Insurance agents play an important role in the insurance marketplace. Insurance policies do not provide "peace of mind" if they have gaps in coverage that leave policyholders without benefits following a loss. Accordingly, insurance agents who promise to work and advise insurance customers should be selected over those that promise to obtain "cheap insurance."
This lesson was highlighted in an article "Do Ask, Do Tell: Agents Should Apprise Clients Of HO Coverage Gaps For Valued Items." There, the point was made:
…it is true that most homeowners insurance policies cover damage to personal property including jewelry, furs and electronic equipment. But these policies almost always limit the amount of coverage for certain types of property and the perils covered.
By asking the right questions and properly evaluating the coverage needs of your clients, you can easily educate them on the value of inland-marine coverage.
Agents cannot possibly sell "full coverage" or promise to "fully cover" an insurance customer without asking questions which flush out insurance needs and possible gaps of coverage.
Good insurance agents ask questions and provide solutions which make the customer fully aware of options that afford the fullest coverage at the best price. It takes education, work with the policyholder and a systematic approach to insurance solicitation for this to happen.
And, this process should be routinely repeated:
Now that you have sold your client on the virtues of a personal inland-marine policy, your work is complete, right? Not quite. Keeping up with appropriate values of the scheduled items is something that should be revisited on a regular basis.
In a time when many homes have lost value, it is easy to forget that certain items are actually increasing in worth significantly. Have you seen the price of gold lately? In the last decade, it has soared from $240 to over $1,500 an ounce.
Encouraging your clients to get updated appraisals serves another purpose. Appraisers can identify loose clasps and bent prongs on jewelry items that may put valuable stones at increased risk of loss.
Finally, agents should find the best coverage. That means that they have to consider forms where exclusions can be avoided. The article highlighted this:
…the fact that coverage is broader under inland-marine policies does not mean they are free of exclusions. Acting as the risk manager for your clients, you should understand all the provisions, exclusions and limitations on any coverage you suggest. You do not want to end up like the agent I recently encountered who failed to take note of, and more importantly inform his client of, the “mysterious disappearance” exclusion on an inland-marine policy written for a high-priced ring. When the ring came up missing, neither the agent nor his client was happy with the outcome.
Educated, hardworking and professional insurance agents play an important role in the insurance industry. They recognize their obligations to customers extend far beyond being mere order takers and providing the cheapest insurance premium. Instead, they are the agents who procure insurance policies which provide the "peace of mind" the insurance industry promises and advertises to those who purchase its products.