What Do You Want From Your Insurance Relationship?

The best relationships are built to last.  Long-term financial relationships are much more than a quick transaction or low price.  Recent surveys by JD Power & Associates found that consumers actually valued long-term relationships.  There are many ways agents can build value and create lasting positive relationships with their clients.

Why Lasting Relationships Matter

If you listen to most insurance advertisements, they tell you to shop your insurance every year and over time, you may save money.  The problem with this concept is insurance is not a specific “one size fits all” product that you might buy and expect to be what you need.  For example, when you buy a faucet, you would not buy all the individual components of a faucet, put it together yourself, and hope it worked.  Rather, you purchase a completed faucet, install it, and it works for years as promised when you bought it.

With insurance, you go into a contractual agreement with the insurer that your claim will be paid based on the terms of the policy.  Insurance is unique and it takes knowledge and skill to put together the right combination of coverage for each individual.  Why would anyone build an insurance product themselves when a professional, experienced, and licensed agent can do it better?

Your Agent Will Care About What You Care About

  1. An agent will get to know your family and your individual needs. Over time, agents develop close relationships with their clients and care about their well-being. Wouldn’t it be good to be on a first-name basis with an agent who knows you and your family, and lives and works in the same local community that you do?
  2. Your agent will know what risks you have. As in any relationship your agent will better understand your risks and be able to educate you on how to manage these risks.
  3. You care about convenience, choices, and control. Your agent will provide you with options of Insurance policies, the ability to control how you access your account, and the convenience of a simple insurance purchasing process.

How Agents Help Build Lasting Relationships

  1. By educating their clients rather than selling a product.
  2. Agents are always keeping up on the latest issues and trends to share with their clients.
  3. You can call their office and get a professional team member who knows who you are.
  4. Agents will meet you where you are.
  5. Life-changing events may require a meeting with your agent; we are here for you.
  6. Instead of calling a voicemail or making an appointment, interested consumers can speak directly with an agent immediately and ask any question they choose.
  7. Agents know what your insurance policies cover and do not cover, which helps you when you have a claim.
  8. An agent will take the lead and work through a claim to make sure you are satisfied.

In conclusion, our marketing plan is not based on internet ads, or catchy slogans, our marketing plan is to have completely happy and satisfied customers and build long-lasting relationships.

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.

Do You Know Your Cost of Risk?

As you consider your business insurance, we invite you to think about this subject in the much larger spectrum of “Total Cost of Risk”. Your insurance program is more the premiums you pay

Total Cost of Risk is the sum of the costs arising from all of the risks faced by an organization. Risks can generally be categorized into one of the following three classes:

Operational– Operational Risk includes the cost of products, protection of property, insurance, damage to or destruction of supply sources for key raw materials, components, or services, injuries to employees or outside parties, damage to the property of outside parties including resulting consequential loss, damage to the environment, and employment decisions.

Financial– Financial Risk includes risks associated with commodity price variability or commodity availability, costs of capital and borrowing, customer credits, business development, profit and banking costs.

Strategic– Strategic Risk includes issues of risk that can have a major impact on the overall viability of an organization. These include issues centering on reputation of the organization or its employees, loyalty to the organization of customers or clients, development of new products or services, meeting the demand for existing products or services, and pricing of the organization’s products or services.

When you consider all your risks, it is important to understand how a well-designed insurance program can impact all these areas.

Change your Thinking About Insurance

Most businesses only look at their premiums when they evaluate insurance costs. We would like to provide an alternative view. For example, by only considering insurance premiums you are eliminating many other factors in your total insurance costs. Here are factors that make up your total cost of risk.

Internal Risk Administration

Legal and Claims Expenses

Deductible Costs

Uninsured Loss Costs

Safety Program Costs

Insurance Premiums

Contracted costs

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.

Use our agency as your resource; we are here to help you manage the claim process.

Insurance Vs. Risk

When you secure or purchase insurance, do you think about your risk?  Most people think about one or two factors when buying insurance; premium and limits. Very little thought is given to the design of the insurance program or qualification of the agent.  The result often leads to frustrated consumers who sadly realize, “My claim is not covered, or not covered completely.”

