The way that insurance frequently changes, seemingly day-by-day, it is important to keep on top of what is going on in the insurance industry. Of course, there is the option of figuring out the insurance at the time that it is needed, but that usually involves a level of frustration. Also, the better prepared a person is, the more likely some costs can be avoided (i.e. costs that are not covered by insurance) or minimized.
It is not uncommon to feel like one needs a “degree” in insurance in order to survive dealing with insurance, insurance companies, and understanding insurance coverage (or lack thereof). Again, that is where Internet research can come in handy.
There are three areas that should be considered when researching the topic of insurance and especially the ratings (i.e. reviewers) of insurance companies.
There is a site called Reviews.com that has some helpful reviews, including homeowners’ insurance. Some user reviews on car insurance in Los Angeles can be found on Yelp. Also, the Yellow Pages do not want to be left out and have their own section on car insurance in Los Angeles. While on the topic of insurance and Los Angeles, an interesting article from the Los Angeles Times’ archive, on mixed reviews on a particular insurance report (2012).
The Insurance Companies and Their Ratings
The key is to research the specific insurance company in question. Find out as much as can be found on the Internet.
The insurance companies in California are going to have ratings and complaints, and one needs to make sure that they know how each company is rated. The ratings can be elusive. If there are 117 positive ratings and five negative ratings, there is likely a theme. This is called thematic analysis. Read those five negative ratings and see if there is a common theme amongst those ratings, or if it is simply five people who were randomly dissatisfied. It does not nullify their complaint, but five negative ratings compared to 117 positive ratings still leaves a positive vibe for the company in question.
The other thing to consider is that it is possible that the 117 positive ratings are not real ratings. It is sad to say, but after ingesting Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me, I’m Lying (Confessions of a Media Manipulator),” there is the realization that positive ratings can be purchased.
When all is said and done, these company ratings are going to help in revealing what these companies, and their policies, are like to work with and hopefully quality standards, etc. The insurance groups and companies that present lower ratings may reveal cases of poor customer service and a red flag that one should be cautious in choosing to hire them.
The Financial Rating of Each Company
When researching insurance companies, one needs to know how each company is rated financially, and these ratings will help in the final decision-making process. One thing to look at is whether or not the company has a low credit rating. They are more likely to charge more for the policy, and that is a company that should fall lower on the list of desired companies.
The Programs and Benefits that the Company Offers
Another aspect to consider is what programs the insurance companies offer. For example, quite simply, what type of insurance company are they? Not all insurance companies are created equally.
Similar to reading reviews about the company itself, and the financial reviews, the information about what the company offers may also be found online, through Internet research.
Also, not all insurance companies have the same benefits. For example, when comparing health insurance, there may be some who cover physical therapy, and there may be some who do not. It is important to understand what benefits are needed and what are desired.
There are some companies, like this benefits company from San Francisco, which offer insurance through a benefits program for small business. In this case, the insurance is provided as a benefit, in a package that can be contracted for a small company. This is becoming very popular for small businesses, even businesses with 100 employees. It isn’t a case of lack of knowledge or lack of expertise, but it is often easier to allow a company to “do it all” when it comes to some of the human resource administration, including benefits.
The Next Step in the Research Process
After compiling the list of potential insurance companies, the next step is contacting them, whether via an online contact form or phoning them directly. Either way, the telephone call is the next step.
When calling up the insurance company, there is (hopefully) a helpful agent who will answer all the questions presented to him or her. However, it is still important to do the Internet research first, so that one is not caught off guard by all of the positive information that the agent will present. No doubt, since the agents are salespeople, the information is going to sound really appealing.
It is helpful to have a balanced view before meeting with the agent. Quite frankly, even an insurance scam sounds good coming out of the mouth of one of its agents.
That said, the agent is still helpful in choosing the policy or package that is the most helpful for each situation.
When there is a process of Internet research combined with proper follow up with the desired insurance agent, there is a better chance that the insurance company and insurance policy selection will be on target.