I recently spoke with Steve Wilson about his family owned business, Ashland Insurance. Ashland Insurance has served locals for more than 31 years, and was originally founded by Steve’s parents Ellis & Millie Wilson. Now with locations in both Ashland & Medford, the business is run by Steve and his two brothers Jeff and Tom Wilson. Together they work to provide Rogue Valley locals with a sense of well being, while helping them navigate the often times complex and confusing world of choosing the right insurance policy. I spoke with Steve on the phone and he put it this way to me.
“The main goal of any insurance is to transfer your own liablity to that of the insurance policy. Now, unfortunately most people will only shop for price and that is a mistake. What they really need to be asking them selves is whether or not they have a well rounded policy, and will my insurance give me the proper coverage when I really need it.” He then concluded with a statement that gave me a good chuckle. “Insurance is boring… until you have a claim”!
We all know this is true, and I had to agree with him because having an insurance policy alone, does not guarantee that you really have your liability fully covered. So I set out to ask Steve and learn more about how exactly one should choose an insurance policy and then once you have one how to make sure it is correct.
Steve, thanks for speaking with us today. As I mentioned above your family has now owned and operated Ashland Insurance for more than 31 years. Can you tell us a little bit about it’s initial beginnings and how your brothers are working today to continue this legacy?
Ashland Insurance was started by our father, Ellis Wilson when he split off from another local insurance agency. His initial success came from working with people he had known for many years and helping them out with their insurance. We do much the same today.
Let’s talk about what you told me on the phone “insurance is boring until you have a claim”. What types of surprises are we talking about here?
Usually what happens after a loss has occurred is that the cost to repair or replace is more than what the person thought it would be. A home or other building are often underestimated in the cost to replace. The biggest surprise is when it happens to you and you always thought that it would be someone else.
Unfortunately choosing an insurance policy can be very complicated and time consuming. What steps do you and your brothers take in assisting clients in choosing the right policy?
Ideally we prefer to meet face to face to review what needs our prospects have. Sometimes this can be done by phone depending on the type of insurance being discussed.
Steve, is it typical that agents will take the time to sit down with their customers. I am primarily accustomed to talking on the phone, and now that I recall I can’t actually remember meeting our insurance agent?
Some local agents will still meet with clients but the trend seems to be moving away from that. Of course you will never see an agent and get the extra service when you quote via internet or 800 number to some far away place.
As a member of the community we are invited to come in for a review or to get clarification on any insurance policy we might have… even if you haven’t written the policy?
That’s right! We love to have that conversation to find out what all you do or have in order to help you decide what will give you the best insurance program.
Steve, can you tell us about endorsements. What they are and some examples of what typically might get over looked or omitted from a policy?
Endorsements are additional coverage for items that are not included in a base plan. Use of endorsements enable the agent to help tailor the policy to fit the need of the client. A common endorsement for a business policy is non-owned auto. For a homeowners a personal articles endorsement can be used to provide additional coverage to jewelry, firearms or collectibles.
I asked Steve to speak with his team and make a short list of some of the top ten short cuts people take when choosing insurance coverage. In other words things we are forgetting but really should be considering. Here is what they had to share.
Auto – not purchasing adequate limits
Home – not purchasing renters insurance
Health – not purchasing it all
Business – not purchasing business income, employment practices liability or data breach/cyber liability coverage
You have assisted many elders with medicare coverage will you talk more about some things you are noticing here?
Pretty much all elders have Medicare available. The most important issue is to get a supplemental plan to bridge the gap to pick up the expenses that Medicare only partly pays. One of the most common misconceptions with Medicare and the supplements is many people think Long Term Care is included. It is not so that would be another conversation anyone on Medicare should have with an agent.
Business coverage is a very important role in the services you provide to the community. What are some of the services you provide in this arena?
Businesses have a wide range of exposures to cover. Some, such as workers compensation are mandated yet employers sometimes overlook what they are responsible for. The basics are liability, property coverage, business auto and workers compensation. Depending on the size and type of business, there may be several other coverages needed such as professional liability, crime coverage, pollution coverage or any number of other specialty insurance products that would address specific needs.
Living in a small community, means you are always interacting with your customers. What has it been like for you and your brothers to play a huge role of helping insure the lives, properties, and futures of our community members?
The most rewarding part is knowing you have the trust of the community to come in to your office and do business. Of course, knowing that you did the best you could and placed their insurance with a solid company that will be there in the event of a loss allows us to have a certain level of personal satisfaction as well.
Ashland Insurance – Ashland
585 A Street
Ashland Insurance – Medford
801 O’Hare Parkway #101