Anonymous and the Call Center

Really liked updating this post from October 2013, still is 100% accurate even if I could change a few things, I didn’t.  Being a resource can be interpreted a few ways; you are actually the resource, the one getting things done.  Or, you are the resource because you shared one.  So some moments from the week;

Overheard a call coming into one of the offices, sort of recognized the name.  Turns out it was a customer who started with us two years ago.  I was the resource then, helped insure a new home, made significant improvements to auto insurance coverage.  Then, we sort of helped find some coverage when an “uncovered” claim occurred.  But, then our friend Price Optimization stepped in.  But, I was also a “resource” or at least a contributor to a fundraiser a few years later.  But, alas, our growth is hindering some processes and the anonymous, doesn’t live in your town, doesn’t know your family call center person “won.” this one.  Annoyed and this will get its own post.

Having a tough time with an endorsement and an underwriter.  Nothing new, sadly.  Fortunately, a non-anonymous marketing rep stepped in to help sort things out.  A person who I see a couple of times a year.  Outstanding, cheers to the non-anonymous!!

It even happened again, a goofy claims thing, so I reached out to a person who I have met and has helped me before.  Thankfully, some help arrived.

I’m on the receiving end of a lot of calls and emails.  None of which come from any sort of advertising.  ALL of them come from people who, thankfully, have vetted me and are willing to pass my name and number along.  But, I, and maybe you, have seen anonymous reviews still have a place in society.

Another one from a 10 year plus customer who was questioning her current company.  Yes, there was something odd about their billing.  But, it really is an anomaly.  As I told her, you can look up any of the ten main companies we work with and find all sorts of negative information on ALL OF THEM.  But, much of this information is in fact ANONYMOUS.

This isn’t to say it is false, it is just to say, why are you so accepting of the opinion of strangers?

I applaud those of us IN THE ARENA, and yes it is an appropriate reference even if embellished.  Although I saw at least one product that leads with anonymous reviews, I still applaud their underlying thesis. I just disagree with anonymity and think it is not just stupid, but really f’n stupid to accept anonymous opinions.

This comes on the heels of reading a post from a really strong company who was left off some stupid list.  F them.  I know it takes a minute, but go read Ryan Holiday’s trust me I’m Lying or Robert Cialdini’s Influence.  If read together, watch out for what your eyes and brain will open up to.  I say screw them.  BUT, back to the link to the October 2013 post and you’ll see it is up to us, your people around you even if loosely affiliated, to step in and provide some insight.  Your circle, your people, your crew, your network, your family, your world THAT is who you should hear but only after you hear yourself, your gut, your instinct, first. 

Act like it

Partially prompted by this October 2012 rant on coverage, sadly, my efforts have helped hundred but millions are still not benefiting.  Sadly, I am one of those negatively impacted by someone with not enough coverage and a large national company that allowed this to happen.

I’m done, actually never started, with the nonsense of “Hiring Producers,”  Human beings who have earned a license are LICENSED INSURANCE AGENTS.  Yes, the quality, like all professions, will vary.  BUT, What the F are they actually producing?  If you say revenue for the agency, the sound you hear is me vomiting.

Then, while I clean up, lean on your friend the Internet for some help with defining producer;

Here is your Wikipedia entry   and here is This is where you may say, but hey they produce economic value or a service.  Then I say, but do you?  Then I say, as someone with a good understanding of sales, do you think someone wants to work with a producer or a licensed Insurance Agent?  Truthfully, most won’t care, but those that do will be better for all of us.

Plenty of people do not help people get as much as they can out of their insurance budget.  And, as you may know, the world is imperfect. But you have to try.  You have to know how the system behind the insurance system works and how to make it work for people who are relying on you.  Here is what is likely an uncommon thought for you;

Stop discussing coverages with people you are working with.  Only answer the questions they have.  BUT, to do this you need to commit to writing a higher standard of coverage. Don’t worry, you’ll save people money AND time.  You’ll also be able to say something like ” we helped you improve your coverager and lower your rate…”  instead of  “great news, we saved you money…”

On the other hand, the concept of enlightened self-interestis real and it does present a conflict.  So although this feels that piece of my life, so does you continuing to keep your personal bar low and not even attempting to improve insurance for people.

4 updates in 1

Circa October 2010, none of these really need/deserve a full reboot and it looks like I made slight updates in May 2015

Post 1     Post 2   Post 3   Post 4

First, let us take a moment to thank Grammarly.  Like you, I’m busy and miss things.  Old posts had lots of silly, mostly lazy, mistakes.

