5 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Insurance

Buying insurance can be confusing, but when the unexpected happens – a house fire, a car accident or a bone fracture – it is a relief to know that some of those financial losses are going to be covered. But how do you know how much coverage you need? And what questions should you ask before buying a policy? Many consumers aren’t very sure. Insurance coverage is far from one size fits all, so here are mistakes some consumers make when buying insurance.
1. Assuming insurance is out of reach. In some cases, consumers skip insurance because they think it’s out of their budget. Often, that’s not the case, according to Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates consumers about financial planning and insurance. The LIFE Foundation collaborated with LIMRA, a worldwide research and consulting organization for insurance and financial services, on the 2013 Insurance Barometer Study, which found that the average consumer thinks life insurance is three times more expensive than it actually is.

When buying health insurance or property and casualty insurance, ask about potential discounts. While health insurance discounts are often income-based, homeowners and auto insurers offer discounts for everything from being a member of groups like AARP, to being a good student or a good driver, to having a home security system.

2. Relying on assumptions or outdated figures. Changing economic conditions mean you might need more insurance coverage than you had in the past. Take life insurance. In the past, consumers might have based their life insurance coverage on their current income, but if something happens and you’re no longer around, you need more capital at work to provide the same income to your beneficiaries. Disability and long-term care insurance are even more complicated than traditional life insurance.

In the case of homeowners insurance, your home could be underinsured if you’ve renovated or if the cost to build a home has increased due to higher material costs or other factors. That’s why experts recommend reviewing insurance coverage once every year to make sure it still fits your needs. Talk to your insurance agent if you’re unsure.

3. Shopping on price alone. Resist the urge to simply choose the policy with the lowest premium. Consider the company’s reputation and the coverage you’d get for that premium. In general with health insurance, the higher the premium, the lower the amount you pay when you go to the doctor. Private health insurance plans must provide coverage examples showing what your estimated out-of-pocket costs would be for, say, having a baby or managing Type 2 diabetes. Some examples might not apply to you, but they can help you compare plans and see how much you might have to pay in coinsurance and copays.

Your property and casualty insurance may not cover things like food spoilage in the event of a power outage or stolen electronics worth more than $1,000, so you may want to purchase extra endorsements to cover those possibilities.

With disability or long-term care insurance, prices can vary depending on the length of the elimination period – the amount of time you must wait before coverage begins – and whether the policy includes inflation protection, so consider these factors, too.

4. Overlooking details. Make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers. For health insurance, it’s cheaper to see doctors who are in-network and buy prescription drugs covered by the formulary, so check to see if your doctor is in-network and if your prescription drugs are covered before you buy a policy. Otherwise, you could get an expensive surprise.Read your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent if anything is unclear.

5. Setting your deductible too low. Setting a low deductible typically means higher premiums, and in the case of property and casualty insurance, a greater likelihood of small claims that could ultimately raise your premiums. Insurance is designed to protect against losses you could not cover yourself, so if you can afford to pay the first $500 or $1,000 in losses yourself, you may not need a lower premium.

What You Should Know About Shipping Claims

Most people do not want to think about what will happen to their things, so not many will know how to submit an insurance claim when something goes wrong. Shipping claims are those submitted to an insurance company because of something that happened during the shipping process. For example, if your item arrives broken, and you had insurance, then you can file a claim with the insurance company for the cost of replacement. The specifics of submitting your claim will depend on which insurance company you are working with, many will allow you to submit claims online or from a mobile device.
Have the Right Insurance

The shipping claims filing process will be very different depending on which insurance company you have. For instance, not every company will allow you to file claims online. Your insurance policy may also not cover everything that you may need to claim, so your first step is going to be to make sure that you have the right insurance. It is not really possible to think of everything which may happen to a package as it is shipped, but this is why you work with an experienced agent and insurance company. You can usually find a list of things which are covered by each plan online so that you can compare policies side-by-side before purchase. The biggest question you are likely to need to answer will be whether this is a one-time policy or an ongoing business relationship.

