I happen to be Christian, so I celebrate Christmas- but whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Sangria Day, or Ugly Sweater Day. I wish you all peace, love, smiles, and an amazing 2018.
Christmas and New Year’s are my favorite time of year. I love spending more time with my family. I love putting up a tree and looking at the ornaments that we add to each year. I give a new ornament to each of our 6 kids and my husband annually- and it’s something significant that marks something they did or accomplished that year. It makes our tree something of a time capsule that I enjoy looking at. I love the Christmas songs- the old favorites and the new remixes that my son pops on the radio in the car. (If you haven’t heard of Trap Remixes- check out this Jingle Bells rendition in YouTube. I even love picking out gifts for people and driving around looking for lights.
The ending of the year gives us a chance to look back and take stock of what you’ve been able to accomplish, what you’ve done well during the year, and what you could have done differently if you had the opportunity do go back and do it all again. As a small business owners, my husband and I spend a lot of time on this.
Two years ago, we invested our life savings into opening up an insurance agency because we truly believed that we could make a difference.
Wait? Insurance agents? Making a difference?
You didn’t think we were in this for the money, did you?
Let me tell you why.
There are a couple of people… a couple of professionals… that you and your family need to have in your back pocket in case you have a disaster. You may be thinking people like an attorney. A good doctor. If you are religious- a pastor/priest/rabbi/etc. You should also have a good insurance agent that you can call/text/message and be able to get over to your home with a quick turnaround time. When a disaster strikes- like your home burns down, a tornado strikes, some passes away, or there is a serious car accident and someone in your family has seriously injured someone or even killed someone- you will need support. You will need human support. You will need a “person”.
That is where we make a difference to people- when we show up at your house as the firemen are just checking one last time for hot spots. When the claims adjuster shows up the next day.
When you accidently sideswipe a car with no one in it and you did the right thing and left a note and then you call us because the police have called and want you to come down to the station and you are scared and aren’t sure what to do. You call us at the office and we walk you through a game plan.
When you come home at 9:30 pm to 6 inches of water in your basement and the power is out so you couldn’t suck it up with the wet-vacuum even if you wanted to. You’re scared because you aren’t sure if you have any water coverage and your child’s bedroom is down there so you send us a Facebook message and we respond quickly and since you do have coverage, we get the claim started right away.
When the first roofing/siding contractor you hired to do the job on your house has flaked out on you and is taking forever and we are able to recommend a few NARI certified exterior remodelers that we have had other customers do business with and who they have recommended to us. (To “get a guy”- just let us know who you need… go here).
When we have the opportunity to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house cooking and serving food. Or shooting videos about Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection or the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. Or my personal favorite- our agency was directly responsible, due to my work on the Advancing Advocates Council, 11 Allstate employees from 5 different agencies (plus corporate headquarters) coming together to work a total of 76 volunteer hours at four different events in 2017. Additionally, because of our commitment the Allstate Foundation provided $6,000 in grant money to the Women’s Center.
Our goal for Richards Group was to make a difference.
In being there for people when they need us most. When many people only have a 1-800 number to call.
In being able to give back to our community. Even when we are fledgling company. We feel that we need to do whatever we can, when we can.
But it’s also about being good educators. Because it’s great to be able to be there for customers after their disaster happens- but what happens if the disaster strikes and we have to tell them that the policy they purchased doesn’t cover the loss they just incurred.
When those customers that messaged us saying they were standing in 6 inches of water in their basement- they were concerned that they didn’t have coverage on their insurance policy. They knew that not all insurance policies covered water backup.
Did YOU know water backup is something you have to purchase additionally? I can tell you that I didn’t always know this.
When we had a customer’s auto stolen out of her driveway- it took 28 days for the police to have it declared “unrecoverable”. The insurance cannot pay out money for a new car until a car is declared “unrecoverable”. That particular customer had chosen not to have rental car reimbursement when she bought her policy because she figured a few days in the shop if she had a fender bender was something she could work out with her husband by carpooling. She later found out that in practice, 28 days without a car in their situation was not an easy thing and ended up spending money out of pocket for a rental car. $3/month (approximately) seems like a pretty good bargain at that rate.
We try our hardest to make sure we take our time and go through these important details with each and every potential customer before and after the sale. If you choose not to have water backup coverage or rental car reimbursement- you have likely signed a document saying that you know it is not on your policy. We audit these things frequently- because we want you to be covered in case there is an emergency.
You work really, really hard for your home and auto! The last thing we want to see is for you to lose your hard-earned possessions because the insurance policy you have been paying for isn’t enough to cover a loss!
Our goal for Richards Group was to make a difference.
In making sure that each and every person that we talk to has the right coverage for their particular situation.
The best coverage from a company that you know, like, and trust to be there when it matters the most.
If you’re currently a customer, I hope you know that you’ve gotten this from us in 2017.
If you’re thinking of becoming a customer, I hope you know that this is what you can expect from us in 2018 and beyond.
Once again, Happy Holidays.
May your 2018 be full of the best blessings. May it be full of happiness.
P.S. If you have a free moment. Watch this video from the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse project about how one woman escaped domestic violence and helped fund the “Largest Prison Break in America.”