What is an Independent Insurance Agent

Most consumers today buy insurance from carriers that spend millions of dollars on TV advertising. However, do not neglect to call your local independent insurance agent. He or she may represent numerous carriers and may just be able to save you more money than the typical agent. For help on your insurance, call Gary at (480) 659-0229 or email: gary@choicearizona.com.

Should You File an Insurance Claim?

I’ve been selling insurance for over two decades. Clients call my office on a regular basis asking how a claim will affect their policy and premium. The answer varies, depending on whether it is an auto claim or homeowner claim.

Google Insurance

You may have heard that Google entered the insurance market. Some insurance agents and carriers may be a bit nervous to see Goliath take a stab at our industry.

Yet, I don’t see that they are doing anything unique that is not already offered by a hundred others. They will ask for your information – name, address, vehicles, coverage, and driver information. They bought a company that has an insurance platform and offers insurance quotes through various providers. That is already being done by many companies and websites, including me. It’s nothing new.

Take our firm – Choice Insurance of Arizona, for instance. We shop and compare insurance with leading and top rated carriers like Progressive, Hartford, MetLife, Kemper, Badger Mutual, American Strategic and more.

So what is the difference between us and these companies selling insurance through a 1-800 phone number or internet?

Let me give you one very big difference – advice!

So many times I have worked with clients who bought insurance over the phone or through the internet and was shocked to see the basic limits they carry. You see, clients almost always focus on one thing – price. That’s because most of the TV advertising attracts you by promising to save you money.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to save you money too. But my concern for you is more than just the premium. If I help you with insurance but do not help you properly protect yourself you may end up extremely unhappy if you are involved in a claim.

When it comes to insurance you better focus on price 2nd and your coverage 1st. Give me great coverage and THEN let’s see what your price is.

About six or seven years ago we were rear ended by a car that never hit their brakes. We were quite shaken up. Due to the impact behind us, our car hit the car ahead of us, which hit also the vehicle ahead of them. Guess who is responsible for all the damage to all four vehicles? You guessed it – the car that rear ended us initially

Last year a client rear ended someone and caused a 4 car chain accident. Our client is responsible. Fortunately, they have me as their insurance agent and have good coverage on their insurance policy. Their policy will take care of all the damage and injuries.

Now, this is not to say a client will not insist on carrying low coverage limits against my advice. It happens. Maybe due to restrictive finances they feel they must carry low limits to save every dollar they can. It happens. But I always advise against carrying low coverage limits.

But what would have happened if that same client had bought online or through the internet? The chances are they would have been sold price first and coverage second. And that would have left them personally dealing with a very difficult financial situation.

Do yourself a favor. Call me and let me help you with your insurance. I promise to talk with you about your coverage and protecting yourself AND shop around for the best price we can find with our carriers.

Gary Brown, Insurance Agent & Broker
(480) 659-0229

Do You Need Long Term Care Insurance?

Long Term Care Insurance or LTCI helps you pay for costs associated with nursing home expenses or home health care if you are sick or injured.

Over the years LTCI has gone from being relatively unknown and little used to becoming almost too popular. Insurance companies may have underestimated their financial exposure in this product, particularly those carriers who offered a lifetime payout benefit. American’s are living longer and the lifetime payout policies are putting a dent in some carriers finances.

Most, if not all, LTCI carriers now offer a limited benefit – say 2 years or 5 years. So at least they can know their exposure is capped.

Also, many players in the Arizona Long Term Care Insurance market have abandoned the product altogether. It has been reported that one large carrier to allegedly abandon this product in some markets is State Farm Insurance. We do not know for sure if this is the case but others are reporting it to be true.

The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance purportedly reported that the carrier had ceased selling the product in some states, including ARIZONA, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada and New York.

What are the odds?

Statistics indicate that 70% of Americans will need some sort of long term care assistance for an average length of 3 – 5 years at a cost of $250,000 – $1,000,000. As with most insurance you never want benefits to ever kick in but in this arena the financial cost to you could be devastating.

