Cheap Insurance Companies and Their Services

To some people, cheap insurance companies are merely a myth, to others a reality they do not ever want to acknowledge, but one fact remains the same. Cheap insurance businesses are a commodity most people do not avail for different reasons. Some are scared that they might end up paying more than advertised others just do not want the extra expense.

It is true that there are quite a lot of insurance businesses out there on the internet that are not cheap at all, as well as insurance companies that are cheap and offer the best service. Then there are also cheap insurance businesses that are not just cheap with awful service (these are the ones you would want to avoid). If you want to save money while spending yet at the same time get the best service you will have to do some search into various cheap insurance companies.

There are two ways to find a good insurance company; online and by roaming around, but there is only one way to get a cheap insurance from a company i. E. Search the internet. The reason is simple, where an insurance company caters to clients across the state or just in your area, an online insurance company caters to people across America, and more business means better competition, which ultimately leads to cheaper and lower rates.

Keeping the above equation I know you will agree that the best deals are to be found online, however if you up and want to do business with the most advertised of insurance dealers, you are surely in for a heart-break. These companies in order to compensate for the high costs of advertisements offer some pretty high rates to their customers.

If you truly are looking for a cheap and reliable rate for your insurance, it would be wise for you go for the moderate kind of insurance businesses. These companies could be anywhere after the first ten or so search results. You can also choose to narrow down your results to your city, state, or even by using your zip code if you are searching for a company locally.

Remember to check on the bare minimum of insurance prerequisite in your state and then go forth with negotiating the essentials before negotiating the rates. Almost every state has some sort of bare minimum for their citizens insurance policies these days and it is entirely up to you to convert this slight problem into a blessing that does the most good for you.

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All About Insurance and How to Find Cheap Insurance

Insurance is very important. The way that insurance works is that a whole lot of people pay a small amount of money into an insurance pool. This pool of money will protect these people against some sort of risk, such as the risk of your car getting stolen. Because many people pay money into the pool, the pool becomes rich and full of money. Then if one person who has paid money into the pool gets their car stolen, then the insurance company will give them money out of the pool. The insurance pool can pay out much more money than that individual person had by himself.

The only reason that insurance works is because the problem that is the risk isn’t so big that it happens to everyone. Just think if everyone who invested money into the insurance pool had a car that got stolen, the insurance company wouldn’t be able to pay everyone out lots of money. Insurance companies spend huge amounts of money paying risk analyzers to work out how much risk is in place. They also pay an effective legal team to stipulate good terms and conditions so that clients don’t take advantage of the insurance company by making false claims.

Of course the bigger the company and the more clients it is, the more likely it is to be able to offer cheap insurance to the buyer. The more people that pay money into the pool, the bigger the pool of money becomes.

Well known companies are also able to offer cheap insurance, because they have a far bigger marketing budget, so they can reach more people and potential clients. It s also good to go with a big company, because they are more likely to be able to pay you out. They have a reputation to uphold.

On the other hand, big insurance companies have very good legal teams, so they might have to get out of paying you, by referring to small print in the contract that you may not have seen. So whenever you buy cheap insurance be sure to read the small print.

It is easy to find cheap insurance nowadays. Many companies are offering great deals. And a simple internet search will have you face to face with insurance quotes in no time at all.

Insurance is available in all sorts of areas. You can get insurance for your possessions such as your house, car or boat. You can also get health insurance or travel insurance. Some Insurance companies offer cheaper insurance packages to women. Some health insurance companies will not cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions. You also get cheap life insurance or funeral plans.

Some people may want to insure their body parts, for example a hand model may insure her hands, because if she no longer has them she cannot work. You can basically find someone to insure you for just about anything. When you make a deal with an insurer, you are basically saying, in exchange for paying you a small fee, you will take financial responsibility for me if the stipulated event occurs.

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Compare Cheap Insurance Quotes – Save Time and Money by Comparing Cheap Insurance Quotes

How does your decision to compare cheap insurance quotes on the internet help you save precious time and money? The insurance market has become so competitive that it is impossible to identify a single insurance company as the best one around. There are many variable factors including the type of insurance that one wants, income and lifestyle of the individual, the asset that one wants to insure and the amount of premium that one is prepared to pay. In such a scenario, one cannot blame an individual for opting to compare cheap insurance quotes instead of entering the confusing world of insurance analysis.

