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AG PCPG LogoYour lifestyle is unique, as are your insurance and risk management needs. The Partner firms of the Assurex Global Private Client Practice Group provide their clients the flexibility and responsiveness of an independent broker with the shared strength of a global partnership.

As independently owned firms, Assurex Global Partners are accountable only to their clients.  Not to shareholders, not to a corporate parent,only to the clients they serve.

Our Partners stand ready to roll up their sleeves and work side by side with you to truly understand your needs and provide cost effective solutions to expertly manage your risks.   To learn more about the unique personal risk management solutions that are available view our brief video on You Tube.  Feel welcome to contact me directly if you would like an introduction to one of our remarkable Partner

Why is it that many insurance providers are happy to recommend a specific insurance policy without first helping consumers to examine their actual risks?  Do they even care if saving you X percent in Y minutes leaves you vulnerable to uncovered risks that can threaten your assets?  How can insurance providers that lure consumers with lower costs while leaving them without the protection they need call themselves a good neighbor?

When receiving a proposal to purchase insurance coverage, consumers should ask this question: if you are not helping me to understand my risks, how can I determine if the policy that is being recommended provides the protection I need?

Helping consumers to first understand their risks is the cornerstone of our private risk advisory practice. As a result, I am always on the hunt for tools that can help insurance consumers better understand their PERSONAL RISKS.

The Travelers Consumer Risk Index documents extensive survey results offering details on the types of personal risks confronting individuals and families. The index provides some interesting insights and trends that can be used to help all consumers take practical steps to understand and better manage their risks. This excellent report is well worth reviewing. Among the key findings:

  • 57% of Americans believe the world is becoming riskier
  • Nearly 1 in 5 believe it is becoming much riskier
  • Only 1 in 8 believe risk is decreasing
  • Financial security remains the leading concern, followed by privacy and identity theft
  • Concern about cyber risk grew 21 percentage points from 2014, rising to 57%
  • 25% say they have been a victim of a data breach or cyber-attack
  • 62% fear that their bank or financial accounts may be hacked
  • 90% are worried about getting into an accident due to someone else’s distracted driving
  • Yet only 37% are concerned about getting into an accident due to their own distraction
  • 66% believe severe weather is becoming more frequent in the U.S.
  • 40% believe that is the case in their local areas.

Feel welcome to call or e-mail me if you would like to receive a copy of the excellent 2015 Consumer Risk Index report compiled by Travelers.

shell gameThanks largely to the skillful manipulation of modern advertising, we live in a product focused culture. With an increasingly low level of trust for the sales process, many consumers have become DIY shoppers in search of products receiving 5 star reviews in a quest to uncover the “best deal”.  The powerful confluence of advertisers and search engines steer us towards certain products we think will serve our needs well. Almost unwittingly, many consumers seem to have lost the ability to ask larger and more important questions.   Questions like “Why am I buying this product?”

Some simple advice for ALL consumers: asking why before selecting a what (product) is a much better approach to making a smarter buying decision!

Why buy insurance for your home, your car, your valuable possessions, or to protect your financial assets from lawsuits from third parties?  When have I asked these questions of my clients, I often received an expression suggesting puzzlement, annoyance, if not both. To ease these emotions, I ask if the reason is to replace what is owned in the event it were damaged or destroyed or lost in a legal settlement.  “Of course!” is the most common answer.  Well, if the real reason to buy insurance is to enable us to replace what we own in the event of an unforeseen loss, then why is “Save X% in Y minutes” the most common theme in insurance company advertising campaigns?

Here’s why: because advertisers have conspired with many insurance carriers to falsely (and dangerously) suggest to consumers that insurance products are commodities, conditioning many to respond favorably to “save money now” insurance advertising campaigns.   To gain market share, advertisements promoting low cost insurance policies frame savings as the de-facto product pitch. While many DIY’ers who select the “save money now” shell often can find a new insurance policy at a lower cost, they most likely have never asked and answered the question “WHY am I buying this insurance policy?”  That question usually surfaces after they experience an uncovered claim, and are reminded of the wisdom of the adage “we get what we pay for”.

Carl Richards, Contributor at New York Times Bucks Blog and the author of Behavior Gap, reminds us that in the financial services industry, consumer focus on product is also exploited by those who are paid to sell product. Richards is well known for using simple illustrations that lend clarity to issues that many journalists do not understand, including this one to depict the correct approach to establishing a personal financial plan.

plan process product Rcihards

While this illustration reminds investors to first establish a plan before selecting financial products, it is just as relevant to those seeking the right way to protect their homes, cars and other assets from unforeseen loss.

With inspiration drawn from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, Carl Richards explains: “Most of us are trained to think ‘What’ first, because it’s what you hear about all day long. It’s the message you read in financial publications and see on CNBC. But ‘What’ questions should come after we think about ‘Why’ and ‘How’ ….Starting with ‘Why’ means achieving clarity about your personal financial goals and creating a plan.

Thank you, Carl Richards, for reminding consumers to begin by addressing the larger “Why” questions before focusing on “What” insurance policy best meets their protection needs. For assistance in establishing a personal risk management program that eliminates the hidden risks of DIY planning by first focusing on understanding the protection you need, please contact me for an introduction to an independent private risk advisor.