The economy is playing havoc with insurance carriers and even that is affecting the LTCI business. Insurance carriers rely upon investment income. However, this low interest environment is hindering insurance companies from earning much needed investment income.

Other carriers are seeing strong interest in LTCI from 30% to 50% gains in applications being submitted.

Believe it or not, but insurance companies expect a certain number of clients to drop the insurance. So when 100% of new policy holders pay their premiums the carrier knows a certain number will quit paying at some point. Those become pure profits since the carrier did not pay any benefit.

However, what they have discovered with LTCI is that very few ever lapse their policies. As we age we realize the importance and need to have our health care intact.

Do you need LTCI?

If you have the income and assets to warrant protecting then you may want to consider investigating getting a quote. Consider if you need nursing home care for a couple of years. Imagine how much money you would need to spend out of your own pocket. Nursing home costs vary from state to state, and perhaps even city to city, but they have risen dramatically over the past 15 years.

Can you afford the premiums, which could be $2000+ per year. This is an estimate of course as the premiums are substantially cheaper for someone in their late 50’s versus a 72 year old.

Getting a quote is free. Matter of fact, contact any number of reputable companies and ask for an agent to come and explain the product and offer a quote. All of this is free. If you desire a recommendation of a great insurance agent who sells LTCI and who I personally know – please call me.

LTCI is heavily dependent on being in good health. So please do not wait until some health incident occurs in your life to being investigating your potential need. As is the case with most insurance (such as life, disability and health) always buy when you are in the best health possible. You will receive the best rate and lowest premium.

Do you need Long Term Care Insurance? Don’t let it simply be a financial decision. Again, if you have assets and investments that you want to maintain over the long term this is a product that you should indeed consider buying. If you need nursing home or home care at some point you will need to spend your own assets first. Once you have depleted your assets then government assistance may kick in. But by that point you are no longer someone with assets.

The Health Insurance Dilemma

I cannot imagine anyone wants another human being to go without health care. We all need it at some point in our lives. However, health care has become an incredibly polarizing subject in America and that is a shame.

We’ve been discussing health insurance in the United States for many years now. If you are curious, I am not a proponent of Obamacare primarily because it was more about the government overseeing and taking over the total health care industry than in covering the 30-40 million uninsured. When has the government ever done anything efficiently over a long period of time without becoming bloated and hugely inefficient, and without growing far beyond their intended scope and purpose.

I would be happy if the government had formulated a more simple plan to figure out how to provide services to the uninsured and let the rest of the health care industry alone. We have had the best health care in the world and Obamacare is likely to reduce our quality of care. If you disagree, we will simply have to wait and see.

Perhaps one exception to the above comment is our need to reduce the cost of prescription medicine. Anytime you can drive across the border into Mexico and buy the same drug for far less there is a problem. Of course you hear and read about political parties being in bed with the drug industry. Does anyone believe that likely is not accurate?

Anyway, no matter how you land on this difficult subject there is no arguing the impact health insurance or lack of health insurance has on our nation and people.

Back in 2002 the Institute of Medicine figured that around 18,000 U.S. citizens between the ages of 25 and 64 die annually due to a lack of health insurance. The following information is not rocket science yet still informative.


Uninsured adults without health insurance:

…are far less likely to receive preventive services

…and with cancer are generally in poorer health and die more prematurely than those with insurance primarily due to delayed diagnosis issues.

…and with diabetes are less likely to receive recommended services, which causes uncontrolled blood sugar levels which puts patients are greater risk

…and with hypertension or high cholesterol are less likely to be screened, less likely to receive prescription medication and are at greater risk

…and with end-stage renal disease receive dialysis later than other patients

…and with HIV receive medication later that can improve odds of survival and die sooner

…and are hospitalized are more likely to die in the hospital, receive fewer services after being admitted and experience more substandard care.

…and experience a trauma injury are less likely admitted to hospitalization, receive fewer services and more likely to die as a result

…and with acute cardiovascular disease are less likely to receive hospitalization to receive angiography or revascularization procedures and more likely to die

Again, nothing in this that would shock your world. It’s still important to remember that we have lot of people who forgo health care and the basic services they need.