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.

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.

Insurance is not a product. It is a promise and a trusted relationship. Here at Reichley Insurance Agency, we are not going to sell you something you don’t need. We want to talk to you, determine your needs, and get you covered at the right price.

While the massive national agencies spend millions on television ads and offer barebones policies, they do not know you. When your needs change or your situation complicates, you don’t want an automated phone tree or cold cyber-agent. You want to talk to compassionate, honest insurance experts – that’s our team. You shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and comparing policies. Let the specialists at Reichley guide you through the complex insurance industry.

Call today to alleviate the worry and get covered – (937) 429-0655.

Tips for Working at Home

Does COVID-19 Have You Working From Home?

Due to the stay at home mandate, there are many people who are working remotely these days.  It appears this mandate will last at least another month.  Many people have thought that working remotely would be great, but working remotely is a double-edge sword.  Sure, you get to stay home, but studies show that it can be harder to focus on work.

Remote Workers Need to Be Aware of These Challenges:

  • Lack of a work routine
  • Tendency to over-work
  • Lack of human interaction
  • Prioritizing a work project
  • Interruptions from family, pets, phone calls, and the doorbell

How to Make Working Remotely Work for You

  • Confine your workspace to a specific area in your home.
  • Set up your workspace like your office.
  • Set a schedule and create a routine.
  • When in doubt, go with over-communication; update your boss frequently on everything you are doing, and whether your schedule and deliverables are changing in any way.
  • After work, stay off electronic devices for some time to transition to “home time.”
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Get dressed every day. Taking the time to get dressed and perform your usual self-care routine can prove a big psychological booster.

We are here to help you with any insurance related need you may have. Please be safe and stay healthy.

partners in risk

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

There is a growing trend that involves the idea that insurance agents are different. And that when selecting your personal insurance, it pays to use an agent who has experience, knowledge and the service you need.

Your agent should have many years’ experience in the industry. They should have a staff that has the knowledge and experience to handle your individual personal insurance concerns and questions. Your agent should be able to offer alternatives and services that others can’t. For example, can your agent help you with flood insurance, ATV coverage or your second home?

Here Are Five Questions To Ask You Broker

  1. What is your experience in the insurance industry?
  2. If I have a claim, how will you help me?
  3. How often will you call me to review my account?
  4. How many markets will you use to market my personal insurance program?
  5. What is your policy on following up with customer requests?

There are other ways to help you evaluate the agent, which include; visit their web page to learn more about their services, ask for references, and check other social media sites.

Agents Keep Changing And Evolving

Things Every Agent Should Be Doing

In case you have not figured it out, I am on a mission to change the way agents/brokers and their clients interact with each other. There are three things that every agent should be doing with their clients; educate, educate, educate. Ok, I know what you are thinking. Just like real-estate, it is location, location, and location. But not so fast.

Here Is What I Mean By Educate

Educate Your Clients About Their Risk

The very first thing every agent needs to do is help their clients understand what their risks are. Not just simply fire, wind, and auto hazards, but rather the client’s complete risks.  These risks can include liability assumed in a contract, cyber risk, employment liability, and more. This involves truly understanding the client’s business and how to create and deliver real solutions; some of which may not include insurance.

Educate Your Clients About Insurance

Every agent needs to be providing information to their clients on how insurance works, and the pros and cons of the insurance their clients are considering. Do your clients fully understand all the terms, conditions, and exclusions of their insurance?

Educate Your Clients About The Market

It is very important that your clients understand how the insurance markets work, including market trends and market volatility. The swings in market pricing can actually provide opportunities for our clients. As prices go up, why not increase the deductible, thus keeping premiums level?

It should always be the goal of every agent to help your clients understand the value you bring to the relationship.

What Is Risk Analysis And Why Is It So Important?

What Is Risk Analysis And Why Is It So Important?

The term risk analysis tends to sound like a complicated thing. But simply put, risk analysis is a review of the things that might create a loss for you, your family, or business.

Why Is This important?

You have so much invested in your family, home, and business. You need to have an understanding of things that might happen, which will create a negative impact on your family and business.

What Role Does Your Agent Play?

Your agent will be your guide, consultant, and advisor through this process. It is important that you have an agent who is not interested in selling you insurance. Your agent needs to educate you on your risk, offer options, and work with you to make sure you are correctly protected.

If your agent does not understand or is not interested in this process, you will be left with inadequate protection.

If your agent offers an off the shelf homeowners policy, without asking questions and educating you might get stuck in the event of a claim. For example, you have a fire in your business and have to move out for three months during reconstruction. Do you have the right coverage to help you with temporary rent, and other expenses? What if you have to close your business and you have a loss of revenue? Knowing the right coverage and limits you need is the responsibility of your agent.

We Help Make The Complex Simple

We offer a series of questions to help our clients understand their risk and what options they have to manage them, based on their individual situations.

We educate our clients so they can make informed decisions. For example, if you are renting out a part of your home, you will need special insurance, as your homeowner’s policy excludes operating a business out of your home.

If you own a home and have other financial assists, you may need a personal umbrella policy. This protects you against litigation or claims where your primary coverage is exhausted.

Let’s start a conversation on how we might be able to educate you and design an insurance program that fits your individual needs.

After Recent Storms Agents Show Their Value.

The recent storm and resulting damage have offered a reminder just how important the right kind of insurance can be. It also      re-enforces just how important your agent can be in helping you through the claim process.

