The perfect crime, insurance edition

Just read this by Seth Godin; The Perfect Crime a very similar thing actually occurs in Insurance.  Thanks for the idea Seth.

I cannot factually speak on any of the lobbying or NAACP points.  Instead here is what I do know.

None of the insurance advertising you see actually shows you how to be a better consumer in the long term.  The companies only concern is on switching your insurance this year which, since the cost to acquire customers is high, is pretty stupid.  It takes several years to turn a profit on any individual, why would you only advertise for this year?  Because you are conditioning the masses.

Most of these “masses” also generally do not have a lot if any significant claims.  Yet millions are spent on advertising claim services.  An almost FACT, since this is from my experience, is most claims go fine.  Figure they would be grade a “B” or higher each time.  Let me know any service you have that is always an A+.  A couple of basic, proactive steps is all it takes to keep things going smooth.

Oh but you can “bundle and save”  or get a “discount double check”, etc, etc.  As I have said before, credit , plays a bigger role than just about anything else.  But of course we could not advertise the truth so let’s hide it with discounts whose collective impact is not nearly what credit + home ownership+education+marital status equals.

And the loop continues.  Instead of getting excited, like a mime saving $706 realize you missed  a shift in the market.  The goal each year should be to save between $0 and $300.  Reality is the higher your savings the longer you have been overpaying.  ***Yes, of course driving records clean up, people get married, etc.***

Either way, he could have written on a myriad of topics that marketers exploit.  Would love to see his take on insurance.

Thanks for reading, just some thoughts.

What kind of radio are you?

Are you terrestrial radio?  So for 9 years it was me and my xm radio.  Now about a year and a half ago I started having an affair with Pandora and it was and continues to be wonderful.  So what is a guy to do?  Well as fate would have it my receiver stopped working in the car.    So now it is me and a binder full of Success magazine cd’s and pandora through my phone.

 What was funny was as I change cd’s my radio comes on and it is the same music that the station was playing in 2004 when I had enough.  What about you?  Are you the same as in 2004, nine years ago.  How have you changed?  How have you not changed?
Every day you should consider moving a little bit in the direction of progress.  Whatever that may be is fine and up to you just move towards something.  Simple, you decide how to move forward and what towards just move forward.
Now what does this have to do with anything? Lots.
So how about insurance; pretty simple here since the advertising of insurance has not advanced much if any in nine years.  Yes there is more on-line but the message has not changed.  Pushing discounts and price versus value for the customer.  Relying on you to stay with one company just because.  Trying to promote some false sense of loyalty while quietly increasing rates while blaming environmental factors and inflation.
Time to get some “b sides'”(new concepts and ideas) and unknown artists(new agents and companies) into your mix.  Maybe Satellite is your thing where you can pick a station that really fits your preference.  There is a country station for all your tastes, there are stations just for decades of music, want more knowledge?  Plenty of talk stations as well.
Maybe Pandora or Spotify is more your thing.  Tell me what you like and we can customize some stations for you.  If we guess wrong, tell us and we’ll adjust.
FACT; The world is not one size fits all.  Don’t let marketers and advertisers fool you, there are customized solutions available.  Key is going to look for them .
Time to find a new station or a whole new way to listen.


Sometimes they choose to leave

And it actually happened twice in the last week.  Now the first one was expected, when one person marries another or moves in with another generally one agent gets tossed out.  Aw well, it happens.  Part of the business I suppose but still stings a bit.

The other was a little bit of surprise but should have seen it coming.  See on occasion the value that you perceive that you provide is not nearly the same to two different people.  Similar to above or as I sometimes like to say “It’s whatever.”  Similar to many athletes you have bad moments, the quicker you shake them off the better.

It happens, from time to time, that people put money in front of human relationships.  Add this in with the fact that I am not perfect and sometimes things get delayed and you have the perfect cocktail to create this atmosphere.

The fact still remains, as long as  you have a solid plan in place you should consider shopping each year.  Another almost fact is that I do leave most, this person included, with a better plan then when they came to me.  Some come to me with good plans just not so good rates.

Either way, it has been two years so it was bound to happen sooner or later.

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.


How about loyalty?  I have said it before, please reserve loyalty for people that earn it not companies.  Should you be rewarded for your time with a company?  I think so, the longer you stay with a company the more profitable they can be.  BUT, Please show it to me in writing.  Unless you have it in writing let’s not “hope” your loyalty is worth something.

Just an idea, thanks for reading.

The Calvary has arrived?

Birchyard hires Holly Maserjian

                     New hire enhances productivity



Wappingers Falls N.Y. (June 3, 2013)-Birchyard is excited to announce its recent hire of Holly Maserjian. She will join the Birchyard team as an aspiring insurance agent. Within this role, Maserrjian will brainstorm strategies and guide each client through the insurance process. New to the insurance world, Maserjian is determined to take on the challenge.


“Holly will enhance the company’s ability to keep up with the demand for the customized solutions.” Billy Van Jura, founder of Birchyard, said. “She provides more resources for our existing clients.”


