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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

 

An Example of How Agents Are Different…the Rest of the Story

My last article had a very good real life example of how agents can differentiate themselves from other agents, and how trusted relationships can add real value to the customer.  In the case mentioned in the previous article, the agent added $440,000 of value to the customer!

So where do we go from here?  Where we will go is right to the heart of our value proposition.  That is, insurance is about building trusted relationships, open communication, identifying value, assessing risk, and developing solutions.

How Do Agents Accomplish This?

Many of my recent articles describe how and why agents can change their own, and their client’s, paradigm from “insurance transactions” to “relationship management.”  Here are a few questions that will help get you started in the process of this great shift in thinking.  You might be surprised when you start asking your clients and potential clients these questions.  Most likely, they have never before been asked these questions by an insurance person.  Notice how many times the word insurance is used.

  1. Are there business issues that keep you up at night? What are they?
  2. What changes do you anticipate will be made in your business in the coming year?
  3. If you were in charge and had unlimited time and resources, what would you change in your organization? In your department?
  4. What changes could your service providers make to improve your working relationship with them and your entity?
  5. What areas do you think offer the greatest opportunities for your broker or any service provider to do an even better job of serving you?
  6. Who are your clients/customers?
  7. Do you rely heavily on one, or just a few, customers?
  8. To what extent do you rely on technology to run your business?
  9. In your industry, have there been any major changes to the way you do business today versus prior years, that could give rise to new risk exposures? If so, what are they?
  10. Where do you see the future of your company 12, 24, or 36 months from now?
  11. What kinds of service does your current agent provide?
  12. When your agent meets with you, what kinds of items are on the agenda?
  13. Describe how you evaluate your agent and risk management program?

Well you get the idea, these questions are designed to have the client do most of the talking and you do most of the listening.  You may even come up with better questions after you read this.  If so, please share them with all of us.  Remember, one of the goals is not to just recommend an insurance solution, but to understand the risk and needs first, then use collaboration to develop business 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.

Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers. – Ross Perot

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.

What Do The Solar Eclipse And Insurance Have In Common?

The world recently experienced the Solar eclipse. We know what the specific time it would happen and where the best place was to view the eclipse was. Did you stop to think, who figured that out? It was a complex process, someone very smart, (NASA) figured out the exact time of the eclipse and where the best places are to view it. The mathematically calculations involved in developing the information is well behind the skills of most people. But aren’t you glad there is someone who understands this so we can enjoy their detailed work?

If the eclipse were insurance, the independent agent would be NASA, the sun and moon would be the insurance companies and the public are the policy holders. Insurance is complex and the professional agent manages the complex for the benefit of the insurance buyer.

Insurance is about a relationship involving three parties; the buyer, the independent agent and the insurance company. Here is how we see the needs of each party.

The Insurance Buyer.  Buyers of insurance want peace of mind and confidence that in the event of a loss everything will be ok.

The Insurance Company.  Insurance companies simply want to insure good risks and are transaction focused. Their decisions are financially focused not relationship focused.

The Independent Agent.  Agents transform the complex so their clients can make educated decisions. Helping the client to understand their risks and providing a number of reasonable solutions are the goals of the agent.

The person best suited to bring these parties together is the independent agent.  The agent knows what risks the insurer desires and can educate the buyer in complex coverage design, safety, and claims management, in order to attract the best insurer option.  It is about building a trusted relationship that allows transparency between all parties.

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

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Client Education Trends

We have been on a journey for over a year to educate both agents and buyers of insurance about the most effective way to secure insurance and risk management services. It appears our work may be paying off. We are seeing more and more articles related to the buying and selling insurance that include titles like:

  • “Educate Your Clients”
  • “Discover Solutions”
  • “Quality Relationships Matter”
  • “Buyers Value Partnerships”
  • “Sales People Can’t Wing It”

These are all good articles that directly relate to what we have been saying over the past twelve months. We have reviewed a number of these articles and picked out some of the best points for agents and insurance buyers to consider. These include:

  • See your buyer’s needs through their perspective. This involves active listening on the agent’s part. Agents should talk less, and listen 80% of the time.
  • Deliver your buyer a solution — not a product. Solutions are meant to address the client’s real needs, not sell an insurance product.
  • Focus on what’s important to the client. Determine what their true needs are.
  • Focusing only on your insurance product will cause you to miss what buyer’s value from you.

If insurance buyers demand these procedures of their agents, and agents practiced these guidelines, insurance coverage would be better designed, and overall cost of risk would be lower for businesses. Insurers would be happy because losses would be reduced, and businesses would be matched with the right insurer.

Sources: Jay Mitchell, Dive Inside the Mind of Your Buyer — and Discover a Solution to Serve Them. 2.28.17, Clayton Christensen, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Deb Calvert, Research Reveals What Buyers Value…It’s Not What You Think, 3.2.17.