Auto Insurance – You can certainly get less for less but should you?

Risk Radio Network Season 1: Episode 2

The real deal conversation between F. Michael Conte and Michael Honig, partners at Honig Conte Porrino Insurance Agency with offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

What’s the deal with auto insurance…said no one on Seinfeld ever.  An interesting discussion between the Michael’s about all the marketing and confusion around today’s auto insurance market.

There are so many options and there is so much noise in and around insurance.  Buy here, save money, do it faster, fifteen minutes, ten minutes, three minutes – I can’t say that I have ever had a complaint from someone who had expectations on our conversation lasting less than five minutes – You can buy direct and cross your fingers that you got what you needed or bought the right coverages but why would you do that?  This isn’t a cash register impulse buy – This is serious business that needs some thought and real people to ask you questions and formulate a plan that protects all of you.

Auto insurance is all about marketing.  What does that mean?  How many commercials have you seen that say that their insurance carrier beats everyone else?  How can they each be beating the other?  We have been hearing for years and years that companies will save you 15% and can provide a quote in minutes.  It is not possible that a company can save everyone 15% and in many cases when we review auto insurance policies from these “marketing” auto carriers, we have been able to save over 15% from their rates.

The Michael’s get into it on Price Optimization as defined by refers to a process or technique used in many industries to help determine what a company will charge for its product or service. In insurance, this process helps insurers fine-tune the premium it will charge for a policy.

Do people understand the limits they are buying when they do-it-themselves?  Are you deciding on auto insurance solely based on price or do you actually know what the limits are?  It’s one thing if you make an informed decision and understand the possible ramifications of being underinsured but to make a decision solely based on price and not see the giant exposure…terrible mistake.  NYC has some of the highest auto rates in the country but if you are driving around with the NYS minimum limits of coverage then you are probably underinsured.  Do you have any idea how much the average car is today?  It’s not the value of you car you should be concerned about but the value of the car you may hit!

And to average cost of a vehicle is $31,000 (slightly higher than Mr. Conte thought in the podcast 10:10 minutes into the podcast)

The Michael’s discuss how different people approach the quoting process when dealing with insurance agencies.  Some clients approach it in secret and don’t want to share any information on their current coverage and current premium which is not helpful or ideal.  If we are being asked to provide a comparable quote, then let us quote based on what you currently have. It might not be the correct coverage limits for you but at least it is a comparison based on what you have right now.  In our experience better relationships ensue from open sharing of information.  Keeping an insurance broker in the dark doesn’t lead to a better quote and  in our experience it actually leads to a less desirable experience because we gravitate to the clients that are transparent

Approximately 14 minutes in, Michael Honig describes an experience with a recent potential client who would not provide details on their current policy – Not the limits and not the premium.  The potential client wanted them to provide a quote based on the coverages that we thought were the most appropriate based on the exposure and without the ability to compare it.  This was a waste of time for everyone involved because

  1. The current policies provide coverage that left the insured grossly underinsured
  2. When HCP provided a quote it was based on a cost basis that coincided with actual values and correct limits needed
  3. The rates that HCP provided were better that the current coverage but the client couldn’t evaluate it because they were looking at total premium based on much higher limits and broader coverages.
  4. The potential client was comparing higher coverage limits to a current policy with lower limits – Like comparing apples to watermelons –

Tip – Let the insurance broker quote the same limits that you have so that you can have a frame of reference to compare actual rates at the same coverage limits

Tip 2 – Policies don’t work in a vacuum – Sometime evaluating multiple policies with the same carrier at the same time can result in a multi policy discounts – You aren’t doing yourself any favors by trying to market one policy and not provide the insurance broker with the whole scope of what you need insured

As the Michael’s continue to say – They do their best job when they can look at your entire exposure and not pieces of it.  Your insurance exposure isn’t one policy at a time.  Review all of your needs and be open and transparent with your insurance broker.  They can do a better job if they know the entire story.

Looking at an account – The entire account… From a Professional Standpoint.  We don’t think we are doing a good job for you unless we are looking at you as an entire person, an entire risk.  If you are only giving me a piece of a story, then what kind of job can I do for you?

 – Michael Honig


Trying to do the right thing for the right customer – F. Michael Conte


Telematics – What is it and why do we care?  The Michael’s explain why you should care and how it impacts you.  You are voluntarily giving away information that will impact the cost and rating of your policy.  What does it mean when you hear “Protecting my discount”? – Definition of Telematics – Any device the merges telecommunications and telematics – GPS systems, Navigation systems…

Did you know that a lot of the online pages you find when searching for insurance aren’t actually insurance brokers or companies?  Many of them are just lead generation sites that take your information and sell it…and then resell it.





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