Over the last several years, many consumers have expressed concern about the rising cost of insuring various things in their lives, including their automobiles and homes. Now new data suggests that they are correct in thinking that the increases in premiums they’ve seen during that time have outstripped the rates at which their salaries and and even inflation have grown over the same period. Consequently, it might be incumbent upon insurance agents to explain why rate hikes do occasionally happen, and what people can do to deal with those changes.
Recent data shows that the average home insurance rate in the U.S. rose about 3.5 percent last year, while policies for auto coverage rose 2.5 percent, according to a report from Bankrate. At the same time, though, inflation only increased 0.8 percent over that 12-month period, and that might create some difficult financial situations for homeowners and drivers across the country. This wasn’t necessarily true for every state and every homeowner or driver, but many saw rates saw sharper increases than the national average.
What’s the reason?
Experts believe that at least part of the reason rates rose faster than inflation in 2014 was that the economic recovery, which has been under way for some time now, may be driving up repair costs, the report said. Meanwhile, the harsh winter weather seen in January and February 2014 led to a significant number of rather costly claims, the losses from which many insurers spent most of the year recovering. Further, the continued use of “price optimization” among some insurers may have served to continually increase costs for some drivers or homeowners who have been with the same provider for a number of years.
The concerns people have about what they pay for various types of insurance may be very real issues for their financial security, so the more agents can do to explain why these people pay what they do and what is and isn’t covered by their plans, the better off both sides are likely to be. That’s because consumers generally prefer this kind of high-quality customer service to even being able to save a little bit of money on their premiums every month. And that, in turn, could significantly boost both customer satisfaction ratings and retention levels for agents who are able to best explain these issues.