Featured Friday: Talking about insurance with Lisa Diemer

Over here at Say it Sis we know about insurance. Our dad is in that field. As your sisters we feel you should be educated as well. Andrea asked some questions to Lisa Diemer over at American Family Insurance that will really help you know more.

  1. Why is it so important to have life insurance?

Life Insurance can lessen the tragedy of losing one of the adults in the household. Many times, a mortgage is secured based on two working individuals. If one of the individuals dies, the family can be uprooted. It’s horrific for a child to lose a parent, but to also lose their bedroom, neighborhood, friends and school on top of that? It’s preventable. I always recommend individuals purchase an individual life insurance policy because it will follow them anywhere, unlike a group policy provided by an employer. What many people fail to understand is that if you become sick and can no longer work, if you quit your job or if the company is bought out, the life insurance benefits do not follow you. You are no longer part of the group. Also, the ability to buy life insurance can change in an instant. You must be healthy to secure life insurance. One of my clients who was only 53 died earlier this week after battling cancer. He leaves behind a 12 and 13 year old, as well as a widow. They can stay in their home. We made plans 12 years ago that none of us could have predicted would end with this result. The surviving spouse now has some flexibility in her work schedule as she will be playing the role of both parents. This tragedy has really touched me as I met with the insureds a few weeks ago while my client was in hospice and the three of us made joint plans for the future without him. I was very fortunate to be able to provide him some peace knowing that I would continue to look after his family. It was a very intimate moment that certainly reinforced our bond.

2. How can customers have a good relationship with their insurance agent?

When you are looking for an insurance company, meet with the agent. Will they take time to explain things to you? Do they follow through? Do you feel comfortable that you have a partnership with this person. Find an agent that doesn’t treat you like a number, but rather knows and values you and your family. Price should not be the determining factor. You need your insurance agent in mostly bad times – an accident, water pouring through your home, a lost piece of jewelry or an injury to a guest. Does your insurance agent make you aware of ways to protect yourself, such as an umbrella policy? You should have annual reviews. The client needs to be forthcoming with the agent. If you’re renting out your home, tell your agent. In the event of a claim, you don’t want to have the incorrect policy because you withheld information,. Clients need to be respectful and listen. We don’t always have great news to deliver. You have that 4thspeeding ticket or third homeowner’s claim? It’s not going to be good news. But many times, agents can have options for you which will bridge a difficult time period. The best agents always put the interest of their clients first and have a passion for their work.

3. Why is insurance a painful subject for most people and how can we make it not be so painful?

Many people find insurance difficult to understand. We use words like premium to describe costs, while stores will deem you a “premium” customer. I highly recommend meeting with an agent when you purchase a new type of policy. Insurance does not cover every type of situation which may affect you or your property. I say that insurance is like Swiss cheese – it doesn’t cover the entire slice of bread. But if you know where the holes are, then you can navigate through life’s challenges. It is confusing when there is a home warranty which usually covers maintenance items vs. insurance which covers perils such as lightning or fires. There are exceptions to the coverages. The best way to understand insurance is to get educated by your agent about the nuances of your new policy. Secondly, make sure that you annually review your insurance coverages with your agent. If you make changes to your home, put on an addition or finish the basement, reach out and tell your agent so that your home coverage reflects the true value of your property. If you’re not sure whether to carry full coverage on your car, ask your agent for their thoughts. You may find the perspective helpful. We are able to find gaps quickly and point out areas you may not be comfortable with down the road. I prefer to be proactive, sending letters with a list of items I have scheduled on your home policy. It’s much easier to deal with a misunderstanding in calm times.

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