To Claim or Not to Claim


That is the question.

” Billy, a tree fell on my property. Is it covered?

“Well that depends, did it hit anything? A structure or your house?


Ok, now the real question is, how much will it cost to remove the tree and fix any damage? See you have a $1000 deductible so lets get an estimate before starting a claim…”

A very typical conversation had about once a month. True story; came home yesterday to find a large limb on my deck and a table. Now what? I get out the lopper and the saws and clean it up. I’ll probably repurpose most of it and compost the rest.

Recently @Lemonade_Inc released a zero deductible piece of their widening puzzle. I think it is wonderful, in concept. It was wonderful when they hired a behavioral analyst and I really like what they are doing. It’s ok if you don’t, however ignoring them is not a wise idea. At the very least pay attention. But this does bring a few bigger questions;

  1. Is it really a good idea to embrace and encourage the dwindling of self-reliance and personal responsibility that society is experiencing? Maybe from a sales and marketing side but are you doing more damage to society? Maybe we just need incumbents to act more like Partners than just contract holders and enforcers. *This could go much longer.
  2. Is the help you are providing at the moment going to be outweighed by the damage you do to them later? Here is the reality with a few disclaimers. Currently, every incumbent property carrier we work with, 20+, has some amount of underwriting weight applied to prior claims history. So, if they are reporting this to a CLUE database what happens two years from now? EXAMPLE; Current renter in NYC, decides to buy a home and a car and leave the boroughs. Being 1.5 hours from NYC we see this at least once a week. They apply for coverage for the new home they are about to buy and now, we have to explain that they will pay $X more because of that claim. We’ll still sell it but it hurts to do this to someone. On the other hand, maybe Lemonade’s underlying thesis will actually make this less or no factor two years from now? Time will tell. On the other hand, see point one and let’s throw in Instant Gratification. * Might vary in your state, would be happy to hear how?
  3. Here is the actual example of this today that parallels very nicely. The Lizard crushes auto insurance in the five boroughs. The Umbrella does a real solid job for us. So the Same person is moving to a home and tells us “Yes, I have car insurance” we are excited because of the massive negative impact no prior insurance causes. But, then we realize they were sold* the New York state minimum limits of $25,000 per person $50,000 per occurrence. *most agents help you buy* Guess what? Yup, you will now give back the savings from the last couple of years for at least the next six months. Actually could be several years if your agent is not running a fluid, AI/Data ‘esque model like we are. This has been going on for at least ten years but maybe the current climate can force faster change? *Might vary in your state, would be happy to hear how?

Maybe the real answer is not “zero everything” but instead it is something more like;

  1. So sorry to hear about the tree. Unfortunately, this is below your deductible. However, we’ll send you a $50 coupon code to use with our affiliate Angies List/BNI/? to help remove the tree
  2. 6 months before it falls Thanks for renewing with us again. We appreciate the three years you ahve maintained your insurance with us. As a thank you, once you complete the ViewSpection, We Go Look, Drone Base or similar inspection we will provide you with a $50 coupon code…… Can also say apply this to any home service or the ones we notice could be improved

Yes, this could go longer. Would be happy to discuss the rest and how we are already acting/applying things like this. Lots more here