Insurance Customers Needs Are Changing

partners in riskWith all the changes going on in our world, customers’ needs seem to change as well. In a recent customer satisfaction survey regarding customer service, we found many interesting changes in what people what.
Customer service has quickly risen to the top of the priority list for consumers, and 2021 will be no exception. But why are so many businesses putting a premium on the consumer experience, and what happens if they don’t?
A customers’ loyalty is no longer based on price or product. Instead, they remain loyal to businesses because of the experiences they have had with them.

Customers want to have a place to get all their insurance fulfilled at one time.

Top Consumer Priority
1. Customer experience 46%
2. Pricing 21%
3. Product 33%

The survey found that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. How we define customer service:

• We educate rather than sell.
• Seeking alternatives to insurance is always an option.
• Giving our clients many ways to communicate with us is a priority.
• We develop relationships.
• Insurance should be one of many solutions to your risk concerns, not just a product
• Trust is one of the few remaining differentiators available to the modern insurer. Not only that, but it’s still the biggest indicator of a long-term sustainable business.

The client, regardless of the insurance firm, looks to you, the agent, for guidance, support, and responsiveness. Remember to put your client relationships first, despite the evolving tactics and focuses in today’s insurance markets, and you’ll find yourself building a book of business that sticks around for the long haul.

What Are Clients Looking For In An Agent?

meetingA recent study by a leading insurance research firm showed something we have been saying for years. That is, when it comes to insurance buying most people are not just looking at price. There are many factors that will lead a person or business to select their agent.

Here are some of the factors clients consider when shopping for insurance:

  1. Clients want to be educated about risks they face.
  2. Clients want their agent to ask questions about their family and business.
  3. Clients want to connect with, and be cared for by, their agent.
  4. Clients want a partnership, not a salesperson.
  5. Clients want assurance their coverage needs are met, not just “sold” a product.
  6. Clients want to understand how their insurance works.
  7. Clients want good communication with their agents.

Price is part of the process, but less than 20%, according to Yana Glezina the director of brand and communications at Rocket Referrals, a leading insurance communications platform based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here are ways to improve communication with your clients:

  • Return calls the same day.
  • Educate—do not sell.
  • Text clients who are not into email or phone calls.
  • Send your clients thank you notes and birthday cards.
  • Be available when clients reach out randomly with a question.
  • Reach out to your clients with meaningful and timely content.
  • Respond to good and bad reviews.

If you are doing these things, then you are on your way to developing a true partnership with your clients.

Here Is Our Secret to Getting Our Clients The Best Possible Combination of Coverage, Price and Service.

light bulbThere is nothing wrong with wanting competitively priced insurance for your home or business. The issues seem to arise when an insurance consumer takes the low-cost insurance without regard to coverage, their risk, or services offered. We have found a way to help our clients get the best of both worlds; we call it CPS (coverage, price, and service).

Coverage– your policy needs to be designed to give you the insurance you need.

Price– We will work with our insurers to get you a policy you can afford with the coverage you need. We believe in value, not just low prices. We make sure you get all the credits you deserve. We will re-run your credit score as needed.

Service– Insurance is evaluated in the service you receive during the year and after a claim has been reported.

Here are the keys to getting the best possible combination of coverage price and service.

Relationships matter. Relationships still matter and always will. For all its regulations, calculations, and machinations, insurance still requires a personal touch. An agent must have a good relationship with the insurers it represents to get the best level of service, which is passed on to the customer. The agent’s relationship with the customer is important in order for the customer to receive the service they desire.

Communication. We listen to our clients, allowing us to better understand their needs and design an insurance program that meets their needs. We take the time to educate our clients on the different types of insurance, eliminating insurance that is not needed, and saving money.

Be an Invaluable Resource.  We help you understand risks you may not have known about and create insurance solutions that will cover a potentially un-insured claim.

Authenticity. By maintaining an open and honest relationship with our clients allows us to show our value and the importance of building trust. We are able to speak freely about the coverage you need and the coverage you may not need.

You are buying a process of how we work with you to provide the coverage you need.

