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The Connection Between Social Media and Insurance : Five Questions

I was honored to be interviewed recently by ILSTV, "the source for daily insurance news and analysis and information relevant to the Canadian insurance industry" on my views and experiences in using social media as an insurance professional to support our clients, get involved and help give back to the community, as well as to listen to what people are thinking about. Every opportunity to listen to our clients and learn from them is an opportunity for us in the industry to provide better services and support.

The Financial services industry is one of the most complicated for individuals to understand, which is why I feel it is so important for "experts" and experienced brokers to reach out to their clients in as many ways possible and provide them with resources to learn about the things that affect them. Social Media provides an incredible opportunity here. It was very nice to have the chance to chat with Julie Hawrishok of ILSTV and answer her five questions, in fact we covered so much,  I even got a bonus one (Thanks Julie)!  Read more on our conversation in this interview:

"With more than* 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, Mila’s now embraced social media and has become a strong advocate for social media in the

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Insurance and Hockey? You need the right members on the team to win! Broker Values

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I saw an interesting question in one of my LinkedIn groups, it revolved around where the focus is for an insurance representative.

We have so many priorities these days, focus and motivation are what drive us. Without reading further, if you had to answer right away, do you think the person who handles your insurance represents your best interests or always finds you the best price they can... or do you think they are just looking out for themselves?

Buffalo Sabres Game vs Canadiens  Down the Ice
If you think insurance "people" are just out for themselves, you wouldn't be alone! The reality is, if you look at the "game" of insurance, there are lots of players. You don't want to be alone, you want to be part of a team, and you want someone to be watching your back - protecting the goal. Above all, you need to trust them.

If you don't feel that way, you need to ask yourself, are you dealing with the right person? You have options.

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Put money back in your pocket by making smart insurance choices. #insurance #savings

ChristmasThe holidays are a wonderful time of year where people from all over the world get to take some valued time off with the family, enjoy a few days off and plan for the year ahead.

Unfortunately this time of year can be very stressful for many as we increase our expenses on vacations, gifts and events. One of the things I try and do year round is find ways to save people money on their insurance while still providing them with high value products that offer good protection.

So here are some cost saving tip ideas to ask your insurance representative about, I hope it will help you save on your insurance, and maybe even get you a refund on your annual premium if you make the changes now:

Here are some areas to explore

Children in College - you are paying a great deal for their school, take advantage of any benefits your policy may allow.

People Walking at Rockefeller Center Holiday lights and angels

Exploring what coverages you can get for free -  ex:  Identity Theft, Legal Assistance, Roadside Assistance, Home Care. So many companies have come out with little mini plans to offer you these services, find out what you may already have in your policy, or what you could get at no cost, and save the cost off all your other plans (like credit card companies, banks, Roadside plans, etc).

Auto Insurance  - How to cut costs, get all the discounts you're entitled to

Travel Insurance  & Car Rental Insurance Learn About what is already covered on your home and auto policies so you do not have to pay more than you need when you go on vacation!

The Deductible
"I am not going to have a loss, so I don't want to pay a lot on insurance" - Great plan, so consider increasing your deductible. It can make a difference.

The easiest option to save money on insurance: Make sure you have all the discounts on your policy that you are entitled to.

Remember the insurance companies are very competitive and they are constantly developing plans to offer value and savings. They know no one wants to pay more for insurance than they have to. Take a few moments, review your insurance with your representative and there is a good chance they will have ways to give you great coverage while still saving you some cost.

You do not want to find cheap insurance and sacrifice value, you want to find good products, that respond to your needs and protect you.  Everyone is different, every situation varies. Make sure your insurance packages give you what you need to keep your home and family safe for the holidays and always!

If you are going away for a holiday vacation, don't forget to check out my vacation tips for safety, prevention and savings!

  Times Square Holiday Angels and snowflakes Christmas scene
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and a year ahead full of success, health and all things good!

Is being with the wrong insurance company costing you money? Find out what companies will give you for free.

Insurance is competitive. As brokers we get the opportunity to compare products and advantages daily which allow us to try and give our clients the best options.

