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Dear Insurance Agent...

10 Things You Should Never Keep From Your Agent

by A. Montalbano on 05/20/18

Even though memory loss may be the #1 reason why some issues don't get reported, it is important to keep your agent abreast of possible issues that may escalate later.  


10.  Business Coverage: You never admitted a claim within in the past 5 years. When the underwriter discovers it, your coverage is declined.  

9.  As a homeowners policyholder, your sign a contract of insurance coverage.  You are held responsible to keep your property in good condition and report any updates.  One day you completed a remodel project and added 2000 square feet to your home.  A year later, a fire damages the majority of the house.  Since you never reported the addition, the adjuster only allows for the previous square feet.  

8.  After 2 non-weather related claims within a 5 year period, your homeowners carrier has canceled your insurance coverage.  

7.  Rushing the agent for coverage. 

6.  Hidden factors such as current knowledge of a possible claim.

5.  Starting a homeowners policy and then changing your primary resident to rental property but never informing your agent of the change.

4.  Moving your insurance coverage over to another agent because you "didn't get along with the previous one".

3.  Obtaining quotes with other agencies without giving your current the opportunity.  

2.  Recklessness.  Reckless habits means recklessness in everything.  

1.  A genuine relationship...

An Agent vs Do-It-Yourself

by A. Montalbano on 05/16/18

In recent years, the headlines spark wonder if the insurance outlook for consumers will shake many small insurance agencies.  Buying auto insurance direct for instance,  has worked out well online for a number of years.  However, when it comes to homeowners and commercial coverage, the agent is still the best beat.  Why you might wonder?  Online is the craze for purchasing everything and anything.  Well, almost.  

1.  At any level, homeowners insurance and commercial insurance still require technical assistance. It is a question of financially protecting larger assets. Details are left to the agent and so is the relationship.  Rarely do phone operators at large insurance call centers  spend much needed time with the phone caller.  This job scope is to process your credit card and move on.  Corporations believe customer service is wasted money, its the reason why so many large companies "outsource" to other countries and so many agents, like myself, look forward to hearing from customers. 
2.  Another reason why an agent works better in the insurance equation is we speak the insurance lingo.  Underwriters don't have the time to hang around on the phone to answer all concerns and usually don't have the ability to give the customer service most of us desire when we have an issue.  It is not that they are unkind or could care less about your matter, but they are trained to focus only on accepting or declining coverage to help keep the loss ratio low and make the company money at the same time.  they represent the company.
3.  Agents can advocate when an issue arise.  In 14 years of insurance, I've seen good agents advocate with great skill. (ask me how I have gone to bat). I take care and concern to heart when my customer is not given choices. 
4.  Variety of companies is what an agent can offer.  If you ever bought direct online, its one choice, and basic; why auto insurance works well in this manner.

My recommendation to the universe: don't sell yourself short! In the long stretch, agents, like myself, are interested in getting the word out about the do's and the don't shared with you on a one-on-one basis.  We get to see the reality of insurance and balance the satisfaction between the insurance company and the customer.  Trust is a two-way street.  Our efforts are based on commission and if you purchased a policy of $1000/yr, remember 10% is usually what we make on most policies.  So when you cancel, we got to pay back the commission.  
Connection is important to us because that is how we build business.  However, it is the agent who cannot accept the forward motion of technology who will get left behind. Our agency offers tech-enabled services to cut alot of the insurance hassle.  And while most agents are bound to making a direct appointment(carrier) required volume, our agency runs on a consumer-choice method, not the insurance company-choice method.  And we never stop scouting for better markets offering great rates.

American Entrepreneural Spirit: Ideas to Independence

by A. Montalbano on 06/14/17

Trailblazers of American business happened to stumble upon ideas to make life better.  Innovative thinkers never stop pushing forward.
But rarely do we find great reads about women contributors throughout the generations.  It so happens that they develop ideas far better when adversity is at its fullest.
In the heart of our nation were the founding fathers. But as far back as colonial America, women contributed to the development of business establishments. 

