Choosing an insurance company is a responsible decision, the adoption of which requires certain skills and knowledge. Whether you have smashed a car, lost property, ended up in a hospital in an exotic country – an insurance company can help in solving all these problems. How to choose a company that in a difficult life situation will be able to provide you with support, we will tell you in this article.
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The main criterion when choosing an insurance company is its reliability. However, focus not only on customer reviews (unfortunately, they are not always objective) or on brand awareness, but also on very specific indicators: reliability ratings, financial stability and tariffs.
It’s important to know !
-If the company is small and not very well-known, check first if it has a license to conduct insurance activities. The register of insurers can be found on the website of the Bank of Russia Financial Markets Service.
-Note where the company is registered. Do not trust those insurers that are registered in another country.
-Companies that have been on the market for more than 10 years deserve more confidence.
Assessment of the reliability of the insurance company and guarantees of payments
Reliability ratings may not give a complete picture of the stability of insurance companies, but they are still worth focusing on. All companies in the rating can fall into one of five categories: class A (high level of reliability), class B (acceptable or satisfactory level), class C (low level), class D (bankruptcy) and class E (license revocation). Of course, it is better to focus on those companies that belong to class A. By the way, there is a division into three more groups: “high level of reliability”, “very high level” and “exceptionally high”.
In the reliability ratings, you can also familiarize yourself with the forecast: whether the company will continue to occupy its positions or whether its rating will go up / down.
It’s important to know!
- An assessment of the reliability of an insurance company is usually a paid procedure, so not all companies are included in the rating. The fact that a company is not on the list does not mean that it should not be trusted.
- For a more complete picture, you can also familiarize yourself with the “popular” reliability ratings by reading reviews and opinions of consumers.
- Ratings that assess not only quantitative but also qualitative performance indicators deserve more confidence.
- Analyze not one rating, but several at once – and over a long period. This will help you form a more complete and adequate opinion.
Do not be too lazy to also assess the financial stability of the company. This is done, in fact, easier than it might seem at first glance – even if you do not have an economic education.
The financial stability of an insurer is its ability to fulfill its obligations, regardless of changes in the economic situation. Moreover, if you are going to conclude a contract with a company for a long term (for example, in the case of life insurance), then it is important to analyze and predict the most probable development of the company during the term of the contract.
So, what you need to pay attention to:
- Authorized capital. It must exceed the minimum established by law (at least 240 million rubles for life insurance and at least 120 million for general insurance insurers).
- Assets. These are the funds of the enterprise, which may include: financial investments, property, material values, etc. The increase in assets can positively characterize the activities of the company, especially if it occurs due to the collected premium. It should also be understood that the more free assets a company has, the more solvent and financially stable it is.
- Insurance portfolio of the organization. This is the total number of contracts concluded, that is, financial obligations assumed. It must be adequate to the financial capabilities of the company.
- Insurance reserves. They usually do not exceed inflation. The decline in insurance reserves is a bad indicator, since these funds are used for insurance payments.
- Fees and payments. Some companies are trying to find an opportunity not to pay money to customers, so it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the level of payments in advance. True, if it is too tall, then this should also alert.
- Reinsurance protection. It is worth finding out to whom and to what extent the company is transferring large risks. The best option is to entrust such risks to large Western firms in the amount of 5-50% of the gross rate of insurance premiums.
Most of the data is publicly available (for example, on the official website of the insurer). Information on fees and payments can be found on the website of the Bank of Russia Financial Markets Service and in the ratings of insurance companies.
Customer reviews are a rather controversial indicator of the company’s reliability, but it’s still worth getting to know them. Please note that each insured event is individual and often behind a negative review there is a lack of awareness of the client about the terms of payments, and behind a positive one there is hidden advertising.
It’s important to know!
- It is better to trust real people – acquaintances, friends, relatives, who had to use the services of an insurance company and demand payments.
- If possible, contact the online forum member who left the review (especially if the review contains factual information, not just emotions), find out the details of the situation.
- Be wary if there are too many negative reviews on the Web regarding problems with payments (underestimation of payments and non-compliance with deadlines). Try to evaluate such opinions objectively, because you do not know on what conditions the contract was concluded. However, if at the time of signing the contract, all the subtleties and features of payments were not explained to the client, some important details were hidden, this also speaks not in favor of the insurance company.
Tariffs, bonuses and loyalty programs
Rates are another important point to pay attention to when choosing an insurance company. Too low prices should be alarming: usually new or small companies are engaged in dumping, trying to attract more customers. At the initial stage, such a strategy may justify itself, but in the future, the company is likely to face bankruptcy.
Therefore, here, first of all, the rule applies: do not chase after cheapness!
But, of course, the presence of bonuses and various loyalty programs will be a positive criterion. Find out if there are discounts for loyal customers or bonuses when purchasing additional services. Large and reliable firms can afford to reduce prices for loyal customers: for a company this is an additional concern for the client and the formation of a positive image, for you it is an opportunity to save money.
Comparison of insurance companies
Before making your final decision, visit the offices of several selected companies. Pay attention to the level of service, to the willingness of specialists to answer your questions in detail, even to the office itself and the atmosphere in it.
What else needs to be done before making a final decision:
- Request calculations in different companies, compare them;
- Carefully study the terms of the contract and clarify for yourself all incomprehensible or controversial points.
Appreciate those companies in which good service, where experts are polite, ready to meet you halfway and warn you in advance about the terms of payments, try to choose an individual tariff that meets your needs, literally “chew” all the nuances. This increases the likelihood that such increased attention to the client will remain in the event of an insured event.
To choose a truly reliable company, it is worth not only familiarizing yourself with customer reviews or company rates, but also examining its financial stability. Do not be lazy to visit several companies, compare rates, evaluate the quality of service. And, of course, trust large insurance companies that have a good reputation and have been in the market for a long time.
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