“Quote me apples-to-apples.”
“I’m happy with my agent.”
“My agent shops my insurance.”
“I buy my insurance local”
“My agent is a good friend.”
“I’m simply not interested.”
If you are someone who buys insurance, one of these statements may have slipped out of your mouth. It’s ok. As an insurance advisor, I forgive you. It’s what we do as human beings. It’s why we text versus have a conversation. It’s why we email versus pick up the phone. Simply put, we say these things because it’s ‘easier’, and honestly, none of us want to deal with the insurance person that walks through the front door anyway. I totally get it.
A good insurance person knows that earning your trust and your business will be a process. They respect that and know exactly what they are going to do over time to earn your trust. They also understand you have a relationship today, which means the first rebuttal that comes out of your mouth doesn’t always tell the real story. A good advisor will ask questions. A poor one will spew product and talk about their company or themselves. You find that 70% will most likely do the latter.
At its foundation, a proficient insurance advisor provides sound advice on how to prevent bad things from happening and guidance when it does. 2020 has put that on full display with COVID-19 and the recent derecho event that has devastated our communities in eastern Iowa. With 2020 being what it’s been, it could be the right time to ask yourself, “Do I have the right insurance advisor?”
The truth is, your insurance policy is a legally binding contract between you and your insurance company. Like many, you might find it confusing. When it appears you have coverage on one page, and then it’s excluded on another, it’s understandable why there’s frustration. Yet, despite this, most will go through their insurance buying process based on price alone, or simply just buying it from a friend. How does that make sense? With everything going on in the world, could it be possible you are better off protecting your assets with someone who specializes in what you do versus the lowest bidder? It is my belief that the days of the handshake, and the back slap, with your agent saying, “You’re covered” are gone. Today’s insurance contracts are far too complex, and exposures far too great, to leave your livelihood to chance.
Here are some simple items to consider when looking for a qualified insurance advisor for your business:
- Industry Knowledge – are they familiar with the industry you work in and its corresponding exposures?
- Team Support – is there a team behind your agent to support your business’ needs?
- Responsiveness – do they provide valuable answers to your questions and do they have individuals who are experts in each exposure your business has?
- Access to Resources – have they invested internally in resources to help you achieve your objectives?
- Strong Carrier Relations – are they a product pusher or do they operate with your best interests in the marketplace?
- Values – do their core values align with your business? Some people just don’t see eye to eye. If you aren’t on the same page as one another, then don’t work together – it’s really that simple.
As someone who has spent sixteen years in the insurance industry, with ten of those years recruiting top notch sales talent and leading sales teams, I have observed characteristics of mediocre, good, and the best of the best advisors. A mediocre advisor will ask to ‘quote’ your insurance, a good advisor will consult with you on your program, but a truly outstanding advisor will take the time to understand what it is you are trying to accomplish, tailor it to your business, and then deliver tremendous value before and after the sale. Simply put, insurance is NOT a commodity. An outstanding advisor knows that and can articulate why it’s not the moment they walk through your door.
This year has been one for the ages. If your business is not doing things ‘differently’ you will fall behind. Your risk management process, representation to the insurance marketplace, and risk financing decision-making should be a significant part of that. Right now, your advisor should be helping you navigate the current marketplace by:
- Providing strategies to reduce the cost of your risks.
- Mitigating those risks due to COVID-19, increased unemployment, and higher frequency and severity of damaging weather, along with new exposures that pop up everyday due to changing technology.
- Providing insight into market trends impacting property, liability, auto, and workers compensation insurance, and sharing what other successful businesses are doing in their respected fields.
If this is all new to you as a business owner, or decision maker in your business, now could be the right time to interview a new advisor.