Maserjian chose to work with Birchyard in order to gain experience with an honest and successful firm. Birchyard LLC provides consistent, solid advice and creates insurance plans specifically to fit each client’s needs. Birchyard takes the time to get to know each client, maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.


Maserijan graduated from Bryant and Stratton College, earning a certificate in insurance. Maserjian currently resides in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Yes, renters insurance is unselfish

Let’s face it if you are in insurance renters insurance is a “throw away” kind of policy.  Doesn’t cost much therefore many agents do not like to spend time on it.  Some of us happen to love it.  Because it is so inexpensive it should become more like a “Well it is so inexpensive why wouldn’t you…”  And that is almost exactly right.  It is also a really great thing to do for you and your landlord.

The obvious coverage is that is protects your “stuff” which is great.  Well it also provides coverage for you to live somewhere while the home/apartment/condo you rent cannot be lived in because of a claim.  Not bad.  There is also liability coverage in case something happens on your property and you are sued.  Not bad.  All of this for maybe $20 or less a month.

You are also helping your landlord.  Yes, many times your landlord will get a small discount on their insurance if you have renters insurance.  In fact by you having coverage you may also allow your landlord to get more companies to insure the residence.  It is always wonderful that while helping yourself you get to help others.

Thanks for reading!  Hope you will consider sharing.

Two years already

Birchyard LLC celebrates second year in business

A different way to approach insurance

Wappingers Falls N.Y. (June 3, 2013)– This summer, Birchyard LLC celebrates its 2-year anniversary. Birchyard was established in 2011, by Bill Van Jura. The company has grown at a rapid pace, striving to keep up with the increasing demand for customized insurance solutions. Birchyard is committed to building trustworthy relationships with clients to ensure total satisfaction.


“We are excited at the prospects of continuing to help people buy customized insurance plans,” Bill Van Jura, founder of Birchyard said. “We look forward to keep up with the growth the next year will bring.”


Billy Van Jura is the most environmentally conscious insurance agent in the area. Birchyard also has joined several organizations supporting varying causes. Birchyard actively engages with 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their total profit to environmental organizations around the world. The firm also has joined The World Community Grid, which supports humanity.


Birchyard develops customized property and casualty insurance plans that fit the needs of individuals, family’s, and business owners they serve. The company has two offices located in Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls N.Y. For additional information about Birchyard, visit


The value of discounts

is not really what it seems when it comes to insurance.  Reality is they are a seemingly wonderful tool used to advertise to the masses of people that are required to have insurance.  Do they create a savings, yes they absolutely do.  Are they worth paying attention to?  Yes, if you  are entitled you should be asking about them and receiving the credit.

BUT, the reality is discounts are not nearly as critical as your credit score, home ownership status, marital status, education and driving history(sort of but not a factual priority list).  So why don’t the big companies advertise this?  Because it would really upset some people.  BUT it may also encourage some people to choose to improve their credit and driving history.  The other three don’t leave much room for adjusting but if you focus on improving your credit you will see more of a change then with any particular discounts.

It is what it is, not a pretty topic and although you may not agree it plays a role and there is more than enough evidence to support the use of credit.  Either way, since you and I will not change the system, let’s instead learn the rules and figure out how to use them to our advantage.

Just some thoughts, thanks for listening.

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.
  • I like having a low deductible.  I’ll pay out less if something happens. Sure, and submitting a “small” claim will have no effect on your rate either.  In case you were wondering, cash discounts tend to exist and you are allowed to fix damage to your home.
  • But how are there claims people? The standards are high everywhere.  If you follow these tips you will likely do better.

The truth, as I see it, is that if you buy from a person versus a company and you commit to a brief review each year you should be able to maintain a consistently reasonable rate.

Just some thoughts.  Thanks for letting me share.

Thank you State Farm

Thank you for being so large and mostly doing things so good that you force the entire industry of personal insurance to raise their collective “game.” Of course the larger you are the more chance you have to make mistakes so I do not give a whole lot of thought to the usual complaints.

Now I have spoken previously about your awful use of marketing so will not be walking that road today.  I did want to imagine something though.  What if you spent a small portion of your money actually helping create better customers?  Well you have the most customers, by some estimates 1 of every 5 cars, so in theory you can have the biggest impact.

How about instead of letting 5 agents in Poughkeepsie send out the same stupid letter about multi-policy discounts and “saving” $825 you include some education.  Here are some thoughts;

  • You use credit as a part of your rate.  How about some basic tips on improving your credit
  • How about telling people taking a defensive driving course will help?  You can probably drive down the price of the course and maybe make it better?
  • How about pushing the annual review?  You know you have plenty of claims where a home was not properly insured.  Maybe you can get Accucoverage to release a wide scale version of their site.  Heck maybe you can make your own?
  • How about coordinating your marketing?  Maybe then you can print on 100% recycled paper or even use postcards.  Lot of waste here
  • How about you be the first company to institute rate reductions instead of rate increases?  My goodness this would be fascinating to see.  Don’t be like Allstate and charge people for the “privilege” of being rewarded for good behavior

Just some thoughts.  Your HUGE use your size to the advantage of an entire industry.