If you could understand your risk, and then design an insurance program that addressed your individual risk, you might be a more satisfied insurance buyer.  That is why we recommend you develop a “total cost of risk” approach to insurance buying.  Total cost of risk is the sum of the costs arising from all of the risks faced by an organization.

Change Your Thinking About Insurance

Most businesses only look at their premiums when they evaluate insurance costs. We would like to provide an alternative view. For example, by only considering insurance premiums, you are eliminating many other factors of your total insurance costs.  Here are factors that make up your total cost of risk:

  • Internal Risk Administration
  • Legal and Claims Expenses
  • Deductible Costs
  • Uninsured Loss Costs
  • Safety Program Costs
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Contracted costs

Most insurance policies can be designed with specific coverage added or removed, depending on the needs of the client.  You might not have an exposure to a risk that is included in your insurance program, and by eliminating that, you might save money.  Alternatively, you might want to self-insure some risks, so why pay the premiums.

The key is to use an agent who can educate you on these items, and help you understand that insurance should be designed with your needs in mind, not the insurance company.

Insurance Myth Busters… All I Need Is Replacement Cost Coverage

Most people think, “If my policy has replacement cost coverage I am ok, right?”  Well, maybe not.  The term “replacement cost” means “the cost to replace the property on the same premises with other property of comparable material and quality used for the same purpose.”

A Common Myth

“My policy has replacement cost coverage, so I am covered in the event of a loss.”

Myth Busted

Replacement cost coverage has limitations. The most important limitation is that it will only repair or replace up to the policy limit.  So, if your building has a replacement value of $500,000, but your policy has a limit of $450,000, you are underinsured by $50,000.

There may also be a need for functional or extended replacement cost coverage in certain situations.  A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays whatever it costs to rebuild your building as it was before the fire or other disaster–even if it exceeds the policy limit.

The example above is an excellent example of why it is important to have an agent who knows and understands insurance, and one who can communicate complex issues in “English”. This allows our customers to make intelligent choices regarding their insurance.

Think Differently In 2017

The definition of incorrect thinking is to repeatedly take the same action and expect a different outcome.  As you think about your insurance program for 2017, it is time to expect a different outcome.  This will cause you to consider different actions. To accomplish this, two things need to happen.  First, redefine how you define success in your risk and insurance program, and second, create a new set of actions that correspond to your new thinking.

Redefine Success

Under the old definition, most insurance buyers define success as a lower premium. Therefore, the action corresponding is to get as many agents involved to create competition to lower the price.  Consequently, insurance buyers are happy if they get a 10% lower premium.  The problem with this thinking is that buyers generally do not know what they are getting for the lower premium. They may have created a big risk management issue once an un-insured loss occurs.

A New Way of Thinking

A new definition of success is to have an insurance and risk program that address the risks you have, and choose to have, insured.  Some risk you may desire to self-insure and others you may want to transfer to an insurance company.  This way, you understand what you are insuring and what you are not.

Now that I have redefined your thinking, you need to create a new set of actions. Just bidding out your insurance to get the lowest price will not work anymore.  You need to select an experienced and qualified agent that has the experience to educate you on your risks. The second action is to select an insurer that understands your industry.  For example, some insurers are better at underwriting the hospitality industry, and others are better at manufacturing, and so on.

Call a few agents, interview them, get their qualifications, and ask them how they would design a program for your business.  Start to think differently and you may get different and more effective results.

Does Your Agent Have The Experience and Knowledge To Determine the Right Insurance Policy For You?

Most people would think that having a standard insurance policy written from a reputable insurer is the most important thing you need to protect yourself.  Let us consider a different way of thinking.  We use a phrase around our office that describes how we think; “An insurance policy is only as good as the agent who provides it.”  Let us define this in detail.

 

First, you must understand that insurance policies are not a “one size fits all” product.  Insurance coverage is designed to match your individual risk.  It is not the insurer’s responsibility to provide a product that meets your needs; they rely on the agent to determine that.  For example, if you need a truck to haul your trailer, you would not select a Honda Civic.  No, you might even select a truck with a towing package, and large capacity transmission and braking systems.  These would be designed specifically to your needs.

