Confessions of a Failed
Insurance Father

 

I learned my son purchased a policy without using a quality independent insurance agent and he purchased a policy from a carrier that I would not recommend. How could I have failed so miserably to instill in him that insurance is not a commodity? How could I have failed to teach that having a professional agent assist and be an advocate is valuable? I understand how I failed to teach the importance of looking beyond a rating company's rating when determining which carrier. At least the carrier is decently rated.

I asked for a copy of his correspondence and this company is slick. Existing agencies and carriers really should copy the approach. For young, naïve people who think all policies are the same, a carrier/agency willing to take advantage will have a field day. This means one of the key elements to winning this business is to adopt the same technology and marketing approaches and then add quality coverages, advice, etc. to the equation. No point exists in insisting that people should study policies or learn on their own that insurance is not a commodity. You have to teach this through your proposals, your marketing, your sales, your advertising, your websites, and all your communications. It is up to you to be proactive, not the consumer.

Whether "you" are the company or "you" are the agency/broker, it is up to you to make a difference. That is your job if you are a professional.

Next step, teach why an agent is important. Is an agent just a worthless 15% extra cost? What exactly do you do for your money? How do prospects know you do this? The tag lines, "We find the best price." "We find the best coverage." "We find the best price and coverage" are all worn out (and dangerous from an E&O perspective). What are you actually going to do they can't do for themselves or think they can do for themselves? Most people today believe they can search the Internet and find the best price so if you think your offer to find the best rate is important, think again. It looks like you are trying to get paid for doing something they can do for themselves. These are not the pre-search engine days. At least get your tag line to recognize it is not the year 2000 any longer.

In other words, what is your real, tangible advantage to consumers? Next, how are you even articulating this advantage? If you cannot define and then successfully articulate why you are worth 15%, you may not be worth 15%. It is funny that I work with specific producers that can define and articulate their value while in the same agency, others cannot. Both have all the same tools and same companies. Guess who outsells whom.

P.S. He now has a quality policy from a quality agent.

NOTE: The information provided herein is intended for educational and informational purposes only and it represents only the views of the authors. It is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. Burand & Associates, LLC and Chris Burand assume, and will have, no responsibility for liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information. 

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Burand & Associates, LLC is an advocate of agencies which constructively manage and improve their contingency contracts by learning how to negotiate and use their contingency contracts more effectively. We maintain that agents can achieve considerably better results without ever taking actions that are detrimental or disadvantageous to the insureds. We have never and would not ever recommend an agent or agency implement a policy or otherwise advocate increasing its contingency income ahead of the insureds' interests.

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