Why is it people will spend days researching the purchase of a car, home, smart phone, or latest gadget, yet when it comes to something as important as insurance, risk and ongoing financial security many just pick up the phone or buy online based just on a quote and the misguided assumption that all insurance and service is the same?
I think commodity providers prey on those they realize have no interest in learning enough about a product or service to make a truly informed decision. "You didn't make the right decision and now you're not insured? Didn't you read our online library, conditions, terms, limitations and exclusions first - it would only have taken you 6 hours?" How many people really take the time to study and analyze their risks and how it relates to what is insurable and what insurance they carry? For those that desire to rely on inexperienced call centre operators to guide them in making proper, informed decisions on their financial well-being, good luck.
Imagine a world where the purchase and ongoing service of many major purchases - cars, homes, computers - could be looked after by an objective expert representing, and being held legally accountable, for the purchasers interest and at similar costs to going it on their own? Having your specific product or service needs carefully and expertly evaluated and your best options explained and delivered conveniently and economically?
I recently came across an interesting article about families opting to buy more life insurance online. The typical limit is decreasing each year as families decide, without the counsel of a professional, how much they feel they need. It was minimal and based more on how much they felt they could "afford" with considering the reality. Many dire situations will result from this.
Unfortunately, the majority of the marketplace has been "evolving" and forcing consumers to suffer the "service" and product limitations of dealing with (often foreign) call-centre agents, websites or sales people who may have other interests at heart and who's only mission is to monetarily maximize the time spent on each customer or prospect.
For anyone who has experienced the waste of time and frustration of dealing with a bank ("dial 1, then 2, then 4 then listen to our onhold advertising), cell/internet provider, or website, I'm sure you will agree. How many passwords do you have? How much time and expense has been expended to get an issue resolved? Hardly a day goes by that a friend doesn't share a complaint about the online "DIY" world being (been) created and their frustrating experience.
Fortunately, when it comes to insurance, something so vital to the financial well being of your family or business, there is still a choice. An insurance broker continues to look after the needs of familes and businesses on a personal, objective and expert level that does not force a consumer to educate themselves on something of minimal interest. No "DIY" service. Just expert, accountable, advice and efficient personal service on real "people" basis. No amount of digital, call-centre, or online "DIY" service can replace the caring, professional service and advice you get from an insurance broker. It just makes sense. While we stuggle through our current (temporary?) "DIY" world and directs, I am confident brokers will continue to thrive and come out ahead as the advocate and ultimately the best choice for the consumer.
PS…A review of the combined and expense ratios of both insurer models suggests very little difference. I suspect the direct or online insurers substitute the commission of brokers with expensive telephony, advertising, websites, employee benefits and other areas. One big advantage is their ability to brand and advertise in a more cohesive manner.