A combination article/advertisement (an article posing as news that is really an advertisement) landed in my inbox. The article detailed the miracle of being able to get a complete commercial quote and a policy bound in just twenty minutes. The point of the article was that this combination of software genius and MGA are the perfect solution to a business’ insurance needs.
How does one define "perfect"? Let us assume the quote is not only bindable but an actual policy number is issued without recourse to price or coverage. Does this meet the definition of "perfect"?
Should adequate coverage be a factor in determining if a quote is "perfect"? The assumption made, the presumption made, and the connotation implied is that coverage is adequate (whatever "adequate" means). This is what the author wants producers to believe and what producers want to believe. However, commercial insurance is complex.
Commercial clients' needs are complex. No two businesses are the same, and no two businesses, even in the same industry, need the same insurance solutions. Even on a DIY platform, if a buyer has full knowledge of what they need, much more than twenty minutes would be required to identify and verify the coverages that exist in the quotes delivered by the tech firm's algorithm.
Remove the assumptions, presumptions, and positive connotations designed to mislead people, and what does one really have? An insured would have a policy that may or may not, no one really knows, be appropriate within narrow parameters, but is almost certainly completely lacking the additional coverages the insured needs. In other words, at best, one has a half-assed solution.
Lots and lots of agents have been providing half-assed solutions, maybe only quarter-assed solutions, for a long time and spending more than twenty minutes to do so, without price or coverage guarantees. For certain then, this software/MGA is a serious step-up from those plodders. No question about it, insureds are better served using this new offering.
An opportunity exists though for professionals, people who care enough about their clients to actually learn coverages and talk to them for more than twenty minutes, to deliver a full and truly complete solution thereby beating both of the above half-assed solutions.
One element to successfully beat the competition is to articulate the difference between a complete quote and complete coverage. The public does not understand the difference and a considerable portion of agents and account managers have no clue either. No one really needs a quote for incomplete coverage. Everyone needs complete coverage, even if the quote takes a while. So, the agent must know what complete coverage is and it is not a simple GL quote.
Next is to articulate why more than twenty minutes is required of the insured. Insurance is insurance, but because no two people have the same insurance needs, generic solutions don't legitimately exist. To tailor a policy to meet an individual's needs requires twenty minutes just to learn what is needed. Using the tailoring analogy, do insureds want a suit that is too big for them? Too small for them? Pants the right size but a jacket that tears when buttoned? With an insurance policy, do they want to get it quick even though it fails if they have a claim?
Fast and cheap insurance usually means inadequate coverage and often, especially with the craftiness of some pricing models, a more expensive policy. The public does not understand this, though I wish they did because then they would place a high value on truly professional agents. The reality is that a professional agent must take extra time to sell, educate and explain the need for the additional coverages. You will do that if you truly care about your clients.
My clients who do care and who make the extra effort, learn to use checklists expertly. Their customers give them their time because they, the customers, trust them to provide professional advice. Customers who don't give their agents time really would not trust the professional advice they would be given if they gave the agents their time.
The net result is that my clients' who take this professional approach of quality over speed have sales numbers that far exceed industry averages. It is not easy work, but the opportunity is huge. Be different. Be a truly trusted advisor in reality and not in name only. Be trusted because you are good and not just because of your rosy personality. Be the agent who delivers the right coverage.
NOTE: The information provided herein is intended for educational and informational purposes only and it represents only the views of the authors. It is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. Burand Insurance Education, Burand & Associates, LLC and Chris Burand assume, and will have, no responsibility for liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information.
None of the materials in this article should be construed as offering legal advice, and the specific advice of legal counsel is recommended before acting on any matter discussed in this article. Regulated individuals/entities should also ensure that they comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.