TIPS FOR NAVIGATING YOUR WAY IN THE CURRENT INSURANCE MARKET

Over the last 6 months I have had many of my family, friends and colleagues question me on what’s going on in the insurance world. Angry and even more suggestive of the stature of insurers (and those who work for them!) than usual, the line of enquiry always points towards why their motor or home insurance renewal has “gone up by XXXXX% since last year and I’ve not made any claims in XXXXX years.”

Just to be clear, I am not belittling this line of enquiry. I can say that as a consumer I have two other vehicles other than #MobileHQGU. One is a vanilla grocery getter for transporting the family, and the other is an older sports car which I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of. I get great multi-policy discounts from the insurer of these vehicles, but I received a renewal just last week to see an increase of 35% and 20% on each respectively. As a customer this is very frustrating, and as someone within the industry, I understand why.

Over the last 18 months, the insurance industry has seen an increase in claims exposures, resulting in a need to lift premiums. Whilst each brand is different, I’ve heard of average portfolio level increases of up to 40%.

At the same time, as a new and very different type of portfolio we are constantly adjusting based on what we learn as we go. An example is the water damage excess we introduced a few shorts months ago – in that case we identified an issue, sought options for resolution, then chose to actually increase the excess rather than put in an “across-the-board” premium increase.

A lot of people have commented as follows “you said you put in the excess so that premiums don’t go up, now I have my renewal and it has gone up 25%!” My response is that the former was true. The step we took to deal with the water claim issue was an increased excess; otherwise the 25% may well have been 35-40% or even more depending on where you live, the make and model and modifications on your rig, even your age and driving history.

Mainly, my advice as a consumer is to shop around, particularly because of where the insurance cycle is at right now. All motor insurers are in the same place and now is the time to take stock. I would also advise though that you take into account more than just price – if you don’t understand what makes us different give us a call or check out our website – the intent of this article wasn’t to justify, it was to inform.

I did exactly that with the two vehicles I mentioned earlier on. The challenge I had was that the older sports car is rarely used and sits on a restricted use policy with a very strong sum insured. My research showed that I couldn’t replicate the sum insured and the premium I had to pay for a 30% figure was within 20% of the renewal I had received.

The other issue was that I couldn’t package up the family car. So shopping for that on its own with our home insurer saw a pretty strong deal with a premium that was 20% cheaper give or take – but the value was still lower and I didn’t have a choice of repairer as readily available as my old policy.  

My decision in this case was to stay with my current insurer. In my circumstances, I couldn’t get the core and most important benefits to me (sum insured and choice of repairer) anywhere else, so I was happy to shoulder the increase.

It’s subjective, but like the oil I use or the accessory I buy – I look at insurance as just one of the decisions I make around my motoring enthusiasms, and I choose based on what suits me and the vehicles best.

Ultimately, if the worst were to happen I would want to know that the company I am dealing with knows what I and the vehicle are about, and has a product that is tailored to my needs and just “gets it.”

Happy Touring

Kalen

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Comments 10

  1. No insurance company can dictate where you get your car repaired, they want you to believe that so they can get the vehicle repaired cheaply where short cuts are taken because the garage can’t make a profit on the stupid lowball figure the insurance company’s only want to pay. ALL insurance companies want to get the repairs done as cheap as possible and the quality of the repair doesn’t come into it. Once the vehicles got a nice shiny coat of paint over it you can’t see what’s underneath. I’m in the motor trade and I know how the system works. If you want your vehicle repaired properly you need to have someone in the know check up on the vehicle as it goes through its repair schedule, otherwise its a whole lot more of a problem after it’s been finished, and never sign it off until you have an independent assessor check it over because I can assure you it will be another week or two before you get your vehicle back so they can do the job properly. ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES WORK TO A PRICE NOT A STANDARD. Don’t except what they tell you is the truth, they are in business to make a profit and your only a good customer if you never make a claim you will see how their attitude changes when they’re paying to repair your vehicle. Excuses Excuses Excuses.

    1. Post
      Author

      Neil,

      I have intervened on numerous claims personally where clients have reached out regarding issues in repair work – i hope that as our little community grows i can continue to be as personally involved.

      The reason why i do this? because i’ve got 20 years in the game, but more importantly i am a die hard motor enthusiast and will be until the day i’m dropped into the 6ft hole. I have worked in insurance repair centres and watched cars come and go – i’ve observed where clients require rectification and where repairers get it wrong – someones as a result of cost allocation and sometimes not.

