Buying patterns

Here are a couple of favorites from the week.  Both happen to be tied to Amazon and both pretty perfectly show the future of personal insurance.

  1. So every 2-3 months I neeed a new pair of running shoes.  Now I know the kinds I am willing to buy and I know my size(think baseline of coverage)  I also know that I am not too particular about color or which of the two I choose(think commodity and company branding).  What I do know is what they should cost.  Sadly, I would like to support Zappos but they do not have what I need.  I then would not mind Amazon since I have prime and that can keep the price down.  There are a few other running specific stores I like but they do not have my size(underwriting).  So I go back to a company I have used before, Kelly’s running Wharehouse.  They make it easy, they cover everything I am looking for, free shipping as well.   This is just one of many smaller companies who have figured out how to compete.
  2. This right here flies complete in the face of the entire insurance industry, except me  🙂

Greetings from
You saved $2.15 with’s Pre-order Price Guarantee!
The price of the item(s) decreased after you ordered them, and we gave you the lowest price.
The following title(s) decreased in price:
Crazy Sexy Juice: 100+ Simple Juice, Smoothie & Nut Milk Recipes to Supercharge Your Health
              Price on order date: $19.88
        Price charged at shipping: $19.88
 Lowest price before release date: $17.73
            Amount to be refunded: $2.15 (+ $0.18 tax)
                         Quantity: 1
                    Total Savings: $2.15

$2.15 is your total savings under our Pre-order Price Guarantee.
You will automatically receive a refund of $2.33, which includes $0.18 on tax paid.  You will receive an additional e-mail when this refund is processed.

That right there is a very basic note that was in my email.  That right there pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the personal insurance marketplace.  It’s about me the customer.  It’s not about you the company.  It’s about giving a little back to keep getting a little for a longer amount of time.  

Safe to say this is where I am and where I am heading all at once.  On the surface it looks like a philosophy driven approach, it is.  But at the same time it is backed by a lot math.  Math does not lie.  Commercials do.  Statistics do.  Companies trying to sell do.  But a philosophy backed company driven by math and data does not.

Thanks for listening.  Just another piece of the puzzle.

What if they made a baby

So I was in a moment of frustration and tweeted this out;

if & should produce an offspring So I can have company of my dreams

And I meant it.  Let me elaborate.  I read Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness and really, really, enjoyed it.  I also realized that many of the things they were doing, I already was successfully using as well.  People really liked being treated good.  They liked the lack of pressure.  They liked the random but thoughtful gifts.  Honestly, I have never even ordered from them and my wife has only used them a couple of times.  But the fact is we really like them and if they had the products we needed we would buy from them.

I’ve been enjoying  Amazon for a bit.  On a whim I signed up for Prime last year as well.   Honestly, I am using the shipping more than anything else.  Shame on me.  The video service is pretty good and I have dabbled in the music as well.  What has it taught me?  Pre-ordering a book is a great example.  If the price adjusts they refund the money.  Same thing when it comes to your wish list.  Making me aware of price changes is neat.  Each vendor(think broker or actual insurance company) has the chance to ask for feedback and is ranked accordingly.  I am giving the option to choose who I buy the same priced book from.  RARELY do any of them stand out.

What about Watson?  Really more cliche than anything else.  Fact is Watson manages data really well.  Insurance companies are not even close.  Laughable whenever the Internet of Things(IOT) comes up.  Why would you give insurance companies more data when they have not even figured out how to use what they have?  Honestly, although it could have an impact there is no need.  Most companies, especially the big nationals, can make some modest tweaks to their overall philosophy and similar adjustments to ten or less data points and DOUBLE NET REVENUES.

So, you take the philosophy and attitude of a Zappos process.  Blend it in with a bunch of the behind the scenes know how of Amazon as well as the marketplace formula.  Back that up with Watson and IBM’s ability to manage data and you will have an amazing, highly profitable insurance company.  Do they need to be a company?  Depends,  lets say provider.  Yes, this could  be a formula for an actual provider of insurance but it can just as easily be set up by a broker who is really looking to grow.

Some thoughts.  Thanks for considering.  Lots more to it 🙂  but still very doable in a short amount of time.

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
  2. The times to ask for referrals

Both are very valid things to talk about.  There are likely dozens of ideas and concepts that have been written about and that those writers will say work.  Cool.  A couple of questions to consider;

  1. When I make the time to call you, I am likely calling to handle something specific.  I may be stressed, busy, on my lunch break, etc  Why would you think I am giving you permission to take more of my time?
  2. What correlation is there between changing a car on an auto insurance policy or refinancing my home with asking me for more money?

