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Uninsured Motorist Coverage: An Agent Who “Gets It” Print this page

By David Thompson, CPCU

As someone who has presented seminars on insurance technical coverage issues for over two decades, it’s nice when someone attends a class and then lets me know that what was said made an impact on them. Such was the case a year or so back when Matt Carlucci of Brightway Insurance (name and agency used with permission) left a class I presented on uninsured motorist coverage. As I like to say, “Matt found religion at that class!”

A couple of months after class, Matt emailed me and I noticed his signature block contained something along the lines of, “Does your auto policy have stacked uninsured motorist coverage? Contact me to discuss this valuable coverage.” That caused me to call Matt and ask for “The rest of the story.” Below is a summary of the phone call Matt and I had.

David: “Matt, what took place after my class that led you to get so involved in UM and passionate about the coverage?”

Matt: “I am not really sure why, but when I left your class a light went on. I saw the benefit of this coverage and wanted to make sure that all of my customers had the opportunity to have the best coverage available. I went to my hotel room that night and drafted a letter that I sent to all of my customers who did not have UM limits equal to their bodily injury limits, stacked.”

David: “How did you approach the issue with existing customers who had something less than stacked UM equal to BI? Did you contact them with a quote? If so, what was the result; how many changed?”

Matt: “I sent out an email blast. I’ve done one a year going back to last year. The first I did was actually right after I took your class. I went back to my hotel room, created an email, sent it to corporate to review, and we sent it. Quite a few people responded asking for a price, and I would say about 60 to 70 percent ended up making the change to have it.”

David: “On new business do you always quote UM stacked? If so, what percent take it?”

Matt: “Always, every time. I use a proprietary template that I came up with. It’s geared toward quoting multiple cars, and I have to tweak it sometimes depending upon the limits, number of cars, prior limits, etc. But I always quote the UM equal to BI. Around 50 percent go with stacked, maybe more. It’s gotten to where I end up more surprised if they don’t take it than if they do. The others in my office have not done quite as good of a job at this, but we’re working on it; that’s always the challenge. For single car risks, I normally just quote stacked and don’t even mention having non-stacked. The price difference is very small on single car risks.”

David: “Besides the state-required form, what other documentation do you have?”

Matt: “Your articles, David! I simply attach them to an email, and tell the customer to please read if they’re wavering.”

David: “How much time did you spend contacting existing customers and how did you do it…email, U.S. mail, calls?”

Matt: “I really only do the email blast once a year. However, we contact every customer prior to the renewal of each policy asking if they would like to do an insurance review. Anytime I have the opportunity to talk to someone about their car insurance, I recommend stacking, and document accordingly.”

David: “Has this push for stacked UM generated additional revenue for your agency? If so, and if you want to say, about how much?”

Matt: “Yes, although it’s difficult to say because I don’t track it. However, we all know that auto insurance policies typically pay the higher commission percentages, and have the higher premium. So when you’re consistently adding $200 to $400 of premium to 50 to 60 percent of those policies simply via selling stacked UM, it does result in higher revenues and a higher average premium across the board.”

“I guess the last thing I’ll say is that there has always been this prevailing notion in the agency force that “customers won’t pay for that,” and it’s only true about 50 percent of the time, or less. It’s amazing what a customer will do when you simply add the words “I recommend…” at the end of your email, or in a conversation. People know very little about insurance, so they’re looking for recommendations. Too many agents are afraid to give it.”

Summary 

Kudos to Matt for his campaign to make sure that his customers have the best possible coverage.

Copyright FAIA. 2017

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