"I envision consumers will continue to realize the importance of an umbrella policy," says independent agent Taylor Justice. "I have personally seen a large increase in young individuals wanting to protect themselves with a personal umbrella policy after seeing the risks associated with not carrying one."
The Insurance Advisor Group
How did you get started at your agency?
I started in the insurance industry as a producer in a captive agency. After working for that agency for a few years, I quickly realized the benefits an independent agency has to offer and decided to start my own agency at that time.
Why personal umbrella?
A lot of times consumers see commercials on TV and think the only purpose of insurance is to save them money. Independent agents can truly look to protect our clients and can take a consultative approach as opposed to just being price-focused. As a producer on the captive side, we only converted 6-8% of the quotes that we completed, and I was just happy to be able to write a new customer. On the independent side, we convert 80% of our quotes and can not only help customers from a pricing standpoint but can show them the risks they have and educate them on the importance of a personal umbrella policy.
Biggest industry changes?
Medical costs have increased drastically, and every time someone is even in a small fender bender, they are receiving phone calls and letters from attorney's offices looking to represent the claimant. I have personally seen a large increase in young individuals wanting to protect themselves with a personal umbrella policy after seeing the risks associated with not carrying one.
I think consumers want to do business digitally now—texting, email, chat features on our website—rather than in person or even over the phone. When trying to explain to clients the risks they have and the importance of having a personal umbrella policy, it can be challenging to relay that information digitally.
Future trends in personal umbrella insurance?
I envision consumers will continue to realize the importance of an umbrella policy. When I first started in insurance, the state minimum auto limits were $12,500/$25,000/$7,500. In 2013, they increased to $25,000/$50,000/$25,000. I think this will just be the trend; medical, legal and automobile prices will always continue to rise, and I think people will realize the importance of an umbrella policy.
Advice for a fellow personal umbrella insurance agent?
We present an umbrella policy to every new client. Sometimes we have clients that are more price-driven, and I recommend increasing their comp and collision deductibles to offset a large portion of their umbrella premium.
Favorite success story?
We had a client several years ago that had his son, a youthful driver, on the policy. The youthful driver was involved in an at-fault accident and our insured had a $2 million personal umbrella policy. A large lawsuit arrived out of the accident and the youthful driver had to go to court. The judge told the young driver that because his father was responsible and had the umbrella policy to help take care of the other party financially, the young driver avoided punitive charges that he would have otherwise faced.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.
This article was published in the December 2020 issue of Independent Agent magazine.