I’ve met so many great people attending industry conferences, conventions, and seminars. A great variety of people all passionate about the business they do and the opportunities that come with it. Of all of the conversations I’ve had I spend the majority of my time learning about their businesses. How did you start? What are your plans? Where do you plan to go with this? Are you having fun? What have you learned? I happen to be curious by nature – so I love engaging in these conversations. They tend to be interesting, informative, fun, and I always walk away learning a bit more about the industry. But, the conversation changes when they ask:
“So, what is it you do, Adam?”
Let me be clear. I don’t think it is a downer what I do. I love it. I love learning, getting curious about businesses, helping them make sense of the insurance marketplace – and providing some real value to their business. The direction of the conversation change when I answer:
“I’m a Risk Advisor. I help businesses….”
This is about the time where I lose them a bit. They start to glaze over and they brace themselves for impact. As if I’m about to bounce on them and hard sell the life out of every policy I can possible put my fingers on. Sometimes they respond with:
“Yeah, I have someone already”
So, I’d like to address the “Yeah, I have someone already” response. First, that’s cool. I’m glad people are out in this space finding insurance partners and making it a part of their business model. The insurance marketplace can be confusing [unnecessarily so], cumbersome [unnecessarily so], and can leave you feeling like there is no difference but premium [unnecessarily so].
If you picked up on the “unnecessarily so” pattern, congrats! I probably wasn’t too subtle about it, but I’m here to tell you that many of the perceptions you might feel about the insurance industry are a bit flawed. And, we, the people of the insurance industry, hold the blame for that. I’ll be the first to admit that the insurance process is flawed, at best, and, in some cases, it is broken. When I use language like this in my conversations, I typically see the business owner engage:
“You’re in the industry and you’re saying the process is, at least, flawed”
Yup. That’s what I’m saying. Insurance is just one amazing tool in the vast tool belt that is protecting your business. It is crucial in protecting your bottom line and making sure your business can continue operating after a loss. I’m also here to say that premium isn’t the only factor in making a buying decision. And, neither is coverage. Gasp.
They are, undoubtedly, important parts of the decision making process. But, for one brief fleeting moment [this blog], let’s put premium and coverage aside so we can talk about why focusing on these topics as the major driving factor for purchasing insurance – is flawed.
How many days do you show up to run your business where it moves exactly as planned? How many weeks are the same as the week prior? How many years hit your targets exactly? How often are you, as a business owner, reworking your business plan, revisiting goals, and making changes on your feet? The reality is you work diligently to protect your bottom line and keep your business growing and keeping pace with changes.
An insurance program that is set up based on premium and coverage on Day 1 and not looked at again until 360 [or so] days later cannot keep up with those changes. The premium/coverage only decision forces you to buy insurance based on what you did three years ago. And, then, will put you in that same box when it comes to buying insurance at renewal and three years down the line. You can see that there is a tremendous lack of control in that process.
A good risk management program will give you some of that control back. A good risk management program will use insurance [coverage] as one part of the total program. It will also look at your safety practices, employee hiring practices, claims experience, and more to get a total picture of your business. And that plan will be discussed, and implemented, on a regular basis over the course of a multi-year partnership. A partnership that involves both your risk advisor, your insurance company, and your team.
Gaining that control allows your business to be presented in very clear fashion to the insurance marketplace. Put simpler – when you last purchased insurance, either new or renewal, what did that process look like? Did you complete an application? Most likely. Now, imagine that application reaching the desk of some underwriter in some city at some insurance company. Now imagine how many more applications that underwriter has on her desk. Are you confident that the application tells the full story of who you and your business are? Does it tell the story of where you were, where you are now, and where you are going? Without a full narrative and clear picture of your business, the rest of the insurance underwriting process is left up to a stranger. A full risk management plan will be sure your business is presented, and your story told, in the clearest light.
And, guess what? With that control back and with your businesses positioned appropriately in the marketplace – you are now driving the process. And the finance of your risk [the premium] is much more in your control.
So, you may already have someone. Just be sure that the place you are is providing some direction and value beyond the insurance application you fill-out and the insurance premiums you pay.
All of this is just a long way to help explain:
It is my curious nature to learn about your business. And, it is my career and 20 years of experience [wow, doesn’t feel that long] that allows me to take all that curiosity and build a risk reduction plan that can actually help your bottom line. Maybe, just maybe, moving forward I will answer the question of what I do with:
“I’m a curious person by nature. I learn about people, their businesses, and their vision – and I put a bunch of puzzle pieces together to help them out. I’m a Risk Insurance Puzzle Master and curator of fine risk management products”.
Nah. I don’t think that’ll help. FB Risk Advisor it is.