Are you fearful that the agent for insurance who is booked to come over that you arranged through an online insurance site could be more concerned for his own wealth protection than yours?
There is good advice out there, but would you prefer to screen that advice in a low pressure, take-your-time way?
Don’t get me wrong. There are some great agents in the insurance business. Many are here to serve, and serve well! But there is always a chance you may not get that agent, right?
Unless you have been referred by a friend to their guy, there is always the chance the salesman who shows up to your door is there to make the big sale, and well, you could be his only hope this week.
But, if you like the idea of shopping for insurance online (like everything else), can you get thorough advice? I’d like to think so, so read on and I’ll tell you why…..
“The Way we were”
I have been a life insurance broker since 1991.
In “those days”, we sold life insurance the old fashioned way – - face to face at your kitchen table, or across from you at your desk at work. The odd time, we’d meet at a coffee shop or restaurant, and hope it wasn’t too quiet so people could hear your financial life story, or too loud that we couldn’t hear each other.
There were some problems with that system. The agent, most times had a product he wanted to sell you, and it was on the agenda for the meeting. The trick was to convince you it was the cat’s meow, and you’d have a deal. The problem with this idea, was that the agent didn’t take into account your current coverage, your group LTD (long-term disability), your income, your desires, or your goals.
Some agents cared, but many were there to make a quick sale, and be on their way. Taking a look at your “big picture” wouldn’t be in the cards – - ever!
And in that environment, I have to ask the simple question: If you are sold life insurance, what if you lived? Would the agent have taken the time to ensure your disability coverage was also going to ensure the kids got to college?
We’ve had a hard time joining the dots, and bringing in common sense. We seem to have had a hard time knowing what it is we as agents should do.
How ’bout that overpriced mortgage insurance they made you feel was required to get that mortgage, hmmm?
We have banks marketing mortgage life insurance with a few loaded health questions, that leaves the client at risk of not knowing what part of his mortgage will actually be covered, and which won’t.
I can’t tell you how many people I speak with that think the reason they got the mortgage was because, in part, they took out the bank’s mortgage insurance. When they find out they actually don’t need to be pillaged, they are relieved, and rightly so.
Or how about claim nightmares?
Have you ever heard anybody explain the horrors of claiming on mortgage life or critical illness insurance? If you have, which “certificate” did the bank actually pay on – - the current one reflective of the current balance, or did they have to go back to the old one? Or heck, did they deny it altogether!
What was their excuse?
“We wouldn’t have covered you if we found out you had a UTI that we have nurtured into a more plausible and more significant sounding “bladder” problem?
What amazes me is they are allowed to get away with this. Thankfully, there are protections in place with conventional, personal life insurance that bring integrity back to the business. And that agent – you know, the guy that talks too loud in the coffee shop – - he’s the one to deliver the real goods, whether in person, or now perhaps, by phone, email and courier!
An industry with an identity crisis
The insurance industry is suffering from an identity crisis the likes of which it has never seen before.
The banks also offer their insurance products next door to their branches. But there’s a catch.
If you were to ask a bank employee where the bank insurance office is, he or she might develop an inability to form the words, but merely point to a building that is not attached (okay?!). They won’t be able to tell you it’s there, that would be against the law – - pointing and hand gesturing is all that is allowed. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s true.
And then, we have the same banks with “direct”, separate subsidiaries with salaried salespeople selling their brand of personal (good) coverage over the phone. Call them up, get a quote, and if you don’t buy then, you probably were wondering if there was a better deal still out there. But where?
Do you think this industry is a little confused over who should sell what, to who, and how? If the banks can’t get it straight, you know we are in a transition, but perhaps an exciting time, with lots of choices.
Which brings us to the point – - Should you buy insurance online?
The answer: The complete package – all done by phone, email and courier!
For those that resist the internet, you probably have merit in your fear. For those looking to arrange an agent visit by internet because you think you will get thorough advice, will you really?
And for those that have a local advisor that has never looked at their employee benefit booklet to review their disability coverage, or who never mentioned the word – - D-I-S-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y – - are you really getting good advice, even if “in person”? Aretha Franklin said it best: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” – - but you should say,
“Tell me what your going to do for me?”
What if you could find an agent online to not only be able to bring the best plans at the best price, but also be able to offer advice that once you sleep on it you will come to realize it is the right advice - – and it makes sense?
And, without lengthy data collection, what if the advisor could do a thorough needs analysis to ensure you aren’t missing something vital?
I’d like to say that should be a given. Or put another way, why doesn’t everyone deserve to be treated like a somebody?
You may have called that online source because you just got the finger pointing treatment at the bank, and were wondering about that better deal. You were right to wonder, and right to check.
But the source you called wants to book an appointment with an agent you don’t know, leaving you back at square one, and incidentally, why is it you cannot reach that agent when something comes up and you need to reschedule? Does that sound like professional treatment to you?
So, “who ya gonna call?”
face-to-face for years, and know how to offer complete protection.
Those same advisors may realize they no longer need to be bound to a small geographic area and can utilize their talent over a broader spectrum where everybody wins.
The reason for the current explosion in online insurance sales is simple – - The average age of an an advisor in Canada is approaching 60, as we as an industry have failed to train advisors to assess needs correctly, using a plan, to lead our clients to the proper solutions. Instead, most of us that have developed an ability to provide full, well-rounded advice came to our own way without direction.
And, I’d like to thank a certain someone who developed an industry leading quotation system (like the one I use) that has helped many agents see the light, which provides a vital ability to work with speed and purpose, to serve a population desperate to find direction and help.
With so many Canadians coming to the internet to get advice, it’s time for those who can step to the plate to do so fast. The insurance industry doesn’t have time to sort out it’s identity crisis. It’s time to get our act together and be the guy people can go to.
If you are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, or British Columbia, I am licensed to serve you!
And, I would be honored to be your guy.….so…..just point over here (but don’t actually say anything).