How do you save money when you compare cheap insurance quotes? If you opt for quotes comparison, chances are very high that you will quickly identify the cheapest and most beneficial insurance policy for your life, car, home or any other asset. You will get a clear tabular analysis which will tell you how much one has to pay for each and every policy under consideration. If you do not compare cheap insurance quotes, you will have to prepare a comparative statement manually. This is next to impossible considering the fact that the average individual is rarely, if ever, conversant with how insurance policies work.

Another reason why one should compare cheap insurance quotes is that it helps save a lot of time. Getting quotes online helps you get all the information you want in a jiffy. You need not visit each and every insurance company’s office just to compare cheap insurance quotes. You need to state the amount of coverage you want and the amount of premium that you will have to pay will be flashed on the screen instantly. You can also get quotes through the telephone. In either case, a lot of time and effort shall be saved. If one considers the gas that one saves by avoiding visits to numerous insurance offices, the benefits of these free insurance quotes become even more significant. Never again will you have to take time out of your busy schedule to complete insurance related paper work. The web will help you take care of all that.

It is important to compare insurance quotes before getting signed up with an insurance policy. When you compare insurance quotes you can rest assured you are saving both time and money because you are guaranteed to get the lowest insurance quote.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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Compare Cheap Insurance Quotes – Save Time and Money by Comparing Cheap Insurance

Before the invention and wide accessibility of the internet, people had to call around to compare cheap insurance quotes. They could spend hours of their lives on the phone only to find out that the best policy for them was the first one they called. They would then have to call the office back and go through the explanation again. Once they did they still had to go down to the local office and sign paper work and make a payment before they were insured.

Thankfully, times have changed and people don’t have to spend hours on the phone just to find the best rate. Logging on and going to your prospective insurance company takes a lot of time too. So how do you compare cheap insurance quotes to get the best deal on your car insurance? Just go to your favorite search engine instead.

By doing a search to compare cheap insurance quotes you will find a list of sites that offer multiple comparisons right on their site. Generally, these sites are not affiliated with any specific insurance company so you can be assured an accurate comparison.

It’s simple to compare cheap insurance quotes this way. All you have to do is input your information one time. Set the restrictions for coverage type and deductibles and hit the compare/search button. Within seconds a listing of all the major insurance companies will be appear on your screen. You can scroll through them and find the one that has the best coverage at the best price for you.

Often these sites will allow you to purchase insurance directly from them and offer discounts for doing so. By comparing cheap insurance quotes on line through one of the sites will save you time and money.

If you prefer spending endless hours on the phone just to get the best rate go right ahead. Using the internet can take the hassle out of buying car insurance. Who needs another headache when all you’re looking for is the best coverage in your price range?

It is important to compare insurance quotes before getting signed up with an insurance policy. When you compare insurance quotes you can rest assured you are saving both time and money because you are guaranteed to get the lowest insurance quote.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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Comparing Cheap Insurance Quotes – The Best Trade Off Between Premium and Deductible

Shopping in general involves a lot of decision making. You have to be even more careful and use more analysis when buying insurance irrespective of the type of coverage you are looking for. You have to get an affordable deal that offers sufficient coverage. The best way in which you can do this is to collect as many cheap insurance quotes as possible. You can get this job done in no more than half an hour if you use the services of an online provider that gives you a bunch of offers from different insurers for free.

The more difficult part comes next. You will have to compare the different cheap insurance quotes you have obtained. It is essential for you to look for the most affordable of all deals. Apart from analyzing the rates you should check whether the insurance company offers any discounts that you might be eligible for. More importantly, you have to decide on the trade off between the premium and the deductible you will have to pay. Setting these two costs correctly will allow you to save a lot of money and to manage your budget more efficiently.

The premium is basically the fee that you have to pay annually or monthly for the coverage you get. In case you make a claim on your policy and the insurer approves it you will have to pay a deductible. It can be a set sum, but in most cases it is a percentage of the cost of the claim. You should also keep in mind that with health insurance plans the deductible is fixed and has to be paid once a year. Generally, the higher the deductible is the lower the premium is and vice versa.

You can save a lot by increasing your deductible. This is particularly beneficial when you buy auto and home insurance policies since you will have to incur this cost in an event that may never actually happen. At the same time everything is possible. Thus, it is best for you to set a deductible that you can afford to pay it at any time. You have to decide on how much you would want to increase this cost depending on a number of factors.