In 1718, while women were required to give up their property and rights to their husbands upon marriage, Pennsylvania legislation enacted a bill granting women to serve as feme sole trader.  This act allowed women to make sound business decisions in place of their husbands while at sea.  The legal authority to help a woman support herself and her children would keep her "from becoming a burden to the public".

Hannah H.T. Elliot, petitioned the court for sole feme trader after reporting her husband for abandonment and unable to support her household including children. Leaving her destitute and frequently borrowing from friends and relative, she was forced to open a trimming shop.  She was granted feme sole trader status whereby allowing her sole business operator along with retaining the profits.
  
Betsy Ross, along with her 1st husband, co-owned an upholstery business. Upon his death, having to raise children on her own for a while, she acquired his property and worked diligently making flags for Pennsylvania.  Marrying a third time, didn't stop her from continuing her skills of needlework.  The tale of the first American flag belongs to Betsy Ross.

Elizabeth Blackwell was ridiculed in medical school and ostracized when attempting a career in medicine.  In the midst of her struggle as a physician, she held strong.  In the mid 1800s, after watching a friend struggle with sickness due to embarrassment of visiting a male physician, co-founded a clinic for indigent women and children that would last over a century.

Josephine Cochrane couldn't help but wonder how to develop a better way to wash dishes. After finding much damaged china over the carelessness of her kitchen help, she discovered how water jets could blast powerful streams onto dishes if aligned in racks.  Her husband died while her design was formed and almost left her penniless.  She worked tirelessly pushing her invention but it changed the world forever. Her company evolved and changed hands after her death, to become better known today as Kitchen Aid. 

The inventor of a new fiber developed as Kevlar, known for bullet proof vests, building materials, tires, and fiber optic cable was awarded the National Medal of Technology and inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1994. Stephanie Kwolek, a chemist at DuPont passionate and persistent, “I discovered over the years that I seem to see things that other people did not see. If things don’t work out I don’t just throw them out, I struggle over them, to try and see if there’s something there.”

Party plan marketing is owed to Brownie Wise, a single mother, who had a charm and a knack for a product sales model.  She took TupperWare not selling well in department store shelves and made into a household name. Earl Tupper hired her to head his company but later fired her after she received recognition for the TupperWare invention.

Throughout centuries, women have faced unpredictable challenges.  Whether from despair, pressure, or simply a solution to a persistent burden, the human mind is capable of innovative ideas.  How we get from idea to service or product starts with inspiration.   


For all those women who defied the status quo, we salute your independence!

Read more women and men entrepreneurial trailblazers...

U.S. Open for Business

by A. Montalbano on 02/15/17

During WW2, unemployment became scarce as millions took jobs at war production plants.  Rationing was the selfless act of the American effort as every vital resource was conserved.  Coupons were purchased by consumers limiting the used of ingredients such as coffee and sugar.  Driving was limited as rubber was required for military production and recycling.   Upon the end of the war, the U.S. aided the greatly suffered Western European sector but included its own reconstruction back home. (WW2 Museum).

Economic growth was triggered by pent-up consumer demand. A housing boom stimulated by affordable mortgage lending for returning servicemen helped fuel the need for community development.  Spurts in other industries such as the automobile, increased consumer choices.  A new middle class of consumers rose as a jump in post-war births, better known as "baby-boomers", climbed in record numbers. The service sector outranked the product sector.  More Americans could afford college and therefore a greater number of workers held jobs in the white collar sector rather than the blue collar sector.

In 1952, President Eisenhower created the Small Business Administration in place of the Small War Plants Corporation to help the small entrepreneur compete with big business. He believed guidance was a better model for success.  Today, the SBA is federally funded to provide an array of programs to help assist small enterprises.  This includes contract procurement,management assistance, and business outreach services to women, minorities and veterans.
This includes contract procurement, management assistance, and business outreach services to women, minorities, and veterans.

