Filing A Claim Correctly Can Save You Time And Money

We hope you never have an accident or loss.  But if you have a loss, knowing that your claim is covered by insurance will help.  That’s what insurance is all about.  And, if you understand the claim filing process, you will find that you will have fewer headaches and your claim will be resolved much faster.

Here are some tips to help you file your claim

Our agency is here to help you through the entire claim process.

  1. Always read your insurance policy so that you know what is covered and what is not covered.
  2. If you are unsure if your claim is covered, it is always good to call our office, or your agent. This is another good reason to have an independent agent to help you through the claim process. Don’t rely on the insurance company to interrupt coverage for you. Sometimes, just a conversation with the insurance company can be logged as a claim, even though no claim was filed.
  3. For auto accidents (depending on the damages), you will need to gather as much information as you can. Call your agent to obtain a check list to keep in your car. You can call our office for help, even right after the accident we are here to help. We offer a 24/7 client emergency number directly to our staff. It is ok to wake us up in the middle of the night; we may be in our pajamas, but we care about you.
  4. Document as much as you can. If you are involved in an auto accident, take photos with your smart phone. Get as many witnesses as possible.
  5. You have an obligation to prevent further damage. For example, if you have roof damage you will need to patch the roof with plastic or other material to prevent any further water damage.
  6. Understand that the claim process will involve working with a number of people. Our office can help take some of the work off your plate, but you will have to talk to the adjuster at some point to review the claim and settlement.
  7. Before accepting any settlement, make sure you are satisfied with the amount. Also make sure you read all the documents.
  8. Remember, all property losses may be subject to your deductible and deductibles may vary within the policy. This will help you understand the expectations of what is covered and what is not.
  9. Use our agency as your resource; we are here to help you manage the claim process.

 

 

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

Low Premium Vs. Value… Which Is Better?

Many people think the best way to select an insurance agent is to hire the one that offers the lowest possible price. Lower price can mean inferior coverage and that’s fine until you experience a loss that isn’t covered. My goal is to help you understand that there is more to insurance then getting the lowest price. I use concepts like value, cost benefit and service as a foundation for the agent/customer relationship.

Here are a few ideas to help you along your path

Independent agents offer more options. Independent agents represent many different insurers. You want an agent who represents many insurers; especially an insurer who have experience in your specific industry, and who is willing to take the time to get to know you. Allow the agent to market your risk with many different insurers, this is a good way to bring vale to the process. You want a relationship, not a policy.

What can your agent offer? If you own a business and are looking for an agent to write your commercial insurance, you want to make sure they have experience in your industry. If your agent only has experience with personal lines, do they really have the experience and knowledge you need?

Know your agent’s credentials and experience. Ask your agent about their experience and qualifications. Are they investing in extra training and or do they have accreditations, like ARM or CIC. Also ask about their staff, is the account manager also seeking additional designations.

Does the agents personality fit with yours? Your agent can become trusted advisor and help you with many areas of your business. This involves building a relationship of trust. You will want to have a comfortable, professional relationship with your agent, so you can ask questions and get the straightforward responses you deserve.

Your agent can build an insurance program that provides sound insurance and risk management that adds value. And in the long run value is much better than low price.

Which Insurance Agent Is Right For You?

Selecting an insurance agent may be one of the most important things you do.  Every family needs a good accountant, financial planner, and insurance agent to be looking out after their interests.  However, in today’s world, it may be hard to move your thinking away from the idea that the lowest price is the best, to getting the best value for your dollar.

We want to offer you a fun way to learn why your agent is more important than your policy.  We do this in the “Dear Abby” format—except it is “Dear Perk.”

Dear Perk: What does an insurance agent do?  In addition, is one really needed?  From – Wondering Will.

Dear Will:  A good insurance agent will help you understand what kind of insurance you need, first by educating you, and then offering solutions specifically designed for your family.  An agent asks you questions like, “What keeps you up at night,” or “Tell me about your lifestyle?”  Without an agent, there is no one looking out after your needs. Your agent will be there for you in the event of a claim and can provide valuable advice to make sure you get the full value of your policy.

Dear Perk: Aren’t all insurance agents the same?  From – All The Same Sam.

Dear Sam: No, insurance agents come in many different forms.  I recommend independent agents who represent many different insurance companies.  They are familiar with all types of policies from different carriers in the marketplace, and will create a better value by selecting what is best for their clients and not just selling you what products they have on hand.

Dear Perk: Our family has been blessed with great jobs that have allowed us to afford many luxury items.  Do I need any special kinds of insurance?  From – Very Blessed Brian.

Dear Brian: There are some very specific kinds of insurance we might recommend to people who have a high net worth.  Of course, we would want to meet with you to ask a series of questions in order to educate you and create a personal insurance portfolio just for you. However, here are a few ideas to get you thinking about your insurance needs.

Have you considered:

  1. A personal umbrella policy. This coverage offers higher limits for people who desire to protect their wealth in the event of a serious claim.
  2. Insurance for collections. Many people have wine collections, art, jewelry,and other high-end items that need to be insured.
  3. Insurance for a second home. If you own a vacation or rental home it is important to have that insured.
  4. Loss of use coverage. In the event your home is damaged, and you need to move out during restoration, you need coverage for a hotel, food, and other expenses. These can be covered under your homeowner’s insurance.

These are just a few thoughts we have regarding the importance of your insurance agent. “We believe insurance is not a product, it’s a promise and a trusted relationship”.  Please make time to hire the right agent with whom you can build a trusted relationship.  Then follow their advice and direction.

 

 

Why Are Auto Insurance Premiums On The Rise?

Why Are Auto Insurance Premiums On The Rise?

