I’m a big fan of agents
I’m a big fan of insurance agents. I worked with them for twenty of my thirty-three years in the business and learned to admire and respect them.
This section will be all about agents, why I love them, why maybe you will too.
Folks who know me were amused when I titled this website “Hug Your Agent.” I’m not a hugger. I withdraw when I sense hugging is about to happen. I’ve never hugged my agent.
But I sure have appreciated her and her office staff.
Agents provide service
Personal Service: A friend was buying a new car, wanted to make certain her auto insurance would apply. She had a mail-order style policy, purchased through her employer. I listened to her end of the phone conversation (after thirty minutes of calling and getting an “all lines are busy” message). The rep on the other end didn’t offer information, didn’t help her understand her decisions. Throughout the process, I kept thinking how much better the transaction would have been if she had been talking with a local agent.
Professional Service: I was a guest at a meeting, a half-dozen of our finest agents sitting around a table talking about the business. They were focused on complex issues,like tax consequences of insurance-buyer decisions. Insurance is a complicated subject. Insurance agents invest time, energy, intellect – in learning how it works so they can help customers understand options and make informed decisions.
On the spot service: When my sister’s home caught fire, while the fire fighters were still fighting the fire, her agent showed up. With a check to help her arrange temporary housing until her home was repaired. This on-the-spot service was exceptional but not that surprising. Agents make their living by helping people and they take that role seriously.
Informed service: For me, the most remarkable part of the agent’s job is the knowing, knowing about automobile insurance and laws, knowing about homeowner insurance and about building structure, knowing about life and health and liability. Your agent can’t know everything, there’s a vast amount of information for every kind of policy, but great agents know a lot and know how to find information when they don’t know an answer.
Karen Easterling, Austin, Texas, has been my agent for about thirty years now. While I was still working at Bloomington, Illinois, she learned that I was transferring to Austin and she called and asked if I had a Texas agent yet. I admired her initiative, finding about my move, being the first (by far) to call.
Although I had a lot of expertise in insurance, Texas was different. Karen helped me understand the differences and then understand my options as I switched from up north. When I’ve had questions about my coverage, she has had answers. When there were changes coming, she notified me about what to expect. Most recently, there was a change in the way the Texas auto policy handles coverage for driving rental cars. She notified me before I got notice from the company. When my wife and I started thinking about long term care insurance, Karen explained our options and, based on that, we made an informed decision. We’ve since had occasion to compare our LTC coverage with some others and ours is better (no brag, just fact – thanks to Karen).
Someone said the most important ability is availability. I disagree that it is most important but it is important. When I’ve had any insurance related issue or question, I have always been able to reach Karen or her staff and quickly get the information or action I needed.