In the wake of economic growth, business, no matter how big or small, makes the world go 'round. 

The Self-Made Shall Inherit the Earth

by A. Montalbano on 01/25/17

1. Fashion and Liquid Gold:  In the late 1800s, a young orphan girl is raised by nuns and taught to sew.  In her early 20's, she opens a hat shop in France. She ventures into clothing and designs her first dress successfully adding more fashion stores and a customer reach to include royalty. In the 1920s, she launches a perfume as the first with a designer name.  She pioneered the Chanel suit and the "little black dress".  For decades after WW2, she lived under the shadow of scandal and escaped from public eye. Not until her 70s, did she return to the world of fashion producing comfortable and fitted designs.  Her life continues to captivate the masses.  The legacy of Coco Chanel reigns through active fashion houses and forever a liquid gold we know as Chanel No.5.

2.  A Plow and a Pitch:  At the age of 17, he began a career in blacksmith. He found plows to be problematic and repairs reoccurring.  Experimenting, he was able to pitch his design to local farmers.   John Deere, the inventor, was enabled to design and construct better tools, better steel plows and better solutions for the agriculture industry.  But today, John Deere is a leader in quality of out door heavy equipment made especially for farm, construction, forestry, but also includes compact equipment for residential usage as well.

3.  International Beauty/Activist/Inspiration:  A laundress, widowed at age 20, must provide for her two year old.  An orphan at age 7 and married at 14, Madam CJ Walker faced many life perils unknown to many.  An oncoming scalp disease brought on by stress and lack of indoor plumbing created hair loss and forced her to search for a home remedy.  With brothers in the barber industry, and with the aid of a pharmacist, she developed a special shampoo and ointment. Manufacturing the products was a success. 

She lent herself to special causes and donated thousands of dollars to charitable organizations and educational institutions.  Before MaryKay Ash, CJ Walker motivated her sales teams to be charitable but honored their efforts with prizes.  She inspired thousands of African American women to access opportunity even while obstacles presented themselves.

4. Queen of Latin POP and The Presidential Medal of Freedom:  As a toddler, her family fled Cuba upon the up rise of the Castro regime.  In her youth, the majority of her time was spent caring for her ailing father, a Vietnam vet and her young sister while her mother, a school teacher attended night school.  Her escape was writing poetry and guitar lessons. While in college, Gloria met Emilio Esteban.  She was asked to be lead in his band and accepted.  A year later the Miami Sound Machine was formed. In 1978 Gloria and Emilio were married and two years later their son was born.
Success began with Spanish language albums but slow to gain in the U.S.
Not until 1984, did the band see a shift in the American market with the English album, "The Eyes of Innocence".  Since then, album after album demonstrated the bands success.  But in 1990 a near death bus accident caused a sudden halt in her musical career.  Gloria recovered and went on to explore other talents in writing, publishing two childrens books.  As a trailblazer of Latin culture and music, in 2015, she and her husband were honored the Presidential Metal of Freedom.

AGIS | PO BOX 448 | MAGNOLIA, TX 77353
Dear Insurance Agent...started out as an ask-the-specialist session for consumers needing clarification without the jargon.  Get the secrets, how-to's, trends and topics. 
Blog
05/20/18  10 Things You Should Never Keep From Your Agent

05/16/18 Agent vs Do-It-Yourself

03/01/18  How Your Website and/or Social Media Can Kill Your Chances of Business Insurance Coverage.

06/25/17  American Entrepreneural Spirit: Ideas to Independence  

02/15/17 
U.S. Open for Business 

01/25/17 
And the Self-Made Shall Inherit 
the Earth 

01/24/17 
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01/05/17 
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10/20/16Safety is Key When Prepping Home for the Holidays 

10/06/16About Hurricanes and Storms For Texas Newcomers 

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07/15/16Unloading the FACTS: Personal AUTO Insurance 101

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