A Publication of WTVP

As I watched President Bush deliver his State of the Union address January 28, it reminded me of what a wonderful country we live in—where freedom rings true. I couldn’t help thinking about my place in this country as an insurance professional. As our country experiences change, so does the insurance industry. Over the next 12 months, my colleagues and I will discuss topics related to the insurance industry and how these industry trends affect your life in central Illinois.

Some of the main topics will be related to rising medical costs, which affect health premiums, worker’s compensation, medical malpractice, and even your automobile medical payment rates. We hope to highlight long-term care, life insurance, many areas of commercial insurance, and your personal insurance.

President Bush has asked us to be more judicious in our choices while living our everyday life by being aware of our surroundings. The same is true in the insurance industry. Insurance is something you don’t want to have to use, but if needed, you expect to have the coverage. Just as most things in life, with proper planning and education, you’ll be prepared for whatever situation arises.

The same is true with insurance. Understand what you’re buying and work with trusted professionals. As we go through a hard market, it’s in your best interest to know your policies aren’t maintenance programs; they’re written to put you back into the same financial position before your loss. Talk with your agent on what course of action is best for your situation.

There are more than 2,000 insurance companies that transact business in this country. Having somebody who knows the good from the bad can really help your claims progress when it occurs. We’ve seen our country lose some very large and supposedly successful companies due to bad management. Insurance choices can have a huge financial impact on your life. Make sure you know with whom you’re transacting business.

Insurance companies are held to very strict financial guidelines by rating bureaus such as A.M. Best and Standard & Poors. As our economy changes, make sure you realize the importance of a financially stable insurance market. It’s also important to know the integrity of the employees who will underwrite and settle your claims should they occur. Trust your agent to advise you of the companies that hire only the best.

In many ways, buying insurance is like buying a car. Most people shop, most people buy, and most people expect their purchase to work. If you want to buy a sub-compact at a lower cost, you receive a basic car. If you want to pay for the amenities of a luxury car, you might pay more. Quality and superior products normally cost the customer more money. Work with a professional that matches you with the right product.

The marketplace continually changes, and we plan to educate you on the state of the insurance industry over the next year. IBI