swahili

I used to see it all the time when I was first selling business insurance. I’d be talking to a small business owner, just going on and on and see their eyes glaze over. They’d keep nodding their head as I spoke but the light of recognition had vanished.

I might as well have been speaking Swahili.  Instead it was equally foreign. I was using InsuranceSpeak.

I wasn’t trying to. But as an insurance agent we spend a lot of time learning. Then a lot of time talking to other insurance people. Then we talk to non-insurance people and we forget. InsuranceSpeak is not plain English.

Now I work really hard to translate as I go when I am speaking to my customers. I was going to provide a glossary for you in my own words but  there is a really detailed guide to insurance terms on the A.M.Best  website (those are the folks that “grade” insurance carriers on financial solvency and much more):  http://www.ambest.com/resource/glossary.html .

However if you are having a hard time understanding your insurance and your agent doesn’t seem to be able to translate it for you – it’s time to find a new agent. Your current agent may be knowledgeable and qualified but their communication style may not match yours.

So you not understanding is nobody’s fault.

When I was in high school my first experience in Geometry was with a brilliant teacher. I could tell from the way she taught that she definitely understood everything she was talking about. However I didn’t get it. I’d ask questions and she’d explain. I still didn’t get it. We both tried but I ended up making a D the second semester which required me to take that half over  to get credit.

I ended up with a different teacher when I took it again the next year. Guess what happened? I not only passed, but made a B. Why? It wasn’t that she wasn’t more knowledgeable or more qualified that the other teacher.

Her teaching style matched my learning style.

The same holds true for all of your trusted advisors: banker, attorney, CPA, and insurance agent. Make sure the person you are working with can help you understand all the “Swahili” of the world.  InsuranceSpeak isn’t the only “foreign” language you’ll run into once you start in business.

Bear in mind your insurance agent may occasionally lapse back into InsuranceSpeak and for myself I appreciate being reminded when I am doing that.  Just recognize if you are not able to get the translation from your agent it isn’t you and probably isn’t them.

You simply deserve to work with professionals who can translate it all for you the way you can best understand. Oh and almost of us really do speak some Swahili.

Don’t believe me?

Hakuna Matata?

Yes when it comes to insurance you should have NO WORRIES.