Now, I absolutely agree with just about every study surrounding account rounding and the more lines of business in a household.  On the other hand, I am confident to know that whatever I have already done for you should have been done in such a way that you see the value in me.  That value and hopefully personal connection we have made is a very powerful thing and can undo most stats.  Consider this as an alternative; what if you politely kept in touch over the course of a year without trying to sell me anything?  Think about it, you politely keep in touch with this nice person who is already a customer.  By doing this you can hopefully bring additional value and maybe a smile therefore keeping the door open for me to buy something else.  Any way you look at it, me buying something from you is way better than you selling something to me.  Besides, you should have enough people to work with that you do not need to depend on forcing/selling anything to anybody.

On that note, I think asking me to introduce you to friends and family is almost as bad.  Why?

Quit being lazy!!!  Bring value and participate in Social Media!!!

That’s right, I think you asking for referrals, many times, is simply lazy.  I also lump it right in with interruption/spam marketing if you are asking me for referrals when I am calling for some other reason.  Some thoughts;

  • Just like me buying from you, isn’t it better when I proactively share you with friends?  How can you make this easy for me?
  • Is paying for referrals really a good idea
  • If I am only referring you someone so I can enter a contest, is it really a referral?
  • Are you even referable?  Think about it.
  • Really, if we were missing in person do you still think putting a notepad and pen in front of me is a good idea?  **Please say no***

It’s only fair to present some alternatives;

  • Where are we connected on-line?  Hopefully where I am comfortable.  P.S.  do you really think I am sharing canned insurance articles
  • I am not at all opposed to saying thanks with a gift or money.  I hope you are not either.  But should I be offering you money in exchange for your friends contact info?  Do you like it when your email is sold to random vendors?  Do you like it when you are added to a newsletter list without opting in?
  • Seriously, ” you can enter our contest for a t.v. if you refer us to a friend….”  Come on.  Keep selling on price as well and let me know how that works out.   leads us to the next one
  • Be referable.  Seriously, I’ve been thanked several times for referring one person to another and a part of my response is always, ” no problem, thanks for being easy to refer…”
  • Still  one of my favorite “techniques” and still one I have nor will never use.  Try the digital version of this and become a connection on Linkedin.  All of their connections will see it.  How about you like/share something of theirs on Facebook and see what happens.  Even better, how about you proactively refer them in some way or bring other value

Anyway, just some thoughts.  Thanks for letting me share.  Do whatever you think works for you but remember, the world has adjusted and much of what used to “work” doesn’t.

Dont be perfect, just get better

Dear Big National Insurance company who I want to bring more business to;

We have had a nice relationship so far and I think we both like each other.  I’m confused though, some days it seems like you just don’t want my business.  Now I understand you won’t want everyone but I am still left disappointed.  See we know each other pretty well, I have a nice understanding of who you want to be insured but somewhere in there, something is not working.

It’s not you, it’s me?

Not so sure but I really would like to do more with you.  You are nice, your people are nice, you take care of our new mutual friends.  What’s not to like?  Well, I came up with a list, in no particular order;

  • Please, please, please if you are going to look at an insurance score, which is fine by me, please look at both people I put in.  I’ll be able to bring you more people, they’ll be happier when they arrive and your pricing will be more accurate.  Heck, they’ll be more likely to stay as well.
  • Along those lines, our new friends are the key to all this.  You know, for lots of us, it is very important to set up the auto and home policy with one company.  So why is it that you’ll give them the very best rate for auto insurance and a very poor rate for home insurance?  Yes, I know, supposedly homes are different, the age of roof, protection class, blah, blah, blah.  Good people, like you and me, are good people.  Help me bring you more of them.
  • One of my other “friends”, sorry monogamy is not good business when it comes to being an insurance broker, helps save me time with every quote.  One way is to simply have the code in your quotes for EVERY bank that someone may have a car or home loan with.
  • Knowing the right protection class is critical to your home rates.  Why would you not pull this automatically?  I know we both have lots of relationships.  Let’s face it, some of your partners may be misusing this flaw of yours.
  • Do you know how much housing data is available?  More than I ever thought possible.  The moment I give you our friends address you can pull it all for us.  Saves us both time, makes things more accurate.
  • Following up on that; when was the last time you checked the accuracy of the replacement cost evaluator you use?  Try this, look up new(er) homes in your neighborhood or nearby.  Take those details and see what you come up with.  Could be surprising.  Based on a lot of your calculations it seems like every new home being built and sold is sold at a loss.
  • No matter what, I try and make it easy for people to give me money.  Maybe you could as well?  I’m sure the people at Am** or Di****** are not that bad.  Please try and figure out how to take their cards.  Our friends want to use them so let us help them.  Oh and PayPal.  Wow, it would be awesome and open a whole new market for us if you could do that.

Thanks so much.  Glad you are such a good listener.  We’ll have a much better relationship if we both keep working on improving ourselves.  I really want to make this work.


With lots of admiration,


Billy Van Jura