This morning I read an interesting article in the NY Times titled “Insurance via Internet Is Squeezing Agents”. The internet has certainly disrupted several industries and changed forever the way we purchase some goods and services. It wasn’t that many years ago that you actually went to a travel agency to purchase airline tickets or a vacation. Can you think of any local travel agents still in business?
The internet has disrupted the insurance business as well. Personal auto insurance is probably the most penetrated line of business that internet marketers have made inroads to. But what’s interesting is that the same auto insurance product you buy online is the largely the same product you might buy from an agent or insurance company employee. The internet may have reduced the friction to accomplish the sale, but has it improved it? In a commodity driven product like simple auto insurance the answer is “maybe”. I say maybe because if you don’t care how your protection is structured than it’s accomplished its task, but if you do care about being covered for a loss properly than maybe it’s not accomplished its task very well. And that’s because insurance can be complex and confusing.
Now, step into business insurance. I can confidently say that more than 80% of the policies we have reviewed for prospective clients who made their last purchase online, without the assistance of an agent or broker are terribly written, exposing the business owner to catastrophic problems if a loss arises. The mistakes range from misclassifying the industry or occupation of the business owner to purchasing the wrong type of policy all together. In the do-it-yourself internet world, business insurance may not be the most practical or effective approach to obtaining coverage.
It’s probably because you, the consumer, may not know what you need, and worse, you may not know what you’re getting. Sure it says business owner’s policy – but is it going to work for your business should you suffer a loss? The other problem is that if you go online and complete the application process how many insurance companies are actually quoting your policy? One, two, more? You may not know, so that may mean having to input your information a dozen times to get multiple quotes. Does that sound like a good use of time? Probably not.
At the end of the day, if you do persevere and purchase business insurance online, there’s usually not going to be any savings or “cutting out of the middle man” because the transaction was still done through a broker. So, you end up paying the same, but actually may not be getting as good of a coverage program as you can.
Now, why you won’t find a rating engine, or quote form on our website? Because I want to speak to you – yes, a real live human with over 30 years of experience wants to talk to you! Why? Because I want to understand what you do, what you need, and how you do business. I’m going to ask you questions that can’t possibly be asked in a simple form that you fill out online, because I want to get your protection plan right. I may also tell you that if you’ve engaged 3 brokers to quote your account that I’m not interested in a shopping exercise – you’ve saturated the marketplace already and having another broker jump into the mix is probably a waste of time. The bottom line is that having a 20 minute conversation is going to save you a lot of time and frustration and get you a better, more accurate product than if you try and do this yourself. So pick up the phone and give me a call, or email me and let me know a good time to call you. Let’s find out what you really need – and then work from there.
So, while the internet has changed the way we shop for a lot of products and services, I just don’t see it working efficiently for business insurance. That may have to do with all the variables that exist for this type of coverage and the variety of insurers and programs out there. Oh, by the way, there’s only about a dozen commercial insurers out there that you would want to insure your business with and we represent most of them so chances are good that we’re going to find the best deal for you in addition to getting the right protection plan, so there’s no need for chasing down every website or broker to get quotes from!
Give us a call, we’ll make the process as friction free as possible and get you what you need, and get it right the first time!