Better will be coming

I keep stats on the incidences of mistakes I uncover when reviewing a family’s insurance portfolio.  I reported those last year in two earlier posts (Fixing Things and Annual list of insurance Red Flags).  It’s frustrating because it’s been the same result year after year and the problem will continue for as long as three things continue to happen:

  1. Insurance companies investing in math and predictive modeling and divesting in manufacturing and delivery.
  2. Agents devolving away from being wise advisors and toward being transaction-collectors.
  3. Consumers accepting of 1 & 2 above.

I’m not calling for a massive revolution, but instead for small incremental changes in attitude about whether it’s important for consumers to have an insurance portfolio that actually works.  That’s the point of this blog.

If the consequence of bad insurance is just some wasted premium, it wouldn’t be so critical.  But the impact on a family for not having the right way to pay for an unfortunate event, a lawsuit, or a recovery after someone took something from you can be life-altering.  I’ve seen it, unfortunately, and it’s heart breaking.

But we’re committed to doing it better, to evangelizing the reasons why it’s important, and to encouraging others to follow and speak up.

Photo:  Rachael McGraw, Seattle

Wanted: more consumer pressure

The battle “rages” in the insurance industry between the two primary methods of insurance companies conveying their products to consumers.  The first is to outsource product sales and service through agents, and the second is to skip the middleman and relate the insurance company directly with the consumer.

There are pros and cons to each, and experiences good and bad of each, and I’m sure insurance companies perpetually debate which is best.  But I think a day is coming where the consumer will demand a third method, and I can’t wait.

Frankly, I don’t think the industry as a whole does very well with either method, or else the whole insurance experience wouldn’t feel so soul-sucking.  The reason it’s hard to find consumers who value their insurance portfolio like they value their 401(k) is because our industry doesn’t give them reason to feel that way. We’ve done an extremely poor job of thinking like and talking like someone who values what we produce.

But I feel we’re closer to a time when the same old conversations and same old interactions will be abandoned for real value and real impact.  I’m working on it as a small voice in the wilderness, but I think I’ll find a tribe soon enough.

Photo: Rachael McGraw, Seattle Aquarium

In defense of wealth (with a purpose)

Strip away questions of excess or greed and wealth can be the horsepower behind the accomplishment of great things.  Wealth doesn’t have to mean just what is owned by the 1% if we don’t want it to mean that.  Wealth can mean what each family strives for to fulfill their sense of responsibility to people they care about and to the community at large.

Wealth is what gives someone the ability to go to night school to earn their college degree.  Wealth is what provides the opportunity for children to play sports and music, go to school, go to summer camps, and go on vacation with their parents.  Wealth is the producer of jobs and career opportunities for other people so that they can create their own wealth. Wealth is what can be given away to help other people because of faith, community, passion, or personal experience.

Wealth for the sake of being wealthy does not seem noble or interesting to us.  But protecting and defending wealth that has a purpose for building families, for employing neighbors, and for giving away does.

Photo:  Rachael McGraw, Snoqualmie Pass