Are Electric Scooters Covered Under My Insurance Policy?

scootersElectric scooters and bikes are popping up all over cities across the country.  They have been popular in Europe for years.  We are at the beginning of this new form of personal transportation, which creates a few questions regarding risk, liability, and insurance coverage.

How Can You Secure Insurance Coverage That Includes Physical Damage And Personal Liability For An Owned E-Bike Or E-Scooter?

Personal liability from homeowners or renter’s policy is unlikely to cover the use of an e-bike because of the exclusion for motor vehicles. A motorcycle policy covering an owned motorcycle or scooter might extend liability to a non-owned e-scooter. In most cases you do not have any insurance coverage unless owned and properly insured.

Are You Covered If You Rent An E-Scooter Or E-Bike?

Most cities don’t have regulations or rules because they don’t qualify as a motor vehicle. Some cities require a driver’s license and helmet, but these are mostly on the honor system.  Users can rent the scooter then leave it anywhere they want (in your front yard or in front of your business).

Insurance companies are busy trying to figure out who is liable in the event a scooter injured someone.  What if the scooter rider injures someone while on the job, will the injuries be covered under workers’ compensation and any liability be the responsibility of the employer insurer?  Business insurance policies may not address scooters specifically. Depending on the circumstances, some electric scooter-related injuries may be covered while others may not.

Many scooter companies have strict waivers that are included in the rental agreement limiting any liability to the rental companies.  One company offers a $1,000,000 liability policy, but all claims would be subject to extensive investigations.

Most legal experts agree that rider will bear the legal liability arising from accidents because of the terms to which the rider agrees to when downloading the app.  The laws, the courts, and the insurance industry are often slow to respond to new technology, and this may be the case with electric scooters. Relatively few laws specific to e-scooters have been passed.

Final Thoughts

Any insurance solutions will most likely be using an auto type of coverage and there are likely territorial limitations imbedded in the policy, therefore traveling abroad and renting these in different urban areas may leave a coverage gap in those specialty policies.

There are a few carriers that offer specialty type electric scooter insurance for these types of devices. The cost varies depending on usage.  We recommend you contact your insurance agent to discuss if your personal insurance provides any coverage or if you need to add coverage to your program.

Ask Perk Reichley

perkOver the years, I have been asked about many different kinds of insurance questions. I thought it might be interesting to start sharing these questions and my responses. Remember, there is no bad or wrong question. If you have a question, send it to me, I will be happy to answer it for you.

Are there unique kinds of insurance I might need?

It is our hope and desire that you never need to make a claim, but if you do, you want the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. Here are some added coverages you might want to consider.

  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Higher limits on jewelry
  • Identity theft
  • Coverage for collections, art, guns, and coins
  • Personal umbrella liability
  • Coverage for back-up of sewers caused outside the home

How often should I review my personal insurance program?

We recommend an annual review of all your personal insurance needs. This might be a call or face-to-face meeting, depending on your needs.

If you have made some life changes, we always recommend a review at that time. Some life changes that will affect your personal insurance include:

  • Change in marital status
  • Birth of a child
  • Purchase of a new car or any other major purchase
  • Planning international travel
  • Children heading off to college
  • Working form home
  • Retirement
  • Job change

Should I ever consider increasing my deductibles?

Changing your deductibles on your auto or home insurance depends on your risk appetite. It is true that increasing deductibles will save you money, but there are other factors that you might also consider.

  • How much increase is desired?
  • Do you have a history of losses?
  • Do you have the financial resources to handle it?
  • Is the cost-benefit worth the risk?

House prices have been skyrocketing in my neighborhood lately. Should I increase my limits?

A hot real estate market doesn’t actually impact your home rebuild cost or replacement cost. That number is based on the raw materials and labor it would take to rebuild it with like kind and quality.

 

What Keeps You Up AT Night?

Every one of us has certain things that keep you up once in a while. It might be your job, the kids, illness, or other life’s problems. Our goal to make sure that protecting your family with the right insurance does not keep you up.

