Insurance Agents - How Does Yours Measure Up?



Insurance representatives can be a few of the most important people you'll ever do business with. They will help you secure your house, your properties and your finances. The work of an insurance agent has the potential to save you from financial destroy.

You might go through your entire lifetime and not need the services of a lawyer. You might die and live and not have to use an accountant. However you cannot live in "the real world" without insurance agents.

Remember ... it's YOUR obligation to find out which protections are ideal for you.

Have you ever heard a story from a good friend or relative who submitted an insurance claim, just to find out that the coverage their agent guaranteed was not there? I hear those stories ALL THE TIME, and at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME ... AT DECLARES TIME!

I started my insurance career as an agent in 1973. I kept my agent licenses active up until 1992 when I became an insurance adjuster. Throughout that amount of time, I sold nearly every type of insurance possible. That gave me a depth of experience in insurance sales. All of that experience did not make me a specialist in insurance. I learned risk analysis and sales techniques. I don't think that I ever had one minutes' training in how to handle a claim. When my customers had a claim, I provided the business's phone number and told them to call it in. We occasionally completed an Acord type, which is a basic market form for filing a claim. That was all we did.

The very best representative is an individual who has spend time studying insurance, not a person who is an expert in sales. The largest portion of insurance agents of all types are sales people, not insurance professionals. Your agent might or may not be a professional in insurance. You'll have to simply ask your agent what his education level is.

There are a great deal of institution of higher learnings that use degrees in insurance today. In our location, the University of Georgia uses degrees in Threat Management and Insurance. It's a quite well-respected program.

Representatives can likewise end up being professionals in insurance by going through continuing education, such as the Licensed Home Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) education program. Life insurance representatives can accomplish the Licensed Life Underwriter (CLU) professional designation. There are other designations available to representatives, however those 2 are the most commonly accepted educational programs.

Agents in most states also have to finish a state-required variety of Postgraduate work hours each year in order to preserve their insurance licenses. The state cancels their licenses if they don't complete the hours.

An agent has a duty to you, called the "fiduciary duty." That means that he must keep your financial well-being first in his top priorities. If a representative offers you an insurance plan due to the fact that it has a greater commission than another policy, he has actually breached his fiduciary responsibility to you.

Agents usually bring a type of liability insurance called "Mistakes and Omissions" liability insurance. Errors and omssions (E&O) is the insurance that covers the representative's business, or the representative individually, in the event that a customer holds the representative accountable for a service he offered, or failed to supply, that did not have actually the expected or promised results.

1. loss of client information. The agent simply loses your file, physically or digitally.

2. system or software application failure. Computer system at the representative's office crashes and all data is lost.

3. irresponsible oversell. The representative sells you coverage you do not require, or sells you coverage limitations higher than needed.

This is a broad classification but needs to be. This could include charges that a representative did not offer the appropriate policy, or the proper quantity of coverage.

The number 4 example above is the most prevalent and most unsafe for representatives. Here's why.

People today have multiple insurance direct exposures, like:

automobile physical damage

car liability

uninsured or underinsured motorists exposures

house owner physical damage

property owner liability

excess liability

businessowner physical damage

businessowner liability

home-based companies

life insurance requires

medical insurance needs

disability insurance needs

Any one of the direct exposures noted 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 need to do an insurance analysis of any possibility's present insurance and his future insurance requirements. To fail to do so is an invite for a claim.

Exactly what does this mean to you?

First: If your agent makes pledges to you about protection, and your claim gets denied, you can make a claim against the agent's Omissions and errors Liability policy. You might need to get an attorney included, however that only increases the opportunity that your denied claim will get paid.

Next: In my never-to-be-humble opinion, ALL representatives selling ANY sort of insurance must perform a Insurance Requirements Analysis for the possibility PRIOR to selling the policy. In addition, I think that an agent should thoroughly explain the findings of the Insurance Needs Analysis to the possibility PRIOR to selling the policy. As soon as the description is complete, the Lexington Insurance Agency representative must require the possibility to accept the policies that are offered, and validate the policies and coverages that are not offered. "Signing off" just means that the possibility states that the representative has described all coverages, and he either accepts or turns down any given coverage.

The policyholder has a total explanation of the policy he's purchasing and its relationship to all his other insurance. The agent offers the right protection, and considerably lowers the threat of a suit or claim versus his E&O coverage for offering the wrong protection.

Here's what an insurance analysis treatment should appear like.

1. Personal Details Collection: get as much details about the insured and his relative as possible.

2. Get Copies of Existing Policies: the representative needs to actually read the existing policies.

3. Evaluate Insurance Requirements: figure out the correct coverages required and the right policy limitations.

4. Suggestions: what should be acquired and rates.

5. Application and Sign-off Analysis: submit the application and have the insured validate the analysis form.

6. Deliver the Policy: A representative needs to deliver the policy face to face and discuss it again, not just send you a copy in the mail.

Even after all of the training and education that any insurance agent gets, the representative is still not an expert in how to manage an insurance claim. For a lot of agents, finding out the claims process would be a waste of their time, since the majority of agents are not certified to handle claims.

Sure ... some representatives will be provided a little claims settlement authority by the business they work for. Some agents will be able to settle claims approximately about $5,000.00, and after that just in the residential or commercial property side of the claim ... such as a small water loss or a theft. For the most part, the insurance business concentrates claims handling with the claims staff members and independent claims adjusters.

The most essential strategies you must take from this short article are:

Interview EVERY insurance agent to find out their level of expertise. Let the unskilled agents practice on people who don't care about securing themselves the ideal ways.

You get exactly what you pay for. You 'd be better served to pay a higher premium if an extremely certified agent takes care of you.

3. Never be reluctant to call the Department of Insurance of your state if you have issues with your representative. Agents are controlled for a factor.


Representatives usually bring a type of liability insurance called "Omissions and mistakes" liability insurance. Omssions and errors (E&O) is the insurance that covers the agent's business, or the representative separately, in the event that a client holds the agent accountable for a service he supplied, or failed to provide, that did not have the expected or assured outcomes. Next: In my never-to-be-humble opinion, ALL agents selling ANY kind of insurance ought to carry out a Insurance Requirements Analysis for the possibility PRIOR to offering the policy. Even after all of the training and education that any insurance agent obtains, the representative is still not a specialist in how to handle an insurance claim. For most agents, discovering the claims procedure would be a waste of their time, considering that the majority of agents are not licensed to deal with claims.

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