The word alone usually shuts people’s interest down. However, it is one of the most searched things on the internet. Why? Frankly it is because very few actually understand it.
Some believe cheaper is better. But when you ask them what kind of insurance they have, they honestly don’t know what is covered and what is not.
I’ve been in the industry since 1979, and have picked up a thing or two along the way. I would like to share some observations that you may find to be of value to you.
The top 3 things people say they want from their insurance provider are that they be knowledgeable, honest and friendly.
Insurance knowledge is very important because regardless of the reason for seeking insurance, what you are really getting is a promise. The promise that you will get what you are entitled to in an “at need” situation. Knowledge is what will guide you to the right cost / coverage scenario up front. The knowledge that your claim advocate (insurance provider) possesses is often the difference maker in seeing that the promise is properly kept. If what people seek most on the internet is knowledge, then your insurance provider should be a good listener and a good educator.
Honesty ranks at the top firstly because you are entrusting that person with the welfare of your most valued assets. If you do not know and trust your insurance provider, then you are with the wrong insurance provider. It actually is that simple. No one likes to be overcharged. You need to have someone you trust looking out for your best interest. You need someone that will tell you the hard news too, not just the bells and whistles. When the chips are down you need someone you can rely on to see you through the tough times. Your insurance provider owes you a duty to you to be quick, kind and correct. I recommend that you be mindful of these points when choosing your provider.
Friendliness is also on the high end of the importance scale. Partly because everyone likes to have pleasant experiences in whatever they do. Mainly friendliness is a measure of the professionalism, confidence and competence of your insurance broker. A telemarketer from a foreign land, reading off a script is hard to trust and difficult to gage on the honestly scale. A savvy consumer should ask pertinent questions expecting knowledgeable, complete answers delivered in a cheerful manner.
Making the right choice
Our industry has many methods of distribution. Among the choices are: brokers, agents, direct writers, banks owned distributors and website distributors. All have pros and cons, but the value proposition of having an independent broker actually trumps all the rest. Contemplate the following points:
There has been more change in the insurance industry in the last 5 years than in the 50 years before.
Insurance companies go through claims thousands of times each year. Clients may only see a claim once or twice in a lifetime. The lucky ones never do. Given the contrasting levels of experience, who do you think is better at claim? Who is your advocate? Are you with the right insurance broker?
Brokers vs Agents: Agents have but one company that they sell for. Not much choice for you.
Brokers vs Direct Writers: Writers occasionally cost slightly less. They make bigger profits by not having a location, paying taxes or having employees in your community. More often than not they have a narrow scope of what they can cover and they cannot be with you in a claim situation since their service is delivered from some far off land.
Brokers vs Banks: Bank owned insurance distributors, similar to direct writers do nothing for your community as they are legally prohibited from selling from their banking branches due the conflict of interest. It is considered coercive selling when an institution has control of a consumer’s finances and proposes to have them buy insurance from the bank as well. This is deemed an unfair practice as it diminishes the consumer’s right to make an unencumbered choice. Banks are similar to Agents in that they have very few options to choose from and most often only have capability of dealing with the simplest insurance transactions.
Online Brokers vs Web Only: When I refer to web insurance distributors, I am referring to “web only” distributors. There is obviously nothing wrong with doing business on the World Wide Web. In fact I’m a big fan. However a lot of the same principals apply. Will they stand beside you and advocate for you in a claim situation? Do they support your community by paying taxes, employing your friends and neighbors, supporting your community’s needs with their profits?
My recommendation is that a knowledgeable, trustworthy, friendly, independent broker is the best value proposition.
They live and work in your community, creating jobs here and supporting community initiatives. As a broker they offer the choice over many insurance companies, not just one. They will be an advocate for you and stand with you in your moment of need should that happen. I would choose a broker that is capable of doing business with you in whatever way you want to do it. In person at their office, or at your home or business, via phone, fax, e-mail or web. Look for an interactive chat feature that connects you to an experienced broker. The most progressive brokerages now have their own free App downloadable and connecting you anywhere at any time instantly to all your information right when you need it