Friday, December 28, 2012

Why I'm Trying to Sell You Less Insurance

How Big is Your Travel Medical Insurance Deductible Supposed to Be?

Possibly in the spirit of other poorly matched combinations of ability compared with job requirements, (think: blind photographer, a ferret farmer with an obsessive-compulsive need for order and Manute Bol as a quarter horse jockey) I will attempt to explain this post's main headline.  I'm a salesman.    As a kid, I quickly became expert at whining, wheedling and generally pestering the hell out of my sainted parents for additional 'up' time despite going past my pre-scheduled bedtime.  I then reversed the process when the alarm clock announced school would soon be in session.  I applied the process to dessert, fireworks and while visiting any store vending comic books. It worked.  By sheer force of repetition I figured out that I could wear their nerves to a frazzle while delicately avoiding alienating myself - better known as a 'spankin'.  I've sold everything from records (you kids out there: this means black, vinyl, dinner-plate sized things that we the Ancients used to use), to raised toilet seats (white, plastic bigger-than-dinner-plate sized things we Ancients will have to use some day). Now I sell insurance and I'd like to think that I'm reasonably good at it.  I do not however, use the same whining and pleading I did as a kid. Okay, so at least not as much whining... I now understand that it pays to be smart.  Not for me to be smart mind you (I'd be shaking a cup at you if that were the case) but for You to be smart, you dear, sweet, valued and consumer.  Did I mention how absolutely fabulous you're looking lately?   Anyway, an educated consumer is Azimuth's best client. If you understand what to look for and why the product fits your want better than another, then my job is really, really easy.  I'd rather be lazy, so this works nicely into my master plan which consists mainly of lying on the couch and eating Cheetos. Mmm, Cheetos...man are they good.  Sorry, warned you about my ADD thing.  Regardless, this meandering story is to help you choose a deductible.  Everybody talks about toilet seats when explaining deductibles don't they?  Choose a high one.  Simple, huh?  Can I stop now?  You know, the lazy thing is really kicking in...okay, so you may want to know why.  Every business has costs. Even the guy hawking the knockoff designer staple removers from the back of his car trunk has them.  Somebody has to fill up his gas tank, right?  With insurance, the majority of the costs to the insurance company lie in paperwork, meaning claims.  Not necessarily the number of claims that are paid (although we do pay an awful lot of them - be careful out there would ya'?), but in the process involved of inputting, processing and examining them.  Most claims come in to us are below the chosen deductible threshold, but we still have to handle them the same way.  Do you realize how many paper airplanes I have to make??  Seriously, and we do take it seriously, we handle each case as carefully as humanly possible to ensure accuracy and that we pay every valid claim presented and deny any claim that isn't supposed to be paid (I'll tell you more about why we heartlessly deny claims in a future post).  Now you know the itty bitty non-secret of our business.   If we don't have to handle as much processing and don't pay out as many claims for relatively small expenses, it doesn't cost us as much to do business.  In exchange, you pay much less premium when you absorb the initial expenses.  At the same time, Azimuth is there and ready to spring into action (just pretend I'm in a Superman costume - wait, on second thought, don't) to pay those eligible expenses.  A smart consumer will take a cold hard look at his financial position and determine how much they can afford to pay should they have an unexpected loss because of a health setback while traveling or living internationally. Because you're now so smart and in-the-know, you'll tell all your friends and they will buy big gobs of insurance and while I'm on the way to a Cheetos induced coma, you will have saved sizable money and can get that ventriloquist-size (that's the big, wet-the-bed version, right?) latte instead of the tall or whatever goofy name you find applied to your coffee serving at whatever coffee shop on the globe you wander into.  You will take comfort in knowing that seven buck cup o' joe is affordable to you and that you have exceptionally good coverage if the worst should rear its ugly head.