From the consumer side much of this information may not be evident especially if you are not dealing with a broker, or you do not have a specific agent representing your family.

Here are some tips to try and help you as you look at your own insurance needs, perhaps there are some ways by looking at these points and having a discussion with your insurance company or representative that you can save some money.

Look for discount opportunities or policy packages that give you advantages you need at no additional cost. All insurance companies and policies are not the same.  

Some examples of coverages that are often offered at no charge by some insurance companies - and charged for with others are:

  • CAA or Roadside assistance - we have one company that offers it for free - however it must be requested or offered. This saves our CAA members $75 per year, simply because they went with the insurance company that offered it. They could be with another insurance company all along and not even realize this option is available. Make sure you find out if you could have similar perks - all you have to do is ask.
  • No obligation to replace with full replacement value on your building, or contents. This can be a huge advantage.  Some insurers charge higher premiums to include this in your policy. it used to be that only VIP , expensive and high end policies offered this option. It has now become a competitive advantage point for many carriers. Some companies offer it for free if you insure your home and car with them or  if you are of a certain age (we have one company that gives it to anyone over 45, another who gives it only if you're retired, another who gives it if you are a CAA member) Just examples but something to think about.

One of our companies, Aviva Canada, for example offers their policy holders between 45 and 75 years old, who have their home and car insured with them (under their Connexion Plan) the following amazing advantages, which other insurers charge for individually:

  1.  Health assistance
  2. Telephone assistance services
  3. Legal assistance ~ever need to speak to a lawyer? This gives you access, included for free.
  4. Home assistance
  5. Support and home care (following a 5 day hospital stay) ~what a huge advantage!, 
  6. Replacement cost with no obligation to replace &   2-year guaranteed premiums

There are advantages with almost every insurance company, the key is finding out and asking about it.

  • We have another company that offers free legal assistance with every home policy.
  • Most companies are now offering some form of Identity theft coverage. Do you have this included now, are you paying for it and is there an opportunity to get it for free?
  • Another company that includes coverage for rental cars worldwide, as opposed to "limited to North America". This may be important to some who travel often to Europe or worldwide, and totally irrelevant to others. It is worth knowing about, and if it doesnt appeal to you, maybe this is one of those value added's that you don't really want to be paying for.
  • Some companies automatically extend your contents coverage to other properties that you may own or rent, others charge for this.  

Have a conversation with your insurance representative to make sure they really know you and what your needs are.

Often when you speak to a direct insurance company, there is no opportunity for the agent to really know you. Ask the questions and you may be surprised at how much you can save and benefit when you really look at the big picture.

As brokers, we do our best to do this all the time for our clients because it's not just insurance - its finding the best fit to protect your assets, save you money and serve your individual needs.

Do you have any tips to save on insurance that allow you to save and keep the coverage you really need in place? What have your experiences been?


Social Media is about relationships. We built our business on relationships.

Ogilvy & Ogilvy is proud to announce that we will be sponsoring the 140 Conference Montreal for 2012. The #140Conf is an exploration on the effects that Social Media is having on "The state of now". What does that mean? It means that Social Media, which includes Twitter, online games like Farmville,  Blogs, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Foursquare is changing the face of how we live, how we communicate and how we do business.

LogosWith O&O 140confMTL

Ogilvy & Ogilvy was built on relationships. We have not been active in advertising, we rely on word of mouth. Many of our clients are third generation clients, and as time has passed we have managed to maintain those relationships. As the world has changed we have realized we want to make sure that our clients and our community have a way to connect with us. Social media has presented options to find more ways to connect and be involved.

When the opportunity to support the #140Conf and bring this international conference to Montreal came up, it made sense that if Social Media is about relationships, and this is what Ogilvy has built a business on for over 85 years now, that sharing the power of communication and bringing the conference to Montreal was in perfect alignment with our values and goals. We want to support "making the world a smaller place", give back to our community and enhance communication and relationship building using these social tools.

