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Posts Tagged ‘automobile insurance’

 Perhaps 95% of the consumers and professional advisors I meet with attempt to focus their discussion simply on the insurance policies they own.  Ours is a product focused culture, and our buying decisions are guided by products receiving 5 star reviews, Consumer’s Digest Best Buy recommendations, and / or finding a “good deal”.  The power of product advertising has robbed us of the ability to ask ourselves the larger questions.   Questions like “Why am I buying this product?”

Why buy insurance for your home?  Why buy insurance for your car?  When I ask these questions of my clients, I often receive an expression suggesting puzzlement, annoyance, or both.  To ease both emotions, I ask if the reason is to replace what they own in the event it were damaged or destroyed.  “Of course!” is the most common answer. 

Since the real reason to buy insurance is to replace what we own, why is “Save Money Now” the central theme in most insurance company advertising campaigns? Because advertisers have reminded insurance carriers that consumers respond best to “save money” offers.  To gain market share, they focus their ads on product, making save money the product.  Do consumers ever ask how the savings are being achieved?  Insurance carrier benevolence???  These campaigns are effective, and despite the “savings” provided to some consumers, these carriers earn a profit, content to sell products that often do not provide the desired protection.  All because no one ever asked “Why”.

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 exploited by those who are paid to sell product. Richards is well known for using illustrations that lend clarity to issues that many journalists do not understand. While the lesson of the illustration above is aimed at investors, it is just as relevant to those seeking the right way to protect their homes, cars and other assets from unforeseen loss. 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 us that before we focus on the ‘what’ product solutions, we first need to start with asking ourselves the larger ‘Why’ questions. 

For more about Carl Richards work: http://www.behaviorgap.com/

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 In an attempt to speak with a local attorney about the importance of un / underinsured motorists coverage, I clumsily asked how he felt about the topic. My awkward phrasing provided the perfect fodder for this attorney to display his oh-so-sharp wit, and he mockingly replied to my question “Why, I’m 100% against uninsured motorists!”  

Once he was done laughing at his own joke (it took awhile), I explained that what I intended to ask was whether he ever felt it worth his while to recommend to his clients the importance of structuring their automobile insurance to better protect themselves from the costs of injuries caused by a driver with either no insurance, or very low limits of liability coverage.  As I recall, he wasn’t so against uninsured drivers that he felt it important enough to makes his clients aware of the need to protect themselves and their families. According to this news report, neither is Geico.

A large part of Geico’s ability to help consumers “save 15% in 15 minutes” stems from the fact they feature a “select your own coverage” business model. One of the outcomes of DIY insurance: according to this report (check the link above), Geico is not complying with state laws designed to help consumers make informed coverage decisions. Why not?  They are not complying because it is more profitable for Geico to allow consumers to select less protection from un and underinsured motorists

Call me @ 631-329-7246 if you want to understand WHY Geico and several LARGE insurance carriers encourage consumers to “save money” by skimping on important un/underinsured motorists coverage, and to learn what you can do to actually protect your family and your clients from the many drivers who have little or no liability coverage.

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Almost forever, consumers who have wanted “the very best” in personal insurance protection have placed their coverage with Chubb. While Chubb has remained the leading insurer of fine homes and valuable articles, they have also seen a marked decrease in the number of automobiles they insure over the past decade. Mass marketers, offering variations of the “save x %  in y minutes” (those savings are funded by coverage that is often very deficient after a large loss, by the way), have caused Chubb to research and introduce a new approach to pricing their program that rewards those families who have the best risk characteristics.

The result? Chubb is recapturing many of the automobile accounts they lost to the “better deal” carriers in the past decade.  This isn’t just a price play; in many cases Chubb not only competes well on cost, but provides vastly improved protection. If you or your clients have not seen an automobile coverage offer from  Chubb in the past 6 months, we can help you evaluate the many reasons to also regard Chubb as “the very best” in automobile insurance.

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