The automobile product has, in the mind of the public, become unaffordable, unavailable, and impossible to understand.The recession has curtailed insureds from properly maintaining their homes and automobiles, and to exacerbate the situation, many clients have turned to wood heat and started doing their own repairs and maintenance which may have increased the number and severity of claims.Cal Roberts Insurance Markets - Royal, Dominion of Canada Patrick C.
We have a relatively high number of seniors and many younger, newly-formed families dependent on government assistance living mostly in a rural, unserviced, thinly populated area. Long distance phone bills represent our second largest expense (our two offices each have their own toll free phone numbers) and the cost of visiting our insureds to do home inspections is time consuming due to the large area we service.Still, price is very important and we must work with our markets to ensure that our insurance products are available and affordable to a large part of the market.It is the broker's job to ensure the client understands what he is buying, and if circumstances dictate a lower-priced product, we must make our insured aware of the trade-off in coverage versus price. Johnson, Rob Champlain Strengths - alternate markets, especially small farm mutuals, that still continue to give low prices, still continue to write wood stoves, and allow discounts and underwriting terms such as table 1 rates on homeowners within 8 km of fire hall protection.Smalltown has two independent brokers and a Co-Operators agent, Nexttown has two independent brokers, and Southtown has one.We have just started to see some move by locals to "Silver Power" and other specialty retailers who advertise on radio and television. The main volume of income for our brokerage is generated by automobile premiums because they are relatively higher priced to insure than property, and because automobile insurance is mandatory in the region.The average family income is approximately ,000 and the unemployment rate 9%.We are cautious about encouraging business from lower income prospects since they tend to have wood heat, homes in poor repair, and many attempt to install and repair their own plumbing, wiring, and heating systems.They trust our judgement in selecting the proper coverage and company to place them in.The new federal government is close to adopting a new automobile contract that hopefully will make it affordable, understandable, and available to our clients.We are fortunate that we have not yet had the intrusion to a large degree of mass merchandising programs like "Silver Power." Smaller brokers have made inroads into our traditional rural business, with low cost farm markets that sell home and auto insurance.We understand that some of these markets are in a poor financial position and may cease to be a factor in the future.