Is the Service Gone?

Last updated: None
February 11, 2014

I have been reading lately about freezing pipes and the lack of coverage. I am a long-time proponent of the need for extraordinary customer service within the insurance industry. The two are definitely connected. Service, not “on time” service or “customer focused” or even “fair” and “friendly” service is required and expected. The main components to service in the sale and service of a product like insurance are:

  • The knowledge of the products and industry and the ability to translate that into language and examples that a customer can understand
  • The anticipation of what can affect a customer and the means to counsel then to avoid claims or issues with claims
  • A genuine love of all people and a willingness to listen quietly and empathize even with those we do not sympathize with.
  • Doing things on a regular basis that are surprising, memorable and extraordinary.

We heard well ahead of time that an ice storm was coming and it was expected to be one of the most severe ever. We were forewarned that there could be widespread and long term power outages. Many people found that we had to leave our homes for more than four days. Who heard via email or any other means from our insurance provider? No one called or emailed me to tell me that when I leave my home in that extreme cold in the winter months that my policy has a limiting clause on my pipes freezing! Lucky me, I am in the insurance business and am an expert in the interpretation of policy wording. I turned off all of the water, drained my pipes and left the lowest tap in my house turned on. If I had suffered a loss (which was less likely), I would have had coverage under my policy.

I mentioned, this to a neighbour. They were leaving in January for a three week vacation and were surprised to find out that they may have an issue with insurance should they have frozen pipes. Where is the insurance agent or company who is collecting a premium or commission to protect them and advise them? Our brokers and insurance companies collect our email addresses for some unknown reason. What are they doing with this information? This would have been a perfect time to use this information to be a little bit extraordinary.

This is not a new concept to me. I recall a heavy snowfall winter or 1996 when we “knew” there would be flooding in northern Ontario and Manitoba. I worked for a company at the time who understood the issue and we sent out mailers (pre-email) to customers to warn them of the danger of an uninsured flooding loss and some real steps to take to guard against this loss. As the insurance company we would have suffered no loss but took the time and spent the money to help our clients.
We went a step further to help others and did some interviews in the local papers to warn others who were not our customers. This article is available here.