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2019 New Year Resolutions For Every Buyer And Agent

As we move into a new year, I hope that every insurance agent and insurance buyer will think about how they view their relationships. Let us get away from the clever insurance advertisement’s attempts to bring our products and services down to the lowest common denominator, price, and commodity. Insurance products and services are used to build our local economies, allow people to dream, and help rebuild in the event of a disaster.

Therefore, here are my resolutions for 2019. I hope other agents and insurance buyers will embrace these as well.

Agents

• I will always put the needs of my client above mine.
• I will strive to educate rather than sell.
• It will be valuable to provide my clients with options.
• Insurance is a complex transaction, and I need to help my clients understand what they are buying.
• Risk management should always be part of every conversation; identify risk, assess the risk, manage the risk, and review again.

Insurance buyers
• I will select an agent who values relationships.
• Price is not an indicator of quality.
• Buying local is like the “farm to table” of insurance.
• I will seek an agent who is qualified to manage my risks.

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 is a promise and a trusted relationship.

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

Why Insurance Advice Is Better Than A Policy

The quality of your agent will determine the value of your insurance policy

If you watch any TV, you have seen the typical insurance ads that tell you their coverage is better than their competitors. Many of these ads are very clever, but they mislead the viewers into buying insurance the wrong way.

We want to offer you a different way of looking at insurance. That is, your agent should be your trusted advisor guiding through the insurance purchasing process. Insurance policies like insurance companies are all different, and you need someone you can trust to help you find the highest valued insurance, not the lowest priced insurance. What many people fail to understand is that policies or “promises” differ from company to company.

If We Ran An Insurance Ad, It Might Look Like This

  • We place people before policies.
  • Collaboration always leads to greater value
  • Insurance is a promise, not a product.
  • We would educate you then sell to you.
  • Insurance is not a one size fits all.

Let Get Practical

What does this look like to the average insurance buyer? It starts with us asking questions and listening to you. We help you identify your needs and risks, talking about possible solutions then providing options. Sometimes we might recommend not buying insurance.

What Are the Benefits To You?

Our clients have the security and peace of mind knowing that their agent is a partner with them. They have a trusted relationship with someone who understands their individual needs and is not trying to sell them a policy, but protect their assists. Our relationship approach provides our clients with the knowledge that someone understands their needs and they have more than just an insurance product they have a valued relationship that goes beyond a policy

Give us a call and following us on: Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn

 

What A Trusted Advisor Does

My insurance agent friend John and I had another conversation about how agents can and need to differentiate themselves from other agents.  We have attempted to help agents understand the value of educating and solving problems rather than selling an insurance product. This is such an excellent example of this that we just had to share it with you.

John told us of a prospect he had two years ago. It was a chain of three family restaurants that he had a chance to get involved with. John met with the owner and asked a series of questions to determine their needs and if John might be able to help them. It was agreed that John would provide options for insurance coverage for the restaurant chain. One request John had was that he would also be to review all the quotes and help the client select the best option. (That is the kind of service a trusted advisor does) The client agreed.

Once all the quote came in, John was able to review the one other quote and educate the client on his options. John met with the client and told the client that the other quote was a better option for him. The client about fell off his chair. John said the client asked why he recommended his competition? John said it was his moral obligation to do what is best for the client. Needless to say, the client was appreciative, and the two became more than just business acquaintances.

Forward about a year and a half; John gets a call from the restaurant owner saying he needs to meet. John arrives not sure what to expect. The owner says that the other agent has left the insurance industry and wants John to take over the account. John asked why? The owner said that in all his years in the business he has never seen anyone put the needs of the client above making money, and he wanted to do business with that person.

John was able to take the business over on a broker of record letter and has been the owners trusted advisor for the last four years.

“There is an old saying, “It is amazing what you can achieve if you are not wedded to who gets the credit.” ― David H. Maister

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 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

 

What Is Your Value Proposition?

Most business owners can see an insurance agent coming a mile away. Agents, that is not a good thing. Insurance buyers have created a defense mechanism that makes it hard for agents get through. The primary reason for this is agents are far too often just interested in selling a product, not providing a solution.  Business owners don’t want to feel like they are a number or that the agent is only there to make a sale. Business owners want to be understood, they want to be educated, supported, and they want a trusted advisor.

Here is what has become the “industries” value proposition

  • Save 10 percent 15 minute or less
  • It is so easy, even a caveman can do it
  • You name your price
  • It is so simple a lizard can guide you
  • We have a special gun, and it knows how to save you money

A value proposition is what makes your agency unique and explains why someone would want to do business with you.

One way an agent can help is to develop a value proposition. Your value proposition should go beyond the product pitch and go deeper into the why and how you are an agent. When you build your unique value proposition, you need to start with answering a few questions

  1. Who are your clients?
  2. How do you help your clients?
  3. What problems do you solve?
  4. Why are you different than other agents?
  5. What services other than insurance do you offer?
  6. Why would anyone do business with you?

