6 Aggravating Types of Insurance Salesmen

For the most part, car insurance companies, and insurance salesmen and women, are unassuming professionals who care about their clients. Because they receive a great deal of their business from referrals and often keep the same clients for life, most agents are calm, trustworthy professionals who keep your best interest in mind. However some salesmen are sleazy, deceptive and downright gross, which is why these offenders need to be taken down a peg, and identified as the most annoying salesmen on Earth.

1. Best-Friend Bob

THE LINE: “How’s it been?”

IMPLICATION: “We’ve been in touch before, old friend.”

BFF Contract. The insurance papers come later.


Best friend Bob is one of the most annoying and omnipresent individual on the planet, as every agency has at least one. Easily spotted by his idiot smile from the moment you walk in the door, Bob can’t wait to shake your hand before emptying your wallet.

Bob wants to hear about your kids, because Bob Jr. just started tee ball. Did you know that Bob drives the same car as you? It’s because people who buy Chevrolets are patriotic and attractive. Can Bob interest you in boat insurance? Sure you don’t own one, but what if you’re out on the lake one day, and you decide you’re in the market? You wouldn’t want to be caught without boat insurance.

The simple fact of the matter is: Bob is not your friend. Bob shouldn’t be your friend. Bob is your salesman. If you are looking for a friend, go to a bar. By pulling heartstrings and making you think your relationship is personal, Bob can sell you anything he wants. Don’t let him. There’s no room at Thanksgiving dinner for Bob.

2. Scare-Tactic Steve

THE LINE: “That car almost clipped you when you pulled in!”

IMPLICATION: “Danger is lurking everywhere.”

Steve, hearing the funniest joke he’s ever been told

The polar opposite of Bob, Scare-Tactic Steve preys on your paranoid side. Steve doesn’t smile, because there is nothing funny about what he does or what he sells, and if you don’t feel the same way, you can get the hell out.

Steve wants you to know that since you began reading this, 100 American teenagers died of cancer. Another 200 died from AIDS-related traffic accidents, and 35 more lost lives to wild animal attacks. In a world this horrifying, can you afford not to have insurance? The answer is yes.

Steve has flawed statistics for everything, skewed to be far more terrifying than they actually are. For example, Steve could say that every hour, an American dies in a garbage disposal accident. Scary stuff, except when you do some quick math and realize that comes out to be 8,750 people per year, or roughly 0.003% of the American population.

3. Logic-Jumping Laura

THE LINE: “Aren’t hardwood floors beautiful? I bet they’re uber-flammable!”

THE IMPLICATION: “Your world is going to burn down.”

Insurance papers, or restaurant menu? It doesn’t matter.

Logic-Jumping Laura is a dangerous predator. Wily and cunning, her instincts are to tell you that 2 + 2 = whatever she wants, and your natural instincts are to believe her.

Perhaps you are opening a small business with Laura as your representative. She would be quick to tell you that employee coverage and fire insurance is a must, despite the fact that your business is headquartered out of your home and you are the only employee.

Nevertheless, what if your house does burn down? Sure, maybe you have fire insurance on your home, but does that cover damages to your den? Unless your home insurance is broken down per room, you are fine. Ignore Laura’s attempts to get you to forget the missing pieces of the equation and up-sell you.

4. Bait-and-Switch Bill

THE LINE: “I know you wanted coffee, but we’re out. Here’s orange juice.”

THE IMPLICATION: “Take what I give you, and like it.”

These people will testify on Bill’s behalf.

Bait-and-Switch Bill is a tricky guy. Far more laid back than Bob, Bill will also begin his sale with lots of personal “get to know you” questions. Be careful with your answers, because everything you say can and will be used against you at the end of the sale.

Bill is less of an insurance salesman and more like a prosecuting lawyer, carefully building his case from the moment you walk in the door. What may seem like trivial conversation at first can quickly turn into the final nails in your coffin.

Example? Bill may ask you about your hobbies, to which you could reply that you play golf. An hour later, when he has you over a barrel, getting ready to sell you alien abduction insurance, he WILL say “for the money spent on one round of golf, you can insure your family for an entire year.” Oh. Oh, that’s cold Bill. That’s cold.

5. Low-Balling Larry

THE LINE: “Can you believe this cherry-pitter gadget is only three bucks?”

THE IMPLICATION: “Cheap things are awesome, even if they’re useless.”

Larry’s dad, Lance. He taught Larry everything he knows.

Unlike Bill, Larry doesn’t need to acquire personal information in order to tell you exactly how you should be spending your money. Sprinkled with a bit of Laura, Larry is really good at making everything seem affordable.

Larry will tell you that roofing insurance is only $17 per month. That is the same amount of money most people spend per month on milk and bread. The hail-damage-to-window rider is only $4 per month, which is the same as a gallon of gas. All of these things sound affordable, until later when you remember you still have to buy milk, bread, and gas.

Despite how easy Larry makes it, he isn’t the one figuring out your monthly budget. Be careful not to be sucked into paying for something you don’t need, just because it is cheaper than the things you do need.

6. Down-the-Road Dan

THE LINE: “You’re going to have attractive kids one day!”

THE IMPLICATION: “You’re going to have kids! It could be tomorrow.”

Dan knows what will be best for you, eventually.

Down-the-Road Dan appeals to the planner inside of us all. He can see down the road like a hawk, but sees the present like a bat. While he may get you to look down the road, it is important to remember which road you are currently on before making any decisions.

Dan wants you ready for what life throws at you long before life has even wound up to throw it. He wants to make sure that your children have dental insurance before they have teeth, and that your car will be covered for ten years even though it will be sold in five.

Down-the-Road Dan doesn’t need to concern himself with where you are now, because he is all about where you want to be. It can be easy to go on a journey with him, but before you sign any checks, remember just exactly how long you have before you find yourself on the same road as Dan.

CONCLUSION:

While choosing the right brand of insurance is important, choosing the right agent is far more significant. Since all of your claims will be filed and taken care of by your agent, you need someone you can trust, enjoy and rely upon, which is why these six salesmen should stay as far away from your affairs as possible.

  • SL

    There is, unfortunately, confusion between an insurance agent and insurance broker. I’m in the insurance industry (in Canada) and will never forget one of the first definitions I read in an insurance text, it outlined the difference between the two.
    Agent: An insurance agent has access to one company and is a sales agent on their behalf.
    Broker: An insurance broker has access to multiple companies and it’s his/her job to find the best price/coverage options and present those to the client.

    If your insurance broker isn’t presenting multiple quotes and outlining why they recommend one over the other then they’re not doing their job. The public should not be afraid to question their broker, ask for coverage details, pricing options, etc. A good broker will welcome the opportunity to assist their clients.

  • I’m always thankful to find companies that don’t employ these tactics or agents!