Rutgers Law and United Policy Holders Team Up to Help you the Consumers

United Policy Holders and Rutgers Law School have announced a partnership to work on the “Essentials Protections.” The “The Essential Protections for Policyholders Project is a two-year project that focuses much of its research on consumers that file ordinary claims, examining what they are surprised or disappointed by and how some of the best states are protecting insurance consumers…”   There are obviously, many many facets to this project.   One if particular, listed on the press release could be of great value for consumers of home insurance.

“significant knowledge gap”

There is one aspect of this project that is of considerable interest to Marindependent as Independent Insurance Brokers. The press release notes: Insurance can “be a complicated and challenging process, as there is a significant knowledge gap in how homeowners’ coverage varies nationally…”  Yes it can!  And may I say, Kudos to these two groups for recognizing this. The differences between a standard policy vs a non standard policy vs an affluent policy can be quiet amazing. How exactly you explain this to a client can be difficult.

Jay Feinman notes: “With homeowners’ insurance, it can be difficult to find out what a policy covers, and no insurance company is going to give you a copy of the policy in advance.”   Jay is the “author of the project report, professor of insurance law, torts and contract law at Rutgers Law School and co-director of the Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility.” He then said: “Even if they did, most people wouldn’t understand it and wouldn’t know how to compare it to other policies. People tend to shop on price rather than coverage and quality.”  This is indeed true and theoretically where the value of an good insurance agent would come into play. However many insurance agents only really sell one brand of insurance company.  Independent Agents are often allowed to sell multiple brands of insurance. They, can at least in theory, research and understand your insurance companies for you.

“Right now, there are really only three measures of quality – commercials, which aren’t that valuable,

and surveys and consumer complaint data, which aren’t always reliable,” Feinman said.”

With regards to this one issue, United Policy Holders would suggest: “With this in mind, one change recommended for states is requiring insurance companies to offer a policy comparison tool as well as list the most important terms of the policy on their websites.” The California Department of Insurance, in my opinion, probably is one of the Better State Insurance Regulators. They do offer numerous tools to assist prospective policy holders in regards to insurance pricing. They offer a Consumer Complaint Study and an Insurance Premium Study. However, absent any other information about the given policy, the tool is not really as useful as it should be.   If the California Department of Insurance could provide a tool that explains the standard actual coverages and exclusions in combination to the pricing, then we could really have a winner for the consumers.

Even this theoretical tool would not solve all of the general consumer’s issues. Understanding what the coverages are and are not, will never be easy.  However this would without question be a step in the right direction.  From there an Independent Insurance Agent would be more easily be able to explain, sell, and service policies to future and current clients.

Who is United Policy Holders:

United Policy Holders is a non profit 501c.  Their mission is “trustworthy and useful information resource and a respected voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states.”  Marindependent Insurance Services has no direct affiliation with this group, however, I do often agree with their causes.

Source for this article: Rutgers Law School Project Addresses ‘Use It And Lose It’ in Homeowners Insurance.

Who is Rutgers Law:

Rutgers Law is a school of Rutgers University and is based in a New Jersey.   Marindependent has no affiliation with Rutgers.

Who is Marindependent Insurance Services LLC:

Marindependent is an independent boutique insurance brokerage located in Marin County California. California License 0K10734.   Please read our disclaimer.  We do not recommend making any insurance coverage changes without speaking with a license agent in your jurisiction.  Insurance is tricy, Get Help.