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Insurance companies provide value and resources for smart consumers

Insurance, in some form or another, is one of those things that nearly everyone has and that no one likes to talk about. It’s not interesting, it costs money whether you use it or not, and some people even question its necessity. Because of this, many people never think of their insurance agency as a resource to use for anything other than purchasing insurance products. But many insurance agencies go beyond the role of simply selling insurance and offer additional services to their clients and the community.

EHL Insurance, an independent insurance agency with offices in Sequim and Poulsbo, provides a range of insurance products for individuals and businesses, including life insurance, automobile insurance, group medical insurance, and annuities. The agency also provides complimentary risk management assessments for clients, to help them reduce risks to their businesses or families.

Different businesses have different risks and different risk thresholds, and the type of coverage or services they need vary. For example, a company that relies on its fleet of trucks carries a higher risk from motor vehicle accidents, and driver safety is an important area they need to focus on. As part of its risk management assessment services, EHL runs motor vehicle reports on employee drivers to ensure that they will be driving company trucks safely. This is an important part of protecting the company reputation, as well as its finances, according to Jason Meyer of EHL.

“The last thing they want is their truck with their name plastered on the side running down a bunch of school children by the side of the road,” said Meyer.

Conversely a company with a large manufacturing warehouse, but no truck fleet, needs to be more concerned with fire and employee safety on the job. EHL helps businesses make these determinations.

Risk management assessments are important for individuals, as well.

“A lot of people have most of their wealth wrapped up in their homes,” said Meyer. EHL uses risk management assessments to help educate individuals on mitigating risks particular to their lives. For example, EHL talks to families with teenage drivers about the importance of safe driving and the risks car accidents can impose, not only from an insurance premium perspective, but also when it comes to lawsuits or criminal court cases.

“We financially protect them as much as we can,” he said, “and then we try and educate them on how to protect themselves.”

Meyer notes that these services are complimentary to clients and provide an added benefit that results in healthy, long-term client relationships.

For the Brewton-Hight Insurance Agency of Silverdale, an independent contractor for Farmer’s Insurance, customer service and building long-term relationships is a priority, as well.

“For us our focus is to treat our clients the way we like to be treated,” said Maggie Brewton-Hight, owner of the agency.

This means offering a number of complimentary services to both the agency’s clients and to the community at large. One such service is a senior driving class for people aged 55 and over. At the end of the class participants receive a certificate that is good for a 10 percent discount on their auto insurance, either with Farmer’s or through other insurance carriers. This class is offered several times a year, free of charge, to the agency’s clients as well as to members of the community.

Brewton-Hight also offers a driver education class, called the YES program, designed specifically for teenage drivers. Participants watch a short video and then meet with Brewton-Hight to discuss what they’ve learned.

“I explain to them what happens in terms of money when there are accidents or problems,” she said “It works because the information is coming from someone other than their parents.”

The final step is to provide the teens with an information sheet outlining what they should do in case of an accident.

Brewton-Hight agency spends a lot of time providing insurance reviews for their clients, as well. After a client has been insured with them for several years, they are invited to participate in a “Farmers Friendly Review.”

“We want to make sure the coverage they have is the coverage that they think they have,” said Brewton-Hight.

Often during the review the agency is able to reduce premiums and apply new discounts, making insurance more affordable for its clients.

For Brewton-Hight, a big part of her job is working to change the perception many people have about insurance companies.

“There’s a bad reputation around insurance companies in general,” she said. “What we try to communicate to our clients every day is ‘we’re humans too, you’re not a number.”.

 
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