The most powerful paragraph in insurance

AKA  My and the Insurance/Banking industry’s simultaneous biggest problem and opportunity

AKA What #insurtech should be trying to solve but outside of me and maybe some people I have not found yet, is not.

Really it is two paragraphs.  One that comes from a standard document that you’ll find in your policy forms. Yes, I know you likely do not read them.  Also, the version in your state may be different.  The other is a direct quote via an email.  I see or hear variations of the second one every week.  So here goes;

Maybe the insurance industry is just a reflection of society

Reality is this; insurance companies are run by other members of our human species.  They are also influenced by their surroundings both human and inanimate.  They are influenced by many of the same ideals, both positive and negative as the rest of us.  There is a lot of talk about “disruption,” #insurtech, #fintech, and #bigdata.  The industry is “ripe” for change, blah, blah, blah.

Yes I have many of my own thoughts, heck it’s my blog so of course they are my thoughts.  This dawned on me the other day;

Maybe the insurance industry is just a reflection of society.  But how?  In what way(s)?

Timing is important

Sat in on a webinar a week or so ago.  The title of it intrigued me since I could not figure out why it was setting such a low expectation for a certain metric.  Then I gave them an hour of my life and they basically explained why.

Some people don’t think big enough  

Kind of reinforced me to not pay much attention to consultants who are paid for time not necessarily results.  Anyhow, Lots of goofy ideas where talked about but two stood out;

  1. The times you should be cross selling a current customer/client

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?

Delusions in insurance

1. We want to be the largest in america…. WHO CARES my guess is your policyholders don’t.

2. We can save you $480 or 15% or an average of … WHO CARES reality is saving that amount of money just means something was wrong.

3. Rates go up due to inflation…MOSTLY CRAP rates go up to keep the bottom line healthy. If people knew how much money was floating around in insurance they would go bonkers

4. Discount double check, in good hands, join the nation, like a good neighbor…SLOGANS are for the company not for you.  Sooner the companies put more resources into helping their policyholders and less into marketing the sooner you will see insurance improve.

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.

Keeping the circle going

How many people do you spend money with that spend money with you?

How often do you CHOOSE to spend locally when an Internet or national chain option are available?

Now I am by no means perfect but I take the fact that I am a local business very seriously.  I have a massive amount of gratitude for those people that choose to spend money with me and therefore enhance the lives of my family.  So what else can I do?  Well for me it comes down to a couple of basic things;

  • If you have resources why wouldn’t you share them?

Who causes “higher” insurance rates?

Most people will immediately think it is the company.  The company sets the rates and the underwriting standards that you accepted when you signed your contract with them.  The company determines which of your tickets, accidents and claims will have an impact on your rate and for how long. ** Despite what you may have heard corporations are not people and cannot get tickets or have accidents or claims**

Is time the best Insurance Discount?

It might be.  It might also be the most under used and least asked about.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 25 your lack of time on this planet is a reason why you spend more on insurance.  BUT what if you pay attention?  Maybe you start on your parents policy and make sure they have solid coverage so when it is time to switch you are in a better position.  Then, typically after three years of being licensed, it is time to shop.  Now just stay on top of things because you get a little older you can likely improve your rate, assuming a clean to fairly clean record.

The Endangered Species in insurance…

Is your rate staying the same year to year.  It does not happen often but it should be the goal of every agent and policy holder.  Some pieces of reality;

  • What is happening in the economy is not your problem, what is happening in YOUR economy is
  • Just because your company had a bad year does not mean you should pay more
  • It is a privilege for you to allow your company to insure YOU not the other way around
  • Inflation might be the worst excuse of all, 1% inflation does not equal 10% in insurance