Get Beyond The Price

In an effort to continue to bring you valuable insights, this month's guest post is from Billy Van Jura, a Partner with Fraleigh & Rakow, who I often turn to with my toughest insurance questions.

Billy Van Jura had a brief career in professional football before stumbling into insurance.  He started his career employed with a large insurance company before leaving to explore the future of insurance by founding his own insurance brokerage firm. He is currently a Partner with Fraleigh & Rakow insurance, a 60+ year old company that helps clients throughout New York with their basic to very complex insurance needs.  He is currently focused on keeping his Firm and clients ahead of the rapidly changing insurance industry.

For far too long you have been pounded with the word Insurance while connected to the words price, savings, and discount. Trees have died, sporting events have been interrupted, and hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted. Meanwhile, most of it hasn’t helped increase the personal value you get from insurance.

Keep in mind, rates for insurance can be very sophisticated so although your neighbor may have two cars and a similar house, the fact is there are 100's and possibly 1000's of combinations of details that influence rates and eligibility with EACH company. If you are reading this, here is what is more than likely your scenario; reviewing your auto, home, umbrella and similar plans every 18-24 months will help make sure your rate is at or within what the market range is. What does this mean? It means that if we had your rate and nine others, you are hopefully in spots 1, 2 or 3. Keep in mind, depending on the company and your situation, there could be a difference of $1000 or more from number one to number ten.

The fact is you may be able to accomplish this with a direct company. But, you’ll likely have a better chance with an insurance broker. A direct company would be Allstate, Liberty Mutual, State Farm and others where this is the agent’s only option for you. As opposed to a broker who will likely average 5-25 options for each situation.

So now let’s hit some bigger stuff. What is happening in insurance? LOTS. Where might things be heading? Nobody is quite sure. But, here are a few things we are tracking for our company and customers. 

Proactive beats reactive when it comes to claims. There are some clever devices to help you protect your home. Consider Roost Labs and their wi-fi enabled 9volt battery.  Solid app and clever concept. They also have a water sensor.

Along the water sensor line Alert Labs is interesting as well. Strap this monitor onto your water meter so you can be notified when water use changes. Fascinating to get alerts while the kids were running three sprinklers.

Several companies in England and now a couple in the U.S. are requiring you to have a similar device if they provide you with home insurance.

Insuring a moment or a particular situation is heading somewhere for sure. Not quite a thing in the U.S. but a company like Trov will be here soon. Also several clever travel insurance options via companies like Allianz and Axa. 

Of a bit more interest would be a company like Slice Labs who is providing a very good quality, buy by the day, coverage for your Homeshare. Think Airbnb, VRBO and others. Yes, your policy might cover you but it may not be as complete as this one.

Although “better” consumers may typically get better rates, a proactive customer will likely continue to not only have better rates but a better overall experience. Insurance companies will improve. Along that, I would expect the value you get for dollars spent on insurance to improve as well. The insurance part of your financial plan benefits from a similar, consistent, proactive approach as does the overall plan. Having a team of people is a great idea, proactively working with them to get the most value you can is even better.