I have had several friends, family members and acquaintances ask me how I can work in the insurance business? And go on to state that they feel that the industry is a “racket” and all they do is pay for something that they never get a benefit from. I feel that this is a pretty common misconception of our industry. And this is partly due to the fact that the only news stories we hear are the ones in which the “Big Bad” insurance companies are trying to deny a claim for the “innocent” policyholder. Or, we see all of the ads from the attorneys saying that “if you are in an accident, call us first because your insurance company is not going to lookout for your best interest, but we will….”
When I am talking to someone about their insurance protection plan, and they ask the question, “Am I ever going to need to use this insurance coverage”, my answer is always the same, “I sure hope not, but if you ever did need it and I did not recommend it to you, I would no tbe able to sleep at night knowing that I did not look out for you…”
So what I am going to spend a few minutes on today is talking about some of the “good” insurance stories. I emphasize the word good to mean that the insurance was there to help out the clients, but the situations that they had gone through are far from good. These are real life example’s, we just are not mentioning the names of those clients who did not sign a release due to privacy concerns.
Example 1: This example is truly a tragic event that happened in 2010 and still gets to me when I think about it because I know it could easily happen to any one of us. Our client was at a stop on Ritchie Highway when she was rear ended at a low impact. Both her and the other driver pulled to the shoulder and got out behind the cars to exchange information. As they were exchanging information, a distracted teenage driver crashed into them. This crash resulted in the death of our client at the scene. The teenage driver who caused the fatality only had state minimum insurance limits, which were $20,000 Bodily Injury (BI) per person, $40,000 BI per accident, $15,000property damage at that time. So, that means the most our client’s family would receive from the teenage driver’s policy was $35,000 ($20,000 for the bodily injury and $15,000 damages to the car if applicable). The policy we had in place for our client had Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage of $250,000 BI per person, $500,000 BI per accident, $100,000 property damage. So within days of the accident, because of the fatality, the insurance company paid $230,000 to our client’s family (The difference between the$250,000 underinsured BI limits on her policy and the $20,000 BI limits that the teenage driver had on his policy). No amount of money will make things right in this situation, but having the increased coverage did make things go smoother in this terrible situation. It shows that we have to make sure we are protecting ourselves, because almost 35% of the drivers on the roads either have state minimum insurance or have no insurance at all.
Example 2: This case shows how freakish things can happen that change your life. This example involves a house fire. One evening, the insured’s son was hanging out with the neighbor’s and needed to run back in the basement of his house to get a drink out of the basement refrigerator. In doing so, he moved a chair out of the way, grabbed the drink and headed back outside. When he moved the chair, he did not realize that he set off a freakish set of events. When the chair was moved, it was accidentally set on top of an extension cord that was plugged into the wall outlet with nothing plugged into the other end. The chair leg interrupted the circuit, which in turn caused the cord to short out,and catch fire. By the time the fire was discovered, it was too late to stop it had fully engulfed the basement and was starting to spread to the rest of the house. All of the family and the family pets made it out safely. Now for the “good” insurance part of the story: Two months earlier, this client only had their auto policy with Huff Insurance. We then reached out and offered to review the home policy. In the review, we pointed out that the house was not insured to the proper value and recommended the changes necessary to make sure that the client was properly covered. It turns out that he was very fortunate that we took the time to make our recommendations, because if we had not, or if he had not taken the recommendations, then he would have had a major gap in his insurance protection plan that would have cost him tens of thousands of dollars out of his pocket. To go on with this claim, the insured was immediately put up into a hotel (the same night as the fire), where he stayed for 35 days until he and the insurance company found a suitable home to rent while his home is being re built. The insurance company also immediately paid him some money in order to go out and purchase clothing, food, and other essential life items. This case is still open and the house is currently being re built. From all that we have heard from this client, he is very thankful for what we and the insurance company has provided for him.
So in closing, I want to point out that “insurance” is not a dirty word or a “racket” of an industry, but it is a vital part of any life planning. Everyday we wake up and step out of bed, there are freakish things that can happen that can change our lives forever. I want to do my best to make sure that the people who I deal with and the people I care about are prepared to deal with these life changing events. In my job, I can’t make things disappear or make things perfect, but I can make things a little easier to deal with in a time of crisis.