Your updated disclaimer; I value time more than I did in October 2010 and, as my available time seems to diminish and priorities shift, even more than in May of 2015.  What does this mean?  Well, I am not sure that I held back then and the only stuff I hold back now is proprietary stuff.  Even that is shared with certain audiences.

So you have your “here we go” and a “disclaimer” but what about the “Why I write?”  Still for clarity.  Still to empty the brain that is even more full today than it was.  The ideas are better, The actions are more.  The industry is changing, slower than I thought but still in the right direction.  And, I intend to be at the center of change.

So the scary one for me, and here comes the enlightened self-interest post and the “good selfish” one as well, is post 4.  Yes, that one is still sadly true.  How is it possible that others are not catching up to what I have been doing and advocating for 8+ years?  What gets a bit worse is watching people, now all over social, use silly absolute type statements that cannot be true.

Seriously!!!  What the F is “right coverage”  or “properly insured” 


Consider starting high and with rare exception walking a little backward.

You better have some non-negotiable coverage in there as well.

Remember, NONE OF US can predict the future let alone a customers. Might as well buy a lotto ticket….but when it comes to insurance, fill as many logical holes as you can and accept that the companies do not care.

DO NOT spend someone else’s money for them.  Seriously, do you honestly think you know what is best for everyone you work with?  Are you seriusly still using some sort of antiquated ideas based on “assets”?

Do better.  Always.  Save your filters for Instagram

Dear Insurance agent losing business to me;

I hope this finds you doing well.  It’s been a bit and I know things can be tough for some of us.  Safe to say it could be more challenging now than when you started in the business.   Honestly, if there was an insurance police this would be something they would want to know about, but since there is not I’ll just write this note to you.

For a while, I honestly thought it was mostly the on-line quoting machines that were making such a simple mistake.  Than I started to see more and more captives acting this way.  Yes, indpendents are not completely innocent but  I don’t take as much business from independents.  I’ve always wondered if it was 1) a mistake 2) a lack of knowledge or worse 3) a mandate from the company they work for.  In the case of the local captive agent, I am guessing it is more of a product of desperation. Really needing every phone call to result in business so you cut corners.  You cut corners you wouldn’t cut for your family but would do it in the name of  “low rates” or worse binding a policy today for a commission or some sort of contest.

Here’s the thing, by short changing your customer, you are actually short changing yourself.  In the short term you are costing yourself commission and potentially your customer some much needed coverage.


Honestly, I have no idea.

Now take this from the sales side.  If your fellow agents are doing things one way, why would you want to go down to their level?  You wouldn’t!!!!  So please stop doing it.

How do you fix this?  Simple.  When you are quoting auto insurance, whenever possible you provide the same amount of supplemental un and underinsured motorist coverage as the liability coverage you are providing.  Really not hard.  If you are quoting $500,000 in liability, you quote $500,000 in un/underinsured motorist.  SIMPLE, now just do it.  EVERY TIME.

  • it’s the right thing to do for your customer
  • it’s the right thing to do for your family
  • it’s the right thing to do for your top line
  • it’s the right thing to do for your bottom line
  • it’s the right thing to do for society
  • you’ll close more deals because you’ll stand out
  • you’ll make the industry better

Seriously, if you need more reasons it might be time for another business.  Anyhow, happy selling.




The agent taking your business

When your “competition” helps you

So I was playing around with on-line quoting and of course had to use Geico.  Recently, now about 3 months late I received a well done email.  Obviously now part of a drip campaign.  This is not remarkable but what was there certainly is.

Coverage Coach

FANTASTIC.  First of all it is a very cool tool.  Clean screens, easy to use, etc.  But why is this important?


That’s right.  I went through it ten times with a variety of combinations and every time I came up with less coverage than what I would offer a similar person.  Baffled by this but not surprised.  I’ve been replacing Geico policies for years.  When not replacing them I am encouraging(sometimes begging) people to please take higher coverage.  Most of the time it works.  Let me speculate on why;

  • They think they are saving you money?  In theory they might be.  In reality, 9 out of 10 times they aren’t.  Really.  If you could save $50 a year or have $400,000 which would you choose?
  • “But you don’t need that much coverage…”  Prove it.  While you are at it go to the store and by me a lotto ticket.  Same scenario.  Also, if you have not noticed, companies partially base your rates on previous liability limits.  Lower limits typically leads to higher rates.  Your call.
  • $250 deductible?  $500 deductible?  No coverage on a $5000 vehicle?  Baffled.  When it comes to your comprehensive and collision coverage(also known as physical damage) consider a few things.

1. If your car is safe to drive and presentable would you get that small dent fixed?

2. Ask a body shop how much work $500 actually is?  Also ask about $1000.  Oh, by the way, the odds of your rate going up for a claim less than a $1000 are as good as over $1000.  Basically whatever you collect for the claim you’ll likely pay back over the next 3-5 years.