These are not value propositions

  • We have been in business for 50 years
  • We are a third generation agency
  • We have more markets
  • We are local

Here is our value proposition

  • We listen to your needs
  • We place people before policies
  • Insurance is a promise, not a product
  • We would rather educate you than sell you
  • There is no one size fits all insurance product

The benefits of redefining your value proposition are that clients will see it and it will enable you to build longer more valued relationships.

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

 

Make This Year Even Better Than Last Year

We have been encouraging insurance buyers and agents, over the past few years, to seek out new ways of looking at the insurance buying process. We have found that things are changing for the better in regards to the agent buyer relationship. We invite you to be part of the change that can impact our industry for years to come.

These are the values to which we continue to aspire to in 2018 and beyond.

The customer relationship involves face to face time. It takes regular contact over time to build trust and create a valued based relationship.

Knowing your client’s needs, concerns, and issues is the first step in creating a value-based relationship.

Educate your clients on how to identify, treat, and manage risk.  This allows for informed decisions.

Work to become a trusted advisor.  A trusted advisor becomes someone who helps with business decision and issues.  A trusted advisor comes to the table with resources to help the business with legal, accounting, marketing, and human resources strategy and issues.

Find a balance in the use of technology to communicate. We understand that the modern communication technology can have its benefits, but, face to face communication is the foundation of your relationship.

Believe that there is inherent good and value in being an insurance agent. This noble profession involves protecting society from devastating losses that in the absence of insurance could not sustain itself.

Work to understand the difference between consultative and transactional. The agents value proposition is that we know and understand risk. Our true value is to help others evaluate risk and provide meaningful solutions. It goes way beyond an insurance policy.

Understand what customers really want. Your customers want creative and different ideas.  They want you to have client services standards.  Customers desire more, and better, communication.  Finally, they want you and your team to be constantly learning.

We are making progress, but be vigilant. Don’t get sucked into the old way of thinking. Don’t be fooled by Madison Avenues selling the idea that complex risk and insurance topics can be boiled down something simple.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  George Bernard Shaw

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

 

Communication Is key to Any Relationship

We live in the greatest age of communication. Today there are more ways to connect with each other than any other time in history.  For example, we have access to personal cell phones, email, web pages, videos, social media, traditional mail and more. So why don’t you and your independent insurance agent communicate more often? And, when you do communicate with your agent, what kind, and how much, communication is valuable to the agent/client relationship? Reichley Insurance is attempting to create a new way of thinking about the agent/client insurance relationship.

Let us start by asking and answering the following question, “What kind of communication and service are you getting from your agent”? If all your agent does is send you a policy and an invoice, then your agent is way overpaid. There is so much more that an agent should be doing to educate and serve you. Here are a few examples of what our agents at Reichley Insurance do:

  1. We ask questions about your risks.
  2. We educate you on these risks and their impact.
  3. Together we select a program that fits your needs.
  4. We continue to educate you through regular communication.
  5. Our web page offers ongoing education.
  6. If there is an important event that may affect you, we offer solutions.
  7. We send you automatic emails about every policy transaction.
  8. We provide a letter with each insured renewal package explaining coverage changes and options.
  9. Our experienced staff is able to clearly discuss issues and solutions.

Recent J.D. Powers & Associates.com score study found consumers find agents easier to use than a black-box 800 number or a website, and still prefer to finalize their purchase through an agent whom they can visit or call. In today’s cyber world, an agent should provide that desired personal touch.

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

Insurance Is Not the Only Answer

My insurance agent friend John and I had another conversation about how agents can, and need to differentiate themselves from other agents.  Last month we talked about how John uncovered an uninsured exposure and how John’s advice helped his client recover about $450,000.

John holds to the belief that the agents job should be to help the client understand and uncover risks, then design a plan to treat or manage these risks.  The agent should not be quick to suggest insurance in every situation.  In fact, in some cases, insurance may not even be the best option.  Agents need to get out of the selling business and into the education business.

John’s most recent example involved a manufacturing business that had a small fleet of three delivery trucks.  John asked the client about the costs associated with the three-vehicle fleet, which included the vehicles, maintenance, three drivers, related benefits, and finally the cost of five recent accidents over the past three years. The client identified a number of costs they were having trouble managing, these included; workers’ compensation claims, high driver turnover and a number of auto accidents.

John asked the client to consider outsourcing the delivery (mostly small packages) around the community and region.  John led the client in a review, or risk analysis, of having their own drivers compared to using contracted providers.  The results showed that the business would save about $12,000 annually by contracting delivery services.  John worked with the client to make sure all contracts and agreement had the proper insurance language, including additional insured wording.

In this case, John actually lost revenue as the business sold their trucks and let the drivers go.  However, John showed the client how a trusted business partner could add true value.

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.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein