I Don’t Want To Tell You My Current Premiums

“Just give me a quote along with the other five agents I have contacted. Never mind that my current agent has that information!”

“As I’ve aged and acquired more experience and am blessed with the knowledge that dinner is on the table whether or not I make a sale today, I’ve become more stubborn about insisting that if a prospect wants my involvement and engagement in seeking coverage, then they have to co-operate at minimum levels…………”

  • by GRCinCA on December 22, 2014 10:09pm

    I am curious how you all deal with this. Whether it’s the area marketing rep or the UW at the carrier they ask “what is expiring” or “what is target” premium? For new clients where there is no real “relationship” yet and therefore no real trust it is common to hear “I don’t want to share that”. Typically I shrug it off and tell the carrier “it’s not available” or “I’ll work on it, please proceed with quote”. Sometimes I’ll explain that premiums and claims are an important part of underwriting (especially for work comp) and after a that explanation ore often than not they will share the info. This explanation is largely useless when there are no claims I believe. I think I understand the consumer’s position. And I think I understand the UW’s position. Why waste time on a file that we can’t compete on?!?! So, again, I’m curious how you all deal with it. How do you handle it between you and the carrier? How do you handle it between you and the insured? Greg

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by d’s insurance store on December 23, 2014 6:25pm

    As I’ve aged and acquired more experience and am blessed with the knowledge that dinner is on the table whether or not I make a sale today, I’ve become more stubborn about insisting that if a prospect wants my involvement and engagement in seeking coverage, then they have to co-operate at minimum levels. I don’t need the practice quoting and neither do my carriers or MGA’s. If I can’t impress on the prospect that I’m only asking for what I need in order to do the correct job and I will let them know if I cannot match the price or coverage right from the beginning, then, quite frankly, screw ’em. This is a career that requires I bring integrity to the table. It’s also the career realization that I’m not going to meet a price goal for everyone who happens to (figuratively) walk in my door or ring my phone. I offer certain benefits to those who choose to do business with me, and fortunately for me, enough people find value in that, so my doors stay open and food is on my table. If an honest sharing of facts cannot take place, then one side or another is being dishonest by omission. I’ll leave the mystery rate shoppers to those agencies who are hungrier than I because I view that kind of quote process as a waste of time for all involved.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by NYagent301 on December 23, 2014 7:02pm

    If the account is small and can be desk rated in 5 minutes I will give them a rate, provided that if I am in the ballpark they present their current policy to make a comparison of coverage. If it is a submission that involves apps, loss runs etc. I will never go to bat for a prospect without full disclosure up front. D is correct we do not want to waste time practice quoting. If the prospect is shopping price you may not be the only agent working on it. I find most success in a prospect that is unhappy with his agent. If you probe those issues and gain full access you have a valid prospect. If not you are probably just spinning your wheels.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by GRCinCA on December 23, 2014 7:07pm

    THAT reply is why I came to the forum with this. Thank you for your response! The issue comes up several times each and every year. I have played it both ways and I am evolving to the point of NOT wanting to waste ANYONE’s time. Not mine, not my underwriter’s, and not a prospect’s. Thanks again D’s insurance store! If anyone has an alternate point of view – I would like to hear it. Greg

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by ocbroker on December 23, 2014 9:29pm

    I agree with both of the above. If a prospect is not forthcoming it is either because 1. They have a warped/cynical view of the insurance process and believe any premium information shared will be used against them. I have seen clients like this express disdain for both insurance carriers and brokers – they can be a real thorn in your side over time. 2. They have no real motivation to leave their current insurance program In my early days, I would quote pretty much anyone who was willing to talk with me, but these days, I don’t spend any more time than I have to on prospects that won’t have an open discussion with me.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by JohnnyLaw on December 24, 2014 7:36pm

    My experience has been that if the buyer behaves this way its one of two things. 1. No motivation to move the business or 2. A very few that believe this way they create a more competitive atmosphere. Regardless this is where I qualify the buyer and generally have no motivation to work with them as well. My guess is that this would be a customer that would be high maintenance and a pain to work with, i.e. the phone call you dread answering. The dynamic of course changes unfortunately when they are referred through a good pipeline you want to keep.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by Shagster121261 on December 30, 2014 8:01pm

    Agreed, most of the time this is going to be a time waster. But, I will give them 2 more chances to cooperate by trying 2 other approaches: 1) Find out if they’re shopping multiple Agents, if so walk away. Explain to them they’re hurting themselves by shopping multiple agents because the underwriters are going to see multiple applications and likely with differing information. And they’re not going to try to chase down the truth for your application because they’ve got a hundred others on their desk demanding their attention. So the best markets may walk away from quoting because they’ve received too inconsistent of information to do their job properly. 2) ‘Paint the picture’, explain to the prospect that you have to paint the best picture you can for the underwriters you’re going to work with in order to get to the best pricing. And the only way you’ll be able to do the job well is if you “Paint the best picture” you can by providing full and complete information. Without that the prospect is once again hurting himself by not allowing you to do the job properly. If they still won’t comply, walk away…. Just my two cents worth…

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by aylundmark on December 31, 2014 9:27pm

    Great topic ! I would like to applaud the responses of ” Shagster121261 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:01 pm ” ! I am in Commercial Underwriting field for 20 years, glad to see a topic like this ! I did see inconsistent of information from different brokers for the same risk.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by Larsim on January 2, 2015 5:11pm

    I am sorry folks but as P&C Agent myself I will disagree with most of the prior posts on this thread. I like to treat clients just as I would like to be treated so if I wasn’t an insurance agent and owned a business, and an insurance agent called me asking to bid on my insurance, I would probably say depending on the situation sure, you can. However if that insurance agent asked me “how much are you currently paying” I can picture myself replying to that agent “why don’t you just give me the best premium you can offer?”. As matter of fact I just did that on my printing needs. A guy called the other day asking how much I was paying for my printer and etc and I just told him “if you would like to send me a quote for your printing services I would entertain it” but I would never lose my leverage and tell him how much I currently pay. The same applies to our prospects and that’s why when I am quoting a piece of P&C business, UNLESS the risk is a very large account, I never ask what the prospect is currently paying. I just tell the prospect that I will do my best and must say it has worked well for me. Now I do have one rule, if the prospect is shopping multiple agents I just tell the prospect bye bye and move on.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by Temblor on January 2, 2015 8:15pm

    I agree with the bulk of the posters above. I need full disclosure of all information if I’m going to quote. But why do I need the premium? So I can determine if I can compete. I can usually do a rough calculation of rates and quickly decide if I can improve on them or not. If not (and that sometimes happens) I thank them for their time and go on to the next client. I too have learned the hard way, don’t waste my time if I don’t have a reasonable chance.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by d’s insurance store on January 2, 2015 10:22pm

    I am sorry folks but as P&C Agent myself I will disagree with most of the prior posts on this thread. I like to treat clients just as I would like to be treated so if I wasn’t an insurance agent and owned a business, and an insurance agent called me asking to bid on my insurance, I would probably say depending on the situation sure, you can. However if that insurance agent asked me “how much are you currently paying” I can picture myself replying to that agent “why don’t you just give me the best premium you can offer?”. As matter of fact I just did that on my printing needs. A guy called the other day asking how much I was paying for my printer and etc and I just told him “if you would like to send me a quote for your printing services I would entertain it” but I would never lose my leverage and tell him how much I currently pay. The same applies to our prospects and that’s why when I am quoting a piece of P&C business, UNLESS the risk is a very large account, I never ask what the prospect is currently paying. I just tell the prospect that I will do my best and must say it has worked well for me. Now I do have one rule, if the prospect is shopping multiple agents I just tell the prospect bye bye and move on. Frankly, I’m not seeing a strong analogy between bidding on a printing job and the work involved to work up a proper commercial insurance quote. I’m glad your career is working out by blind quoting almost everything that comes across your desk, but with the exception of personal lines quotes and small BOP risks that can be quoted off a rater, commercial insurance coverage, when done properly, involves a fair amount of fact finding and risk analysis, and in order to receive my buy in as the ‘shopper’ of various options, I’m going to need full info in order to make the time investment. My relationships with MGA’s and carriers that do manual rating commercial is important to me and they know that when I approach them for a quote, I’ve already done a fair amount of vetting so that the quote is valid and worthy of their time. I can ask for and receive quick turnaround and fair pricing because they know my history of not wasting their time. It doesn’t mean I win every quote, but the price shopping only element has likely been eliminated. Personal P&C auto and property…heck, I’ll be happy to quote that without much history all day long, but I still insist on current policy limits and deductibles and loss history for those easy to do quotes just to know what I’m dealing with.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by GRCinCA on January 5, 2015 8:34pm

    Some great replies here – thank you all for sharing. Special thanks to those willing to speak up and share the opposing view. I come down somewhere between ‘if it’s a simple risk – rate it up and send it out’ and ‘if it’s a more complex package with specialized coverage included [D&O, abuse, etc] – I’m going to need to know everything, including what expiring and renewal premiums are’.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by Temblor on January 8, 2015 8:29pm

    I think the best answer is the one saying if the prospect isn’t unhappy with his current agent, you con’t stand much of a chance. That’s the real key to prospecting and getting a reasonable hit ratio.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by JHB on January 9, 2015 6:48pm

    As a Independent Agent for over 40 years, with an emphasis on small to mid sized businesses, I have found this to be a common situation. Fortunately most of my business is now on a referred basis. But, at my first meeting with a prospect I give them a list of things that we’ll need and actions we’ll taking. One of those items is a break out of each policy premium and losses for at least the last three years. I explain that the insurers need to know if you are a profitable insured and if you have had claims, how your loss ratio can effect the premium that I can negotiate with the insurers on your behalf. It is critical that they understand that you are going to the insurers as their advocate and you expect to be their trusted advisor just like their legal counsel, CPA or Banker. My opinion is that unless they are willing to give you what you need to do the best job for them, you need to walk on down the road. They are price driven and you will likely lose them at renewal.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by aylundmark on January 13, 2015 5:16am

    Re- JHB » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:48 am You are so right ! 100% agreed ! I respect your 40 years experiences in the industry.

  • Re: “I don’t want to tell you my current premiums”

    by pageins on January 13, 2015 3:11pm

    I think it’s important to focus on coverage first. If I ask the prospective client what they are paying, I always leave them the opportunity to not disclose the premium. With presonal lines policies there is no room for premium variance. With small commercial lines, different story altogether…so I make sure they understand that credits can be applied to a quote to reflect good loss experience, and to be competitive.

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