3. What your car is worth and what it is worth to you may be two different things?  Math doesn’t lie.

Just some quick thoughts.  Unfortunately the philosophy behind Gecio may be getting more of a life with some of the new “quoting” companies.

Just some thoughts.  Use if you want.


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?

$8 to park at a hospital?

Seriously, that is what it cost when I went to visit my grandmother at the hospital.  That is awful, I have paid less to go to professional sporting events.  $8 can provide adequate nutrition for at least 1 person if not 2 for a day but instead it bought me a parking spot for 1 hour.  There is more than enough evidence that it is the presence of loved ones that truly enables healing yet they make it difficult.  So let’s dive a little deeper;

You enter a very nice lobby with some wonderful statues and a very comfortable atmosphere, but than you go up the elevator.  The hallways are immediately darker and you go into your room with two people inhabiting space that is better fit for one.

“But Grandma at least you have the window…”  Than I looked out that window on and off for the hour I was there and realized a window is pretty useless if you cannot get fresh air and have something appealing to look at.  But hey why would a multi-billion dollar operation want to make your experience better?  See Apple or any nicer hotel that does successfully try every day.

Oh and on the insurance note; overheard a woman being denied appropriate treatment because she did not have insurance.  Here is the Hippocratic oath, nothing about insurance in this but than again what else would you expect when you submit to letting a corporation dictate health care.  So much for the system protecting those that need some help.  

Either way , just some thoughts.  Pardon the negativity, I could not believe I was  actually hearing it out loud.

Who causes “higher” insurance rates?

Most people will immediately think it is the company.  The company sets the rates and the underwriting standards that you accepted when you signed your contract with them.  The company determines which of your tickets, accidents and claims will have an impact on your rate and for how long. ** Despite what you may have heard corporations are not people and cannot get tickets or have accidents or claims**

The company determines which of your personal  characteristics influence the rate.  They also decide which factors of the house or  other property you chose to buy will determine the cost to insure.  Insurance companies decide what the rates are where you  chose to live.  The company set up any billing fees that exist as well as any discounts that exist for paying your premium in one or two payments.  Each year before your policy renews the company mails you new paperwork to review so you have a chance to ask questions and make adjustments.  You  also have a chance to review everything on your policy and if you felt so inclined could call around to other companies for a review. **Per a Google search, there are about 2648 insurance companies doing business in the U.S. that offer auto and home coverage***

So who makes insurance rates higher?

P.S. You  also may be with an agent or company that takes advantage of your loyalty and offers you some sort of silly ploy about accident free credits, etc.

P.S.2 Just like when looking for somebody to date, there  is somebody out there that likes you and your characteristics.  Maybe it is time to find that company….and be willing to find a new one next year.


Just some thoughts to consider.  You have more control than you think.


Get a free quote…

Seriously has anyone ever paid for an insurance quote?  I mean would you actually call a  1-800 number and pay for an auto insurance quote NO.  Why the heck would you, you are in control.  Without you these companies have no chance of survival so I cannot even imagine a day when you will have to pay for an auto insurance quote.

But despite this I would love to hear from anyone that can go a week without hearing an ad touting “get a free quote.”  Where might you see this offer;

  1. In a mailing, could be a postcard could be an awful generic letter.  Might even have a fake credit card.
  2. On the radio; satellite or terrestrial there is no escaping
  3. It has even gotten to my new friend Pandora
  4. Those awful newspaper inserts that show up over the weekend
  5. On a billboard
  6. On a t.v. commercial
  7. In a banner ad on any website

And the list can keep going.  The key here is that even though your quote is free it cost a chunk of money to get you call in for a quote.  So I think to myself what if they spent all that money to actually keep their rates consistent?  What if they gave back a dividend?  What if they actually spent some money educating the customer versus just trying to get them to call for a quote?

Don’t hold your breath none of these suggestions are likely to occur.  Either way, enjoy your “free” quote with some caution.

Just some ideas, thanks for reading.

Did you know….

That by taking minimum coverage, $25,000/$50,000 in New York you are actually setting yourself up for higher rates.

That I tend to see this coverage more often from the company that does the most advertising.

That your low rate actual makes you pay higher coverage and in the event of an accident could hinder you financial for years to come.

The difference between minimum coverage($25,000) and better coverage($100,000) many times is about $5 a month.

That I cannot think of a circumstance that I would ever do this disservice to anyone.  But then again I don’t provide quotes or promise you cheap insurance.  Who wants to buy cheap things anyhow.

Thanks for reading.