10 lessons from 10 years in the insurance industry

Yes, it is true that as of 11/11/12 I have been employed in the insurance industry for ten years.  Of course I have learned an uncountable amount of information and a new lesson is learned or reinforced weekly if not daily.  So to keep this a reasonable read I’ll pick 10 things that stand out.

1. Give all things a chance to work.  Yes, your instinct is correct most, but not all ,of the time.  In my case I stumbled into insurance having just finished a brief career in Football.  I have yet to meet anyone that set out with the intention of working in Insurance but I have met a lot of people that did not give themselves a chance to be successful in insurance.

Want to improve your world, start with reading this…

I had the privilege of getting an advance copy of The Impact Equation and loved it.  Was honestly on the fence about Chris Brogan but since his Sunday Conversations and now this book I know why he is worth my time; because his ideas along with those of very few others will advance this economy to a new wonderful place.  If you subscribe to new economy thinking of people like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuck this should go right up there with what they have  written.  Here is the catch this book is worth way more if you actually use the book then just read it and enjoy it.

Get a free quote…

Seriously has anyone ever paid for an insurance quote?  I mean would you actually call a  1-800 number and pay for an auto insurance quote NO.  Why the heck would you, you are in control.  Without you these companies have no chance of survival so I cannot even imagine a day when you will have to pay for an auto insurance quote.

But despite this I would love to hear from anyone that can go a week without hearing an ad touting “get a free quote.”  Where might you see this offer;

Did you know….

That by taking minimum coverage, $25,000/$50,000 in New York you are actually setting yourself up for higher rates.

That I tend to see this coverage more often from the company that does the most advertising.

That your low rate actual makes you pay higher coverage and in the event of an accident could hinder you financial for years to come.

The difference between minimum coverage($25,000) and better coverage($100,000) many times is about $5 a month.

That I cannot think of a circumstance that I would ever do this disservice to anyone.  But then again I don’t provide quotes or promise you cheap insurance.  Who wants to buy cheap things anyhow.

How many insurance policies do you have?

Let’ start with the typical two person household; You own vehicles so you have (1) auto insurance , whether you have a mortgage or not you are smart enough to own insurance for your residence (2)renters/home/condo/mobile home ,  you have also decided to by some extra liability insurance so you have an (3) umbrella policy.  Now you also have other interests so you have insurance plans for your (4)boat, (5) atv (6) motorcycle (7) motorhome and (8) classic car .

The value of a second opinion

So if something is not quite right medically it is common practice to get a second opinion and maybe even a third.

If you are not happy with how your taxes turn out you will likely find a different accountant.

When doing improvements to your home many people thing you should have three or more contractors bid on the work.

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?

Appreciate your agent…if

Yes I believe the agent, me, works for you, the customer.  This is no different than any time you are spending money on a product or service.  This relationship tends to go better if you appreciate the person providing the product or service.  How do you do this?

UPDATE 5/19/2015

How do you “appreciate”‘ the person you are paying for a service?

  1. Give them a chance to work for you.
  2. Rather than carrying over the poor previous experience you may have had give your potential new agent the chance to shine without thinking he or she is as bad as the last one.

The Anatomy of a Car’s Value

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL:  So according to KBB.com  the Good Trade in Value is $1700 and Fair is $1125 so maybe I am around $1500.  Now private party says $3225 and Fair is $2525, let’s keep being reasonable and say $2875 as private party we won’t use retail because this car is not in excellent condition.

How about Edmunds?  A little different process here comes up with $2734 as a trade in $3752 as a private party, same thing here retail seems a bit high.

So KBB average with my adjustments is $2187.50 and Edmunds is $3243  that is about a $1000 difference.

Ideas and the reason I write

I believe in accountability.  I also know that there are a lot of pretty simple ideas and concepts that if followed can really impact your rates, your coverage and maybe your impression of insurance.  Hey if you have to pay for it it might as well be what you want.

5/11/2015  Not much has changed since the original posting date.  Still believe and think exactly as written above.  The difference is that the industry has shifted and I now have more ways to help improve your coverage and impression of insurance.