The main one is the premium. Generally, the experts recommend to any buyer to accept as high premium as they can comfortably afford. You should do some calculations in order to decide how much of your monthly income you can set aside for insurance. At the same time you have to take into account your savings. They will allow you to determine how much you could afford to take out of your pocket if you made a claim today. If this sum is not very large, you may think twice before setting a way too large deductible.

Overall, it is up to you to decide on the best trade off between premium and deductible. This is an individual decision that you have to take when comparing cheap insurance quotes. You have to make your choice by taking into consideration all relevant factors.

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Low Rate Health Insurance Quotes – Find and Compare Cheap Insurance Rates Online

First, ask your friends around you about the insurance policies, which they are using, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that your friend’s need may be different from the one, which is used by you.

The other thing is that you should not opt for a particular plan just because your friend has recommended to you. Instead, you have to go through the plan carefully and see that the plan provides you with different type of services that you are looking for. After all the research, one could choose a plan and can proceed with the plan.

The advantage for looking out for cheap rates online is the competition that is present among the insurance company’s, and each insurance company is alert of it. If you are looking to have cheap insurance then you have to compare the rates with different companies.

The most important thing to look out for is the zip codes, which are even ten miles from each one can actually have a huge difference in the periodical premium charges that is to be paid. This is also based on cost of livelihood and other factors as well.

If you are making a health insurance online, then you have to fill up the form online, where you have to answer some questions and it is a very fast process. There would be some general questions asked such as the age, the degree of risks, and the terms of premium and there benefits that is offered on the plan.

You can opt for a particular plan, which offers the services and the features, and if you think that, it will help your needs then you can opt for it. Some of them are comfortable with catastrophic insurances that would guard you from costly hospital and medical bills, but cannot have the coverage of doctor’s visits until a huge deductible is met.

Given the current recession it is important to make sure to prioritize your money and compare insurance quotes online. A good place to state would be an online website that actually allows you to compare insurance quotes online for free.

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California – Best Insurance Agents Rating?

The rating means how we rank the state for independent and semi-independent agents that broker insurance cases. California Gets and Deserves the top rating of 2nd. What a great marketing opportunity this provides not only for recruiting but for outside product sales targeting agents with sizable incomes.

California insurance agents were researched and analyzed over and beyond normal boundaries to prepare this direct marketing insurance report. We closely evaluate our immense insurance database, looking for trends, statistics, and figures. We looked at the records of 140,000 California Department Health, Annuity, and Life Insurance Agents. Next we put them through a series of numerous computer data programs. Only then was it was determined how many of the 140,000 broker business. By brokering, this means agents who willing place business outside their primary company as semi-independent agents or are fully independent brokers.

The first step is to match up this information with the demand from our clients: insurance company recruiting directors, regional recruiters, brokerage firms, wholesalers, independent marketing firms, state managing general agents and other classifications of insurance marketers.. Next we factor in economic, demographic, and educational data. Last, and certainly not least, we evaluate feedback received from recruiting firms that recently marketed their products to California insurance agents.

California is an amazing close runner up to Florida as the ideal recruiting state. California insurance agents rank as champion in this category. That is the ratio of total licensed agents to those that independently broker of insurance products. California insurance agents are overwhelmingly open minded to offers from insurance advertisers. The experienced California insurance agents are keen to above the ordinary products to broker the prime products to their clients. Slightly over 53,000 insurance brokering agents call California home.

The number of supersized career life agencies with 50 to 350 agents is surprisingly small in California. Especially when comparing it to other larger states. In particular the New England area states. The factor of less large career agencies keeps agent turnover distinctively lower than normal. Also in California metropolitan southern areas, traffic congestion plays a major role. This directly effects how far an agent will reasonably travel to reach a client. It also effects their office locations, attending a seminar, or feeding the gas tank.

This has a rebound result. The amount and percentage of personal producing General Agents in California, that are home based far exceeds all other states.. This distinct characteristic is especially true in the metro Los Angeles area. The majority of California’s small office General Agents have worked their way into the top earning brackets of insurance salespeople nationwide.

For recruiting California insurance agents there are two areas where top agents are not relentlessly pursued. The first is the Central area, which we distinguish as zip sectional centers 930-939. Second, less competition of recruiting California insurance agents is found in the northern part of California. The northern area encompasses zip sectional centers 940-960. These California insurance agents do not receive the extensive intruding telemarketing, unwanted email blasting, irritating faxes, or dull mailings their southern counterparts are overwhelming and consistently blasted with.

