Summertime is in full bloom and with it comes grilling season (oh yeah–don’t forget to pull those babies out away from the house a bit!) Those of us in this industry see insurance metaphors everywhere and the ubiquitous summer barbequeue is no exception. And so it was, as I was cracking open a Brooklyn Summer Ale and throwing a couple of Sirlions on the grill, that I noticed the striking similarities between insurance clients and steaks. I know what you are thinking: “yes, both are quickly devoured by ravenous insurance salespeople.” While this may be true, I was actually thinking about three types of insurance buyers:
The Bloody Center
We all know the guy at the cookout who wants his steak (and probably burger too) barely cooked. He lives wild (or at least dreams that he does) and orders it “still bleeding!” These are very often the clients I see who are risk takers and entrepreneurs. They are some of the most valuable people in our society because their innovation and the chances they take wind up resulting in new businesses and jobs. Unfortunately they tend to get botulism once in a while. Here is where my profession comes in handy. When all that risk taking winds up in a bit of metaphorical food poisoning, a good insurance program can save the day. When I work with these folks I tend to cater their policies to their personalities with high deductibles, flexible companies, and the ability to self insure a lot of the smaller risks they are willing to absorb.
Here is where most of us are. We want the full bodied taste of a good steak but we’re too sqeamish to really take much risk and we sleep well at night knowing that we have insured against most of the significant risks we will face. For this client there is a great focus on value. Many companies will be in play competing for their insurance dollar and I will want to do lots of apples to apples comparisons. Depending on personality and risk tolerence I may make some suggestions to go “medium rare” or “medium well” but overall we’re keeping it safe!
“I like it burnt!” This was one of the most famous of my grandma’s many famous sayings. Whether it was steak, dinner rolls, or cookies, she liked ’em burnt. Taking no chances I guess. This is typical of an older insurance consumer but I still find this level of conservatism showing up in younger clients as well. These folks will want a very low auto insurance deductible–perhaps no deductible at all. They want flood insurance even though they don’t live in a flood plain. Ironically, while this level of insurance may cost more in the short term, it is sometimes a good option for the most price-conscious consumer. That’s because paying a little more for a $100 deductible is do-able for someone on a tight budget but coughing up money for the $1,000 deductible that comes with a cheaper policy is not.
With insurance clients, as with steaks, one cannot rush to snap judgments. What you see is not always what you get and it is only when you take the time to get to know your client that you can deliver their insurance in a manner almost as pleasing as that perfect bite of steak!