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How to Find the Best Illinois Homeowners Insurance Company

How does one choose the best Illinois homeowners insurance company? It is certainly important when buying homeowners insurance in Illinois to get the company out there that will best fit your needs.

There are approximately 12 million people in the state of Illinois, thus making it one of the most populated states in the central region of the United States. With so many residents we can assume that the demand for homeowners insurance is very high. But with so many companies out there how can we get to the one that is best for us?

In this article you will be given a few tips and important information to assist you in this important process of choosing the best Illinois homeowners insurance company for your needs.

Financial Ratings And Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

When we speak about homeowners insurance in the state of Illinois we are speaking about a multimillion dollar industry. Because of this it is very important for you to get a company that is in good shape financially. Having an Illinois homeowner’s insurance policy is basically a way of protecting you and your family from any unexpected catastrophe or accident that might happen. Because it is based on the future it is important to see how well a homeowner insurance company is doing in the present.

A company that is excellent financially will more than likely not have any problem when it comes to assisting you with a claim or giving you money right away after an accident. Companies without good financial ratings usually take a little bit more to deliver the reimbursements after a claim.

There are several ways in which you can check a company’s financial strength. You could either call the company and ask an agent for the latest financial rating figures, or go online and search in their websites. There are also rating companies such as A.M. Best, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, etc; that will allow a customer to search for any insurance company and get their ratings. It is important to highlight that because a company is known nationally it does not mean that they are in good financial standing. You must always check first before making any assumptions.

The Yellow Pages And The Internet Can Help You In Your Search For Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

You might be asking yourself how to find the best IL homeowner insurance company out there in the market. The fact of the matter is that every person might have a different feeling about a certain company, and for this reason the best thing to do is to try and research each company that sparks a little interest in your. There are two ways in which you will be able to search for the company that is best for you.

One of them involves getting your local yellow pages and searching for insurance companies. Before actually deciding on which one is good for you try giving them a call and speaking to their agents. If you find that the company interests you at least a bit, then go ahead and visit them personally. Once you are there you will be able to clarify some doubt on how the company works. Do the customers seem happy with the treatment they receive? Are the agents knowledgeable of the insurance industry? Is the place in a clean and organized condition? Do they offer good customer service? Are there any awards on the walls? By just looking for certain things you will be able to make a prediction of each company.

The other way in which you can do some research and try to find the best company for you is to log online and search Google or Yahoo for homeowner insurance companies in you area of Illinois. After you do that you will be able to visit company websites and research about their history, awards and the path to their present success. Some companies will even allow you to see the plans and some discounts. It is important to mention that almost all companies nowadays will let you get quotes online or give you a number on their website where you can call to apply for a quote.

Select Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

This last section of the article is specifically designed for the people that want examples of the many companies available in the state of Illinois. It is important to understand that these are just some of the companies and that there are many more out there. You will be able to see the history and the rankings of each just to give customers a better understanding of the importance that each of those two factors have in the Illinois homeowners insurance industry.

American Family Insurance: This Company has been on the main map of insurance in the United States since October 3, 1927. It was on that date that Mr. Herman Wittwer decided to start selling insurance products to farmers in the state of Wisconsin. The reasoning behind this was that farmers were driving less than other drivers and they deserved lower rates. The company kept growing and nowadays they also offer homeowners, life annuity, health, business, ranch and farm insurance. Presently they also have more than $4.8 billion in policy holder equity. $15.5 billion in assets (according to their website) and they also operate in 18 states of the country extending from the Pacific State of Washington all the way to Ohio by the Great Lakes. They claim to employ an estimated 8,200 people and another 3,975 agents. With more than nine million policies in force, this company will only keep growing.

Madison Mutual Insurance Company: This company just like the other was founded in the 1920’s, but the only difference is that it has been a steadily contender of property and casualty insurance in the state of Illinois. They have kept growing at tremendous rates simply because they have been expanding their products and providing customers with excellent customer service. At the end of calendar year 2006 they had written $32.7 million in premiums and had approximately $71.4 million in assets. All through the state of Illinois they offer insurance in 131 independent agencies and with the help of 398 qualified licensed agents. The company is expected to keep its tremendous grow through the entire state and it is expected to start expanding to other states as their assets become larger.

There Are Many Top Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

As said before there are many homeowners insurance companies out there in the state of Illinois that will do all they can to provide coverage to the many people that are house searching within the state. When looking for the best company for you, always look at their history and financial ratings (remember that rating agencies can help).

Insurance Companies Listings and Ratings Guide For Insurance Agents & Brokers

Here is the newest, revised version of the best insurance companies listings. These are compiled in a top 100 ratings guide format. The listings are in alphabetical order helping insurance agents & brokers locate an insurer. Find out how your opinion compares. How can you possibly rate an insurance company? I will mention briefly the various ways, show you the method I is used for this article, and why.