However to retain your producer, your product must remain strong. In turn, this requires your sales marketing letter for obtaining leads to recruit agents to be superior to any competitors. Of course maintaining a strong agent relationship is unmatched for retaining agents when your smartest competitors are relentlessly hunting down your best producers.

Here is a very unique reason, yet overlooked, California agents make you more money. Look at the average cost of owning a home in just about any up and coming area of California. Compare these housing costs to some upscale cities in southern states, or even Texas. The price is often triple! Currently, It is now estimated the 1/3 of the homes in the Metro L.A. dollars sell for a million dollars or more. This means that California insurance agents require being more open-minded to upgrading ways to increase their insurance income. It is a simple matter of survival. California agents need to make money and lots of it. Translated to production, it provides an unparalleled need to write mighty premiums and policy after policy.

California is a treasure chest for recruiting marketing experts seeking profitable rewards.

On the reverse side, look at the less experienced and mostly captive California insurance agents. If the newly recruited California insurance agent ends up making $40,000 or less during their four years, count him or her long gone. In the vast majority of states, real estate agents desiring higher income make the transition to selling insurance. In California it is the opposite. Just selling one million dollar home every 3 months would translate to $60,000 at a minimum. How many California insurance agents do you know that net over $50,000 income their first year? (It won’t take a calculator to figure out). That is the best reason to forget the rookies, and go for the pros.

With over 50% of the agents residing in the largest 5 counties, concentrating recruiting on the other counties will increase your results. TIP: The Metropolitan Los Angeles area, zips 900-919, receive over 65% of agent marketing list order requests. Leave L.A. The exception is when your sales marketing letter to California insurance agents is not for contracting agents, but for selling them other products. Segmenting your list to reach only the most affluent areas, directs targeting that is tailored to your marketing audience.

Some important statistical information on licensed California insurance agents.

State Population 2005 – 36,135,000, Population Change 2000-2005 +6.5%.

Agents per thousand residents is 3.0 (ideal), People per square mile is 217.

Median Family income is $58,330.00. Income rank to all state is 13.

High Schools graduates are at 76.8%, and College degree education is 26.6%

The senior citizen population is at only 10.7%.

The largest counties in California are Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, and Riverside, with the first 5 counties comprising 50% of the population.

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Not All Insurance Agents Are Created Equal

Agents have fiduciary duties to their clients requiring the agent to collect all relevant details of the risk to be insured. That involves asking several questions as to the characteristics of the risk which the insured wants to place insurance against. All the collected information needs to be translated to the underwriter of the carrier which the agent wishes to quote/place the policy so the underwriter can appropriately approve and bind coverage.

If an insured withholds material information, asked of him from the agent and the underwriter, who then proceeds to place the policy enforce, the burden falls on the insured in the event of any uncovered claims arising from the omitted information. If it is the agent that withholds material information or does not ask appropriate questions, the burden falls squarely on the agent’s shoulders. The agent should have asked the right questions, collected the insured’s response and submitted those answers, via the application, to the underwriter and/or carrier. This is where all agents are not created equally.

Insureds seek out an agent that they feel comfortable in handling their insurance needs, whether it be personal insurance or business insurance. Insureds that receive a warm fuzzy feeling from an agent the first year are less likely to change from year-to-year unless the agent makes an egregious error in his fiduciary duties, such as placing a policy that does not match the needed coverage (usually not discovered until a claim is filed and not paid). That is Marketing 101: spend 90% of marketing money attracting a client and 10% keeping the client. Unfortunately, some agents use all means necessary to attract and retain their clients even if that means acting in the agents best interest instead of the insureds interest.

I encounter this problem more often than I like to recall. I am no different than any other agent when it comes to soliciting new business from my community. I shake hands, kiss babies, attend social functions, and join networking clubs for the sole purpose of obtaining new clients. That means I have to impress someone greater than their current agent is doing. The difficulty is when the current relationship has been well established over a several year period and the incumbent agent has been doing business as usual. Business as usual means the agent has established a rapport with his client well enough where the agent completes the application for the client assuming he knows exactly what the client needs and the specific characteristics of the risk. “Oh sure, Mr. Client, this new property purchase is just like the other 3 we insured for you last month. I’ll get that taken care of for you.” No other questions. No other information requested or supplied. The client is thinking how great it is that all he has to do is call his “great” agent, tell the agent he just purchased something similar to past purchases, and BAM, all done. Covered. No more time wasted on silly details.