Know Who to Call

The best time to know how to file a claim with your insurance company is before you need to file it. This means determining how to file claims and who to contact with questions as soon as you purchase your plan. You can usually find this information online and some companies will even have an easy online claims form to help you get started when you need it. You can also narrow down your choice in insurance company by how well past customers rate the claims service. For instance, if you read a series of reviews saying that customers have a hard time finding answers to their questions, then you know that you might want to try a different company. The most important part of purchasing insurance is knowing how to get ahold of the company if you have questions or concerns, or if you need to file a claim. Luckily, more and more companies are putting that information prominently online and may even have forms on their websites to apply for coverage and file claims.

Submitting shipping claims to your package insurance company can sometimes be a hassle. However, some companies are putting forms to do this online. This means that you can more quickly submit a claim and not have to wait until normal business hours to do so. It also means that you can use this feature to compare insurance companies before you purchase a plan. It is a good idea to know who to call with questions and concerns, as well as how a claim needs to be filed, before you purchase a plan.

Increase Operations Efficiency in the Insurance Industry

After the economic challenges of the past decade, many companies are looking to streamline processes but are often not reaching their expected savings or fully commit to their proposed changes.

Operational efficiency is integral to maintaining profitability in a volatile market and economic climate, but it also responds to increased calls for transparency and faster access to important information. As communications become more dependent on the Internet over in-person calls, operational efficiency can also help companies meet their clients where they are at: online and researching their next major purchases.

Today’s insurance consultants strive to make insurance companies more profitable and agile, here’s how to do this with employee and operations management.

Four Effective Ways to Manage Your Employees
Operational efficiency starts with your employees. That makes operational management dependent on how you manage your employees. The right management can encourage your staff, get them better equipped for change and increase your profitability.

Encourage idea management: Your staff are your most knowledgeable and immediate resource into your business’ ins and outs. The best ideas will often come from your own staff. Working to ensure that your employees feel comfortable and encouraged to bring their ideas forward is a key to modern success, a strategy that has led to important changes in organizations like Toyota and GE.

Prioritize motivation and engagement: Employees who feel heard and engaged often show a 15-20 per cent increase in performance. So how do you engage employees? Focus on motivation, incentive programs and, of course, clear and open communication.

Incentivize your staff with fair and motivating rewards: Monetary compensation is just one way in which you can motivate your employees, but never underestimate the power of a pizza party and mentions of success in the company newsletter. These are often more cost effective and always appreciated by your team.

Change cost allocation: Flat, equal cost distribution is one of the least effective ways to improve operations, yet it is still a popular strategy. Instead, allocate costs based on consumption. It encourages people to use the resources in the organization and it saves money on expensive third-party solutions.

Four Ways to Achieve the Most Productive Organizational Structure
Look for inside hires: It pays to bring in an outside perspective, but always promoting from without instead of from within the company will leave your team feeling like they need to go elsewhere to grow. Growing leaders in-house and taking the time to mentor promising employees can help you retain valuable assets just when they may look to move, and will save you on hiring a more expensive expert from outside.

Streamline compensation: What people earn is quickly becoming more common knowledge and, with it, tensions around compensation. By streamlining your levels of compensation, you can ensure equal pay for equal work while rewarding those who deserve more for their efforts.

Reduce management layers: Modern businesses need to be flexible, agile and quick to respond to change. Having multiple levels of management can lead to the opposite: bureaucratic inefficiencies and communication structures that lose vital information. By reducing levels of management, you can increase your efficiency and better plan for those quick changes.

Get the right number of people: Too few or too many employees both present problems. One will burn out your staff, increase turnover and lead to operational “bottlenecks.” Too many employees unnecessarily increases costs while insufficiently leveraging your collected talent. This is where operations, contact centre and back-office benchmarks can drive operational efficiency.

The Assessments & Benchmarks Insurance Companies Need
If you are curious about how your company is operating and want to understand how to better streamline your operation, The Burnie Group has may assessments and benchmarks that can help your organization run better. They are even available across multiple channels, including:

Call/phone (including IVR)
Online (including chat and bots)
Mobile
Branch
Insurance benchmarks and assessments are also available across different business lines, such as:

P&C insurance
Individual life insurance
Group life insurance
Retirement
Investments
Insurance benchmarks and assessments can also help across different functions, including:

Sales
Services
Claims
Complaints
Loyalty and retention
Shared services (e.g. Workforce management)
Contact The Burnie Group today to learn more about how to drive operational efficiencies in your company to achieve better profit, happier employees, and streamlined process.