Modern man's burden

Insurance: the white man's burden

As a child, I remember listening to the Goons, a comedic, radio group in the U.K.

The group was really the pre-cursor to Monty Python, with a zany sense of humour and, among others, featured Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine. 

One of their shows that I still have on a vinyl record carried the same title as this article.

The title is perhaps not politically correct today, but innocent enough in the context of the show. Their goal was to put an insurance policy on the English Channel, set it afire and collect the payout.

My challenge this week was simpler, but the insurance industry was much less politically correct than the Goons were with the title of their show. 

I live in Kaslo, which is not flush with choices of insurance service, so after heading in to the local insurance office and getting their advice, I decided to let Google give me some advice. 

Multiple websites caught my attention. Fill in the details on my boat, the age, top speed and a value and, bingo, I got a quote. 

Call me stupid, but a quote is a quotation to provide services. An estimate of cost. Here is what wikipedia says:

“A sales quote allows a prospective buyer to see what costs would be involved for the work they would like to have done. Many businesses provide services that cannot have an upfront price, as the costs involved can vary.

"This can be due to the materials that would be used (which can differ depending on the individual needs of the customer), and the manpower that would be necessary. Therefore, it is common practice for these companies to provide the potential customer with a quote (or estimate) of how much it should cost.

"This quotation will be made by the company using the information that the potential customer provides, regarding the relevant elements that may affect the price. A quote can help the prospective buyer when deciding which company to use, and which services they are looking for.”

Every site gave me a very similar number — $200 or less for insurance. Perfect.

I really only needed liability insurance because my boat was not terribly valuable. However, everyone wanted to sell me bells and whistles. 

The problem came when I was forced to call to confirm my insurance. That was when every single company, without exception, told me that the quote was wrong and their minimum policy value was $400.

I was looking at a minimum 100 per cent increase over the quote.

In the timeshare industry, that is an illegal practice referred to as “bait and switch." In other words, offer something and give them something else. Not a big deal.

I have been around the block more than a few times. What really ticks me off is that every company did exactly the same thing and wasted my time.

One of them should pick up the $400 tab for my time spent that morning. Or perhaps the Insurance Bureau of Canada can compensate me and at the same time look into the very annoying business practices of some of its members.

My salvation actually came from a Kelowna company. 

Okanagan Valley Insurance Services Ltd. simply answered my questions, gave me professional advice and then provided a quote, which they honoured, and it was less than the online bargains I was being pitched.

Kudos to Okanagan Valley Insurance Services Ltd. Thanks for the help and integrity.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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