Let us continue with that same client and say I meet him at one of the many functions I described earlier. He and I go through the usual introductions, getting to know what our respective professions are and how business is currently going. He gets one of those warm fuzzy feelings about me based on how I conduct myself and how I answer his inevitable insurance questions. He says, “Can you take a look at my policies for me?” I obligingly say yes. When I receive his current policies, I go through my usual due diligence asking what is the use of the property, what are the primary operations of his business, etc. Once I feel I have a market that can compete against his current carrier, I email the needed applications over to his email and ask him to complete and sign them.

Here is where I find out what kind of relationship he has with his current insurance agent. If he shoots back a reply like: “My agent fills these applications out for me and just submits them.” I realize I have an uphill battle with this prospective client. He has been groomed to have the agent handle everything for him without having to lift a finger. I appease the prospective client by allowing him not to complete the application but I proceed by asking the needed questions in order to properly quote and, hopefully, place the policy. If I get a reply like: “Why do I need to answer all these questions? My agent just does all this for me.” Depending on how I feel about the prospects attitude, at this time, I may just tell him that he is better off staying put with his current agent and carrier. If I feel there is an opportunity to interject some reason to win over a more rationale mentality, I proceed.

More times than not, in those circumstances, I find that the prospect’s agent has not performed his fiduciary duties of gathering proper information and making, what could be, an expensive recommendation, a recommendation that may not sit well with the client. The agent feels that if he comes back with a price more expensive than the client is accustom to, the client may not take the policy. Therefore, the agent not only looses the policy commission but possibly the client, also. The agent may feel the client will “shop” his rate for a lower price. Conversely, what a good agent will do is “groom” his clients from the beginning by having prospective clients self complete ALL applications making sure not leave any section answered or at least addressed no matter how minor or trivial.

In this situation, I also find that the incumbent agent has not forwarded to the carrier all relevant facts about the risk so as to keep the premium down. The agent thinks he doing the client and himself a favor by “saving money” for his client. What clients do not understand is when premium is paid for an insurance policy the contract is bound between the insured and the carrier. If a claim arises in the policy period that is not covered due to erroneous information on the application, the carrier has the right to deny coverage for the claimed loss. The client is then out-of-pocket attorney fees and replacement cost of the lost property. My calculations usually come back where the loss is much greater than what the correct premium should have been. The phrase, “you can pay me now or you can pay me later” seems true when it comes to misplaced insurance policies.

As an ethical insurance agent who likes to sleep uninterrupted at night, I hate “competing” against agents who do not understand the harm they are doing not only for their clients but for the industry as a whole. Once I explain to a prospective client why I need the information I am requesting, which his current agent has never asked for, it makes me appear, in the eyes of the prospective client, to be incompetent or unaware of what is needed by the prospect. The prospect feels I am throwing him a curve ball to confuse him by attempting to make the other agent look incompetent. He is right in that I am attempting to make the other agent look incompetent but not by confusing the prospect.

As you request quotes from your current insurance agent or a prospective new insurance agent, make sure he asks you a lot of questions regarding the insured risk. If you feel he does not ask enough or appropriate questions, feel free to volunteer any information you feel relevant to properly secure the insurance policy. Remember, once the carrier has accepted your risk and you agreed to pay the premium, you gave all control over to the carrier. If you have a claim, the carrier has the right to investigate, accept, deny and adjust coverage as they see fit. It’s your money, protect it.

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The Roles and Responsibilities of a Life Insurance Agent

Many people are still under the impression that the polices are still practiced the old ways and are uncertain about taking an insurance policy for the simple fact that they feel they will have to go through a lot of formalities for this. Now days the process of getting an insurance has changed and it is made a lot easy to get a policy. There are two ways by which you can get a insurance policy. One would be by getting it yourself via the insurance broker website and the other option would be to hire a good agent to finish the deal for you.

Now a days, there are many people who are choosing as a career option because the income is steady and good. When you have decided to choose life insurance as a career, you need to be aware of few key aspects. Life insurance agents also referred to as sales agents. There are many people who don’t like to be called insurance sales agents because of the word ‘sales’. Like any other sales person, the insurance agent is also a sales person for the company.

t the same time the agents are not merely sales persons unlike the sales persons they do not try to sale or push off the product the insurance agents also give good advice to their customers. So, it can be concluded that the insurance sales agents can be termed both as a sales person and a financial adviser. And because of this many feel that they will need to have a financial background to become an insurance agent. This is not a must but it is often preferred if the person is well-informed about the finances and the finance domain. An agent will have to gratify a wide range of customers.

