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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.

 

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.

COVID-19 and the New Cyber Challenges

The CIOVID-19 pandemic has affected the way we do business in a very significant way. Many businesses are requiring people to work remotely.  Employers are finding that having employees work remotely may be the new normal.

COVID-19 has forced us to become more dependent on the internet, as desperate measures, like social distancing, disrupt economic activity and everyday life.

This new way of doing business could mean that employees are collecting client information from home or other places that may not have the same cyber security as an office network.  In some instances, employees who are working remotely are forced to use their home computers because they do not have a company laptop.

Top Work-from-Home Cyber Concerns

  • Unsecured video conferencing
  • Using unsecured networks
  • Spam and phishing campaigns exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintaining security-critical operations, such as patch management
  • Supporting employees to ensure they have what they need to work from home without sacrificing security
  • Theft of client information from lap tops
  • Changes to regular security-critical processes
  • Using social media platforms from unsecured networks

What Can Employers Do to Reduce the Threat?

  • Do not open email from people you do not know.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Do not provide personal information to unknown websites or uninvestigated third-party messengers.
  • Do not share the virtual meeting URL’s on social media or other public channels.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and be wary of email attachments.
  • Lock your screen if you work in a shared space.
  • Provide corporate computers/devices to staff while teleworking, where possible.
  • Use secure, password-protected emails when sending documents.
  • Ensure that adequate information technology resources are in place to support staff.
  • Provide secure video conferencing for corporate clients (both audio/video capabilities).

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:

  • To provide the clients with quality products and services through financially sound insurance companies committed to the American agency system.
  • To provide prompt and courteous service by handling each account as if it were our own and by treating each client the way we would want to be treated.

Your Personal Insurance and COVID-19

As our country continues to manage through the COVID-19 crises, we thought it might be useful to take some time to remind you of the importance of your personal insurance during this time.  The coronavirus pandemic should not affect your auto or homeowner’s insurance too much, but there are a few coverages that could be impacted because of the temporary lifestyle change.

  • Do not cancel your auto insurance just because you are temporarily not driving.  Auto insurance is required by law.
  • Some auto insurers are considering offering discounts for a short period of time, due to the fact that there are fewer cars on the road. As of today, we do not know what this may look like, but when we do know we will advise our clients, and follow on our social media sites and web page as we will be posting update there.
  • Vehicles with loans need to maintain physical damage coverage on the vehicle.   We would love to talk with our policyholders to find creative ways to help with cost reduction.
  • Check out our COVID-19 resource page HERE
  • The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued a directive for all carriers that are billing for Property & Casualty, Life and Long Term Care that require a 60-day grace period for payments, however if not paid within the extended period – the cancellation will take effect back to the effective date of the coverage, leaving a gap in coverage. This is not a waiver of premium payments.  Those affected should contact the billing departments of either the insurance company or the agency, whoever is sending the invoices.
  • If you are working remotely via computer, there should be no issues with your homeowners or renter’s insurance.  However, this is true as long as there are no customers coming to your home.  If you are running a business from your home, you will need business insurance.  We are happy to help you with this.
  • If you have a claim, we are open, as are the insurers.  Give us a call, and we will be ready to help you. Your policy has toll-free claim numbers to help you get the process going.
  • Some health insurance providers are offering resources that include mental health issues. See attached from Anthem Health. http://www.anthem.com/coronavirus

Other Heath insurers are likely following suit with these added benefits that can be accessed online directly from home.

  • Some insurance companies are offering relaxed payment terms.  We suggest you contact them directly if you feel you may miss a payment. Of course, you can always contact our office to assist you.
  • Be aware of credit card and cyber scams. Unfortunately, criminals have ramped up their efforts during this crisis.  The fraud ranges from false claims of cures and treatments for the coronavirus to fake charities attempting to soliciting money to help those suffering.
  • As we all have so much time at home, now is a good time to complete a home inventory of your personal property.  Creating and updating an inventory of your personal possessions is one of the best ways to make the most of your homeowners or renters insurance, and it makes filing a claim easier and more efficient.  If your home is damaged or totally lost due to a fire or other event, having a home inventory will help you recover all your personal property with the least amount of time and stress.
  • Life insurance should not be affected because of COVID-19.  If you already have life insurance, you are covered, and a company cannot make changes to a policy that is already active.  If you do not currently have coverage, however, your application may be affected.  Keep in mind that each life insurance company is handling the pandemic differently.  It is important to have us shop your life insurance to make sure the company you choose meets your needs.

Our goal is to be here for you and to help answer any questions you have regarding your insurance. Please feel free to connect with us at any time.

This information seems to be changing and we will keep you advised as this relates to our customers

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.

How We Help You Make Informed Insurance Decisions

When it comes to your insurance, making the right decision can be the difference between a covered loss or a nightmare. Knowing what to look for is one thing, but it’s just as important to know what NOT to do when considering your insurance agent and the kind of insurance you may need. What your goal should always be is to get the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. To help you get to this point, we have a process that we use that helps us known you better and educates you on your risk and how best to manage them. The process is the same for a family or a business.

Understanding

It is important that we have an understanding of your needs, concerns, and risks. Our goal is to gain knowledge of what risks you have and how we can manage these together. Some risks we can say for sure may need insurance, but there may be some risks where insurance is not the best solution.

Educating

Once we understand your risks and needs, we educate you on how to manage them best. We believe that our primary purpose is to educate and inform our clients so they can make the best possible decision.

Planning

Once we agree on what your risk is, we set up a plan. The plan may be to offer insurance options, increase deductibles, transfer your risk, or self-insure. Notice that this is the first time we mention insurance. If the first word out of an insurance professionals mouth is insurance, all they are doing is trying to sell you a product, not deliver on a promise.

Managing

We manage your program through insurance placement; risk reduction techniques claims assistance and customer service. We understand that our job does not end when your policy is delivered. We answer questions and solve problems throughout the entire year.

Evaluating

To continue the process, we assess your program and make corrections based changes in your needs and risk. We believe that your insurance needs change, and therefore, our approach needs to be flexible enough to adapt and change over time.

In the end, you have a better-designed insurance program and be more satisfied with the results. Just remember, cheaper is not better and better is not always more expensive. We offer a way to add value to your insurance purchases.

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.

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.

 

 

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.