11 things from 11 years

So on the 11th day of the 11th month I have just finished 11 years in insurance.  Like most 11 year stretches there is a lot that has been learned.  But what stands out?  Well more then 11 things but I’ll pick 11 anyhow.

1. Reserve your loyalty for people not companies.  Although my first 8.5 was with one company, my last 2.5 have confirmed this statement.  You are a policyholder and they all like you as long as you are paying your bills and not having claims.  Mess up either of those two and see how much they like you.  Instead find a human being that can reciprocate your loyalty.

2. Whether you like it or not rates go up. Yes, I know your car is older, you have no claims, you’ve been with them for years(see #1) bottom line is rates are as much a product of the economy as they are your performance.  Yes, your performance will influence them but over time the economy,storms and other outside factors will have more of an impact.  

3. Be proactive or reactive just don’t be inactive.  This is great for exercising and just as great as it is for keeping your rates consistent.  Take your typical advertisement bragging about “$482 in savings…”  All that means is you overpaid for at least the last year if not the last two.  Remember the insurance companies need you more than you need them.  Review your plans at least every 18 months.  Two years is almost to long.

4. The insurance company that spends less on their advertising and more on current customers will win HUGE.  That’s right, you love your company so much but all they are doing is looking for new customers.  That rate increase is helping pay to advertise to new customers.  Does your company sponsoring a football game somehow make them better?

5.Reality is an agent who can only sell one company’s products can only do so much.  It hurt when people joined me with my current company and their rate went down by $1000 or more.  But two of these people said it best, “Bill you did the best you could with what you had…”  They were right.  But I would rather you spend more out of loyalty to a person than loyalty to a company.

6.When you get past the marketing and right to the core , all insurance companies are the same.  You pay a small sum of money to offset a large potential problem.  In the state of New York and likely others, all companies must play by the same rules and offer the  same basic coverage.  The basic coverage is the most important,  don’t get lost in all the marketing.  Most of the coverage offered is pretty much the same.

7. Like every business there are good and bad people involved.  Insurance is no exception,  a far as I can tell the good far outweigh the bad.  There are quite a few bad ones but fortunately most of their work is fixable.

8. Yes, many times really low rates come with some catches.  Lots of popular tricks to “save you money” but the reality is if you lose $100,000 and save $50 you didn’t save any money.  Scary how often this happens.

9.Like it or not credit score helps indicate future results.  This did not exist as a factor when I started and there was and continues to be many people against this.  My experience is it is true enough that it will continue to be a heavy factor in your rate. Sorry.

10. You are in charge not the company.  That’s right, if you take control of your rate you will continue to keep your rates level.  If you take charge of your claim you will have a better claims process.  Now if you sit back and expect a call center to handle everything you should not expect the best results.

11. Like the rest of your life, insurance is imperfect.  But like the rest of your life there is a lot you can do to make it better.  Someday there may be a company than genuinely wants to see your rate go down every year but until that time it is up to you.

Just some thoughts.

Thanks for reading.