The job of an insurance agent is not only to give financial advice or sell insurance to individuals, but an insurance agent often deal with not only individuals but families and corporate businesses too. There are two categories of insurance agents, the first category is the one who deals with captive insurances and the second category is the independent agent. When you wish to pursue your career as a agent then you can choose the category you will want to specialize in. Many people prefer the second category of the independent insurance agent.

There are many general policies that a agent can sell in addition to the policies and there are:

Casualty insurance
Health insurance
Disability insurance
Long-term care insurance

Life insurance agents may also be found selling other financial packages such as variable annuities, mutual funds and other securities. The opportunities for the are endless and sky is the limit. The earning potential varies from one agent to another agent. The more the agent sells, the more that life insurance agent will earn. An agent must be aware of the market conditions very well and he or she must be able to guide the customer properly.

If the customer has asked for the best term life insurance prices, a insurance agent must strive hard to give that customer what he or she wants. Respecting the sentiments of the customer is very important. Some customers may not be able to afford the whole insurance prices so they may ask for the term life insurance prices. The main goal of the agent is to sell the insurance policy that is right to the customer.

Selling the term life insurance policy to the customers is sometimes very easy because of the low term life insurance prices. However, when the customers ask about the investment part, most agent fumble and get nervous. Although the term life insurance prices are low, there is no cash value accumulated at the end of the term period.

In a situation like this a life insurance agent should be ready to offer a solution of other saving scheme. A life insurance agent should be thought all the selling techniques in how to handle customers who are apprehensive and not sure if they really want the policy, the agent should know how to convert this objection into deals. Captive agents are constrained by the rules and regulations of the company. These terms and conditions should first be conveyed to the customer.

To get the most competitive life insurance, check out Delnaz Thompson’s site. She specializes in the different cheap life insurance. Visit her site for more information.

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Insurance Agents – How Does Yours Measure Up?

Insurance agents can be some of the most important people you’ll ever do business with. They will help you protect your property, your assets and your finances. The work of an insurance agent has the potential to save you from financial ruin.

You could go through your whole lifetime and not need the services of an attorney. You could live and die and not have to use an accountant. But you can’t live in “the real world” without insurance agents.

But remember…it’s YOUR responsibility to learn which coverages are right for you.

Have you ever heard a story from a friend or relative who filed an insurance claim, only to find out that the coverage their agent promised was not there? I hear those stories ALL THE TIME, and at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME…AT CLAIMS TIME!

I began my insurance career as an agent in 1973. I kept my agent licenses active until 1992 when I became an insurance adjuster. During that period of time, I sold nearly every kind of insurance imaginable. That gave me a depth of experience in insurance sales. But all of that experience did not make me an expert in insurance. I learned risk analysis and sales techniques. But I don’t think that I ever had one minutes’ training in how to handle a claim. When my clients had a claim, I gave them the company’s phone number and told them to call it in. We occasionally filled out an Acord form, which is a standard industry form for filing a claim. That was all we did.

The best agent is a person who has spend time studying insurance, not a person who is an expert in sales. The largest percentage of insurance agents of all types are sales people, not insurance experts. Your agent may or may not be an expert in insurance. You’ll have to simply ask your agent what his education level is.

There are a lot of colleges and universities that offer degrees in insurance today. In our area, the University of Georgia offers degrees in Risk Management and Insurance. It’s a pretty well-respected program.

Agents can also become experts in insurance by going through continuing education, such as the Certified Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) education program. Life insurance agents can achieve the Certified Life Underwriter (CLU) professional designation. There are other designations available to agents, but those two are the most widely accepted educational programs.

Agents in most states also have to complete a state-required number of Continuing Education hours each year in order to maintain their insurance licenses. If they don’t complete the hours, the state cancels their licenses.

An agent has a duty to you, called the “fiduciary duty.” That means that he must keep your financial well-being first in his priorities. If an agent sells you an insurance policy because it has a higher commission than another policy, he has breached his fiduciary duty to you.

