Posted by: Jeff Rhodes | February 15, 2011

The Information Trickle

I deal in information sharing.  I (hopefully) provide information to my clients about managing aviation risk.  I gather information from my clients about their operations and I pass that information to an insurance marketplace in order to help my clients buy instruments of risk transfer.  Information helps me negotiate, helps me analyze, and helps me plan.  The ability to package, process, and present information is what makes me good at what I do.  When I am presented good information, I can paint an accurate and attractive picture of any aviation operation.

Unfortunately, a client will occasionally meter information to me slowly and reluctantly.  In many cases, the client has made the assumption that there are some aspects of his or her operation that might be detrimental to the ability to get the best insurance quotation.  They believe that temporarily withholding the information will bring better quotes early on, committing the underwriter to a position.  They will then proceed to reveal additional facts and situations, hoping that the underwriter’s position will remain unchanged.

If this describes your preferred approach to obtaining insurance coverage, PLEASE PUT DOWN THE PHONE FINISH THIS ARTICLE!

  1. The truth is the truth – Insurance packages are put together based on an underwriter’s best analysis of the nature of your risk.  The truth about who you are and what you do will some day be revealed – either through additional investigation or after a loss occurs.  Better to be covered, than to surprise an insurer during the claim.
  2. Your agent is NOT your enemy.  I don’t set the premiums, and I don’t decide if I can cover you or not.  Hiding something from me does you no good.  My job is to understand your operation, package it as to make you attractive (warts and all), and present it to the insurers that can best provide your desired protection at the most competitive terms.
  3. Changing things in the middle of the process makes us BOTH look bad.  In an underwriter’s mind, changing information means one of three things:
    • The aircraft owner doesn’t have a clear plan and is winging it.
    • The aircraft owner is misleading the agent.
    • The agent is misleading the underwriter.

None of these thoughts in an underwriter’s mind brings you better consideration.  The opposite is true.  You may scare a market away.

The best practice – Treat you insurance agent like a therapist, a priest, a lawyer, or a bartender.  Lay it all out there.  Your plans, your hopes, your wishes, and your maybes.  With that full plate of information, your agent will craft a quality submission to the underwriting marketplace based on full disclosure and the best plan in mind.

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