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;

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)?

Dear Insurance agent losing business to me;

I hope this finds you doing well.  It’s been a bit and I know things can be tough for some of us.  Safe to say it could be more challenging now than when you started in the business.   Honestly, if there was an insurance police this would be something they would want to know about, but since there is not I’ll just write this note to you.

Let’s go shopping

So it is time to take my own advice again.  With renewals for auto and home insurance pending I decided to do some shopping.  I’ve definitely written about what to do when your rate goes up but this time I did things  a little different.

START; Unfortunately my home is basically unmovable, two claims in less than five years.  So I look at what the rate will be without a multi-policy discount.  But wait, it gets a little worse.  I had a stretch in 2012 and early 2013 with three tickets.  Not good.  But, on a plus side, my wife’s two claims are now over five years old so they fall off.

Big portions = insurance discounts

Stumbling through any amount of commercials can be entertaining and also very revealing.   Many times entertainment takes precedent over information.  Actually more times than not things are done to get your attention in the hopes that  you will provide some attention/dollars to their product.

I have harped on insurance discounts for a while, bottom line is any list of discounts you can provide does not out do your characteristics.  Your credit score, education, residence and marital status mean way more than all the discounts.  But talking about this, the facts, is not appealing so we disguise it with discounts.  Same thing with food.

Shopping versus buying?

I figure when you are shopping you are not totally sure of what you want.  So what do you do, you call on a few companies, maybe ask some questions, hopefully you learn something.     Now if every offer you get is not the same what do you do?  How do you compare?

So if you are buying, I figure you know what you want.  You have set some clear, almost non-negotiable criteria and went out to look for it.  Now it doesn’t mean you do not take advice or that you are trying to overspend.  Instead I think it means you are not wasting time, you are getting a clear idea of what you are looking for and you ask others to present that.

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?

New Year New Insurance?

Why not?  When was the last time you changed companies?  When was the last time you actually made your agent or broker actually earn their commission.  Make them actually shop around, we are in a competitive market here in New York why not take advantage of it.

How do you start? 

Pretty simple, two steps;

  1. Start with a “baseline” of coverage that you are comfortable with having in place.
  2. Talk to 3-5 companies to see where your rate compares.

That’s it.  Worst case scenario you feel really good about your rate.  Best case you save some money and maybe find a better agent.

Saving money is bad…sometimes

You hear it constantly on the radio and T.V. It shows up in your mail on a weekly if not daily basis, heck a banner ad probably popped up before you even got here.  Each insurance company quoting exactly how much money they can save you or how many discounts are available and rarely getting specific on coverage.

Yes, I think saving money can be bad.

If you have not taken the time to review your insurance plans on a regular basis you may actually be saving too much money.  Yes I just said too much money.