BY NUMBER OF AGENTS

This ratings guide listing method evaluates the insurer by the sheer number of insurance agents & brokers currently licensed and under contract. with carrier. I feel this evaluation to be worthless for a multitude of reasons. First of all there are a number of career health and life insurance agencies that have thousands of representatives. However, of these,up to 80% of the total agents are relatively new in attempting to establish credibility in the industry. Four years down the line only 6% of many an insurance company agency force will maintain enough production to stay career representatives.

Moreover, my findings uncover inaccuracy of this method due to licensing renewal process state insurance departments impose on the insurer. Most state departments of insurance send the renewal report forms on a yearly basis. There is a fee to be paid by each ins agent renewed. What makes it difficult is the variation of different paperwork procedures by individual states for removing non-active ins reps. The paperwork consists of costly, time consuming forms and procedures for the insurance company to make any changes. Renewing all the sales representatives is often cheaper, and thus the route the insurer frequently takes. This also gives the insurance company bragging rights to how many sales people write for them.

Personally I was shown in state insurance department records as licensed for 11 years after I wrote my last case.

INSURANCE CO FINANCIAL RANKING LISTINGS
There are four or five top independent firms that employ this insurer rating of a company based on a multitude of financial factors. A lot has to do with projecting the financial stability of the insurer. This is accomplished by closely dissecting past and present financial history. It covers how the insurer investments perform, and the rate of return. An insurance evaluation also takes in consideration the amount of cash on hand, and how much exists in reserves to pay present and future claims.

There is a consensus among life insurance association members into believing that the highest rated insurers are the best of the bunch. Yet association members make up less than 12% of the total producer base. The other insurance agents and brokers, (the majority), do not agree that these are always the best ones to use for their client’s needs. Logic tells you that a newer quality insurer does not have past history to start out top ranked. In my situation, clients bought what I presented them. Nearly half the time it was NOT the highest rated company by the rating firms. I however sold the client what their emotional needs demanded. Many past insurance companies with rankings in the best 100 later financially failed, and still frequently do in today’s world.

BY RANKING OF PREMIUMS COLLECTED

This is a very common type of insurance company listing & ranking to produce. Insurance companies are rated by total number of premiums they collected that year. It seems rather unfair to mix annuity premiums in with all dollars collected. Producers know it is easier to sell a $20,000 annuity than a $20,000 premium term insurance policy. The other fault I find with using total premiums collected is with who actually contributed a chunk of the premiums collected. With some companies an enormous amount of these premiums were not collected by the average sales person. A lot of institutional buyers directly bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of annuity premiums.

BY RATINGS IMPORTANT TO HEALTH & LIFE SELLERS

This is my way. As fair and balanced from an sales representative perspective as feasible. Premiums are collected from the 1,500,000 agents, trying to make a living by selling insurance policies in this industry. Often these sales are done one by one. Plus, of this 450,00 independent brokers, semi-independent agents and some career reps write, depending on which company, 50% to 100% of that insurance co business.

This rankings method is imposed because I find the insurance companies listing is intended to be a beneficial directory. One that independent brokers, semi-independent representatives, along with some career reps can turn to. This is a guide directory to other insurers that you may consider writing production for.

The insurance companies listing and ratings guide to the top 100 is purposely placed in alphabetical order instead of by premium or financial data. You may not agree completely with the listing, because we have left in some companies with a strong percentage of business sold in annuities, and investment products.

In the eyes of a typical health and life broker, this guide is of health and life insurance companies is about as accurate as possible.

1. Aetna 2. AIG Life Insurance Company** 3. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America 4. American Family Life Assurance Co of Columbus 5. American Fidelity Assurance Company 6. American General Life and Accident INS Co** 7. American General Life Insurance Co** 8. American Income 9. American Memorial 10. American National Life 11. Americo Financial Life And Annuity 12. Anthem Blue Cross 13 Aurora National Assurance 14 Aviva Life and Annuity Company 15. AXA Equitable 16.Bankers Life and Casualty Company 17. Banner 18. Beneficial Life 19. C.M. Life Ins 20. Colonial Life & Accident 21. Columbus Life 22. Conseco Life 23. Farmers New World 24. First-Penn Pacific 25.Forethought 26. General American 27. Genworth 28. Gerber 29. Great American 30. Great-West Life & Annuity 31. Guardian 32. Hartford Life and Accident Ins Company 33. Hartford 34. Homesteaders 35. Indianapolis Life 36. ING 37. Jackson National 38. John Hancock 39. John Hancock Life Insurance Company USA 40.. Kansas City Life 41.. Lafayette 42.. Liberty Life Assurance Co of Boston 43.. Liberty National 44.. Life Ins Company of North America 45. Life Ins Company of the Southwest 46. Life Investors Ins Co of America 47. Lincoln Benefit 48. Lincoln Heritage 49. Lincoln National 50. Massachusetts Mutual 51. Metropolitan 52. Midland National 53. Minnesota Life 54. Monumental Life 55. MONY – America 56. MONY – New York 57. National Guardian 58. National Life 59. New England Life 60. New York Life Ins and Annuity Corporation 61. New York Life 62. North American Co for Life & Health Ins. 63. Northwestern Mutual 64. Ohio National Life 65. OM Financial 66. Pacific Life 67. Penn Mutual 68. Phoenix Life Ins 69. Primerica 70. Principal 71. Protective 72. Provident Life and Accident 73. Pruco 74. Prudential – America 75. Reassure America 76. Reliance Standard 77. ReliaStar 78. Riversource 79. Security Life of Denver y 80. Standard 81. Stonebridge 82. Sun Life and Health 83. Sunset 84. Surety 85. Symetra 86. Transamerica 87. Transamerica Occidental 88. Trustmark 89. U.S. Financial 90. Union Central 91. Union Security 92. United Healthcare 93. United Ins Company of America 94. United Investors 95. United of Omaha 96. United States Life 97. Unum 98. West Coast 99. Western and Southern Life 100. Western Reserve Life Assurance Co of Ohio Note: Sagicor Life, Foresters, and Illinois Mutual should appear on the bottom 3 listings, replacing the companies listed above as #6, 2, and 7.

