I often have the conversation with friends and co-workers about the TRUE value of what we do. When its comes to insurance there are endless choices that can be made – on-line, in person, over the phone, stop by the local office etc. With all of these choices and the common theme “call us we can save you money” I truly feel the value of insurance is being undervalued. We as a society, mainly insurance marketing departments are tying to make what we do a commodity, we are trying to focus more on the cost of insurance, vs what insurance can really do for you and your family. This theory was never more clear than this past week.
Thursday of last week I was sitting in the kitchen of a prospective clients house. I was working with them on their homeowners insurance going over all of the coverages, and optional items they may want to consider. When we were finishing up, the client said she wanted to thank me for coming to her house and meeting with her and her husband. She wanted to thank me for taking the time to get to know them and understand their needs, and for doing business as it use to be done with a hand shake and signing papers at THEIR kitchen table. She stated she liked the idea of a local agent, someone familiar with the local area and someone she has the potential of running into when she is out and about. She felt that she would be getting better service from a local agent not solely because we could save her money, or provide her with better coverage, but because if she ever needs to file a claim or if she ever has a question she can come to our office and talk to us face to face. She liked the fact that she would be guaranteed not to get a different person on the phone when she calls with a simple question, and that if she ever had a claim, I could stand there with her and go over the options in person.
I understand everyone is different and we have all our preferences when it comes to “buying styles” that being said, there are a few things that I would like to add about choosing a local agent vs 1-800 insurance:
– As my client stated above there is a deeper level of comfort in dealing with a local agent vs 1-800 Insurance – she finds it more beneficial to have someone local who can answer her questions about billing, claims and other policy issues that may come up.
– As a local agent, we can help you customize an insurance package based on your personal needs, we have an advantage over the 1-800 company as we can sit with you in your home and do a full review of all of your exposures. As a trained professional we can help identify items you may over look, and the 1-800 phone rep may be unaware of.
– As your local agent we can call you for insurance reviews each year – this will allow us to modify your policies based on lifestyle changes, such as home improvements, additions to the family and other items the 1-800 company may not be aware of.
– As your local agent, we can assist you in filing claims and help walk you through that process in your time of need so you don’t go through it alone.
– As your local agent we have an office you can stop by and make cash payments
– As your local agent you have someone you know and trust and we have your best interest in mind – many of the 1-800 agents sell you a policy over the phone, and you will never talk to them again – you get that companies billing department, or customer service department, but seldom if ever will you talk to the selling agent again.
The last point I would like to make is this. Most of us do not choose an attorney or a Dr. or any other professional service for that matter based on a quick 15 min conversation, or by who is going to be the cheapest. We do our homework, we talk with friends and family members to see who they would recommend, we check to see who has the most experience, and who can offer us the best value for the services we are looking for. Most of us go to work every day and bust our tails to make a living, some going to 2 or 3 jobs. The income we make allows us to have nice home, nice cars etc. so why would we only take 15 mins to protect it? Why would we look for the cheapest policy? Why do you value insurance based on the quickest turn around? I am not saying price and speed and not important items to consider, but I am saying there are other items to think about. We spend our entire life building our assets and just like that, one auto accident, one house fire it could all be gone. If you buy on-line, if you buy direct, or if you buy from an agent take the time to understand what you are getting, be sure your home and auto are properly protected, and if you need a second opinion give us a call.