 

To put this in insurance terms, a company that manufacturers auto parts need different coverage than a restaurant.  A restaurant needs coverage like food spoilage, liquor liability and food poisoning coverage.  A manufacture will need product liability insurance, special coverage on equipment, and possibly foreign products liability coverage.

 

An Experienced Agent Will Understand Your Needs

Coverage does not just vary from state to state; it varies from company to company within the same state.  Many companies use what are known as ‘manuscript’ policy forms. These forms do not necessarily use industry-standard wording, and may contain altered provisions that materially affect coverage in some way.

Your agent should identify your risks and help you understand what you should insure, design a coverage plan, then go to the market to negotiate the best possible combination of coverage, pricing and service. The agent must understand the tax and legal aspects of the products he or she sells and how they are designed to fit into a client’s overall financial situation.

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.

Do You Know Your Cost Of Risk?

This article is a continuation of our series on creating a new way of thinking about insurance. As you consider your business insurance, we invite you to think about this subject in the much larger spectrum of “Total Cost of Risk”. Your insurance program is more the premiums you pay

Total Cost of Risk is the sum of the costs arising from all of the risks faced by an organization. Risks can generally be categorized into one of the following three classes:

Operational– Operational Risk includes the cost of products, protection of property, insurance, damage to or destruction of supply sources for key raw materials, components, or services, injuries to employees or outside parties, damage to the property of outside parties including resulting consequential loss, damage to the environment, and employment decisions.

Financial– Financial Risk includes risks associated with commodity price variability or commodity availability, costs of capital and borrowing, customer credits, business development, profit and banking costs.

Strategic– Strategic Risk includes issues of risk that can have a major impact on the overall viability of an organization. These include issues centering on reputation of the organization or its employees, loyalty to the organization of customers or clients, development of new products or services, meeting the demand for existing products or services, and pricing of the organization’s products or services.

When you consider all your risks, it is important to understand how a well-designed insurance program can impact all these areas.

Change your Thinking About Insurance

Most businesses only look at their premiums when they evaluate insurance costs. We would like to provide an alternative view. For example, by only considering insurance premiums you are eliminating many other factors in your total insurance costs. Here are factors that make up your total cost of risk.

  • Internal Risk Administration
  • Legal and Claims Expenses
  • Deductible Costs
  • Uninsured Loss Costs
  • Safety Program Costs
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Contracted costs

Next up; we will review each of the cost of risk areas and how they impact your overall insurance program.

Let Us Say, “Ask Not What The Client Can Do For The Agent, But What The Agent Can Do For The Client”

Businesspeople Using Laptops During Meeting

This article is a continuation of our series on how to think differently about insurance.

We want to continue our revolution regarding customer service by talking about just what clients should expect from their agent. We ran across this statement and truly believe it, “If all your agent does is place your policy, then they are overpaid”.

We use phrases like “people before policies”, “listen to your needs”, and “Your dedicated team of experts”. These words have meaning to our entire team and are carried out in every conversation with our clients.

Here are some of valued added services every agent should be providing:

  • Claims – When you have a claim, we will help you through the process until you are satisfied.
  • Options – We do not sell you a policy. We provide options; some of which may not include insurance. If we do recommend insurance, then we take the complexity and uncertainty out of the process and make sure you have the right policy to fit your budget.
  • Education – Our goal is to educate you so you can make informed decisions.
  • Stay Connected – We stay in touch with you during the year. We make sure your program changes as your needs do.
  • Service – Whey you call your agent you want a PERSON who knows and understand your needs. Our team lives and works in the community. We will even come to you to meet with you.
  • Qualified – Your agent should have more than five years’ experience. You deserve an experienced professional who is committed to his or her craft.

At Reichley Insurance, our employees are committed to developing ongoing communication with our clients, and striving to exceed your expectations. You are not buying a product; you are managing your risk. Remember, insurance is not a product; it’s a promise and a trusted relationship.