Like many out there, as a business, we are just learning about the possibilities. We look forward to joining forces with other relationship conscious brands in sponsoring the event as we continue on our path to use Social Media to create new ways for our clients to communicate with us and engage with our community. The #140conf provides an opportunity for individuals and businesses alike to learn how to connect and share in the experiences others are having using these tools to improve service, reach out to their communities and strengthen relationships.

All part of our journey and commitment to continue to make ourselves accessible to our clients, and assure we maintain our personal service values.

We are proud to support this conference which is all about connecting and making sure that as the world grows, as business gets faster, as lives get busier - we always take that time to find ways of maintaining and building strong relationships one client at a time.


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Why did my car insurance increase this year? How can I save money?

I had an interesting comment on a recent post, in which I was discussing the value of a broker, using the example of one claims case where our involvement and expertise allowed for over $2,000 more than the person originally thought they would get.  On the post comments, "Emily" wondered why her car insurance doubled since last year.

An excellent question.

The answer to questions like this in insurance are  complex and require thorough review of many "underwriting" details. These details are precisely why a broker can be a handy resource to you.

Since Emily is not one of our clients, I could not pull out her file and give her the direct answer, but what I tried to do was give her all the factors that I thought might have affected her rates. I encouraged her to then use this information to call her own representative and hope that this will help her get a handle on her own insurance and get some of those savings back, or get an understanding of what happened.

So, for all of you out here who have seen a rate increase in your car insurance, or for those who wonder why your insurance doesn't go down every year, I am sharing my response.

Please let me know what you think and what your experiences have been too. After all that's why we are here, to learn, share and communicate together!

Why did my car insurance rate go up, even though I didn't have any accidents? 

There are so many factors involved in rating car insurance, each state, province and country has different regulations and requirements, so I can not speak for the specifics of your insurance, but I can give you some ideas on a general level to guide you.

One of the biggest comments I get as a broker is that the car is one year older   and that their car insurance has increased, yet the value of the vehicle has depreciated.

  • This one is an interesting point, unfortunately despite the fact that the vehicle value has gone down, replacing a door or a car part due to an accident may still be just as expensive on a new car as on a 3 year old car. So the "coverage" you are paying for is not limited to a theft coverage, it includes repairs. 
  • The liability portion of your insurance does not change based on the age of the car, a 20 year old car, can likely be the tool of as much damage as a 2 year old car.  Again - Value of vehicle decreasing, rate of insurance remaining the same.

The area you live in also comes into play.

  • Was there a higher incidence of theft or accidents in your area last year over  the previous years?
  • Maybe the insurance company adjusted their rates because of this?
  • Did you move to a new neighborhood? Sometimes a few blocks makes a difference. Call your car insurance company and get a quote before you move. If you lived in a suburb, then you moved into the city, we often see drastic increases.
Did your occupations, place of work, martial status, age, address, conviction record (speeding tickets etc) change?
  • Some companies include discounts for lower commutes to work (or no commute) There are also charges for change of use of vehicle, for example if you used to only use it to commute to work, then suddenly are now using it for occasional business to visit clients, etc. an adjustment may be necessary. Find out what the reason of the change is, maybe you can deduct business use from your company, or expense it from your work. There may be an option.
  • Some companies offer discounts for occupation, for the employer you work for (group rates) or for having a university degree - if you qualify make sure that discount stays on your rating. If you change employer sometimes it can effect your rate.
  • If you are under 30, some companies offer discounts if you are married, which  bring you to the same rating as someone over 30 .   Some companies also offer age discounts as you get older, or retiree discounts. Make sure you get every discount you are eligible for.
  • Address,  outlined in my point above.
  • Conviction record- if you have many speeding tickets or traffic violations, it is an indicator of the type of driver you might be. Multiple infractions can lead to drastic surcharges on a policy. So nothing else may have changed, but with a high infraction rate, your price could potentially increase significantly. You would also, in addition, potentially lose discounts for being "conviction free" - offered by some insurers.
Did you add a new driver to the policy?
  • Second or third drivers on one car can impact the rate.
  • Young drivers can impact the rates, various insurance companies charge different rates for young drivers. In cases where you have added a young driver, it is worth shopping around because some companies have special considerations which will save you money, where others do not. When your circumstance changes, it is worth asking your representative if the company you are with has favorable policies regarding young drivers.
  • Added tip: If you had a young driver and they are away at College, ask your insurer if they have a "student away at school discount" and what the conditions are. This can often cut the cost in half.
You may have had no accidents, but did you have claims?
  • In our minds, accidents usually involve collisions with something, however there are other reasons besides collisions that insurance companies pay out in claims. A lot of times people forget about these small incidents, but they are still claims paid by the insurer, and may still effect your rate. Besides accidents, did you make other claims for example windshield, or vandalism?
  • Some companies give discounts to people with flawless records, unfortunately, when the person has a claim, they will loose this flawless record discount. That can hurt.
In my experience, the changes above do not normally equal a doubling in rate, so I would explore even further.
  • Is it possible that your insurer suddenly introduced a new rating method, like using credit scoring into their calculations?
  • Did you authorize the credit scoring? If you don't, I have seen companies use standard non preferential rates when the credit scoring is unobtainable. Often approving the credit scoring , in my experience, has allowed for a drop in price by half. Before you authorize credit scoring, ask your representative about the possible effects on your rate. Specifically ask if it might penalize your rate or reduce it . 
The other factor that you may consider is whether or not you used to insure other things with the same company, and have since cancelled them
  • Multi vehicle discounts, and Multi policy discounts can often grant up to 40% in premium reductions.
  • If you used to insure your home with the company and now switched to go elsewhere, the discount you had on your car may have been deleted.