 

PlainfieldIn his book “Start With Why”, author Simon Sinek offers readers many insights, with none more important than this one: “If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”

Sinek’s book essentially details the research that helped him to arrive at this groundbreaking “discovery”: more important to consumers than learning what our products and services can do, or even how our solutions may be superior to those provided by our competitors, what consumers really want to know is what you believe — or what Sinek describes as your “Why”.  (It could be argued Aristotle identified this just a few years earlier as the important appeal to emotion – or ethos – in his lesson explaining the three essential components to the art of persuasion)

Does focusing consumers on your “Why” conflict with conventional sales and marketing thought leadership?  After all, haven’t we been encouraged to uncover our customer’s wants and needs, and then explain the customized and helpful solutions we have structured to meet those unmet needs? Or, since Sinek’s research indicates consumers’ real “wants” are to conduct business with those who understand and can explain their “why”, isn’t it possible that by explaining our “why” we are actually providing what consumers really want?  Think about it.

Consider your own value proposition for a moment or two.  Is it focused on explaining to others what you do / who you serve /  how your solution is different and better?  If so, the good news is your value proposition is just like most others.  You explain your what and how. The not so good news: it is not focused on what Sinek’s research indicates to be the real wants of those you serve.  Where is your why?  No ethos??  Consider Sinek and Aristotle. You can do better.

What does any of this have to do with “the ‘hood?!”  My hometown is one that many would refer to as “the ‘hood”. (Plainfield, NJ for those who are interested, still a great town in my opinion) Although after college many years ago I moved far away, it remains an important part of who I am, and I visit regularly. When I return, at least a few I re-connect with will end a conversation with the question “Do you feel me?”  Not only in this town, but in many others like it. During a recent trip, hearing this question caused me to think of Simon Sinek’s “discovery” and caused me to think: if Sinek had been from my hometown, he may have spared himself years of research. Those in my hometown and others like it have always known: when trying to positively influence others, you want those you are speaking with to think “I feel you!” when you speak with them.

Do you feel me?  I am pretty sure Simon Sinek would.

What do you believe? Have you explained that to those you serve?  If not,why not? 

when not to pass on the leftAs a newly licensed driver, those were the words I heard from my mother each time I left the house. While I did not know exactly just what the “other guy” was capable of, I was always on the lookout!

Many I speak with wonder why the cost to insure their car is what it is since they have never had an accident. Of course, insurance carriers collect premiums from all drivers, and use more than half of all of the premiums collected to pay the costs to settle claims for those who do sustain an accident.  While some accidents are just that — accidents that are difficult to avoid — many more are caused by drivers who are either reckless or remarkably unskilled.  The costs arising from accidents caused by reckless and unskilled drivers contribute greatly to the cost of insurance for all drivers.

To better understand just how reckless and inept some drivers are, check this video from You Tube:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7FqHJh6Ty4

Regardless of your experience: Remember to drive safely, and especially to look out for the “other guy”!

CRAFTMANSHIPHaving just completed the acquisition of Chubb, ACE will adopt the Chubb name globally, and parent company Chubb Limited is listed under the symbol “CB” on the New York Stock Exchange and is a component of the S&P 500 index.  The “new Chubb” has become the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and is intent on differentiating itself from other carriers.

To convey how Chubb differs from other insurance carriers, Chubb has produced a video explaining a focus on refining “the craft of insurance”.  While many carriers marketing efforts falsely suggest insurance coverage is a mere commodity, Chubb reminds consumers insurance coverage is not generic.

“It’s personal. It’s about the people and things that matter to you. Your family and loved ones. Your home and your business. Your employees and shareholders. At Chubb, when we write a policy, we write it for you. We believe insurance is more than underwriting, it’s a craft.”

I encourage all to view Chubb’s new video about the craftsmanship of insurance: http://bcove.me/vy7d3i7f

 

head-in-sand1Neither a scientist nor climatologist, I do not have firm views on why our global climate is changing. Meanwhile, it surprises me how many continue to deny our global climate IS changing. Hopefully, a new report issued by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) will lend some clarity. While the report is careful not to assert why changes have occurred, it provides clear data that may help climate change deniers accept changes in our climate have occurred over the past two decades.

The report was released to coincide with the gathering of world leaders in Paris this week to discuss plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent world temperatures rising. To examine this very readable 27 page report, either key word search the term “Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters” or or simply click this link  to access the UNISDR Weather Disasters Report 2015 to access the report online.

The report found there were an average of 335 “weather-related disasters” (floods, heatwaves, drought, earthquakes, storms, etc.) annually between 2005 and August 2015, almost twice as many as occurred during the years from 1985 to 1994.  The countries with the highest number of weather-related disasters over the past decade were the United States, with 472, China with 441, India with 288, the Philippines with 274 and Indonesia with 163.  While earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis often capture the headlines, they represent only 1 in 10 of the disasters defined by the impact. Floods accounted for 47% of all weather-related disasters from 1995-2015, affecting 2.3 billion people and killing 157,000. Becoming better prepared to address increased flooding is perhaps the biggest risk management take-away from the report, as supported by this important observation.

“All we can say is that certain disaster types are increasing. Floods are definitely increasing. Whether it’s increasing due to global warming, I think it’s safe to say the jury’s out on that. But rather than focus on the ifs, whys and wherefores, I think we should focus on how to manage floods.”  Debarati Guha-Sapir, professor at the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at UCL University in Louvain, Belgium.

Of course, the impact of the financial losses caused by weather-related disasters reflects the greater financial impact sustained in more developed areas, as evidenced by this graphic.  Cost Weather Related Disasters

While it goes without saying debate over the causes and solutions to climate change will continue, consumers should be aware ALL in the insurance industry have witnessed the changes that are occurring and the resulting impact. How the industry decides to respond to those changes will remain an evolving story.

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