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An Example of How Not All Agents Are Alike

I was having a conversation with an agent friend of mine discussing how we can differentiate ourselves from other agents.  He told me a stunning story that I want to share.  This story goes to the heart of my quest to educate agents and customers about the value of relationships.

My agent friend (call him John) told me that he recently was hired by a business to help them manage their commercial insurance and risk program. The client had been with their previous agent for ten years, so the change was a big decision for them.  John asked the new client why they decided to change, and they told him that they felt like all the previous agent did was renew their insurance.  They only saw him when a bill needed to be paid.  The client checked around, and another business associate recommended John.

As part of John’s relationship building, at the first meeting he asked a series of questions about the client’s business.  One of the questions led to the client telling John that they owned an underground storage tank that had been un-used for about 10 years.  The client never thought to tell their previous agent about the old tank.  The client said it just never came up.  John explained the risks of owning an underground tank, and directed them to various web pages showing the possible fines if there was ever an issue.  Obviously, the client became very concerned.  However, John suggested a number of solution options and the client decided to have John secure a quote for pollution liability.  The client ended up with a $1,000,000 policy at a cost of only $10,000.

This is where the story gets good.  About two years later as part of the annual client review meeting, John asked about the tank, and the client said they were removing the tank as part of a plant expansion.  Well once the tank came out, there was found to be $450,000 of soil damage and pollution cleanup.  That is a $440,000 cost benefit (minus the deductible).

Needless to say, the client now truly understands the value of relationships and the importance of having an agent who provides insurance and risk solutions.

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.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”  – Simon Sinek

 

Insurance Is About Peace of Mind and Trust

We have been telling readers that we believe insurance is more about trust, relationships, and value than it is about a policy.  A recent article in PropertyCasualty360.com, by Brent Kelly confirms this concept.

For many people, buying something tends to be both emotional and financial.  With insurance, some people may buy a brand or base their buying decision on a TV commercial.  While other people may buy insurance with a focus on price, they want the lowest cost possible.  Mr. Kelly correctly points out that buying insurance has some of both the emotional and financial elements.

Insurance is a promise from the insurer to perform in the event of a loss, and insurance offers security to the buyer that when something bad happens, all is ok.

We believe that a promise and security are important enough to mandate a conversation with a professional agent who understands the importance of education.

So, why do most people view insurance as a transactional product?—because the insurance industry has trained consumers to view it as such with phrases like:

  • “Save 10%.”
  • “We will quote your insurance in 15 minutes.”
  • “Get a quick quote.”
  • “Apples to apples.”

Insurance companies and agents use these terms and others every day.  “They are catchy, easy for the consumer to understand and takes little effort,” according to Mr. Kelly.

The time has come to use new insurance buying terms like:

  • “I educate my clients about risk”
  • “Insurance is not your only option”
  • “Exclusions matter”
  • “Can I explain your cost of risk?”
  • “I don’t take orders, I provide peace of mind”

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.

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

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.

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.

Agents…Learn to Be “Consultative” Rather Than “Transactional”

For those who have been following my posts over the past few years, thank you!  We have been talking a lot about how to better serve the needs of our customers.

If I had to put customer service into one thought, it would be this; be consultative rather than transactional.  It is hard to get your head around this because it seems like our business is nothing but transactional.  Binders, certificates, billing, claims processes, and renewals all seem to focus on the transaction process.

Transactional selling is about need, price, and closing, and the word “client” is nowhere to be found.  Conversely, consulting is client focused through discovery, education, and problem solving.

Here are a few ways you can break out of the transactional cycle:

  • Educate yourself on the client’s risks and potential needs.
  • Realize that you are creating value, not “low cost.”
  • Develop relationships with your clients.
  • It feels better to help someone—rather than sell someone.
  • There is real satisfaction in creating solutions.

Consultative customer service is the direction in which our industry is going.  Trusted advisors actually generate more business and sales, receive more referrals (via their customers), and have long lasting customer relationships.

As author David Meister tells us, “There is no greater source of distrust than advisors who appear to be more interested in themselves than in trying to be of service to the client…A common trait of a trusted advisor relationship is that the advisor places a higher value on maintaining and preserving the relationship itself than on the outcomes of the current transaction, financial or otherwise.”

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.

Is Insurance A Noble Profession?

We believe without question that insurance is a noble profession. Our reason for this is that the purpose of insurance is to protect society, businesses, and individuals from financial loss and to help them recover when loss or damage occurs.

Google defines “noble” as having, or showing, fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.

“The promotion of human rights was a noble aspiration.”  Synonyms for noble are righteous, virtuous, good, honorable, upright, decent, worthy, moral, ethical, and reputable.

How does this definition of Nobility translate into action? It can be seen in many ways by an agent with Noble attributes. They show up on time and in person to discuss your individual needs. A Noble agent will tell you not to purchase insurance if he believes you do not need it. Insurance Nobility involves education rather than selling.

