Death of the (lazy) middleman, please

A recent online business journal’s headline: The Death of the Middleman.  Maybe so when what’s available for sale and what is wanted by the consumer is obviously, easily, and profitably matched.  I don’t think we’re there yet with risk management and insurance.

On Monday I told a family what I thought they needed in order to be financially protected. On Tuesday I listened to an insurance company tell me what they’d require from that family in order to qualify for their insurance.  The two didn’t match.  So I’ve got a willing consumer who needs X and an unwilling insurance company who will only provide Y.

That happens a lot.  And what also happens a lot in response to that, unfortunately, are agents who a) give up looking for creative solutions, or b) don’t tell the truth and try to sneak an insurance company into providing insurance they don’t want (you can imagine this doesn’t work well if a claim occurs, by the way).  So there are a whole bunch of families out there with bad insurance because too few agents are willing to go find improved solutions.

And on the other side, insurance companies keep lopping off the ends of what counts as “good business” in their eyes.  They keep slicing thinner and thinner what defines an acceptable client with things like pricing algorithms, “no-more-than” guidelines, and “only-if” scenarios.

That’s fine – it’s their business.  But my business is showing how a good middleman is valuable.  Insurance companies are governed by boundaries and generally limited thinking and being a middleman able to find the differences among them can make a difference between “you’re covered” and “nope, sorry”.

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