Page 2 of my article why you don’t want to buy NEMT auto insurance from Progressive
…My answer is they’re not alone, and I work with many people who have had their business auto canceled or non-renewed. Including canceled from Progressive and then move on to figuring out a road-map in helping them obtain a new commercial auto insurance policy. In fact…
I’ve been meaning to discuss this for some time, and surprisingly, it wasn’t a cancellation that triggered the motivation to say something. It was a young man starting a NEMT business in Michigan that I’ve grown to like in the last couple of months as I leaned more about him while seeking coverage for him.
I provided a few quotes, and one of them was my best and I presented it to him. I also said something you may find surprising coming from a salesperson, albeit this is how I operate. I said he should call around and see if perhaps someone has a better rate because I’m only aware of a few carriers writing insurance for NEMT startups in Michigan, and in many states. Maybe he could find something significantly cheaper and save some money, however, this quote was here for the taking if he wanted it.
Actually, that’s not exactly what happened, or at least I’m going out of the order of events, so let’s step back for a moment. After further discussion, including about rates and class codes, we talked about maybe writing the policy (legitimately) as livery was appropriate because he didn’t intend to assist the passengers with the entry or exit of his vehicle, at least not at first, and he wasn’t going to have a wheelchair lift to start out with. I thought maybe that would help lower the premium and I went to work to obtain another insurance proposal, albeit instead of NEMT, the next quote would be generalized livery.
As it turns out, my best quote was the best one I already presented to him for NEMT or Livery service because the carrier I presented considered and rated any vehicle without a wheelchair lift to be livery, so it was the same.
However, then he talked and discussed insurance rates and pricing with another NEMT provider who advised him he was in fact paying much much less for his coverage. He told me about it, and I said he should check it out and I’ll be happy to provide an opinion on the other policy and coverage.
For me it’s a no-lose situation because I don’t view my entire business based on selling for the sake of making a commission. For me, I believe if I do the best job I can, and provide as much value as I can, the rest will easily work itself out. Either I will make the sale if it turns out to the other non emergency medical transportation business was in error, or if it’s correct, I’ll learn about a new carrier I didn’t know about. Win-win either way, and plus, regardless of what occurs, I’ve firmly established my credibility as someone who does the right thing, even when it means I won’t make a sale.
In fact, I’ll go further and say I strongly believe in my heart of hearts, that worrying about making a sale is the last thing you want to do if you want to find success selling insurance. And for any new (or old actually) agents who may be reading this, if you want referrals, and I mean lots of referrals, always do the same as you would for your best friend or relative when you have zero money to be gained.
Doing the right thing is rare enough that people respond very positively to it, including telling their friends and contacts what a great experience they had. I get lots of insurance referrals, and yet, I never ask for them. Something to think about.
My Michigan prospect/friend then came to me yesterday and emailed a page of his newly minted Progressive policy. He quested the competing agent about NEMT insurance, and Progressive’s very low quote price compared to what I provided, and according to him, the agent said something along the lines of “Progressive is offering a special right now.”
I have zero reason to believe he’s not telling me exactly what was said to him. What makes this especially interesting, and makes me wonder and question the ethical compass of the agent he talked to is the statement about “special pricing” combined with my understanding that Progressive doesn’t even offer livery insurance, much less NEMT insurance coverage.
With a price of well less than half of what I was providing, it’s no surprise it appears attractive, I mean how could it not.
Therein lies the problem.
If an NEMT operator makes (knowingly or unknowingly) what I consider a “deal with the devil” and buys a commercial auto policy rated and priced for something different than the actual operations, it’s just a matter of time and one of several likely outcomes will happen.
The mistake (or change of heart) will be discovered by the NEMT operator and another policy, correctly rated and proper for the type of coverage will be signed and obtained and relatively speaking, all will end well. At least mostly well, because the magical three years in business clock isn’t likely to start until the proper coverage happens.
Imagine this if you will, saving $5000 a year for the first year, only to pay an extra $15,000 in your third year because a better-priced carrier that will only consider your account after three non-stop years of continuous coverage won’t take your account for one more year, and during that time you have more drivers and/or vehicles. For NEMT companies that hope to grow beyond one vehicle and driver, this is a very real possibility of the outcome.
Another possible outcome is despite your best efforts, you make a mistake and cause an accident. It’s possible you may not have the insurance coverage you thought you did.
Progressive isn’t unlike every other insurance carrier, in the fact they’re not going to pay for a claim they’re not legally or morally obligated to pay. To think otherwise is obviously a little foolish on many levels, and acting foolish is rarely the path to riches.
Robert Weinstein is a husband, dad, stock market junkie, real estate broker, and of course…Insurance agent. Interests include my family, economics, marketing, technology, real estate, finance/investing, history, and Asia.
Robert’s insurance expertise includes having the designation of Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) and assist in asset protection for families with members entering retirement.
Robert is also an accomplished syndicated writer whose work can be found in TheStreet, MainStreet, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, MSN Money, The Money Show, Stock Saints, Motley Fool, Fidelity, Minyanville, RealMoney Pro, and many national and international newspapers.