Insurance as a Commodity and an Apology

Insurance as a commodity and an apology. 

I’ve told you a little bit about me and my family, as well as shared the value that an independent agency, like AAdvantage, can bring you.

Today, I’ve got a quick story to share about my journey, but I also want to include an apology with it.

An apology for how many insurance interactions happen every day and a story about how my perspective has changed throughout my journey as an insurance professional.

This is not about the different types of agencies so much as it’s about the process for all of us.

“I’ll email over the quote for you to look at and then if you like the price we can move forward.”

Sound familiar?

For the few people receiving quotes with professional insurance experience maybe that works just fine. And maybe you’ve received that email plenty of times and never really been bothered by it. The truth is, however, words like liability limits, bodily injury, deductibles, and umbrellas make almost zero sense to the people that haven’t had to sit and study through the insurance licensing process.

For (most) of us, using industry terms with no explanation is like speaking in a different language. (And yes, I am including myself in that category because that was me before I became a licensed agent).

So, then, how does it make any sense at all for us agents to send you a quote and let you try to interpret it on your own?

It doesn’t.

To be crystal clear, this is not pointing fingers at anybody. I have been plenty guilty of falling into that trap myself. A lot of times that really is just “how it’s done” in this industry.

But as I continue on in this wonderful world of insurance, I am feeling more and more convinced that this is not the way insurance is meant to be done at all. When I exhibit this behavior myself it just feels lazy and commoditized.

So before I go any further, let me apologize on behalf of myself and any other insurance experience you’ve ever had that mirrors the example above. WE (agents) are the ones that turned so much of what we do into a commodity, not you.

But I’m here to change that.

I’m here to offer something different. A slight breath of fresh air in a stale, confusing insurance world.

I’m of the mind that insurance should NOT be treated as a commodity. It is protecting some of your greatest assets, after all. And there are SO many options.


I can already hear the inner dialogue going on in most heads as I say “insurance is NOT a commodity”:

“Why do I have to pay so much for something I never use?”

“Why should I care about the services you can provide when it’s the same as everyone else?”

“I hate talking on the phone, so do I really need to an agent when I can just do all these things on my own online?”

Ring any bells? It rings more than a few bells for me and the thing is, every one of them is a fair statement!

While I completely agree that these statements can make a lot of sense, let me just offer you a few alternatives to that train of thought.

“Why do I have to pay so much for something I never use?”

Fair. Other than a chipped windshield or the occasional accident, is our insurance ever really relevant? My answer to that question is, of course. A resounding yes. Insurance is not just the place you have to go to make a claim, it’s the vessel that consistently runs in the background ensuring that when we do suffer a loss that could potentially put us in ruins financially, we are made whole again. Can you imagine a tornado or hail storm coming through and not having insurance? Assets destroyed, there’s no way I could afford a rebuild of my home and two new cars for my family. When a big loss occurs, insurance is the life boat there to make sure we are made whole again. We are paying so that when that one big loss occurs, someone has our backs and is ready to respond.

“Why should I care about the services you can provide when it’s the same as everyone else?”

This one is especially important to me. And again, we in the industry are at fault for not educating consumers. We spend so much time telling you how great our rates are that we forget to mention what makes a policy unique! With over 15 carriers contracted to our agency, I could sit here all afternoon and tell you what type of client fits in best at each. I’ll spare you that essay and just say this, ALL POLICIES ARE NOT THE SAME. Ask your agent what makes your insurance policy unique and if your agent cannot give you an adequate response as to what makes it special besides the price, it might be time for a new one.

“I hate talking on the phone, so do I really need an agent when I can just do all these things on my own online?”

Yes, you could do it on your own. But why would you?

Pro tip: you pay zero extra premium for going to an agent versus going online.

The risk of going online is that you potentially miss a basic portion of coverage that you hardly knew existed. Like uninsured/underinsured motorist, for example. Most probably can’t define what that is so it’s not a big deal. That is, until you’re walking on the side of the road as a pedestrian and get hit by someone texting on their phone and not paying attention. That person drove away real quick and because you didn’t know to elect that coverage, you’re on your own for all those medical bills. Every agent would make sure you have adequate coverage there. Seek advice from professionals. It doesn’t cost you any extra, and one recommendation can make all the difference.

There’s plenty more to say, but this is some of how my perspective has changed over a year into the business. I can clearly see that consumers need more value added in to their insurance experience and I hope to be the one to provide it. Price and service will always be incredibly vital pieces of an insurance policy, but so is education.

Where do we go from here?

I would say a great next step is to evaluate your insurance experiences up until this point. Have you been educated on your coverages or has a price just been pushed in front of you? The explanations don’t have to be long-winded, and it needs no extra effort on your end, but please hold my colleagues and I to a high standard. Insurance has become the commoditized shuffling of paperwork. Simple questions like “what’s important to you?” or “what would you do if your basement filled with water?” can make all the difference.

Considering everything that an insurance policy can do for you at some of the most scariest times, I think it should be treated in the same light as a consultancy appointment with a lawyer, doctor, or accountant from agents and clients alike.

If this is the type of value you want from your agent, give me a call. I’d love to hear about what matters to you and your family in terms of insurance and then build a plan that is explained and understood.

(618) 772-8480 or I’m ready to serve you any way that I can. Thanks for reading.

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