I am a Life and Health insurance agent. I voluntarily gave up my license to work with Property and Casualty insurance many years ago. I understand my limitations. I could either be a generalist as an insurance salesperson or a specialist who is able to solve insurance problems. I figure that the money will take care of itself if I solve enough problems.
Most of the posts on this blog deal with Life and Health insurance. Today’s post is a guest post from a colleague who specializes in solving Property and Casualty insurance problems.
In the 80’s and early 90’s my office staff didn’t need to be licensed by the State of Texas. Now they must be licensed. In the 80’s the motto was “as long as it qualifies for underwriting, write it.” Now it’s how much risk and market share a company can obtain before it threatens the viability of the company’s reserves and/or policyholder protection fund and at what price should the product have to make certain that risk is covered now and for future losses. This is even more imperative sense investment income the past few years has been reduced substantially due to a low-interest rate environment on conservative investments that remain somewhat liquid. It is the perfect storm. It’s critical to have an adequate rate structure, remain competitive without compromising service, and honoring our financial commitments to our customer now and into the future.
There are some things you can do to make the right decision as a consumer. One tool you can use is http://www.opic.state.tx.us/policy-comparisons/homeowners-2. This is a great link to compare your homeowner policy with all the policies in Texas and it’s created for the consumer! Check the Texas Department of Insurance https://apps.tdi.state.tx.ushttps://apps.tdi.state.tx.us/helpinspublic/Start.do?type=auto/helpinspublic/Start.do?type=auto. You can view the number of complaints that a certain company may have and/or file your own complaint.
Some other points to consider are the following:
1) Do not piecemeal your P&C business any longer. In the olden days, we were taught, to not tie in sales, meaning don’t offer to write auto without the home, or don’t write the home without the auto. You are doing yourself a great disservice by not keeping your auto and fire insurance together. With some insurance companies you can lose as much as a 20% multi line discount on the auto and on the home insurance by separating them. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. It’s either all or none now.
2) If you are dealing with a local agent, choose one that is looking out for your best interest long-term and not self-serving his short-term interests. For some it’s very important to have a relationship with your agent and for others not. Agent’s may have the power to appeal claims decisions, pay small claims up to $5000, be an advocate for you to underwriting and claims, and most importantly understand your unique situation and/or needs.
3) If your view is that insurance is nothing but a commodity and you don’t need an agent, choose a company that enables you on the internet, gives you applications on smart phones to conduct business, and have a strong internet platform to keep abreast of changes. Empower yourself as knowledge is power. Check out how they are rated in paying claims, their financial strength by various financial rating companies such as AM Best, Moody’s, Duff and Phelps, Weiss, and others. The bottom line is that there is no magic bullet. Rates, Service, Financial Strength, Relationship, are all important and you as the consumer need to rank these in the order that you value and then make decisions based upon these factors.
My name is Jerry Jungels-I have held a P&C license since 1986 and own and operate an insurance agency. My successful agency is in Northwest Houston close to Jersey Village and Cypress. I have seen many changes in the P&C arena the past 27 years. As a 25 year Rotarian, I believe in the motto “Service Above Self,” I always strive to be an advocate for the consumer while at the same time trying to represent my company, http://jerryjungelstexas.com/.