Here is how we help you sleep at night

  1. We never sell you a policy. We ask questions and educate you so that the coverage you but the right fit for you.
  2. Insurance is a complex transaction, so we work hard to make sure you understand how insurance works before you make a decision.
  3. Our team is licensed and have years of experience that help us better educate you.
  4. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding your insurance decisions.

According to an Insurance Journal article, here are the top issues that keep people up.

  • Flood and other natural disasters
  • Identity theft
  • End of life issues
  • Eldercare

We can provide valuable information regarding each of these so that you can make the right decision for you and your family. We hope you noticed that we don’t just offer a quick insurance product. That is because we will only offer you an insurance solution after we fully understand your needs.

Connect with us and let us show you how we do it

Over the last sixty years, we have established a reputation for honesty, high morals, integrity and friendly, professional customer service – pillars of a successful insurance agency. Based upon this foundation, the staff of Reichley Insurance Agency commits to the following mission.

Why We Stopped Selling Insurance and Started Educating our Clients

Many years ago, our agency changed the way we operate. We saw that insurance could be viewed as a commodity like a car or home. But we know otherwise. There were two reasons for our change.

  1. If people saw insurance as a commodity, then the lowest price wins. And with insurance, low price usually means one size fits all coverage and low or no education or service that values the customer over the insurance carrier’s efficient transaction model.
  2. When we can educate and explain why you need or don’t need certain insurance coverage, the process becomes less about cost and more about purchasing the right coverage at the right prices, hence creating value.

Here is what we like to do before we even say the word insurance. We ask questions to understand your needs better. We share our knowledge about your risks, and we help identify the individual risks you face and start the process of putting together a plan to protect you with a combination of insurance, risk transfer and avoidance techniques.

Our clients routinely tell us that “this is the first time someone took the time to explain this to them”.  They feel empowered to control and have ownership of their insurance program.

Building a business populated by satisfied, repeat customers is our goal.  This benefits both parties and offers us the opportunity to invest our knowledge and expertise while sharing the relationships we have with community vendors and insurance carriers to benefit our customers.  This feels more successful that hitting a sales goal each year.

As we continue to monitor the safety needs of our staff and clients, our agency will continue to operate as we have since the start of the COVID-19 Quarantines and work electronically in service to our clients. Walk-in traffic from clients and prospects will continue to be suspended. We will remain open and all aspects of our agency operations are available including a drop box at the office for payments and documents.

Communicate with our staff via electronic methods; Telephone, email, text are still available (PDF) and our technology to conduct business transactions electronically has been expanded to include video meetings as an option to face to face. While this lacks the personal touch we are known for as well as the communication style we prefer, these changes are necessary during this time of protecting one another for the near future. We appreciate your understanding and loyalty to our agency.

 

What Does Your Agent Talk To You About?

When you meet or talk to your agent, what are the topics of conversation? Are you talking just about your bill, or how you got an endorsement and didn’t understand it? Do you get way too much communication on how to reduce your premium by buying less coverage? Many companies will tell you, and you don’t need to talk to your agent.

We are here to provide a different approach. We recommend talking to your agent at least once a year and even more if needed. Communication is the key to all good relationships. We will reach out to you and talk to you about the following.

  1. How is your claim being processed? Can we help you?
  2. Did you get your policy, and do you have any questions?
  3. Have you made any major purchases; a new car, boat, or other high-end items?
  4. I know you have a wine collection, did you but any new bottles that need to be insured?
  5. Your son Travis is heading off to college; we might want to review your coverage.
  6. How is your new job going? Do they offer life insurance, or would you like to look at some options?
  7. Have you thought more about identity theft coverage? Or do you have any questions?
  8. We have found many people are driving for a ride-sharing company, is there anyone in your house doing this?

These are just some examples of what our conversations might look like. Of course, we also start with a good day it is great to connect, and end with thank you for your business, we value our relationship and love serving you.

 

Your Policy Is Only As Good As Your Agent

agentTo say that your insurance policy is only as good as your agent is a bold statement. You have also heard me say, that not all policies are created equal. Just what do I mean by this? The idea is that your agent is the most important part of your insurance program. Here are three reasons why this is true:

  1. Insurance companies only offer a policy, they do not design coverage. On the other hand, independent agents can design coverage that is best for your specific needs.
  2. Independent agents work for the client, not the insurer.
  3. Experienced agents can help you identify and manage your risk, rather than sell you a policy.

