Early in my career I was told that there is “no such thing as a stupid question.” For years I believed that. However, after 25 years experience in insurance I can positively say that stupid questions exist.
In this post I want to clarify what a stupid question is and who asks them.
I agree that true clients typically do not ask stupid questions. I have worked with insurance more than 25 years. I know what I am talking about. Insurance can be very confusing. I have to remind myself that even though a question sounds simple to me, the person who is asking it has probably never been exposed to the information as many times as I have.
I am also aware of what I do not know. It seems the more I learn, the less I really know. It is funny that when I was a rookie agent I thought I knew everything there was to know about insurance. After 25 years, I no longer consider myself a rookie. I have also come to believe that no one person can know everything there is to know about insurance.
I have a special disdain for politicians who think that because they read a book or report on insurance they are experts at something that I have spent 25 years trying to master.
I have a friend who is an air conditioning contractor. When he has a question about insurance he asks me. When I have a question about air conditioning, I ask him.
I know that he has not had the same experiences that I have. There is no way that he could know what I know about insurance. I also know that there is no way that I could know what he does about air conditioning.
I know that any question he asks me, regardless of how elementary it seems to me, is information that he wants. He does not ask stupid questions.
Some people waste my time trying to ask questions in front of someone else to prove how smart they are. They already know, or think they know, the answers. They just want to show how superior they are to the professionals.
As far as I am concerned, those types of questions, regardless of how intelligent or insightful they may appear, are stupid questions.
It has been my observation that truly intelligent people do not feel the need to show how ignorant someone else is in order to emphasize their own intelligence.
Smart people know what they know and know what they do not. The difference is that a genuinely smart person knows where to go to find out the information they want to know.
Stupid people attempt to mask their stupidity by pointing out the weaknesses that others have.
POLITICALLY MOTIVATED QUESTIONS
The national election is over. Hopefully, what I am about to say will not offend the extremist in America.
During the Vice-Presidential debate, Joe Biden looked into the TV camera and asked, “Who do you trust?” It was obvious that he was not looking for information. He was asking a question intended to manipulate Americans.
As far as I am concerned, Biden’s question can be classified as a “Stupid Question.”
Early in my career I had to sit through scores of “training meetings.” One thing that I learned through those meetings is that rarely was the information that was conveyed any different from the reading material that I was given before the meeting. If an agent read and understand the material they were given, there would have been no reason for the hours and days spent in meetings other than to justify the salary and benefits of middle management. (Now that I am an independent agent, I am not forced to attend meetings that I find a waste of time.)
At the end of those meetings was always a question and answer session. I was inpatient enough having a “trainer” repeat to me what I read before the meeting. I was even worse when I had to sit in a meeting while an agent asked a question that was answered in the reading material he was given prior to the meeting.
In my opinion, that agent was too lazy to read what was given to him and was willing to waste my time asking a stupid question because he was either too lazy or incompetent to read and understand the material that was given to him.
If you have a legitimate question about insurance, please use the form to the right to ask it. If I am able to help you understand, I am happy to respond.
However, if you get your jollies by stumping an expert, go to another Q & A site and do not waste my time. Since all my responses remain private, nobody will ever know if you successfully stumped me.