I’ve been thinking lately about the reality of what I do and how it’s perceived by others. Usually when people say “Insurance Agent” a taste develops in their mouth that’s something akin to “car salesman” because the perception is that Insurance is a terrible greedy entity, and the people representing it are aggressive, greedy, and unsavory.
First off let’s set the record straight, what does an insurance person make? Depending on the type of business the “average” commission an insurance agent makes for an Automobile policy is approximately 10%. What do you pay for your policy each month? I pay around $79 for two cars with full coverage. My clients spend about that much too. Therefore my income from that household is $7.90. In a year’s time I make $94.80 from that relationship so you can see the agent is not making big dollars here. In fact when the insurance company pays out multiple losses for auto accidents in your state, they often are barely eeking out a profit before then and sometimes have to raise rates slightly just to break even in your state. Then if you are one of those people who needs a lot of personal attention, I surely don’t mind helping you. But keep in mind, I need to have over 1000 customers in order to pay the bills and if you require a lot of really regular help, that chews through my $7.90 profit pretty fast.
Where are we now? The internet and television have so commoditized Insurance that now I am viewed as similar to the guy behind the counter at the fast food joint asking you if you want regular or curly fries with that burger. The TV in particular tells you you can get insurance cheaper from every different company that happens to be on the ad. At the end of the day, do you really think it’s going to be the “lizard” who takes your call when you were in a nasty accident and are sitting in a downpour on the roadside, scared, upset, and hurt? No, it’s going to be an (800) number with a person you’ve never met and won’t ever speak to again. That is…unless you have a dedicated agent. Did you know your local agent, yes the one who is right down the block, often can get you as good or better rates than the lizard? This person is a professional, and he/she KNOWS you and your family. They care about your situation and will be there when the phone rings, and often at a rate less than any web-based storefront you see on the TV. Trust your local agent, they are professionals, and they belong to YOU!
On the subject of price, all companies report their profitability at different times of the year to the Department of Insurance in your State. Therefore the pricing on your policy may change at different times of year. It may be that the current company you use is raising rates right now, and the company down the block has a slightly better rate. But maybe their company profitability is being reviewed right now and their rates are going to go up next week, month, or quarter. It is really worth burning a bridge with one agent or company who has served to reliably and honorably for years, so you can save a few bucks….for a few weeks? One month my company is the cheapest, one month we’re not. However my commitment to service and being a consultant does not waiver. Do you change doctors when your doctor starts billing $20 more for the same routine annual physical than he did last year? No…he’s a professional. He wouldn’t raise rates unless it were totally necessary to stay in business. Don’t burn a bridge with a trusted partner to save a few bucks, your current company will be cheaper again before you know it! And believe me, you’re going to spend a ton of time getting quotes and dealing in the minutia of something you can’t stand and don’t really understand. It’ s not worth it.
Lastly, back to the subject…fun with what most people hate! Your insurance agent is a well-trained consultant in the art of understanding that “minutia” I mentioned above. When was the last time you decided to get a new home, and thought…”gee I’m a smart person…I’ll just build it myself!” Right…never. There’s a lot to know and your Insurance Agent is the person who knows the in’s and out’s of the programs so well they can recite it in their sleep. Trust them to help you understand what’s important and what’s not. We are the people who LOVE insurance so you don’t have to. Then you can go on with your life and enjoy the important things…family and loved ones. It’s our job to protect those people, it’s your job to enjoy them!
Mark Nielebeck – President/CEO
PS – We do Auto and Home insurance in California TOO! So think of us to save money!