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Insurance Marketing: Getting Your Name out There

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 08/18/2011

Insurance marketing has migrated away from strictly selling through agents to marketing to the masses.

Insurance Banner to Advertise An Insurance Company

Insurance companies employ many marketing ploys to get you to remember them.

Marketing for any company is very important. If you are in a highly competitive field like insurance it is not only important, it is vital. There are so many insurance companies out there for people to choose from that if a company is not participating in insurance marketing, they will not survive.

For an insurance company to survive they have to constantly change the way they market themselves to get their name out there in front of you. Not only that, but they also have to get you to remember their name.

The Basic Premise

The base premise of insurance marketing now is to get your name out there into the public. If people don’t know who you are, they aren’t going to try and get a quote from you. No quotes mean no business.

Some insurance companies still rely heavily on independent insurance agents to sell their insurance as their only means of marketing. These are usually small insurance companies whose sales will remain small if they continue to do this.

The insurance companies that have made their way to the Fortune 500 list with their company size and revenue are the ones that are actively advertising their presence as an insurance company. They are engaged in effective advertising campaigns so that you will remember them. They are also putting their names on sports complexes, race cars and sponsoring high profile events to get their name out there.

Insurance Mascots

Mascots for teams and other companies have been around for a very long time. They are the symbol that sticks in the heads of people (anyone remember “Avoid the Noid” from Domino’s Pizza?) to get them to remember a company.

They also create a figure that people have an easier time psychologically supporting. Just ask yourself if you see the Walt Disney Company as a huge international corporation or the makers of Mickey Mouse?

We can rally behind the company with passion and smiles when we think of Mickey and all of the other characters. But, when you start to think that it is just a huge company with the goal of separating us from our money, the good feelings start to go away.

In the field of insurance the GEICO Gecko, Flo from Progressive and Mayhem from Allstate are the top three recognized mascots in the insurance industry right now. These are figures that help people remember the insurance companies they represent.

How many of you would have been able to remember GEICO without that gecko with the accent?


Insurance agents used to be the primary insurance marketing avenue that companies took. The agents were located in local markets and it was their job to sell, sell, sell.

Today, agents still sell insurance and are a good portion of insurance marketing, but they are no longer the only source. The internet made a huge change to the way that insurance is marketed as people can now go online, get a quote and purchase their policy right from their home.

Now companies are finding themselves having to step up their own advertising to get their name out there in front of the people that are getting their own insurance without an agent.

Can I Regularly Drive another Person’s Vehicle with No Insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question, Research Last Updated: 08/21/2011

If you regularly drive a vehicle that you do not own it is still in your best interest to make sure there is insurance coverage in place.

Liability insurance coverage is required to drive in every state.

For example, in the state of Texas there has to be some evidence of insurance on the vehicle to avoid penalties. With their new TexasSure program it is the owner of the vehicle that is the one responsible for providing verification of insurance coverage.   

If you are driving a vehicle on a regular basis that is owned by someone else, insurance companies require that you be listed on their policy. If you are not listed and are a regular driver, they could deny coverage in the case of an accident.

If you are driving a vehicle and the owner of the vehicle does not  list you on their policy and refuses to give you any information in regard to the insurance coverage (if any) for the vehicle it would be wise to purchase a non-owner insurance policy.

A non-owner policy provides insurance coverage for you on any vehicle that you drive. You do not have to own a vehicle to be able to get this coverage and it is usually a very cheap policy.

Even if you are not the owner of the vehicle it is prudent for you to make sure that there is insurance in place. In some states both the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle will be ticketed for no insurance if there is an accident or the driver is pulled over.

Underwriting: The Rules of Auto Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 08/18/2011

What underwriting is, why statistics drive it, how computerized underwriting streamlines the auto insurance buying process, and why underwriting fosters auto insurance competition.

Let computers do the underwriting. Life is less stressful. Really.

As with everything else, auto insurance has rules. One has to follow those rules in order to get the right policy issued to the right driver and the right vehicle to ensure both proper coverage and to keep the insurance company in the black at the same time.

But what are the rules?

This is a question that can confound even the sharpest of minds. Fortunately there is a method to know how the game is played: underwriting.

In a general sense, underwriting refers to the qualifying and pricing rules insurance goes by. Underwriters work in all forms of insurance: homeowners insurance, life insurance, renter’s insurance, commercial general liability insurance, you name it.

