Need Proof Policies Aren't Commodities? - Insurance Thought Leadership

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December 20, 2017

Need Proof Policies Aren’t Commodities?

Summary:

Many say insurance buyers do not need professional representation. Let’s dispel that ludicrous assertion through a scenario.

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I’m going to borrow the approach taken by Chuck Schramm, a Chicago-area insurance agent with more than 50 years of industry experience and one of the premier insurance educators in the country. He has done a series of seminars that examine a single policy (commercial property, business auto, CGL, etc.) by providing several case study-based claim scenarios. Participants must determine for each claim whether the policy covers the damages and why or why not. It’s a wonderful way to learn HOW to read, understand and APPLY policy language to coverage and claim situations.

Many insurtech startups and online comparative quoting systems take the position that auto insurance is little more than a commodity distinguished almost solely by price, that insurance buyers do not need professional representation by insurance agents nor advocacy at claim time because the product and process are so simple and there’s so much information available on the internet. Let’s dispel that ludicrous assertion with the following scenario….

Bubba owns a car insured in his name with the State Insurance Company. His wife, Bubbles, owns a car insured in her name with the National Insurance Company. Their adult daughter, Bubbette, and her six children live with Bubba and Bubbles, and Bubbette owns a car insured in her name with the ARP Insurance Company. All three insurers use the 2005 ISO PAP.

See also: Geospatial Data: New Key on Auto  

Using the ISO policy, determine who is covered for liability by what policy in the following claim scenarios AND why or why not are they covered. In other words, in each scenario, are the parties insureds under the policy, and, if so, does a liability exclusion apply?

Claim #1:  One afternoon, Bubba drove Bubble’s car to the liquor store, ran a stop sign and had an at-fault accident.

Bubble’s PAP   __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbles.

Bubble’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbles.

Claim #2:  That evening, Bubba drove Bubbette’s car to a local tavern and had another at-fault accident while returning home at dawn the next morning.

Bubbette’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbette.

Bubbettes’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbette.

Claim #3:  Upon his arrival at home, Bubba and Bubbles separate, and Bubbles moves in with her mother that afternoon. That evening, Bubba asked Bubbles if he could borrow her now-repaired car again to take his new girlfriend to visit her mother and had yet another at-fault accident.

Bubble’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbles.

Bubble’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubba.

Bubba’s PAP  __ does   __ does not   cover Bubbles.

I’ll post the answers within the next week, so make a note to check back later. If you simply can’t wait because you’re just too darned excited that you know the answers, feel free to email them to me, and I’ll respond.

See also: Auto Claims: Future May Belong to Bots  

If you find this kind of exercise valuable, let me know, and I’ll do others. Another one I have in mind for the PAP involves three people – Moe, Larry and Curly – two of them with PAPs and all involved in the rental of a car.

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About the Author

William C. Wilson, Jr., CPCU, ARM, AIM, AAM is the founder of Insurance Commentary.com. He retired in December 2016 from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, where he served as associate vice president of education and research.

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