People buy insurance to protect their family and financial assets from a loss. So when a loss occurs, most people expect their insurance to step up and take care of the issue.  Understanding insurance and the process involved in designing a policy can help prevent a standard claim from turning into a disaster.

How We Are Adding Value Post Storm

  • Helping clients finding contractors.
  • Offering ideas regarding money clients received from the insurance adjuster.
  • Communicating how the claim process works. For example, why the insurance company only paid a portion of the damage estimate at first.
  • Reminding people that claims are a “process’ of steps, not a one and done approach.
  • Helping to match volunteer disaster relief with clients in need.
  • Acting as a location and resource for internet, meeting space for adjusters and contractors to meet with clients displaced by the storms.
  • Helping clients with a final proof of loss.
  • Providing information on how to present your claim in a way to obtain the best payment based on your coverage terms.

Why Your Agents Knowledge And Experience Matters

Having a well-written policy at the time of a loss will make the entire process easier and more efficient.  Every insurance policy offers basic coverage like coverage for your home and personal property.  A trusted insurance partner will go beyond this and counsel you on how much coverage limits you may need and the benefits of modifying deductibles based on your financial capabilities.

The Value of Annual Insurance Reviews

An annual insurance review can offer time for the client and agent to sit down and determine what kind of coverage is needed based on your unique needs. This has become increasingly important after the recent Memorial Day tornado.

Your policy has coverage limits and deductible that will apply to each loss or claim. We can help you understand how these work and the value to you of adjusting these based on your individual needs.

We help you understand the value of viewing insurance as more than just a policy. It is a relationship with your agent and the insurance company. Your agent can become a trusted partner and help you with many areas of your personal insurance. This involves building a relationship of trust. You will want to have a comfortable, professional

Are You Looking In The Right Places For Your Insurance?

A More Effective Way To Think About Insurance.

Everyone is looking for a good deal on his or her personal insurance.  Some people define a “good deal” as getting the lowest priced insurance, much like buying gas or other products of a similar kind.  However, there is a different way to define the “best deal” in insurance terms.  We want you to get the best value.  Let me describe what I mean.

You Are Hiring Agent—Not Buying A Policy

Rather than shopping around for the lowest cost insurance, why not shop for an agent who can help you find the best value.  Independent agents represent many different insurers.  You will benefit from an agent who represents many insurers; especially an insurer who has experience with your individual needs.  When you allow an agent to market your insurance needs to several insurers, it is an excellent way to bring value to the process and ensure that you will be presented with the best options available on the market today.  You want a relationship, not just a policy.

Insurance policies are not all created equal. Insurance is not like a commodity; insurance companies offer many different kinds of policies that may or may not offer the coverage you need.  Why pay for insurance you do not need, or worse, pay for coverage you thought you had but did not.

As an independent agent, we will not sell you more insurance, we will provide the right insurance.  In some circumstances, we may even tell our clients not to buy insurance.

Ask your agent about their experience and qualifications. Are they investing in extra training and do they have accreditations?

A good agent will:

  • Ask questions
  • Educate you
  • Bring their knowledge and skills into the relationship
  • Act an advisor not a sale person
  • Become a trusted partner

Agents Help Fill The Gap

Many insurance policies are filled with coverage gaps. These are areas where you need certain coverage, but the policy may not provide it. A coverage gap may have policy limits or deductibles not designed for your needs.  An agent acting as your advisor can help you identify these gaps and offer solutions.

We often use the phrase, “You often don’t know what you don’t know.”  Our job as your trusted partner is to listen to you, educate you, then partner with you in developing the right insurance solutions.

Here Is How You Benefit

  • The complex becomes clear. When you have a relationship with the agent who is serving you, they will make the complex world of insurance understandable and how best to manage it.
  • Is Insurance the only option? Clients may not always understand that there may be other ways to handle risk.  A trusted advisor is in the education business – not the selling business.
  • Value-added benefits. With a trusted advisor, you the buyer will have all the resources and knowledge of the agent and his/her team.
  • You have access to other experts. Wouldn’t it be great if your agent brought to your team attorneys, accountants, claims experts, loss control professionals, and more?  Well, a trusted advisor will do just that.

Give me a call and let us talk about how we are different and can help you understand your insurance purchase with clarity.  I want to earn your trust.

Reichley Insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction.  Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks, and provide solutions.  Every Reichley employee has the heart of a teacher.  Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

How We Put People Before Policies

We have used “How We Put People Before Policies” as our tagline for many years.  We use it because we truly believe that people are more important than policies.  However, a tagline is meaningless unless it is put into practice.  Here are a number of ways we carry this out this concept every day.

Each Client Is Unique

We know your insurance needs are one of a kind and require personal attention.  Your family may require certain kinds of coverage and we will make sure you understand that.

Education Comes First

Before we even talk about insurance, we want to educate you on your risks and how these risks may affect your family or business.  We believe that if you are educated about your risk you will make educated decisions.

Excellence Starts With A Human Connection

When a client calls, they get a licensed professional who can speak to their specific needs and respond accordingly.  We listen to your concerns, ask questions, and then provide a response.

We Never Stop Learning

Risk and insurance is an ever-changing field.  That is why we, as a team, continue to expand our knowledge base and further our education.  This allows us to provide you with the latest trends regarding your risk and insurance.

Relationships Matter

Insurance is a relationship between you the client, the agent, and the insurance company.  We look out after your interests—we do not work for an insurance company.  We enjoy making personal connections with our clients, and look forward to the next time we interact with them.