For auto insurance underwriting is dependent on literally thousands of variables regarding the auto, the driver and the conditions the auto is driven under, such as miles driven to work each day. All of these factors and more can not only determine if the auto and driver qualify for a policy to begin with, but also how much the premium will be.

Statistics Rule in Underwriting

Auto insurance underwriting is driven by statistics. The basic premise behind auto insurance pricing is that groups which cause the most accidents should pay the most in premium, while safer groups should pay less.

These experiences vary from company to company, but for the most part insurance companies agree that teenage drivers cost more than their older counterparts. Also,  Women are slightly less expensive to insure than men and people with tickets and claims cost more to insure than those with clean records. Insurance companies employ actuaries to crunch the numbers and back these claims up with hard facts.

Underwriting Goes Digital

Despite often complex variables, many auto insurance carriers are moving away from human underwriters and relying more and more on automated underwriting to allow for quicker policy issuance. In the past agents temporarily bound coverage when an application was written with final approval, or policy issuance, coming only when the policy was approved by an underwriter at the home office.

Today many auto insurance companies will issue a policy on the spot thanks to computerized underwriting systems, sending an application to an underwriter at home office only if a particularly unusual circumstance is encountered.

Computerized auto insurance underwriting takes the guesswork out of auto insurance applications, which saves both insurance agents and customers a lot of grief. Customers know that their policy is issued and in force before they walk out the agent’s office, and agents don’t have to go back days or even weeks later to tell a customer their policy was turned down by underwriting, something agents dread more than just about anything in the business. If there are problems, it’s known right away.

Different Companies Use Different Underwriting

Not all insurance companies are created equal, and some companies look at the business with very different mindsets. For example, a standard insurance company will underwrite very differently than a high-risk insurance company, and a specialty car insurance company will underwrite even more differently than their mainstream counterparts.

This is why price can vary widely for the same driver and the same car from company to company; different companies consider different things in their underwriting. Because underwriting is by no means uniform across the industry, it pays to shop around.

The Story of Property and Casualty

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 08/18/2011

What property and casualty insurance is, the history of property and casualty insurance in general and auto insurance in particular, and how it all ties in to save you money.

Benjamin Franklin. Your Founding Father ... of insurance!

Your local auto insurance agent is probably what’s referred to in the insurance industry as a “property and casualty,” “P&C,” or “multi-line” agent. What does that mean, anyway?

Well, it means that he or she sells and services more than just auto insurance. While there’s plenty to write about auto insurance (and believe us, we’ve proven it), it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the larger insurance realm.

Auto insurance is part of a larger group of insurance types, or “lines” as they’re known in the industry, known as property and casualty or P&C. Other forms of property and casualty insurance include homeowners, renters and most commercial and general liability insurances.

Most states require a special type of insurance license to sell and service property and casualty insurance. Because most large auto insurance carriers are multi-line companies, they require their agents to be property and casualty generalists as opposed to auto insurance specialists.

A Short History of Property and Casualty

Crude forms of property and casualty insurance can be traced all the way back to Hammurabi’s Code in ancient Babylonia. Actuary tables developed by Blaise Pascal were in use in Europe in the 1600s. Property and casualty insurance in America can be traced back to 1752 Philadelphia, when a group of property owners banded together to form the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. The prime mover in this organization? None other than Benjamin Franklin, who later had a hand in forming the first life insurance company in America as well.

In addition to forming the precursor to homeowners insurance and therefore the beginnings of property and casualty insurance in America, the Philadelphia Contributionship also pioneered underwriting techniques by refusing to insure houses that were considered unacceptable fire risks (and in 18th Century Philadelphia, there were a lot of those) as well as ushered in some of the country’s first zoning ordinances and building codes.

The History of Auto Insurance

Auto insurance, of course, came a bit later in our history with the advent of the automobile itself. The first recorded auto insurance policy was written by Travelers in 1897 for Dayton, Ohio, resident Gilbert J. Loomis. Loomis paid a cool $1,000 – a fortune in 1897 – for a policy that covered only property damage, bodily injury or accidental death. In other words, a liability only policy.

Auto insurance began to assume its modern form in the 1920s with the formation of companies like State Farm in Illinois and Farmers in California, both founded on the premise that farmers were safer drivers than the general population. Although harder statistical data is used today, the same basic concept that some groups are cheaper to insure than others remains a central tenet of auto insurance marketing and pricing.

