In real estate they say that the key is always “location, location, location.” That can be the case in insurance too! Because insurance has become commoditized as an “off-the-shelf” product by the big-name players (think of a funny insurance commercial character or animal, any one will do….those are the companies I’m talking about) people sometimes forget it is highly market-driven and highly impacted by location.
What do I mean? Well, for one thing rates change across the country over time depending upon whether insurers are able to get good returns in the financial markets with all of your premium dollars that they are holding. Weather patterns also impact rates. Our industry suffered some of our worse years in 2011 and 2012 and rates in the following years showed it. After a few really good years the market is being kinder to the insurance buyer.
But market events are not the only major factor in how much you pay. Market location may have even more to do with your premium. For instance, if you are buying home insurance in Florida you will have a vastly different experience than if you are in Ohio. And even once you are in Florida you will have a different experience just based on which county and area you are in. If you are near the coast you will have few companies that want the business and will pay exorbitant cost. Move 30 miles in and it’s a different ballgame.
Car insurance is no different. Rates are so different inside the city limits of Detroit vs. outside that Michigan’s Department of Insurance has had to launch a major initiative to combat fraud involving customers lying about where they park their car. That’s just Detroit. Statewide Michigan’s auto rates can be twice as much as Ohio for some customers.
What’s the deal? Insurance is insurance right? While insurance WORKS the same nearly everywhere, the inputs (chances and frequency of losses, pool of customers, and government regulation) are different everywhere. In Michigan no-fault insurance laws have driven up costs. In Detroit a declining customer base and high crime have meant poor loss experience for insurers, and in Florida hurricaines and an overbuilt coastline have decimated the market.
So how are things here in northwest Ohio? Count yourself lucky! Yes, whatever your qualms about living in a place that gets too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and is flatter than the ruler your local parochial school teacher used to use to rap your knuckles, you are at least living somewhere where insurance rates are competitive. In fact, for some companies Ohio is the insurance Promised Land. We are home to a half dozen major companies and are consistently in the top quarter of most profitable states for most insurance companies to do business.
All of that means that there are a lot of companies out for your business. How better to capitalize on that position than to hire an independent agent who can sort the competition to find the best fit for you? We can find the companies that want your business and are willing to meet your price to get it.
That’s not all a local, independent agent can do for you. Just like we all know how to direct the uninitiated Lima visitor to just the right place to get the best our town has to offer (Kewpee for lunch anyone?) our agency knows the risks that are most dangerous to northwest Ohioans. Want an example? Water backup coverage: If you mention this coverage to a lot of agents in other states you might draw a blank—and don’t think a phone rep in a call center halfway around the world is going to know about it; but here along the fringes of what was once the Great Black Swamp we know all-to-well that if you have a basement you have a good risk of water causing you headaches. Fortunately eliminating headaches is our specialty! We have the coverage to help and the experience to offer it……right here in Lima.