      What i can say is that our average repair cost is significantly higher than market as a result – but to me it’s ALL about the standard NOT the cost as you call it. However, that many years in the game and excellent assessors mean we can protect the interest of our policyholders by ensuring that they, not us, are not getting gouged. Sensibly managing the cost of repairs while maintaining a standard and allowing the customer repairer choice is a fine line that i think we manage very well at the moment.

      Kalen

    2. If you agree to and sign a contract stating they have the right to chose the repairer, then your only option (if you take it elsewhere) is to pay the difference in repair costs if they are not deemed to be fair and reasonable… – it’s a long and drawn out process, but if you have the time.. (and the money to pay for an independent assessment) to prove that the Insurers quote was unrealistic and the repairs would have been sub-standard – then go for it.

  2. Wow!
    You seem to get smashed Kalen every time you write to us.
    I don’t think that you can really win here. If you write in insurance speak and we’re impersonal you’d be attacked for that. You seem to be writing in a personable and warm manner, and nearly everyone wants to have a go. You can’t get a break.
    Perhaps I am the stupid one, but J appreciate your posts, and believe your sentiments and content.
    People hating insurance companies and all of those whom work I. Then are seeming to take a bit of a 2 dimensional approach. What if their daughter, sister etc worked in them. Would they hold the same views with just the exception of their family member?
    We are insured x2 and are hoping to go x3 with club 4×4. I believe you, and hope that if I have a time of need, you will be able to help me out.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Richard,

      All i can do is try to be different to what i’ve seen over my career and hope that in some way i can get through to my customers.

      I am passionate about our community and want to be different to the rest – i will always do my best to be available for commenting and questioning regardless of how hard it is.

      Thanks for the kind words

      Happy Touring

      Kal

  3. went with budget for 1 year, cheap enough I thought didn,t read the policy properly, went and let my nephew drive round Brisbane as he knew where to go better than me, luckerly no accidents, all good I thought, when I checked my insurance papers found it didn,t cover him, only me and my wife were covered. never made that mistake again but it could have turned out costing me heaps, make sure you reall
    y know what you sign up for

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks John,

      Yep – its one thing to “win” by getting the best price on the market.

      Its another to not consider what that super cheap premium covers you for – or not.

      Kal

  4. Kalen,
    I drive about 45k per year, mostly business, highway and occasionally a trip off road with my 4x 4 club.

    In the past 5 years I’ve had 2 windscreen replacements, not at fault claims: 1 point each.
    A wallaby came charging out of the bush and hammered in my drivers side front door, not at fault claim: 1 point.
    I damaged my driver door on a post backing out of my driveway: 3 point claim, my bad.
    My wife lightly bumped into a car in the Woolies parking lot. Minor damage to other car: 3 points. Her bad.
    I could have easily settled this one myself but was advised by someone there that the claim would not have an adverse impact on my policy or premiums. I have a name but will withhold it.

    This person also told me my wife was not covered as she was not listed on the policy. This was corrected after I challenged it. It was clear to me that the rep lacked comprehensive product knowledge. Listen to the recordings and you’ll see what I mean.

    So now I have a total of 9 points. 3 of these I had no fault in and one I would have settled privately had I been correctly advised at the time. 6 points I feel are unfairly directed at me. I now understand Club 4×4 policy dictates a threshold for claims of max 7 points in a 5 year period. A fact that is not disclosed in the pds. I got my declination letter this week and am very upset. Until I phoned the office and discussed this with the rep, I had no idea I was being penalised for not at fault claims or any claims.

    We’ve never crashed a car, never had any major accidents or incidents involving write offs or liability claims. It’s small stuff claims compared to those who sink, roll, smash and destroy expensive cars and property. Ya, I know, excuses, excuses.

    I think this points policy needs to be disclosed to your existing and prospective customers. No one likes the Dear John letter.

    Unless you can help, we part ways and I have to hunt/almost feel like begging for a new underwriter. And when I apply I have to declare I’ve been dumped adding to the risk factor, cost and humiliation.

    1. Post
      Author

      Mark,

      I am really sorry to hear of your plight. Can you please send an email to [email protected] with your policy number and this message enclosed.

      In the meantime i will try and find your policy, in the hope its under your name per your post here so i can investigate. I will be listening to recordings and investigating to identify if you were given the wrong information.

      With reference to our underwriting criteria being in the PDS – i’m sorry but they aren’t required to be disclosed – that’s an internal process to determine pricing and or acceptance of risk – not a condition of your policy.

      Hope to have someone contact you soon Mark

      Kalen

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