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Atterbury, Kammer & Haag, S.C.
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Insurance Agent as Trusted Advisor

What is a trusted advisor?  A trusted advisor is someone that clients can rely upon for good advice on difficult subjects and that they can trust implicitly.  Many professionals including lawyers, accountants, and financial planners all seek to portray themselves as “trusted advisors.”  Having trusted advisors involved in our affairs is a must in the complicated world we live in.  Attorneys are classic examples of trusted advisors.  Any reasonable person would agree that no matter how well read, educated or worldly one is, diving into complicated litigation without representation by an attorney would be a very bad idea.

The same can be said of the importance of accountants and financial planners.  No sensible person would attempt to prepare tax returns for their business without the advice of an accountant and no company would try to run a 401k plan without guidance from a financial planner. 

However, one such professional that might not jump to mind when considering your circle of trusted advisors is an insurance agent.  This is unfortunate because the things you treasure most (including your life) are and should be insured.  If you get it wrong, the results can be catastrophic. 

As attorneys, we often see the results of inadequate insurance.  Unfortunately, there is little that we can do for someone who was involved in a serious car accident with substantial injuries when they have little or no insurance coverage.  There is nothing that we can do for a widowed spouse when there was no life insurance.  There is often nothing that we can do for the person who is disabled as a result of an accident, who cannot continue to work, when they did not have a disability policy. 

Do you really believe that in addition to all of your other responsibilities that you are capable of learning all of the necessary details to buy insurance without the advice of a qualified professional?  Would you bet your family’s future on it?

Unfortunately, that is exactly what we are encouraged to do by advertisers who ask us to simply buy insurance on-line or by calling an 800 number.  For years, we have watched clever commercials by insurance companies featuring catchy slogans usually with promises of big savings.  Many of these companies do not have a presence in your community.

They feature agents, sitting at some remote site in phone banks, selling non customized pre-packaged insurance plans.  In our judgment, purchasing something as vitally important as personal insurance in this way is simply dangerous.

Qualified insurance agents are not telemarketers.  Qualified agents have specific and hard earned education designated by certifications such as CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) and CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor).  Qualified agents are sensitive to local market changes both with respect to personal and business insurance.  Qualified agents sit down with clients and get a complete understanding of an individual’s exposures by examining their family situation, employment and financial status and goals.  This simply cannot be adequately accomplished on a web site or on an 800 number call.
 
Personal insurance is just that.  It must be tailored specifically to your needs.  Only a qualified agent can act as a trusted advisor and get you the highly customized policy that fully protects you, your family and your assets. 

We are attorneys, not insurance agents.  We do not work for an insurance company.  We write this because we have seen countless tragic situations where people did not have the insurance that they should have had.  What makes this so tragic is that many of these situations could have been easily avoided on the front end with the help of a qualified insurance agent.

For a more detailed discussion of the importance of adequate automobile coverage, please click here and order a free copy of our book – The Real World Guide to Buying Car and Motorcycle Insurance in Wisconsin.  

To conclude, we strongly urge that members of the public expand their view of what it means to be a trusted advisor to include insurance agents.  Personal insurance is simply too important to not get good, qualified and personalized advice.