Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Why people can’t stand insurance and what you can do about it

Insurance customers just want to know that you'll will be there if they need you. (Photo: iStock)
Insurance customers just want to know that you'll will be there if they need you. (Photo: iStock)

They may like you, your agency, or your funny commercial, but they don’t like insurance.

When I attended my very first insurance training course back in 2000, the instructor said something to us I will never forget. He said, ”Congratulations, you get to sell a product that nobody likes, understands, thinks is too expensive, and only use when something bad happens.” Talk about a kick in the pants for a young guy getting ready to take on the world.

Related: How to be the insurance agent customers want

Looking back years later, there's actually quite a bit of truth in what he said. Most people I talk to about insurance don’t like it, don’t really understand it, always tell me it’s too expensive and only get to use when they suffer a financial loss.

I started thinking a little bit more why most people have such disgust for insurance, and I came up with a list of my top three reasons.

Brent’s top 3 reasons why people hate insurance

1. It’s invisible and intangible.

When you buy electronics, car, furniturebooks or anything else tangible, there's a sense of excitement after the purchase. You get to play with the electronics, drive the car, sit on the furniture or read the book.  With insurance, you get an insurance policy. Of course, if your insurance agent is really good, maybe you get a coffee cup or an atlas thrown in. How is that not fulfilling?

2.  It’s complicated.

Not complicated in the “Friends” Ross and Rachel, I don’t think this relationship is going to work kinda way,” but in the what in the heck are you’re talking about kinda way. There are a about 100 different definitions, terms, exclusions and other provisions in most insurance policies.  Most insurance policies make really good insomnia medicine. You need a good agent you can trust to explain most of this stuff. That leads me to my third and final reason.

3. No trust in the insurance agent or insurance company.

Many people really feel that people in the insurance business are out to get them. Some are just paranoid, but others have had past experiences that justify their lack of trust. Whether it's been lack of service from their agent or not being treated fairly on a claim, bad experiences can put a very negative light on the insurance industry.

Critical importance

That being said, I see the critical importance of insurance products and have seen property, assets, and lives put back together after catastrophic events. Also, I have met  hundreds of  other agents, company representatives and claims adjusters. The large majority of them are good hard-working people who want to help and do what’s best for their clients. It’s always the small minority that ruin the reputation and credibility of an industry.

You also have to remember where insurance falls into our buying processes.

Do you remember Maslow’s heirarchy of needs?

We don’t buy insurance for psychological needs, self-actualization or peak experiences. Although, if you buy insurance to self-actualize, congratulations (you are the only one).

Safety & survival

Insurance lives on the bottom two tiers. Safety and survival is why most people buy insurance. Buyers are protecting their hard-earned work, reputation, and making sure they can move on past a disaster.

Related: How insurance agents can provide real value

Most buyers simply don’t care how shiny your brochure is or how long you have been in business. Insurance customers care that you understand their concerns and that you'll will be there if they need you.

Brent Kelly is a keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and certified partner with the John Maxwell Team. He provides inspirational and purposeful business growth for insurance professionals. You can connect with him at or email him at 


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