When we speak about insurance, we try to remind people that there are things you can control and things that are out of your control. It is essential to focus your attention on the actions that can help keep your auto insurance premiums as low as possible. These include; driving in a safe manner, keeping your vehicle in good repair, educating your teens through driver education, and using an independent agent to shop your auto insurance.

There are also factors that are out of your control. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these are the factors as to why auto insurance premiums are on the rise.

  • An increase in distracted driving accidents. Nine people die every day as a result of distracted driving, and 400,000 are injured annually. At any given time over 600,000 drivers are using mobile devices while they are driving.
  • Advance technology in newer vehicles. The cost to repair newer vehicles has increased due to the advanced technology utilized in newer vehicles.
  • Rising medical costs. Medical cost has increased by 3% in the last five years.
  • There are more vehicles on the road which increase the probability of having accidents.
  • The average cost of vehicle repair has risen by 24% over the past eight years.
  • Weather-related auto accidents cause billions of dollars each year.

There are many things you can do to keep your auto rates at the lowest level possible.

  • Review your deductibles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your Collision and Comprehensive costs by 15 to 20 percent.
  • Encourage your student driver to get the best grades possible. Most major insurance companies offer a discount for students in good academic standing.
  • Select a safe car. Check out which cars are popular with thieves and avoid them. Also, the more expensive the car, the higher the premiums.
  • Be a safe driver. The more accidents and tickets you have, the higher the premiums will be.
  • Purchase a car with an alarm or LoJack. LoJack® Stolen Vehicle Recovery System provides car owners with peace of mind knowing that if their vehicle is stolen, they have the best chance of getting it back.
  • Be loyal. Many auto insurance companies offer loyalty discounts if you stay with them over time.
  • Check for other auto insurance discounts. These might include taking safe driver courses, senior discounts and more.

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 employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

Perk Reichley and Bob Lilly

#insurance #riskmanagement #autoinsurance

How To Develop a Great Relationship With Your Clients

One of the most important things an agent can do is to develop a trusted partnership with their clients. A trusted relationship does not come quickly and means agents and their clients must look differently at the insurance buying process. There are many things an agent can do to build productive relationships with their clients.

Agents Must Take Action

Listen To Your Clients. The best way to know and understand your clients is to ask questions then listen to them.

Spend Time With Them. Agents need to make time for their clients besides just the renewal. We recommend you find ways to touch your clients monthly, with a newsletter, card, visit, industry gathering or a personal visit.

Get Your Team Connected To Their Team. It is often a great idea to have your agency team, and your client’s associates meet to get to know each other. This can be done at a social event or something like a lunch and learn.

Do Something Without Being Asked. Agents tend to get in a mindset of insurance, stop that way of thinking. If you just finished reading a good business or management book give a copy to your client. If you are heading off to a seminar, ask your client to go with you.

Be A Problem Solver. Get educated in your client’s industry, and then you are better able to help them solves all kinds of problems other than insurance.

Be Willing To Sell Less Insurance. This a tough one for agents to get over. But a trusted relationship starts with your client believing you are interested in what is best for them, not the agent selling more insurance. There are many other risks and none risk solution to your client s issues and concerns, get educated in these and be willing to educate and inform rather than sell.

If agents started to practice these six items, clients would become more interested in sharing all of their concerns, and you will become a valued business partner.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”– Dale Carnegie

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 employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

Perk Reichley and Bob Lilly

#insurance #riskmanagement #customerservice #busienssinsurance #selling #educating

 

How You, The Customer, Benefits From Hiring A Trusted Advisor

Max Integrity Meaning Upper Limit And Virtue

Over the past year or so, we have been discussing the importance of looking at insurance as a service rather than a product.  One area we have not spent much time on is how this adds value and benefit to the customer.

It would seem to me that every family, business owner, or business manager would want to have the following benefits:

  • 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.  Only an agent who educates first will be able to help you understand your risk and how best to manage it.  The trusted advisor cuts through the clutter to find the right solution that will solve your problem.
  • Is Insurance the only option? Clients may not always understand that there may be other ways to handle a risk.  A trusted advisor is in the education business—not the selling insurance 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 will have help in understanding the buying process, creating of solutions that are designed for you, and support in bringing recommendations to others in your organization.
  • 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.

This is a different mindset for the buyer and agent, but when done correctly it can provide real benefits to your family, business, and life.

Why Insurance Is Not A Product

No matter how hard television advertisements try to convince you that insurance is a product, it is a service. Some advertisers use animals, actors pretending to know insurance, or wild claim examples to convince you that all you need is a simple internet policy and your problems are solved. They claim that the lower the premium is, the better it is for you.

Low premiums do not equate to the right coverage for you. Do not be fooled by actors trying to convince you that insurance purchased online in ten minutes will respond to a serious accident or injury. These advertisements focus on cost rather than the value of the service purchased. What we should be focusing on is the value of a policy in relationship to a purpose.

The value of a policy in relationship to a purpose

  • Get away from the idea that consumers should primarily focus on the price they are willing to pay for coverage, rather than making sure they have the coverage they need.
  • You cannot cover your risk by arbitrarily choosing an amount you are willing to pay for a policy. You need to make sure that your risk is properly covered.
  • Beware of insurance companies who have brands that claim, “We are the cheapest so we must be the best!”, or “We cover that crazy football party claim (less than .00001% of all claims) so we must cover everything else.”
  • We want our clients to understand the purpose of insurance and the value of the many solutions available.

Insurance Is a Promise of Service

  • Agents should help their clients determine why they are buying insurance.
  • Insurance is designed to protect individuals and businesses from the unexpected. It is important to help clients understand possible implications of actions.
  • Agents need to educate clients on the difference between low cost and value. Office Depot aired an advertisement a few years ago that explains this concept.

Source for some of the information in this article; Timothy P. O’Brien

Your Policy Is Only As Good As Your Agent

To 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.