Here Is How We Define Nobility

Nobility is taking the right course of action when there is an opportunity to take an easier course. In other words, our industry serves a Noble purpose that is to restore those affected back to the same state prior to the loss. Like all industries there are those who look to personally benefit rather than to serve. Since insurance is a transaction of trust and not price, then hiring a Noble agent who serves a Noble cause to serve their customers before themselves, creates a better value and outcome.    We should all strive to earn the respect and trust of our customers and insurance buyers should strive to hire agents that can live up to that trust and respect.

Nobility is something that can only be seen over time, through personal interaction between the agent and customer. The customer with a Noble agent will have an added confidence that their agent is looking out after their needs rather than just collecting a commission.

 

Let’s keep talking!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

We Think of Insurance as a Promise


Many people look at insurance as a commodity, like buying car or a piece of furniture.  Consequently, they become caught up in searching for the lowest price for the “product of insurance.”  Insurance is less of a commodity, and more of a promise or service.

Promise vs. Product

Insurance is a promise from the insurer to cover your claim or loss per the terms of the policy.  What many people fail to understand is that policies or “promises” differ from company to company. If you never have a claim, then you do not know if the insurer will live up to the promise you think they have made.  However, if you do have a claim you want the promises kept.

That is where we come in.  As an agent, we help you understand the promises made, and work with you to make sure the insurer fulfills all promises.  We can also help you design a policy that fits your needs.

Here Are Few Things To Remember About Insurance Promises

  • Getting the right coverage is not the insurer’s responsibility – it is yours. You need to determine what limits, deductibles, and coverage you will need to cover your risk.  As an agent, we can help you through that process.
  • You may need special or unique coverage like flood, employment liability, or umbrella coverage. We are here to help you evaluate your risk.
  • Insurance companies differ. We can show you how insurers differ in regards to product and services.

 

Why Low Price and High Value Can Be a Contraction in Terms

Shoppers are always looking for that next big sale or deal. When it comes to purchasing a 46” HDTV, it is easy to identify all the features you want, and then shop for the best price.  In fact, many retailers might even negotiate with you to get your business. When selecting your insurance, you cannot think the same way.  Why?

  • Insurance can never go on sale, it is highly regulated.
  • Consumers rarely have complete information about various insurance products.
  • Consumers may believe that “popular” or advertised products are high in quality.

Let me make it clear that high priced insurance does not always equate to a better value.  However, if you purchase the low-priced insurance policy are you satisfied that all the coverage terms are consistent with a higher priced policy?  A better way to look at this is to consider the value of what you are buying.  Here are some of the value added advantages you will find in insurance if you do a little searching.

What makes up a high value insurance program?

  • An insurance policy that will respond to your risks when a loss occurs.
  • The extra services offered by the insurer at no cost to you.
  • The knowledge and expertise of the agent. The agent is your key to a high value advantage. The agent is the one who helps you identity your risks and designs a policy specifically for you.  The agent will be there to help you manage through a claim and to educate you.
  • Your agent increases your insurance value by helping you understand why the premiums are different.

Value is more than price

There are also non-price variables that every insurance purchaser should consider.

  • The agent’s experience in your industry. Do you want an agent who primarily only insures homes, to insure your restaurant?  These risks are different and should be treated as such.
  • Insurance companies have customer satisfaction ratings for claims, premium processing, and other services. Do you want to use an insurer with a below average claims handling rating?

In conclusion, only an experienced agent can help you understand and define the true value of your insurance purchase.

Cyber Liability; The Risk That Evolves Daily

How Cyber Liability threatens your business every day

Did you know that an average business has a greater chance of having a cyber breach than it does of having a fire? It is true, and your business insurance policy most likely will not cover cyber liability losses.

Technology has enabled the common criminal to get into the world of cyber crime. Small businesses are a prime target, as most small businesses have little to no protection. Criminals can actually purchase programs that can be set up to hack dozens of businesses at the same time. It is important that your business has the right business insurance, including cyber liability insurance. Here are a few of the evolving cyber threats.

Malware hacks

These are programs that can be attached to an email or web site. The malware then can target specific systems.

Example–A small retail shop owner opened an email with a malware attached. The hack program then found 1,500 credit card numbers of the shop’s customers. The shop did not know about the hack until customers called about the fraudulent charges. The shop owner incurred over $75,000 in notification and payment expenses.

Social Hackers

This scam involves someone posing as a trusted bank or other advisor. The criminal then relies on the business owner or manager believing the call is legitimate and divulging privileged information.

Example–A CFO received a call from a hacker (acting as a bank official) requesting verification of account information. Through the process, the hacker obtained privileged information. They then used this information together with other data to make withdrawals from company accounts.

Key Business Insurance Coverage Offers Real Solutions

  • Cyber liability
  • Data restoration coverage
  • Business income or loss income
  • Legal notification coverage and expense