August 19, 2019 by Graham Haigh, VP, Broker Distribution, Wawanesa Insurance
Convincing someone that they could have more coverage than they do now – often for less money – should be a slam dunk. Right? That’s exactly what personal umbrella policies offer. So why aren’t they more popular? Let’s break it down and review tips for how to talk to your clients about the importance of personal umbrella coverage.
A personal umbrella policy provides additional coverage when a client’s base liability coverage is exhausted. It covers legal fees and loss of income associated with liability claims – even for incidents that occur outside of Canada.
Coverage that protects property is an easy concept for clients to buy into. It’s straightforward to understand and is often mandatory. The need becomes less clear when it comes to coverage that protects against legal action.
Many clients associate liability with businesses or high-income earners. The reality is that most of us are targets for legal recourse, even when going about our regular, low-risk lives. Pet owners, social media users, people who do volunteer work… wealthy or not, these people are all vulnerable.
Trends suggest that Canadians are becoming more litigious, and court cases are resulting in larger payouts. And while lawsuits don’t directly result in the loss of the ‘things and stuff’ protected by standard personal insurance policies, people could indirectly lose assets if they need to come up with the cost of an unexpected settlement.
Finally, when you consider the modern hazards that impact our safety (e.g. texting while driving), it’s hard not to appreciate how unpredictable an everyday task can be – or how far a resulting lawsuit can go.
Start with a conversation
Get to know your clients. Sincere engagement does wonders for customer loyalty, and it has the side effect of revealing important insights. For example, do they:
Clients who answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions are candidates for personal umbrella coverage. What’s holding them back? Awareness is a major factor. But once you resolve that…
Overcome the “it won’t happen to me” mentality
There’s a misconception that court battles are the stuff of TV dramas. In many people’s minds, their ‘boring lives’ are enough protection. Here are four relatable scenarios to share with your clients to demonstrate how a personal umbrella policy could save the day:
A personal umbrella policy is often more affordable than increasing liability on each individual base policy, and it protects the actions of your clients and their families wherever they are in the world. As sensibly as we might go about our lives, we are all subject to the unpredictability of other people’s actions.
The bottom line for your clients; our world is evolving, so the way we protect ourselves must change too.
Graham Haigh began his insurance career in BC in 1994 after earning his Bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University and attaining his FCIP and CAIB designations. He is a past President of the Insurance Institute of BC and an award winning instructor for the Insurance Institute of Canada’s CIP program.
He joined Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company in 2009 as Regional VP for BC & Yukon. In 2015, Graham moved with his family to Winnipeg to run Wawanesa’s Central region. He accepted the role of VP, Broker Distribution in 2019.
He can be reached at 204-985-3930 (office) or by email at email@example.com