Finally, there may be an error in the rating of your policy.

  • Yes, errors do happen, and often, as brokers, we spend time correcting the document we receive from the insurance company. We have to analyze the file, and review the factors they entered to rate the renewals. We often find opportunity for improvement. Insurance companies usually have machines generate renewals, machines sometimes have glitches and errors.
  • Get your agent or broker or representative involved and you may find there is room for improvement!
There are so many possibilities including regional regulations and discounts that could apply that I strongly recommend with the overview I have given above to  call your insurer and ask them some questions. I am sure they will have some explanation, and perhaps in the process you can get those rates back down.
I would like to thank "Emily" for sparking this post with her question, as you can see there are a lot of factors to consider.
It pays to deal with an experienced representative because there are so many contributing factors to negotiating insurance, it helps to have someone on your side working for you.
The above list gives an idea of the things I would check and where to start.  I hope this helps put things into perspective and that it gives you a starting point to open the dialogue which will save you some money on your insurance costs!

Who do you represent? What's the Value in a Broker vs. Direct Insurer

Most people don't think too much about insurance. Overall, what we care about as people is saving money, living hassle free, enjoying life - and insurance? Well, let's just say insurance is not one of our favorite topics.

At Ogilvy & Ogilvy, we are brokers. We are not the insurance company.

When you deal with insurance, or an online quoting service, you should always find out - are you dealing with a broker, or is the person you are speaking to an employee of the insurance company? You can ask the person you deal with: "Who do you represent?"  Its an excellent question.

Most people don't think too much about insurance to even care what the difference is. However the difference is quite important. Brokers are people, they are your representatives and one of the key attributes, that we look for , in our brokers is that they're people who truly care. People who have bills just like you, who are empathetic and whose primary goal is to help you deal with insurance companies.

The whole idea that an insurance company is hard to deal with as an individual, the feeling that we all share as humans is that insurance companies are just big machines looking for profit. That is  the basis of why brokers have jobs: Our job  is to navigate the waters with you, to work with you so that when you deal with insurance , you have a friend on your side.

Your counsel, your representative, your defendor, your negotiator -

Thats who we are: Your broker.

I am introducing a series of videos about people - real people, real insurance stories, and how we as brokers come into that picture.

Pleased to share my first video with you, The Car Accident, by Chantale.


Hope you enjoy getting to know us better, and that you share your insurance stories with us  because as brokers, what we care about is also saving you money, living hassle free, enjoying life - and making sure you get the most out of your insurance.


Join the discussion below!


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