Welcome, readers! This is Abri News, where you’ll find helpful policy information to assist you in finding the best coverage for your needs. We cover a variety of topics here, including insurance plans, types of coverage, claim adjustments, conditions and clauses. Our agency aims to pair individuals with the best insurance package for their specific needs, which is why we carry every type of insurance you can imagine. From homeowners’ insurance to workers’ compensation to pet insurance—we have you covered! It’s our job to shop around, compare rates, and set you up with the level of coverage you need to feel safe and secure. Our clients enjoy our one-on-one approach and attention to detail. For testimonials, information about our services, or to request a quote, take a look around our website!
Our last article was singularly focused on life insurance. Did you know, on average, Americans think life insurance is three times more expensive than it actually is? In fact, the younger the American, the more expensive they believe life insurance is. Our last article served to debunk a few myths around life insurance. Since the pandemic, life insurance is becoming more popular, especially among those under the age of forty. There are several forms of life insurance available on the market and each exists to meet the unique needs of the insured. We defined these different types of life insurance to help you determine which kind is right for you. Life insurance can be a bit tricky, with its contestability period and its conditions. We discussed common exclusions associated with life insurance policies and what to expect during the contestability period. Therefore, if you’re shopping around for life insurance, our last article is a great place to start!
Today, on Abri News, we’re focusing on how to determine whether an insurance company is reputable. While most of us feel certain we could spot an insurance scam from a mile away, this might not always be the case. As well, short of a scam, certain companies fail to breach the boundary of legality but succeed at unprofessionalism. Poor communication, untimely responses to claims, terrible customer service—these are all hallmarks of a disreputable insurance company. In our article, ‘How to Judge “Good” Coverage From “Bad” Coverage: Beyond the Quote,” we delved into the proper level of coverage for different types of insurance and encouraged individuals to consider more than their budget when choosing a policy. While a budget may be the final factor in choosing between insurance companies, what you can afford shouldn’t be the sole determiner, as paying premiums to a disreputable company may cost you in the long run. We want to give you a comprehensive checklist to vet insurance companies. To “separate the chaff from the wheat,” so to speak. Of course, there’s no greater test of an insurance company’s professionalism than when you’ve filed a claim, but we recommend not waiting until your time of need. Instead, by implementing these tips, you can feel confident your insurance company will have your back! If you’re interested in learning more, read on!
In this day and age, it’s customary to read reviews before purchasing anything. We read reviews for restaurants, for movies, for everyday products sold on Amazon. Psychologically speaking, human beings are quite susceptible to the opinions of others, especially those we trust. Ordinarily, we adopt the opinions of those closest to us. “My sister said this was a good face cream and so I think I’ll try it.” Lacking the opinions of those closest to us, we opt instead for the opinions of strangers who have first-hand experience with the product or service. Often, the more passionate and detailed these reviews, the more likely we are to be influenced by them. Chances are, if you’re vetting particularly large insurance companies, a simple Google search will yield hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews from previous customers. You’ll want to give special credence to the reviews which are most recent, concern the type of insurance you’re seeking, and offer a detailed assessment (whether positive or negative) of the insurance company’s actions. Taking the time to leave a review means you’ve either had an incredibly positive or an exceedingly negative experience. However, according to research, customers who have a bad experience are two to three times more likely to leave a review than those who had a good experience. Keep this bias in mind while assessing.
The reviews you’ll find scattered around the internet are informal by nature. Formal reviews of insurance companies actually come in the form of complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners collects complaints against insurance companies and publishes this information on their website. They feature auto insurance complaints (private and commercial), homeowners insurance complaints, life insurance complaints (individual or group), and health insurance complaints (individual or group). To find the complaints filed against a specific company, type the company’s name into the NAIC’s Consumer Information Source. Then, specify which type of insurance the company provides. The more specific you’re able to be, the narrower your search results will be. Many insurance companies have subsidiaries which operate under different names than the parent company. If you’re considering purchasing insurance under the subsidiary, you’ll need to find the name (which may or may not be published on the company’s website). When you find the company you’re seeking, you’ll click the ‘closed complaints’ option.
Now, you can either opt to see data (i.e. the reasons complaints were filed, by code) or ratios (i.e. a number which denotes how many complaints a specific company received compared to the standard set by other companies within the same market). If you choose the latter, you can expect to see a national median complaint ratio and the complaint ratio of the company in question. For example, if the national media complaint ratio is 1.00 and the complaint ratio for ABC Insurance is 2.16, this means ABC Insurance has over twice the average number of complaints. The larger the insurance company, the more likely they are to have a higher ratio of complaints.
Should you choose to forgo the NAIC’s website, your state may also have accessible complaint data. Almost all states have a database of insurance data, however, this data may be more difficult to access in certain places. This NerdWallet article provides links to each state’s insurance department and rates each state’s site according to the accessibility of their data, their educational resources, and more. Among all types of insurance, the most common complaints are: delays in handling claims, denied claims, and unsatisfactory settlement offers. However, less common complaints (such as surcharges or cancelled policies) can also present a huge headache. Keep this in mind when evaluating complaint data.
Read Company History
Once again, we recommend looking beyond the quote offered. Not all insurance companies are created equal. You’ll want to read up on a company’s history before tying your future to theirs. How long have they been in business? What are their values? In which states do they operate? Has their company leadership remained steady and consistent for over five years? Are they involved in their community? Perhaps most importantly, are they financially strong enough to support a difficult claim? To verify the financial health of an insurance company, you can make a free account on A.M. Best, which gives an alphabet rating (A++ through F) based on an insurance company’s credit report. Yes—even insurance companies receive credit scores. And, just as you’re judged for your score by lenders and landlords, do not allow your opportunity to judge insurance companies pass you by. The ratings given to insurance companies are based on several factors, including: cash reserves, debt ratio, diversity of revenue streams, risk management, and quality of written insurance policies. Of course, just like reviews, these rations should be considered alongside other factors (instead of alone). Use an insurance company’s rating to flesh out a fuller picture of their capabilities.
The basic requisites for any insurance company are retaining the proper state licenses. You can check with your state’s Department of Insurance to ensure the company you’re vetting is legally able to sell insurance and to see just how long they’ve been doing business.
Use an Independent Agent
When you use an independent agent, they do all of the vetting for you. Since they have no allegiance to one insurance company over the other, their main objective is to find you the best price at the most reputable companies. Many independent agents will compile the data mentioned above to aid their decision-making process and, weighing these disparate factors, come to an ultimate recommendation on which option best suits their client’s interests. As well, many independent agents draw on years of experience with different insurance companies, and thus have first-hand knowledge of the claims process. Independent agents might be able to help you avoid large companies who pay little heed to their insured, or smaller companies who don’t yet have the financial strength to provide adequate coverage. Abri Insurance is such an independent insurance agency, working diligently to connect individuals with the insurance companies and policies which are perfect for them!
Last but not least, you can use your budget to weed out insurance companies which are simply out of your price range. We understand this consideration is incredibly important and do not underestimate how much price plays a role in an individual’s final insurance decision. We simply wanted to provide a couple other considerations which might add depth and nuance to your choice, thus providing you with a better opportunity to be fully satisfied with your insurance provider.
At Abri Insurance, these considerations are the tip of the iceberg when vetting an insurance company. Financial strength, professionalism, experience, and a good reputation are merely the basic requisites of any company hoping to work with us. We prioritize the needs of our clients, foremost, and work diligently to find the policies and companies which will do the same. Whatever type of insurance you’re searching for, at whatever price point, we’ve got you covered! You can request an initial quote through our website. Let’s get to saving! We look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, thank you for reading!