**AIG Life Insurance Company, American General Life, American General Life and Casualty Comments

This group of companies USED to be one the highest premium generating, and highest ranked insurance companies in the United States. Still, after two massive Federal Bailouts, the future is uncertain. Therefore, AIG Life is no longer deserving of being on this top 100 list guide.

GUIDE TO QUESTIONABLE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY LISTINGS

The following insurance companies listings often could be included in different types of some top 100 Life ins company rankings IF you were evaluating premiums written. Sometimes the premiums consist of considerable amounts of annuity premiums. Also counted in would be insurers where a large portion of sales do not come from representatives and sales people. Instead it is written by security stock brokerage firms, and independent broker-dealers of variable investment contracts not governed by insurance departments. In other cases, products may be directly strictly toward teachers, the military, or credit unions. In a couple cases, there are companies with pending litigation. A representation of this mix of insurers is listed below:

1. Cuna Mutual 2. Genworth Life and Annuity 3. Harford Life and Annuity y 4. John Hancock Variable Life 5. Mayflower National 6. Metlife – Connecticut 7. Metlife Investors USA 8. MML Bay State 9. Nationwide 10. Nationwide Life & Annuity 11. NYLife of AZ 12. PHL Variable 13. Sun Life Assurance Co of Canada 14. Teachers Ins and Annuity Assoc of America 15. USAA 16. Shenandoah — financial difficulties

There is a grand total of over 600 Licensed Life/Health Companies “active” in every state of the United States. However, some are not currently writing new business. In addition, there are many active in only one or a few states, so you will find them missing from the top insurance company listings. Most states have a true actual listing count of 220 to 330 life and health home offices currently accepting new cases from licensed agents & brokers.

Advisor’s predition. If I choose from the provider listings above, Foresters would be my top pick as the next rising star. Its innovative niche products are starting to create a high demand. Also watch Genworth, its stock value has zoomed and the company is very adaptive to market opportunities.

Car Insurance Companies – They Know More Than You Think

When you apply for auto insurance, even when getting an online quote, you’d be surprised by the amount of information the insurance companies go through before telling you how much your premiums will be!

What are They Looking For?

The number one thing that insurers always look for is a clean driving record.  They will investigate your record in the state you’re living in as well as every other state in the country via a central database.  They will verify your birth date and compare it to other personal information to confirm that you are who you say.  They will dig into your driving records everyplace you’ve been issued a driver’s license and also cross-index other insurance records.  All this can take place in just a few minutes-or seconds, depending on the speed of their computers!

But that’s not all that insurance companies are looking for; you’ll also find that they thoroughly check out your credit report.

Why Should They Care About My Credit Score?

Your mother or grandmother may have told you that she can look at your friends and see your future.  Well, insurance companies can look at your credit score and see future!  Like the friends you choose can show your character, your credit score indicates your sense of personal responsibility. 

Let’s say that you’ve made some mistakes in the past and your credit score isn’t so great.  You’ve maxed out your credit cards during a rough patch and are paying them off with minimum payments.  You have no savings, a couple of late payments on record and your credit score is in the low 600’s.  This tells the insurance company that you don’t think about the future much and probably don’t take precautions against unexpected financial downturns.  You’re someone who is living in the present and not looking towards the future.  Is that accurate?

Whether that’s a true picture of someone with that credit score and history, that’s what the insurance companies see and what their statistics tell them is a logical conclusion.  Their data also tells them that a person with such a low score also has a high risk score-they are more likely to make a claim than someone with a higher credit score. 

Don’t Ask for Trouble 

Keep an eye on your credit report and make sure that it is accurate, checking it at least once annually.  Improve it as much as possible, paying more than minimum payments and specifying that the extra go toward the principle.  You’ll be rid of credit card debt in half the time if you pay in that manner and it will look good on your credit report. 

Don’t try to toggle your risk factor by omitting details about your driving record!  If you leave out citations or convictions on your application or deny that they exist, you could be setting yourself up for a fraud charge.  Even if you aren’t charged with trying to defraud the insurance company, it will be on your record for every other insurer to see. 

In short, be frugal and honest!  Good money management and an application that is factual will definitely save you money on your auto insurance.