12 Topics I'd Blog On If I Owned An Insurance CompanyGlenn Ross over at AllBusiness Blog posted a challenge to blog on 12 topics I'd write about if I owned a business (insert business type). I've decided to take up this challenge, and write about the 12 topics I'd blog on if I owned an insurance company.
Actually, what I'd like to do is light a fire under the collective rear end of insurers, who don't have a good reputation right now for customer service. In fact, many insurers have been lambasted in the news lately for practices which put the consumer at the short end of the stick (such as State Farm and the problems in the post-Katrina claims world). Perhaps they (and other insurers) will figure out that the customer is the most important part of their business again -- and before they start to suffer financially.
This list of topics could apply to any insurer, whether they are dealing in health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance or other insurance product.
If I owned an insurance company, I'd blog about:
1. Our insurance products. The ins and outs of these products. What's covered and what isn't and why you should care. Where you can get the kind of coverage you need if we don't provide it. eg. how to get flood insurance as a homeowner because we don't have it. Explanation of NFIP.
2. Premiums and how they are set. (This must be one of the single biggest questions in most people's minds.) A clear discussion on how this happens, and why it benefits customers to have clear principles for premium rates. How our premium rates support the right kind of business model to help you. Where our money is focused in the business and how much we spend on customer service from each premium dollar.
3. Claims and how they are handled. I would explain how we handle claims and what kinds of "service standards" my customers can expect. Our commitment to "customer service" since the claims process is really where the customer service wheels hit the road. I'd explain how important our philosophy of claims is to our good customer service track record overall. I'd admit that while I don't like to see claims, I know this is what insurance is about and that is what we are here for. I'd have a claims adjuster do a column at least once a week, highlighting a claim and how it was settled quickly, efficiently and amicably with a good customer, with a focus on what the customer did to help us.
4. Claims dispute process. I would specify a clear and intelligible claims dispute process for the benefit of both customer and my employees. Everyone should know the rules and be able to move processes ahead without guesswork. It saves everyone time and money. If a claim is not settled to everyone's satisfaction, how to contact me. This is my company; my integrity is my commitment to providing good service.
5. False claims and claim fraud. Why claim fraud hurts everyone. How much my company spends on false claims and how that affects premiums. The potential impact on how your claim is handled. What to do if you suspect a false claim. Our commitment to ensuring that integrity -- yours and ours -- is maintained, even in a false claim investigation. Why "good faith" transactions are the best policy for an insurer. How much we spend on false claims, on a yearly basis.
6. Our financial stability. While insurance is about claims, it's also about having good solid financial performance in order to be able to pay those claims when they arise. Why you should care about our A.M. Best ranking. How it benefits you that we are making money.
7. Credit scores and why we don't use them. Credit scores are being used mostly to determine if you can pay and the risk of you not doing that; however, insurers are saying that they are being used to determine the risk of a claim. How we use credit scores in insurance. How our approach is different. A clear discussion on our underwriting guidelines regarding credit scores.
8. Underwriting guidelines. This is a full topic on its own, aside from the credit score discussion. I'd answer the question: what is underwriting? While underwriting guidelines are company confidential, some clarity can be brought to the overall characteristics that are used, and how people are assessed. Every month, an underwriter can be featured through a guest column on topics that would be of interest to consumers. Help consumers understand how they can be more "desirable" from an underwriting perspective, for each type of insurance my company carries.
9. Long term customers. Why we want long term customers. How we keep them through the claims process. Why a claim doesn't mean we'll find a way to get rid of you. We are committed to our customers.
10. Our employees. They are the most important asset of our company. How that helps you when you deal with us. Our ongoing commitment to be one of the best employers through good company benefits, ongoing training and real work / life balance. Why we don't want our employees to work overtime; and why you shouldn't either.
11. How to invest with us. Investment products if we have them (like whole life or annuities). How to buy shares if we are publicly traded. Why you would want to do this.
12. How we give back to our communities. What initiatives the insurance company funds (without contributions from employees). What charitable causes our employees support. How we provide both time and money to local charitable groups, including time off to employees to do good works.
Do you have any ideas for topics you'd like to see an insurer blog on? Drop me a comment or send me an email. If no insurer takes up this challenge, we'll handle these topics and more on Insurance Guide 101.
Monique L. Attinger