The Insurance Professional for your Agency?
Insurance Professional for your Agency – The Personal and Professional Approach to Ethics –
Insurance Industry Ethics is an integral part of the insurance process.
Some would say it can be easily defined as “what you do when no one is looking”.
This is an interesting position, however. For the most part, we can all think of
times of how we behaved when we thought no one was watching, right?
It’s the choices and behavior made during these time periods.
Insurance Professional for your Agency –
Personal Example Time – So, for example, you find a purse or wallet while walking
back to your car after lunch. What would you do if you found wads of cash in it?
Would you return it to the name on the driver’s license or just keep everything for
yourself? Now, keep this scenario in mind, but change the person who found the
purse or wallet into a professional within the industry. What would this signify?
Possible ethical and professional conflict?
Professional Insurance Agent Violation?
Violations of ethics is a concern on any level, but if committed by a
professional financial advisor, it is more cause for concern. In this
example, just the label “advisor” is enough cause for concern. This is because people and clients
put their trust and faith in a professional advisor. Therefore, you seek a professional’s
advice, whether it be online or in person, because this area of knowledge is not your
expertise. So, you transfer the responsibility to some degree, to the professional in
this practice. This is also the reason why you searched for a trustworthy specialist in the first
place. You need someone who will point you in the right direction.
This is because they understand their market and will not violate the trust
that was instilled in them through their industry profession.
Violation of Ethics – Professional Level
If a professional should use their position and status for personal gains,
then the violation of ethics is being committed. This is because people seeking a
professional’s advice or opinion is entrusting that representative.
The prospect is in a vulnerable position and seeking help in an unfamiliar area,
which in this example is insurance. The purpose of insurance coverage in the
first place is, to protect. Acting inappropriate manner as a professional in this position
is a fair example of a professional ethical violation.
Unethical Behavior and Actions – Inside the Insurance Industry
Think of an insurance agent who sells an unsuitable policy to an unsuspecting customer.
If a customer is thinking they are being covered for a certain circumstance,
when in fact, they are not, could be categorized as a practice of
unethical behavior from a professional. We have all heard about these cases.
You can go online and read the many complaints from online users.
They will leave reviews, detailed stories of their experience, good and bad,
with messages for others, including prospects, on review and social business
platforms and boards. Some of these platforms that you can find
an online presence of this behavior on is:
- Google Places / Business
- Chamber of Commerce Sites
- Consumer Review Sites
- Government Agency and Regulatory Departments
Material Research Online
There is plenty of material online to see how many unsuspecting customers
of insurance, have been sold an overpriced policy, or a policy they thought was
covering a specific risk, when in fact, it was not. These deceptive practices
committed by an insurance professional is despicable. This is because, to have the
“trust me” approach in an industry where “bait and switch” techniques are
rampant is not just wrong, but illegal. So, if you feel you have been wrongfully committed
by an insurance or financial professional, seek help from an
independent 3rd party. You can look for interdepartmental help even
within the insurance company itself. Or you can even get assistance from
governmental agencies or consumer watchdog organizations.
Golden Rule Approach to the Insurance Industry
Every insurance company, for the most part, have separate or internal departments. For example, such
departments can be for the underwriting of a policy, to the customer service end of an insurance policy,
or sales, for the transaction of new insurance policies. These inter-departments can also have subdepartments within each
department. For example, under new business and sales, another subgroup can be agency marketing.
This is for ease of use, streamlining the process and keeping an organized eye on
the operation. Of course, there are many layers of eyes on each department and
rightfully so. It is for your protection so, if you were a victim of an agent’s
unethical behavior, you just need to find the appropriate department to report this information to.
This means there are many areas where unethical behavior and actions to your agency can be
performed. As an agency owner, small or large, these unethical discrepancies can lead to unwanted legal
woes. This can result in lost profits, and why it is paramount that the legality of these actions
must be considered within each department.
The Legality of the Issue
Depending on the legality of the issue, the agent at that company may be
reprimanded, temporarily or permanently. It all depends on the magnitude
of the crime committed if any. As an example, the human resource department within
the insurance company may conduct an internal investigation of the
agent in question. This is done to determine fault and to prevent liability
exposure on all levels from future happenings.
Victim Reporting Methods
So, remember if you are a victim, you have rights and avenues to take to fight
back and protect yourself. Also, check with the Department of Insurance or
under consumer affairs for more specific industry news.
You may find outreach programs that bring attention to unethical concerns within
the industry. This preserves its history and future progress from further user corrosion.
Take into consideration these are the actions a policyholder or consumer can take against your
insurance agency so, if you are unsure of the exact laws surrounding these cases, make sure
to always refer to your state laws and the department of insurance.