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.

  • no your record.  no that all claims/tickets are not being treated equally
  • time on a record will vary as well
  • make sure you are not being charged inadvertently.

Now that I know my record and know my real home rate lets go shopping.  So I am trying to avoid the “lead” companies so chose; State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Comparenow, The Zebra, Coverhound, Geico and Esurance.  Remember; there is always a better rate available but your time is likely worth more than what savings you’ll find.  Best to limit your search. So I learned a whole lot.

  1. The future is on-line, yes you already know that, but in insurance we are still in the early phases.  Lots of room for improvement.
  2. Expect to give some basic personal data.  Your date of birth and address as well as those from other drivers
  3. Don’t be uncomfortable; if your vehicle information, prior insurance information and driving history comes back automatically it is ok.  Saves you time.
  4. Might as well disclose your tickets and accidents.  Saves you time
  5. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the fine print.  There was lots of it.
  6. READ CLOSELY, there were lots of not so good things with the coverage sections.  I find many to be unethical and quite shameful but then again I’m human
  7. Some of these sites really need to work on their writing.  Lots of inaccuracies and false statements.
  8. Pay attention to ESTIMATES everyone had a disclosure about when a rate was accurate.  Some only provide estimates then sell your data to the companies
  9. You would not want your family to be hit by a car with what most of these options consider great coverage
  10. Computers are not human and this exercise further confirmed that the programmers behind the sites could use some education

My observations are a bit different than most since I am in this business.  I also have a lot more observations about how inefficient these sites actually are.  But where would I start?  Anything(just about) that saves me time is a good thing.  Copywriting/Content writers whatever they are called are pretty important, they should really sit down with the attorneys and think things through.  Could easily list 3-5 errors on each site.

Final thought; Geico and Esurance provided a pretty impressive “experience” despite their awful recommendations.  Like the rest of your life, it is buyer beware.  Computers can replace humans for many basic transactions but I have yet to find a site close to me or many of my counterparts.

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?

  • You let me.  I didn’t take this person as much as you didn’t put any effort into keeping them.
  • You’ve had an agency for twenty years and you are acting that way.  STOP.  The year is 2014, time to get comfortable with it and start using the available tools.
  • Make your own rules.  Just because some book describes “typical coverage” doesn’t mean you need to do it.  Are you offering as much coverage as you have?
  • Grow with your customers.  Because if you don’t I will.  Seriously, loyalty goes to people first and maybe companies second.  Rates improve if you want them to.
  • You might disagree but the fact is you really don’t earn money off a rate increase.  You should be lean enough that the goal is to keep existing customers but you’re not.
  • Pay it back.  If you are doing it right you turn some amount of profit on that customer immediately.  So based on that you may  have been profitable on one person for twenty years.  Have you supported an event their a part of?  Donated to their charity?  Sent them some business?  Why not?
  • WAKE UP CALL.  We are in an old industry, think about the other things you are buying and compare the experience.  Seriously if studying Geico, Progressive or ay other online company does not wake you up look at Amazon, Zappos and about 10,000 other retailers.

This could go on for a while but I hope you get the point.  Thanks for letting me make some suggestions.

 

 

The worst part about insurance….

**Incomplete thought 1/4/2015**

 

Is all the agents.  Well not quite all of them but lately it seems like most of them.  Likely that the Pareto principle would disprove this but hey it’s been interesting.  What do I mean?  I mean if more agents did what the public thought their “job” was we would need less agents.  Why?  Because then there would be less messes to clean up for the rest of us.

I mean that insurance has yet to adjust for the better so that the consumer really benefits.  Why is that?  I am not sure, maybe fear?  Maybe because they do not want to increase their profits along with market share.  Maybe it is out of pity for all the agents they’ll put out of business?

What’s a mess?  Depends on who you ask.  Here are some examples;

  • An email from a referral looking for a quote.  I send my usual request and get back 1/3 of what I need.  He then explains he believes this is  enough for me to give a quote.  Safe to say the odds are good I’ll see some policy that looks like swiss cheese if he did send it over.  Why did this happen?  Yes, could be my fault but likely it is because of the amateur that first set up the policy.
  • ANY time that I see a policy with minimum limits written by  another human being
  • ANY time that I see a new quote get a poor rate because of their claims experience.  Especially when the payment is under $1000

It would be nice an agent show their policy along with what they are offering you for your coverage.  It is unrealistic for everyone to know everything which is why we have specialists.  It is why people choose careers and become good at things.  But then again, there are not so good people in every industry.  Why should insurance be any different?