Agents usually carry a type of liability insurance called “Errors and Omissions” liability insurance. Errors and omssions (E&O) is the insurance that covers the agent’s company, or the agent individually, in the event that a client holds the agent responsible for a service he provided, or failed to provide, that did not have the expected or promised results. This protects agents and their clerical staff from liability due to negligent acts, errors and omissions while conducting their business. It will protect the agent from problems like the following examples:

1. loss of client data. The agent simply loses your file, physically or electronically.

2. system or software failure. Computer at the agent’s office crashes and all data is lost.

3. negligent oversell. The agent sells you coverage you don’t need, or sells you coverage limits higher than necessary.

4. claims of non-performance. This is a broad category but needs to be. This could include charges that an agent did not sell the proper policy, or the proper amount of coverage.

The number 4 example above is the most prevalent and most dangerous for agents. Here’s why.

People today have multiple insurance exposures, like:

auto physical damage

auto liability

uninsured or underinsured motorists exposures

homeowner physical damage

homeowner liability

excess liability

businessowner physical damage

businessowner liability

home-based businesses

life insurance needs

health insurance needs

disability insurance needs

Any one of the exposures listed above can effect any of the others. They are intricately woven together in each of our lives.

Any agent doing business in the modern world should do an insurance analysis of any prospect’s present insurance and his future insurance requirements. To fail to do so is an invitation for a lawsuit.

What does this mean to you?

First: If your agent makes promises to you about coverage, and your claim gets denied, you can make a claim against the agent’s Errors and Omissions Liability policy. You may have to get an attorney involved, but that only increases the chance that your denied claim will get paid.

Next: In my never-to-be-humble opinion, ALL agents selling ANY kind of insurance should perform a Insurance Needs Analysis for the prospect PRIOR to selling the policy. In addition, I believe that an agent should carefully explain the findings of the Insurance Needs Analysis to the prospect PRIOR to selling the policy. Once the explanation is complete, the agent should require the prospect to sign off on the policies that are sold, and sign off on the policies and coverages that are not sold. “Signing off” simply means that the prospect states that the agent has explained all coverages, and he either accepts or rejects any given coverage.

Both parties..the agent and the policyholder…benefit in this transaction. The policyholder has a complete explanation of the policy he’s buying and its relationship to all his other insurance. The agent sells the right coverage, and significantly lowers the risk of a lawsuit or claim against his E&O coverage for selling the wrong coverage.

Here’s what an insurance analysis procedure should look like.

1. Personal Information Collection: get as much information about the insured and his family members as possible.

2. Get Copies of Existing Policies: the agent should actually read the existing policies.

3. Analyze Insurance Needs: determine the correct coverages needed and the correct policy limits.

4. Recommendations: what should be purchased and prices.

5. Application and Sign-off Analysis: fill out the application and have the insured sign off on the analysis form.

6. Deliver the Policy: An agent should deliver the policy in person and explain it again, not just send you a copy in the mail.

Even after all of the training and education that any insurance agent acquires, the agent is still not an expert in how to handle an insurance claim. I’ve had lots of people tell me that they were going to get their agent to help them with their claim. Later, they figured out that the agent didn’t know much more about the claims process than they did. As I wrote earlier, agents can become experts, but their expertise is customarily in the sales and needs analysis areas of insurance…not claims. For most agents, learning the claims process would be a waste of their time, since most agents are not licensed to handle claims.

Sure…some agents will be given a small claims settlement authority by the company they work for. Some agents will be able to settle claims up to about $5,000.00, and then only in the property side of the claim…such as a small water loss or a theft. But, for the most part, the insurance company concentrates claims handling with the claims employees and independent claims adjusters.

The most important strategies you should take from this article are:

1. Interview EVERY insurance agent to find out their level of expertise. Only do business with the most qualified, educated and experienced agents. Let the inexperienced agents practice on people who don’t care about protecting themselves the right ways.

2. Don’t always chase after the lowest premium. You get what you pay for. You’d be better served to pay a higher premium if a highly qualified agent takes care of you. You don’t drive the cheapest car you can find, do you?

3. Never be hesitant to call the Department of Insurance of your state if you have problems with your agent. Agents are regulated for a reason.

If you’ve had bad experiences with insurance agents, how about telling us about it?

Now, I’d like to offer you two special reports at no cost. One is “5 Things To Do When Shopping For Car Insurance,” and the other is “5 Things To Avoid When Shopping For Car Insurance.” Each one is a $9.95 value, but free to you when you sign up for my newsletter at the website address below.

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