All Insurance Carriers Are Not Created Equal

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad!

Written By: Mike Tonsetic

Oh… how we long for forgotten days past; days of blacktop ruse & challenge. The gladiatorial camps where we were bound to rusted chain, and mounted high on strange steel testaments, a sacrifice to the gods; trained to leave bloodied knees and patchwork denim in the arenas. Where we adopted the dialect of brutality, hurling familial insult to impending rivalry, claiming unfathomable feats in good favor & fortune…

Sounds dramatic? Too…histrionic? Would you believe me if I told you we were talking about insurance companies here? Probably not, but the insurance industry has always been foreign to outsiders. It’s as, if not more cutthroat than an industry, and often times a fight to the death. It’s a market hyper-driven by price & promise, but the correlation between the two is not always what it seems…

Does Size Matter?

Not necessarily. Insurance carriers and brokers alike boast about having the broadest sword, but is that just their bravado talking? In a lot of cases, yes. Being the biggest & the baddest comes at a cost, and a steep one at that. There is more infrastructure to financially support. Internal & external processes become often times an encumbering network of complication & compliance. And most importantly, being the biggest comes with the most exposure, as in the more catastrophic the fall.

By no means am I concluding that all big insurance carriers are bad for business. But it is important to look at where they came from and how they got that way. Case in point: Florida’s Universal Property & Casualty Insurance, the largest home insurance carriers in the state. I think the industry turned a blind eye for over a decade while they became the synonymous with coastal condo insurance, while everyone else was gobbling up single families and inherently more premium. Their strategy paid off, a large niche inventory of low risk, in which they could perfect almost a monoline distribution channel. So, the moral of their story is: if you’re going to grow big…then grow smart.

Promises, Promises, Promises…

I just have to laugh every time I see one of these outlandish & ridiculous insurance commercials about a homeowners or auto claim. It almost seems like it should be a bad breakup more than anything. I’m talking about the guy in the hardhat with the clipboard who looks more like the bug guy. Now, I’ve been doing this a long time now, and I can almost factually educate that a ‘good’, much less a ‘great’ experience is a rarity if that. And why would it be, it’s both nature and humanity on their worst day.

This is why I warn clients & consumers not to judge an insurance carrier based on its reviews, because it’s in our nature to complain, not to compliment. But there are some who handle claims better than the others, and this will always be the case. Now, I’m sort of a rarity in this industry, as I actually like to sometimes go out on claims calls and would be the one to leave an insurance convention and bail water out of a client’s house at midnight (true story). I especially like to go out on claims involving one of our flagship homeowners carriers, Florida Family Insurance. We’ve really been with them since they day they opened their doors, and for the length of my own career, I can undoubtedly tell you that they are a step above anyone else in the industry.

When it comes to auto insurance, my bet’s consistently on GEICO or Progressive, love ‘em or hate ‘em. For the exact same reason, they just handle claims better than anyone else. Yes, they throw a lot of money behind advertising, but what’s equally is impressive is they throw the same amount and effort

Into the claims experience. This is purely evident in their rise to becoming the top 2 insurers in the US. Again, they simply grew smart.

Sage for Later

But the moral of the story here is a two-step, and no, not that kind of two-step, but: 1) Pick the ‘right’ broker, and not because they drive a nice car, or wear a nice watch. Read their reviews, ask people about them, and 2) Pick their brain, as in get their expert opinion, not just about the lowest rate they shove in front of you, ask them the carrier Q&A I brought up in this blog.


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