When 1 + 2 does not equal 3
— “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your auto insurance”
— “Shop and Save…that’s Progressive”
— “We are Farmers…dum duh dum dum dum dum dum”
— “You’e in good hands…”
— “Like a good neighbor…”
— “Nationwide is on your side…”
Don’t you just love insurance company jingles and slogans?….
Advertising…gotta love it. Each one of those, obviously, was tested and tested to see what kind of response it would bring. The goal of marketing is not to make you love it…its to make you remember and think about it. Each of these obviously work because I thought of them…and you are probably now going to be singing at least one of them after reading this. (please don’t shoot me).
The problem is, it’s all fluff. We all know it’s fluff. It means nothing. Especially in the insurance world, the company is only as good as the agents…and each agent is completely different. People always ask for my opinion on who my best competition is. Who, Josh, do you think is the second best company behind yours? It’s impossible to answer. One company may be so-so but they may have amazing agents who make up for that. The other company may be amazing…but their agents are gutter dwellers.
So, because of this, I thought I would put together a list of what to look for in an insurance agent. Some of it may sound common and simple, but it’s very apparent that not everyone uses this knowledge when push comes to shove.
1. Where does your agent live? Is the agent part of the community? Did they grow up in the area? Do they know exactly what you are talking about when you go off on a tangent about the local ____? If you are using an agent who isn’t familiar with your community, you are doing yourself a disservice. A really good, and connected, agent can be a great source of knowledge for many things outside of the insurance industry. Because of the number of people we meet, we are great at giving referrals, we are great at knowing when certain events are happening, etc… Have an agent that is no more than 50 miles away from you.
2. Does your agent poke and prod or does he/she just take orders. If you wanted an order taker who wasn’t looking out for your best interests, you would just go online and get a Progressive or Geico policy. That’s not what you want. You wanted someone personally to speak with…so…why is it that so many are okay with an agent who just gives them what they had before? An agent is licensed and trained to give their opinions. When they see something is wrong with a policy, they should point it out. I NEVER quote apples to apples and leave it at that. That is scary to me. What is that previous agent was…
You never know what the previous agent did, what his or her motives were, etc… Your agent should NEVER trust the previous agent. It’s borderline malpractice to do so. Your agent should take what you say, respect it, and then give you his thoughts on what should happen. Does that mean he should turn your business down if you decide to just do what you originally wanted? No…but at least he has let his thoughts be known. Otherwise…again…we may as well be a cut rate company.
3. Longevity with an Agent does not equal perfection. Just because you’ve been with someone a long time does not mean they are the best. Shop around…intelligently. More on that in a moment…well…more on that right now.
4. Rates are important…find the best deal for yourself..but realize that many times, even in insurance, you get what you pay for. What kind of representation do you get for that low low almost too good to be true rate? Will they pay the claim? Will the agent answer his phone? Never sacrifice so much that you miss the forest through the trees.
5. Work with someone who wants to help you with ALL of your insurance. Does this sound counter-intuitive? Normally people hate it when a professional tries to “cross sell” them. In the insurance business though, this is important. Discounts come from multiple policies most of the time. Not only that, but you want your business with one trusted professional…not with 2 or 3 different ones.
It’s not rocket science but it is important. Think about these things before you do them. Know what you have…why you have it… and have an agent who will sit down with you and explain these things. If you haven’t spoken with your agent since you started the policy…chances are you need a new one. Sorry..just real talk here.
Okay, almost time to hit the road…until next time!