The best way to ensure you are getting the best advice and value is to have a trusted relationship with an experienced agent. Like any relationship, communication is the key. A good agent will listen to the customer and offer risk and insurance solutions. There are times when insurance is not the best solution. Again, here are examples:

  1. Contractual Risk Transfer – There are many ways to transfer your risk through a contract or agreement. An example might be for products liability. If you are distributing a product manufactured by another party you can transfer the product liability to them, rather than take that risk on.
  2. Self-Insure – There are times when the risk may be such that you are better off self-insuring rather than spending a lot on an insurance policy with a super high deductible. Sometimes, you can mitigate risk by putting risk control techniques in place to reduce or eliminate the risk all together.

Only an agent who is interested in your best interests would offer you options that included no insurance. Rather than using any agent to get you an insurance quote, select a qualified independent agent who will collaborate with you and design a risk management program that meets your needs.

 

The New Normal for Insurance Buyers

Beyond Insurance… Risk Strategies

Businessman surrounded by sharks in stormy sea. Competitive business concept. Paper waves clouds boat and

Someone once said, “The only thing you can count on is change.”  When it comes to insurance buying, that is unmistakably true.  Today, people have more ways than ever to secure insurance coverage.  However, are they getting the coverage they need?  Another true statement is, “The more you have, the more significant risks you have.”

The combination of change and risk leads us to the understanding that people should be seeking an insurance partner who understands their changing needs in a risky world, rather than being able to secure a low-cost insurance program.  People who have a higher net worth should be primarily focused on protecting assets.

If a lawsuit threatens the lifestyle you have created, you want a partner to stand beside you.  You need personal liability insurance options to safeguard your family and assets in the event of personal claims against you at limits that exceed the liability protections provided by standard policies.

Many individuals have unique risks which can include:

  • A second home
  • Farm or rental income
  • In-home business
  • High valued homes
  • Watercraft
  • Foreign travel
  • Domestic employees
  • Identity theft

You need an insurance partner who can help develop a risk and insurance plan that will manage your risk at a competitive cost.   It’s not business as usual any longer.

When Searching for an Insurance Partner, Ask These Questions:

  • Does your agent educate you about your risk before trying to sell you a product?
  • Is their staff experienced and qualified to manage your needs?
  • Is your agent more interested in a relationship as a trusted partner rather than as another insurance client?
  • Is your agent committed to work for you rather than for the insurance company?
  • Does your agent design a program based on your individual needs and then give you options?
  • Does your agent advocate for you through customized analysis of your risk and needs?
  • Is your agent committed to leading the claims process to a satisfactory outcome?
  • Does your agent have access to sophisticated personal insurance carriers that offer specialty products and personal risk solutions?

Protecting your lifestyle goes way beyond insuring your car or home.  Proper insurance has to do with understanding the risks associated with your life and creating a plan to safeguard you and your family’s future. Our society’s way of managing COVID-19 has forever changed the way we work, play, travel, gather information and gather supplies for our daily lives.  Many of these changes are just new ways of doing things, however many can create new risks that your current policies do not address completely.  Do any of these sound like your new normal?

  1. More time buying products and services online from home.
  2. Increase use of home networks for business use.
  3. Using business owned office equipment at home for your work.
  4. Work meetings at personal residences or on-line.
  5. Connecting to open networks for work purposes at restaurants or other places.
  6. Use of personal vehicles to and from client’s offices.
  7. Use of personal vehicles for delivery jobs.
  8. The storage and use of paper documents for work at your home residence.

All these issues and others create a need for a conversation with your agent.  Policies are changing to accommodate some needs on a temporary basis while other do not.  The best risk management program is a combination of a strong relationship with a well-educated agency that can place and maintain your coverage with excellent insurers at a competitive price.  It’s not just getting a few of the above items, it’s about achieving the right balance to get all parts working for you and your family.

“Insurance is not a product, it’s a promise and a trusted relationship”, Perk Reichley.