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Posts Tagged ‘independennt insurance agent’

The Power of a Plan

Insurance Agents work spontaneously. We never know what will come through the door tomorrow and each day is a new adventure.

Insurance companies greet each day with thousands of policies to issue correctly, thousands of claims to settle and about a million other priorities that are ALL important and must be performed on a timely basis. Plus, they may have similar spontaneous events as the agent.

Insurance companies MUST engage in strategic planning to survive. Agents can survive day to day without a plan, but everyone will be more successful if the Insurer AND the Agent plan in concert with one another. PLAN for success and thrive rather than just survive.

The Insurance Company “Bluffing Letter”

Have you had a client whose claim was denied but you felt really uncomfortable about the coverage determination?

I have been working on quite a few denied claims in the recent future.   It have become apparent to me  that Insurers are using a strategy to issue a “bluffing letter”.    It looks like a denial and will discourage all but the most resolute Insured or Agent.

The letter basically says, “We don’t this covered and gives a litany of reasons.”   We will not indemnify or defend this claim….!”         The Insured files it and basically goes away without questioning it.    Some of these claims should be covered.  I have gotten several paid recently and in some we have filed suit.   (Of course, there are also many legitimate denials.)

Agents…  Don’t let your Insureds be taken advantage of this way.  ALWAYS follow up and when you need to involve an insurance expert such as myself, call us!.    “My business is knowing your business”. Let us help you protect your Insureds!   We can likely keep you out of an E & O claim!

 

 

Beware the Skunk!

For over ten years I have been discussing the “narrowing” of coverage due to the increased pressure from reinsurers  and rating agencies for increased profits and decreased loss ratios.   One of my key examples has been a broadening definition of “pollution”.

In the past two months I have either been involved in or heard of several claims being denied for “skunk spray”. This is a perfect example of profiteering.   A skunk is neither a vermin nor is skunk spray pollution.      But, beware…   Some have denied altogether and some have denied coverage for contents, EVEN WITH AN HO 15 ENDORSEMENT!

Can you find the “Fear” in your organization?

Fear in organizations ruins strategic initiatives.    Self interest and fear run together.   I am not talking about people literally quaking in their boots, I am talking about people being afraid that YOUR strategic initiatives will undermine their position or their power. Fear is a drastic impediment to teamwork!  Fear is a terrible impediment to  living our lives fully.

Seek out the fear in your organization. Communicate at all levels openly. Make communication the norm and accept it without judgment.   Fear destroys initiative.  FOLLOW the FEAR you’ll FIND the problem. What are the FEARS in your organization? Can YOU really find out?

In our strategic planning sessions, we find fears and make them advantages!

Your people will not tell you their fears unless they feel safe.   Be an effective leader and learn to listen.

Is Insurance a Commodity? (5)

This discussion of Commodities centers on recent attempts by insurers to circumvent agents and sell insurance products over the internet.    I am convinced that insurance is not a commodity as it is not a product that can be sold in an unmodified state and be used properly.   It would be like purchasing an unassembled, complicated piece of equipment and having no directions for assembly.  It appears to me that is the case with “unbundled” “risk bearing” or to put it another way, the thing Insurance companies sell is a “risk finance” mechanism.    Agents add value to this product by showing purchasers how to use it and by adding their own body of knowledge to the process!

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So, in conclusion, I do not think insurance is a commodity.   It needs the advice and service from a competent agent to protect both the insurer and the insured.   Insurance without risk management advice is likely not a good investment for an uninformed insured.  Risk without a first hand, on the ground, rational, informed view of what the exposures present to the insurer is not a good investment for an insurer.

An insurance agent brings a lot to the table IF they are properly educated.   Insurance agents need to put forth a more professional and educated front to deal with clients AND to deal with insurers. Knowledge is the key to being a successful agent.   This is not a point of sale, transaction based business.    That is one of the reasons other types of financial service firms have trouble with it.   The value of an agent is about the added value of knowledge in addition to the SERVICE of bearing risk provided by an insurer.