By Chris Watson
Life happens…so do accidents. We have all heard and used words like fender bender, mishap, minor problem, some damage, and water leak. Or, if we are less fortunate, we may be using words like flooding, fire, replacement and even total loss. To smooth over and support us during these “mishaps” we carry insurance; on our cars, our houses, our property, even ourselves. The question always is: did I buy enough insurance and did I buy the right kind of policy?
“The issue,” says Kathy Williams, Owner and Principal Agent of the BCA Insurance Group, “many people want to talk about their coverage after an accident or incident. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that can be done in retrospect. Insurance is a process of planning not reaction. To plan properly you need a person to help you.”
People Not Policies
Williams is not new to insurance. Her father was an insurance agent. “I remember how much he cared about his clients. These were people to him, not policies. He knew, intrinsically, that insurance seemed an extra expense. Something you had to have but didn’t really need. I grew up around a person who understood that feeling. He understood
expense and risk and reward. And he understood and listened to his clients. He was more about the people than he was about selling something.”
That personal touch permeates the BCA Insurance Group. Williams, who started in insurance under a single branded company, tried to bring that care and concern to her client base. “When I first started in the business insurance was there to use. Companies didn’t mind small claims. Today, claim frequency is a major driver of premium cost and even insurability.” With today’s ability to keep information, insurance companies keep very careful track of every claim. “It is strictly regulated and tracked.”
Besides premium cost, insurability was a major issue for Williams. “My dad had relationships with his clients. I wanted that same relationship. Unfortunately, when I was only representing one line I couldn’t always meet my client’s needs. It was even possible for my clients to be dropped. At that point I didn’t just lose a sale, I lost a relationship.” That driver became the reason Williams struck out on her own.
Independence Means Individual
“Insurance is a bit of a gambling game,” says Williams, somewhat ruefully. “You are gambling that sometime, somewhere, you will have a claim. The insurance company is hoping you won’t ever have a claim. However, the law is very clear. You must have representative insurance: for cars, houses, recreational vehicles…you name it. So, if you have to be covered, why not be covered well?”
Williams and her team provides the best coverage by carrying lots of insurance products to shop from. With over 20 different companies represented and seven people on staff, BCA Insurance has a lot of policy options. They recently opened a Michigan office in Temperance and have started to provided more coverage in that area. “It made sense,” says Williams. “I was always licensed in Michigan but I have clients who move, and clients who have family and friends who live in Michigan. Opening a second location made perfect sense.”
That is the key to the BCA Insurance Group. They want referrals. “Nothing is more satisfying than when someone calls and tells us that they have been dropped and a friend or colleague swears we can help them. And then we do. That is what an agency is supposed to do. Find solutions.”
Confidence Verses Cost
There is no question that there are many ways to buy insurance, with online being the biggest change in the insurance market. However, cost and convenience does not beat confidence. Most of us don’t think about our coverage until we need it and then, if we have casually bought a quick policy online, we feel stuck with bad coverage and betrayed by cute commercials.
“Here is the way it should work”, says Williams. “An agent should take a look at your needs and find the right company and policy that matches. With online or a single point agent if you don’t meet their policy structure you are out of luck. I believe that I can insure anyone
or anything. My goal is to help.”
BCA certainly has a wide variety of options. Their list of services includes personal insurance, business insurance, and individual/employee benefits. In an insurance world that seems to change with every legislative session, these locally serving, independent agents are exactly what is needed in a complex environment.
“We research, work, and ultimately write policies that meet the needs of our clients, not that meet the needs of the carrier,” says Williams. “Our clients have come to expect us to do this for themselves and anyone they refer to us. That hard work and care is the way my dad treated his clients. It is the way I treat my clients. And it is the way it should be done.”