What if simply saying your business has a BOP and workers comp and disability and buy/sell life insurance and business auto, blah, blah…. Instead we simply strove to make your business look like a turtle shell is over it. Look at a tortoise shell, seem to be a series of interconnected squares that form a massive layer of cover for the turtle. The shell lets it focus on what it is doing. Each piece “fits” kind of like letting your broker look at ALL your policies in tandem to find holes and efficiencies. Not to mention it is likely more convenient. It also helps whe budgeting. Knowing that today you are good with paying $10,000 per year for all your plans is tremendously valuable when the rates on two plans go up and two go down. But, the cost of the “shell” is still intact.
- Reviewing your insurance ALWAYS creates a positive outcome. Period. “but Billy my rates didn’t go down.” Instead think of it that we looked at ten companies, and if you still have the best rate things are likely very good. Built within that scenario is the good news that despite your horrific driving record and a claim or two, your company chose to not raise your rates and even retain your business. Of course it is better for me when I can find you more value and a lower rate which of course is a great outcome as well. If there is a time when reviewing insurance doesn’t create a positive outcome, I have not found it.
- If you are paying an insurance bill, pay this insurance bill. Said with a smile and sometimes a little laugh. Why? Because insurance is mundane, routine and boring. It was never and doesn’t need to be sexy. So stop trying to get headlines and look like click bait marketing. Now, that doesn’t mean don’t have fun and be clever from time to time. What it means is there is nothing wrong with being a human being who happens to help people buy insurance. And, along the way, make new acquaintances that may become friends.
- Buy inexpensively, not cheap. Think of The Dollar Store versus TJ Max versus Macy’s. Three very different experiences who mostly serve different audiences even if there is likely a low double digit of people who will semi-regularly visit more than one of these. The point? Tell me where else in your life you are out to buy “cheap.” Instead consider buying with a focus on value. Would you pay a little more because it was convenient? Yes. On the other hand, if you have a choice of two roads that run mostly parallel. One has tolls the other doesn’t. Sure, it’s ice to save money but what if the road without tolls would take you 20 minutes longer? But hey, you saved $2, or did you? The connotation around cheap is terrible, do you really want your brand associated or known for being cheap? I cringe when introduced as “ the guy who saved me a lot of money..’ Even if I understand their heart is in the right place, I failed.
- CHOOSE to lower your costs. And yes, there is always a choice. Choose to be someone that looks at the big picture and provides as may ideas as you reasonable can to help get to this outcome. You’ll be surprised at how often your advice and ideas are dismissed. But, this will only happen if you are seen as valuable. On the other hand, Be aware of the person who makes it very known that they want to save money, lower their costs, etc. As long as they don’t need to do anything. They have no interest in higher deductibles, saving less today to save more tomorrow, not wiling to do a driving course or similar eventhough it is guaranteed savings. Forget auto payments, eventhough they can pick the day, the card, the account, etc The person who wants to lower costs can and likely will The person who chooses to lower their costs and dos things to help, will be and likely remain a better customer.
- Buy insurance because It makes sense, not because you have to. Again, much of this is the mindset the consumer brings but also the mindset and attitude the agent brings to the table. Sue, your bank is making you buy this. Yup, I understand the state mandates auto coverage. On the other hand, a rough average of the cost of a million dollars in umbrella liabity is that $1 buys about $6,667 in coverage. An auto or home policy an have a similar per dollar of coverage which mathmatecillay and ethical reinforces the pennies buying dollars concept. The value may never materialie but the peace of mind better be. Buying insurance is responsible. Buying insurance helps others buy insurance that may benefit from the coverage.
- Its like insuring a home to replacement cost versus market value. This is a MASSIVE opportunity for improvement on all levels. Huge chance for property carriers to collaborate, if even just for a little bit. “ But Billy I own my land.” But “Billy, the basement will be here..” Yup, I get it. Remember, we call it home insurance but the truth is, the policy really just insures your house not your home In fact, if you needed your policy and its coverages, your home will likely be very negatively impacted
- Do you have great insurance or cheap insurance? Hopefully neither, especially since I am not even sure how you would measure either. And, Insurance is important but inherently not that much different than other purchases. You are likely better off not buying the least or most expensive
- Are you using your insurance or is it using you? This is tricky but happens. Are you spending money on coverage you don’t need? Yes, there are times when you are doing this, especially when you are duplicating coverage that exists elsewhere in life. It is a very careful thing, and often inaccurate to say someone is overinsured. But, this often means no one explained deductibles to you and you have a lower one than what makes sense for you.
- Are you reviewing your insurance or did you get a quote? I suggest reviewing instead of getting a quote. Besides, I can hand out quotes all day. Are quotes accurate? Not often. Likely a 10ish% swing. Just ask a contractor who doesn’t exactly know what’s behind your walls until they open them. Also, when reviewing insurance with someone, it sets the tone for being more engaged. For not just handing me numbers so that I hand you back lower ones. On the other hand, if you choose to leave me, at least I know that other agent better be bringing their “A” game. They’ll often be writing a better policy than they previously have.
- Is your company screwing you or making love? Not even sure that I like this word combination but currently struggling to get a better one in here. It’s essentially the same act but done in such a way that one way indicates caring and partnership and the other, not necessarily, even if the result is the same. Fact is the result is likely not the same even if say 75% of the “transaction” incudes the same things. The point is, at least find an agent or a company, preferably both, that WANT your insurance. They WANT you as a customer and seem to show it in other ways.
- On the topic of older cars; Do you know what your throwaway number is? I have a niece who may need a car soon. And weekly, if not daily, we have a couple of adults putting a younger driver on the road. Whether rates or good or bad, I will not be able to solve. But, what I do know, is that the comprehensive and collision make up a large portion of your cost. People often overlook 1) how little damage $1000 actually is on a car 2)The value to filing a claim for a small amount, “because you can” is actually negative in the long term 3) you must know that there is a large “cash version” of the economy where the prices are different And of course there is the math involved with buying comprehensive just to get glass and towing because the math is beautiful