As an insurance agent, you meet prospects who either understand the importance of coverage or those who underestimate it. People who understand the importance of insurance to call you, looking for prices. But those who underestimate Learning, when you pitch insurance to them, the conversation sometimes ends with a simple “No thanks, I’m good!”
So what do you say? What’s the best way for someone who doesn’t understand the importance of good communication? Here are five things that I, a personal injury attorney, would say to your clients.
1. Anyone who has ever had insurance has never regretted having insurance but anyone who hasn’t and wanted it… oh boy, they regret it.
If you go 40 years of your life as a driver without an accident, you probably won’t say, “Man, I wish I had car insurance all that time!” A person who goes their entire life without a car accident or driver can look back with gratitude.
But what if the person had a car accident? Worse – what if they were in a car accident where they were not only at fault, but the other party was seriously injured? Imagine how grateful they would be for being insured? The same applies to having the right property/casualty insurance.
Remind your customers that the only disappointment they have to worry about is complaining about not being protected. And, in the end, it comes down to numbers. Let’s say homeowner’s insurance costs about $1,300 a year (Bankrate.com says the average homeowner’s insurance for a $250,000 home owner costs about $1,383 a year in the US).
Let’s say it’s $2,000 a year with personal insurance included. That’s about $166 a month. During this time, we represented a woman who was attacked and injured by a dog and we were able to help her obtain $600,000 in compensation. Let’s start regretting again. Who hurts the most? The person who paid $166 a month for peace of mind and never used it? Or the person whose best friend decided to bite his neighbor and, thus, was taken to court for it?
2. A successful offense is not always a good defense.
And I’m not talking about Bill Russell’s 1963 Boston Celtics who were, by and large, the greatest defensive team in basketball history. I’m talking about the responsibility when someone is injured on your property and you blame him. Protection is, in these situations, a last resort. Why? Because the biggest mistake in such accidents is having the right insurance.
Now, full disclosure, I am not a lawyer. I work on the other side of personal injury cases with the injured party or the victim. However, I know that attorneys love nothing more than clients who don’t have the proper information (assuming they can afford it). And this is especially true if the client has assets to lose.
Ever heard the phrase “I’m coming to take your house and car” in a movie or on television? Well, you won’t just hear that in divorce court. Your property is always at risk when you don’t have proper insurance and someone is injured on your property. This means that the defending party will pay and fight as hard as possible to avoid losing those assets. Which means the attorney will be billed for more hours.
The average attorney in California, for example, charges $300-$400 an hour. The length of time your clients are uninsured for an injury varies from case to case. However, it lasts about two years. And that’s if the case doesn’t go to trial (which about 30% of cases do). A typical estimate for a lengthy trial can be $240,000 in defense attorney fees.
But that’s not all. That’s just your client’s fee. This does not count the compensation awarded to the plaintiff. This means, basically, that even if you win the suit, you still lose if you don’t have the right insurance. And if you lose a suit, you lose a lot.
3. Talk, talk and communicate with the insurance agent to understand what is and is not covered.
Another common thing I see is someone who thinks they have one thing covered but in the end they don’t. This happens in all types of insurance. Drivers who think they have roadside assistance. The family of a deceased person learns, the hard way, that a certain type of death is not covered by their loved one’s life insurance. And, yes, homeowners who find out too late that they are being held liable for injuries that occur on their property.
This is the unfortunate result of poor communication between the agent and the insured. Anyone can lose if there is no proper coverage. It is not unusual for the defendant to have no money or assets to pay the judgment against them. If the defendant is not covered and the plaintiff does not have their own insurance to cover their debts, then it is possible that they, too, will have their own debts.
The best advice I can give to one of your clients is to be as detailed as possible about what they are saying. And for you, as insurance agents, I encourage you to remind yourself of the dangers and problems that customers face without proper protection. Because all it takes is one event to change their life.
4. Good insurance changes the date of the accident to another Monday.
A large insurance company turns the event of the day of the disaster into another Monday for the insurance provider. This is true, however, if the coverage was sufficient. That’s where you come in. As solicitors, we are very similar to insurers. All of us:
- We want to make sure that our customers are properly compensated when needed.
- If a verdict (or a case in our field) is reached, we want our clients to win.
- We want our customers to have peace of mind.
This last point is especially true. Depression kills. Others Research shows that it is as harmful as smoking. A good thing to remind your customers when they question the importance of insurance that causes all the problems is the following:
The worst thing in your life can cost you thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars. But the right plan will turn that event into a 10-minute phone call.
The stress of losing thousands when you could have paid a few hundred dollars is not worth it. As I said before, these cases can go on and on. The bills are piling up. And life is not slow. Peace of mind is useful. And its absence costs more than a few hundred dollars.
5. Proper learning means everyone is happy.
The truth of the matter is that some agents like to sell bare bones, low loan protection just as much as other people like to buy. But in the end, if disaster strikes, no one will be happy.
Speaking for both agents and their customers, the rule of thumb is to consider responsibility. Negligence is often proven in court by four basic factors: duty, breach of contract, cause and damages. In some states, for example, an insurance carrier’s liability comes down to one of these simple steps:
- You, as the agent, owed a debt to the client.
- You failed to do the job and you broke it.
- You are being held liable for damages.
Therefore, selling quickly is not always a good thing. And the same goes for customers when it comes to pricing. If your customers don’t listen to your good advice, then it’s their responsibility, not yours. There is a lot that an agent can do.
Dear all, talk to a lawyer!
I’ll close by giving one last piece of advice to everyone: Talk to a lawyer!
Encourage your clients to speak with an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. Many will do this for free and build a relationship that will lead to a job in the future. But agents also need to be approached. You can learn a lot by understanding what the charges look like on the other side of the table.
It often seems that our customers believe that we only focus on our returns. As a sponsor, you have the same problem. A large part of the services we provide to our clients begins with awareness and establishing trust. Visibility, planning and a willingness to do what is best for our customers go a long way.
Greg Kirakosian is a personal injury attorney and founder of Kirakosian Law in Los Angeles. Greg can contact him [email protected]
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