How It’s Related

Underwriting in all property and casualty lines is driven by statistics. What’s more, auto insurance discounts are often available by purchasing other property and casualty products from the same company. These “package discounts” are often a great way to get cheaper car insurance. Ask your agent for more details.

Insurance is Not a Bad Word

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 08/13/2017

Insurance offers us financial protection and stability in the event of an accident; it is not the unnecessary evil that some people make it out to be.

A Broken Nest Egg Without Insurance

Without insurance, you would have to use the money in your nest egg to pay for accidents.

If the word insurance had fewer letters it would be classified as one of those bad four-letter words by most. People hate insurance, they don’t want to buy it and most feel it is a legal scam. But, the idea of insurance is not the evil entity that it is made out to be.

It is bad-intentioned people that give insurance its bad reputation. Just like the saying “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

Few people understand what insurance really is, how it protects them and also that it has a long rich history of our ancestors voluntarily creating it. All they see is that they are required to have it and it is another bill that they have to pay.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is defined in technical terms as the transfer of risk from one party (you) to another party (insurance company) in exchange for money.

Okay here is that definition in plain English: You are paying the insurance company to accept the responsibility of paying for any damages that may be caused to your vehicle or by your vehicle. Of course, what the insurance company pays for depends on the insurance coverage that you buy.

What Are the Benefits of Insurance?

Insurance protects people from financial destruction. This is the only reason to have insurance and is the only reason that it was created.

You purchase insurance on your vehicle so that the insurance company will pay for the large bills that result from an accident. Bills for things like car repairs and seeking medical treatment.

These bills can get to be so big that you most likely can’t afford to pay them. If you had to pay for these bills out of your own pocket, you would lose everything that you owned and be in debt for the rest of your life.

On the other side, insurance also financially protects the people that you do damage to. Because your insurance company pays to repair the other person’s vehicle and their medical bills, they don’t have to try and come up with the money themselves or wait for you to pay it.

Without insurance protection you are putting not only yourself at risk of financial ruin, you are also risking the financial stability of others.

Where did Insurance Come From?

Insurance was first created to protect companies in the shipping business. Merchants got together and put up money to protect cargo while it was in transit to where it was to be sold. The first record we have of this is from China.

Insurance today is still used in the same way by businesses, but has become a business field of its own. Like any other field, companies expand and look for new products to sell to the public. This is why we now have so many different types of insurance available to us.

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Car Insurance Guidebook Unravels the Car Insurance Mystery

Unless you work in the car insurance industry, the topic is probably a mystery to you. The words deductible, comprehensive, collision, liability, premium, loss of use and bodily injury are all gibberish when they reach your ears.

Unfortunately, insurance is something that you are required to have by law if you want to drive. Because of how confusing it is many people go around in almost an insurance daze while they get car insurance quotes from the auto insurance companies that they have heard of. In reality, they are completely lost as to what they are actually buying.

Instead of looking at what each insurance company offers in the terms of protection for both themselves and their car, they are instead looking for cheap car insurance. Finding the cheapest car insurance coverage makes having to buy the required product all that much less painful, but misses the whole point of having insurance.

Learning about insurance through your insurance agent or websites like Car Insurance Guidebook will give you the upper hand when you looking for car insurance. You can take your knowledge and not only find the best price for insurance, you can use it to find really great insurance to protect you and your assets. Then you aren’t stuck settling for just average car insurance that can hurt you financially if you ever need it because there isn’t enough protection.

For example, when looking for insurance the car insurance rates are just the first of many factors that need to be taken into account when you are shopping around for car insurance. You also need to take into account the type of vehicle that you are driving. Many people don’t know this.

Are you driving around a vehicle that is a new sedan and can be protected under any blanket insurance policy? Or do you have an old car that you fixed up that needs special protection and could be better covered under classic car insurance?

Don’t just assume that when you compare car insurance that it will be a one-size-fits-all policy. This is where the insurance knowledge will come in handy; you will know what you need to protect yourself and your vehicle.

You will understand what your insurance agent is talking about when they use insurance terms and you will actually be able to make an informed decision. This is much better for you instead of the “nod and smile” approach people take in their insurance agent’s office.

Also just like your life changes your insurance needs will change. This year you may just need to learn about the best deductible to have. Next year you may need to educate yourself on car insurance for young drivers. As the years pass, motorcycle insurance may be something you will need to know.

Many wise people say that you never stop learning, so take their advice and educate yourself on the insurance that you spend a lot of money on and can’t get away with not having.