It is not an easy decision choosing one’s insurer; after all, it will be a relationship that will run for years, and it is only fitting that one should invest enough time and research into choosing who this insurer will be. Particularly for investments that are binding for decades, choosing the right insurer is almost as crucial as choosing a spouse.
One good source of information when it comes to the reputation of insurance companies are – you would be surprised – lawyers. Lawyers will know how insurance companies behave when their client makes a claim against a policy. Whether they are easy to talk to, or they do anything within their power to dodge the claim, or if they make it so difficult for the client to get his money, eventually pushing the client to just let go. Lawyers inevitably interface with insurance companies and they have a long history from facing each other year after year. Do not be so surprised, even, if you learn that people who work in your local insurer are classmates with people from your local law office. So, if you find a lawyer you totally trust, ask him to recommend several insurance companies based on his experience with him, or those of his colleagues.
Another way to learn about insurance companies is, of course, by asking the people who already have done business with them, at any level. Maybe it was just a routine inquiry, or filing a complaint, or even making claims, too. First-hand experiences are always accurate and it will be very good for you to get the candid opinion of people you know and trust about their insurers. Whether they are passionately for or against their insurance companies, this will help you gauge the performance of the insurance company when it comes to customer service, and I know that everybody wants their service provider to have a very good customer service. In fact, in cases more than one, the battle is won in customer service – he who gives the best customer service, wins.
Of course, there will always be easily available information online and it has become the very basic of research nowadays. Things like assets and liabilities, and capital expenditures, even numbers of active policies, and number of pay-outs in the past will be useful information when you are evaluating your potential insurer. It wouldn’t hurt as well to read their financial reports and if you find that it is too complicated for you, do not hesitate to ask a friend to interpret the figures for you, in a manner that will be value-adding to your decision-making.
I am sure that you have made other crucial decisions in your life before, and it will vary from choosing which college degree to take, to deciding who to go out with. You probably have your own set of qualifiers, or decision matrix, or even superstitions, and you should practice all the precaution you are comfortable with. Remember that choosing an insurer is a personal decision and there is no race, nor a time limit, so take your own sweet time choosing well.
If you don’t know where to even start, you might want to go to some insurance websites and solicit proposals so you can come up with a shortlist of companies, and it is this shortlist that you should scrutinize very well. Always remember that when you solicit proposals online, make sure to specify similar conditions to all the insurance companies you are soliciting from so that you end up with comparable proposals. These proposals usually require you to answer a series of questions and do not tire or get irritated from them, because they are designed to help the insurance companies come up with a proposal customized for you. Another important aspect of these proposals is that they are free, and you are under no obligation to get back to them; you can evaluate these proposals at your own free time and decide whenever you want to decide.