I was at an industry conference last week and sat near two gentlemen who owned firms that were similar enough to mine that most consumers would think of us as competitors. These two men were obviously intelligent and experienced, and they both seemed like genuinely nice and caring guys.
The subject of their conversation was how one of the men built an extremely successful business on the defined strategy of keeping expenses as low as possible by negotiating access to a bank’s list of customers and then selling and delivering insurance to those customers without ever having to give advice or help them in the process. As this man put it, “When someone takes out a loan, all they want is for the insurance problem to evaporate so they can close on the deal.”
So there you go. My own industry is the #1 contributor to the dumbing-down of the value and expectations placed on insurance by consumers. It’s why some insurance companies advertise using cartoons and not a single comment about whether their product is any good. It’s why consumers ask for discounts and not about whether they’ll actually have enough coverage to rebuild their home. It’s why insurance companies can get away with poorer and poorer claim service because you know in advance it’s going to suck, so why try?
I don’t begrudge someone’s prerogative of choosing how to run their business, but I don’t believe it’s matched with enough education to the consumer so that they know what they’re getting into. Insurance is complicated (have you ever actually read a policy?) and the consequences of believing you’ve done it right when you really haven’t can be severe. That’s why we believe in teaching and evangelizing, in investing in our own expertise, and in actually being present & side-by-side with our clients. We think it’s better for most families and we’ll continue to commit to that way of doing things.
Photo: Palm Beach, FL